‘In­fin­ity War’ up­stages ‘Star Wars’ at star-stud­ded fan expo

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Ahair-rais­ing teaser trailer for “Avengers: In­fin­ity War” stole the show at the star-stud­ded pre­sen­ta­tion of the Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios up­com­ing live-ac­tion films at the stu­dios’ fan con­ven­tion D23, up­stag­ing even “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” Oprah Win­frey and Mary Pop­pins. “Star Wars” fans did get a lit­tle morsel of footage in a be­hind-the-scenes fea­turette from the up­com­ing space saga and a lively panel with the film’s writer-di­rec­tor Rian John­son and a few of the film’s stars. But au­di­ences have yet to see a full trailer for the film.

In­stead, it was the ul­ti­mate Marvel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse team-up “Avengers: In­fin­ity War” that got fans re­ally ex­cited. Marvel Stu­dios head Kevin Feige was on hand with a stage full of stars that in­cluded Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch as Doc­tor Strange, Tom Hol­land as Spi­derMan, Se­bas­tian Stan as The Win­ter Sol­dier, El­iz­a­beth Olsen as The Scar­lett Witch, and Josh Brolin as the ul­ti­mate bad guy Thanos. He’s com­ing for us

The trailer, which has not yet been re­leased on­line, was packed to the brim with tan­ta­liz­ing scenes, in­clud­ing Thor, float­ing and near dead in deep space be­ing res­cued by the Guardians of the Gal­axy; Spi­der-Man’s hair stand­ing up on his arm; Tony Stark omi­nously warn­ing that, “He’s com­ing for us,” likely talk­ing about Thanos; and Thanos him­self grip­ping a weak­ened Thor’s skull and look­ing ready to crack it with ease. “Avengers: In­fin­ity War” comes out May 4, 2018.

Al­most on par with the “In­fin­ity War” en­thu­si­asm was the re­sponse to the footage for the Mary Pop­pins se­quel “Mary Pop­pins Re­turns,” a col­or­ful and topsy-turvy new in­stall­ment in the world of P.L. Travers from di­rec­tor Rob Mar­shall. Emily Blunt, who takes on the role of Mary Pop­pins, said she wanted to “pay homage” to what Julie An­drews had done in the 1964 clas­sic but also “find my own space.” “I had to do my own ver­sion of her,” Blunt said. “I think she is a lit­tle more acer­bic and odd and vain and weird in the books. We went that di­rec­tion a lit­tle more.”

“Hamil­ton’s” Lin-Manuel Mi­randa costars as a lamp­lighter Jack in a cast that also fea­tures Dick Van Dyke, An­gela Lans­bury, Meryl Streep and Colin Firth. “Mary Pop­pins Re­turns” bows on Christ­mas day, 2018. The stu­dio also an­nounced the cast­ing for its live-ac­tion “Aladdin” re­make, from di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie. Rel­a­tive new­comer Mena Massoud will be play­ing the scrappy street urchin Aladdin, while “Power Rangers’” Naomi Scott will take on the role of Jas­mine. Will Smith was pre­vi­ously cast in the role of the Ge­nie. “So hon­ored & grate­ful for the op­por­tu­nity to help bring this mag­i­cal story to life once again,” Massoud tweeted Satur­day. “Let’s get to work.” Dis­ney also set a re­lease date for its live­ac­tion “Dumbo,” from di­rec­tor Tim Bur­ton, for March 29, 2019. Di­rec­tor Ava DuVer­nay was also in Ana­heim to pre­view her adap­tion of Madeleine L’En­gle’s fan­tasy clas­sic “A Wrin­kle in Time ,” along with stars Oprah Win­frey, Reese Wither­spoon, Mindy Kal­ing, Chris Pine and new­comer Storm Reid, who plays the film’s lead Meg.

Win­frey said she had not read the book when DuVer­nay ap­proached her about play­ing Mrs. Which. But the sell that she “was one of the wis­est women in the uni­verse and is an an­gelic ce­les­tial be­ing who is go­ing to get to wear amaz­ing cos­tumes and gets to work with Reese and Mindy as a part of the Mrs Team” was some­thing she couldn’t say no to. Au­di­ences were ex­cited to get a glimpse, too, of the be­hind-thescenes footage of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” A se­quel to “The Force Awak­ens,” “The Last Jedi” picks up with that film’s near-lit­eral cliffhanger when Daisy Ri­d­ley’s Rey and Mark Hamill’s Luke Sky­walker meet.

John­son laughed that this wasn’t his first job for Dis­ney - he worked for the com­pany’s Dis­ney Chan­nel be­fore he made his first film. “Pre ‘High School Mu­si­cal’ Dis­ney Chan­nel,” John­son added. He was joined on stage by Ri­d­ley, Hamill, John Boyega, Laura Dern, Gwen­do­line Christie, Kelly Marie Tran and Beni­cio Del Toro to hype the film and their shared love of Star Wars. Cu­ri­ous new­comer Tran, John­son said, treated the whole pro­duc­tion like “an episode of MrRogers,” as she ex­plored ev­ery cor­ner of pro­duc­tion, while Dern, also new to the se­ries, couldn’t help but mouth the word “pew” when shoot­ing her blaster dur­ing film­ing.

John­son also as­sured the au­di­ence, who have only seen Boyega’s Finn in a seem­ing co­matose state in the teaser trailer, that his char­ac­ter would get to “see some ac­tion” in the film. “Finn is about to have a for­mi­da­ble op­po­nent,” Boyega added, as he saun­tered over to Christie to size her up. “It’s go­ing to be very cool.”“The Last Jedi” blasts into the­aters Dec 15, or, as Dis­ney Chair­man Alan Horn said, 153 days from now. Mum’s the word on the other “Star Wars” film in the works - the Han Solo spinoff film that re­cently got a galac­tic shake-up when deep into pro­duc­tion codi­rec­tors Phil Lord and Christo­pher Miller were re­placed with Ron Howard. Horn merely said that he’ll have more to share soon.D23, named af­ter the year Walt Dis­ney founded his com­pany. — AP

A crowd of peo­ple wait to en­ter the D23 Expo as crews do in­ter­views out­side the Ana­heim Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Ana­heim, Calif. — AP pho­tos

Mem­bers of the me­dia get their first look at a 50-foot, de­tailed model of “Star Wars” land dur­ing a me­dia pre­view for Dis­ney’s D23 Expo.

Mouseke­teers Alana Ville­mez, left, Kelsey Sch­warz, cen­ter, and Ian Ruz share a laugh dur­ing the D23 Expo.

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