News Roundup

Over the last few weeks there have been exciting announcements concerning upcoming Disney movies, new Disney World construction projects, and the resurrection of an old character in comic book form. Here is my rundown of some news that caught my attention.

Incredibles 2: During the recent Disney shareholders meeting, CEO Robert Iger announced that Pixar will be releasing sequels to both Incredibles and Cars. No release dates were given, and it was also stated that the original Incredibles will be getting a 3D re-release in theaters.

I’m super (pun intended) excited about Incredibles 2. I’m a big fan of the first movie, considering it my favorite next to Toy Story, so seeing the franchise continued makes me really happy.

Magic Kingdom Hub Construction: A big new project at Magic Kingdom is the expansion of the central hub. The plan is to add a second “ring” around the hub in order to give guests more room to move around. There will also be a second exit, to help the massive congestion that occurs at the end of the night.

A more detailed explanation of the plans, as well as some photos of the existing hub and the new design, can be found here.

This looks to be a great project that will really help the flow of that area. Anybody who has tried to watch a parade or fireworks around the hub, or even just move around on a busy day, knows how crowded it can get. Also, if you look at the concept picture you can see “shortcuts” that go from the end of Main Street to Adventureland and Tomorrowland and bypass the hub altogether, meaning that it may be easier to get to either side.

Dreamfinder Comic Book: I can’t accurately describe how excited I am for this. Mostly it’s some jumping up and down and waving my arms, which doesn’t translate well to a written blog.

In 1983, the attraction Journey Into Imagination opened at EPCOT and starred Dreamfinder, a jolly bearded man who taught people about the magic of imagination. Accompanied by his purple dragon Figment, he was a central part of the ride and could also be seen walking around for meet and greets. Sadly, when they renovated the attraction in 1998 they got rid of Dreamfinder (and Figment became a minor supporting character) and it seemed like he would be nothing but a footnote in the Disney archives.

A recent announcement, though, has fans like myself thrilled beyond words. Dreamfinder and Figment are returning in comic book form this summer. An offshoot of the new Disney Kingdoms comic line, the series is going to be a limited run of just five issues and will star a younger Dreamfinder and his dragon companion in a steampunk setting.

I’m not only extremely jazzed about getting my hands on this series, but I’m hoping that if the comics sell well it could lead to Dreamfinder dusting off his blue tuxedo and getting some exposure once again in the park or other formats.

It’s a drastically different setting and look for the character, but us old-school EPCOT fans have to take what we can get.

Star Wars and Marvel Lands: Every now and again, the rumor of Star Wars and/or Marvel additions to the Disney parks gets mentioned. Concepts have varied wildly, from entirely new areas to reworking Disneyland’s Tomorrowland into something Star Wars-themed.

During the recent shareholder meeting, Robert Iger mentioned that there is room for a Star Wars Land at Disneyland (previous reports suggested that they would have to remove other attractions to make it happen). He also said “We are looking at opportunities for Marvel and Star Wars. You can expect that there’s more ahead for Disneyland.”

Of course, this in no way means that any of this is definitively going to happen, but it does indicate that it could. Plus, I would be genuinely surprised if we don’t at least see a Marvel-themed attraction or two announced at some point.

A Star Wars land could be really cool–multiple rides and attractions, as well as a restaurant themed after the cantina in Mos Eisley. I’ll bet that we hear more about this sooner rather than later, especially with The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter at Universal Studios proving that a park dedicated to a specific franchise can be a big success.

Star Wars movies: Speaking of Star Wars (which I do, often and at length), it’s been confirmed that Episode VII–slated for release in December of next year–will take place thirty years after the events in Return Of The Jedi. It’s also been stated that the next trilogy will focus on a new trio of characters but may also feature some older characters. There’s been lots of news about Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) returning though there technically hasn’t been any official announcements other than that R2-D2 will be in the new movies and that there will be “very familiar faces” according to Iger. JJ Abrams has said that the script is complete, and word is that shooting will begin this May.

When the new trilogy was announced, it was also said that some character-specific spin-off movies would happen. A young Han Solo film was suggested, as was one featuring Boba Fett, and there’s even a rumor that one could focus on a much younger Yoda. It was also rumored early on that the Han Solo and Boba Fett films could actually be one movie and would involve the two characters meeting well before the events in the classic trilogy. Early rumors suggested that these releases would be staggered around the “numbered” trilogy movies–so Episode VII, VIII, and IX in 2015, 2017, and 2019 with the spin-off films in 2016 and 2018.

Nothing more concrete has been announced thus far, and all of these rumors should be taken with a considerable amount of salt.

Maleficent: Finally, the latest trailer for the upcoming Maleficent. Because it looks amazing.

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