‘ AVENGERS: IN­FIN­ITY WAR’ READY TO EX­PLODE

He­roes as­sem­ble at the Dis­ney fan event, amped up by the first look at the Marvel se­quel

USA TODAY International Edition - - LIFE - Bryan Alexan­der and Carly Mal­len­baum

ANAHEIM, CALIF. A su­per­hero army hit the stage Satur­day at D23 Expo for Avengers: In­fin­ity War.

Thor ( Chris Hemsworth), The Hulk ( Mark Ruffalo), Iron Man ( Robert Downey Jr.), Black Pan­ther ( Chadwick Bose­man) and Doc­tor Strange ( Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch), among other lu­mi­nar­ies, took the fan con­ven­tion stage along with vil­lain Thanos ( Josh Brolin) for Avengers: In­fin­ity War.

But even with its abun­dance of su­per­power — flown in from the Avengers set — Marvel’s big­gest weapon was its ex­plo­sive first­look footage for the su­per­hero epic hit­ting screens May 4, 2018.

The un­veil­ing was the cul­mi­na­tion of the Dis­ney live- ac­tion pre­sen­ta­tion, which brought the crowd to its feet.

“Al­most ev­ery sin­gle su­per­hero we have ever in­tro­duced is go­ing to be in the film,” said Kevin Feige, pres­i­dent of Marvel Stu­dios.

The footage be­gins aboard The Mi­lano, the space­ship used by Star- Lord ( Chris Pratt) and his crew in Guardians of the Galaxy. A body flies into the space­ship’s win­dow and is pulled aboard.

It turns out to be Hemsworth’s con­fused Thor, who asks, “Who the hell are you guys?” Polishing ‘ Aladdin’: At last, di­rec­tor Guy Ritchie’s live- ac­tion Aladdin has its cast. Power Rangers star Naomi Scott will play Princess Jas­mine. Mena Mas­soud will step in as the ti­tle char­ac­ter Aladdin. And Will Smith will play Ge­nie.

In other Dis­ney live- ac­tion news, Emily Blunt flew in to dis­cuss Mary Pop­pins Re­turns ( in the­aters Dec. 25, 2018), the se­quel to the beloved 1964 film.

Blunt said it was a daunt­ing task to step into the nanny role made fa­mous by Julie An­drews. “No one is ever go­ing to out- Julie, Julie An­drews,” Blunt said Satur­day. “There’s no one like her.”

Footage from the mu­si­cal in­cluded Dick Van Dyke, who starred in the orig­i­nal film as Bert, danc­ing on a desk. At 91. Deep freeze: Re­mem­ber the Night­mare Be­fore Christ­mas song What’s This? Well, pic­ture that song about hol­i­day tra­di­tions, but sung by an af­fa­ble snow­man. There you have the new tune in the post- Frozen short film, Olaf ’s Frozen Ad­ven­ture ( hit­ting the­aters Nov. 22 with Pixar’s Coco).

Josh Gad, the ge­nial voice of Olaf, un­veiled the song Fri­day.

Frozen sis­ters Elsa and Anna “re­al­ize that be­cause they were sep­a­rated for so long, they don’t ac­tu­ally have any fam­ily tra­di­tions of their own,” said Kris­ten Bell, Frozen’s Anna.

The short fol­lows Olaf and rein­deer Sven, as they ask vil­lagers about their Christ­mas tra­di­tions. “Wait up for a chubby man to shimmy down your chim­ney. Break­ing and en­ter­ing, OK on Christ­mas!” Gad belted. “You cut down a tree and then you dress its corpse with can­dles? I love it!”

Gad joked that the short is an chance to right a wrong. “At last, Olaf, like Luke Sky­walker be­fore him, is front and cen­ter. I be­lieve the Latin word is ‘ star.’ ”

Bell chimed in, “It’s an en­sem­ble film, Josh.”

To which Gad replied, “From where I’m stand­ing, I don’t see the words En­sem­ble’s Frozen Ad­ven­ture.”

“This is by far the big­gest pro­duc­tion in the his­tory of Marvel Stu­dios.” Kevin Feige, Marvel Stu­dios

JESSE GRANT, GETTY IMAGES, FOR DIS­NEY

Se­bas­tian Stan, left, Dave Bautista, Karen Gil­lan, Pom Kle­men­ti­eff, Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch, Chadwick Bose­man, Chris Hemsworth, Josh Brolin, pro­ducer Kevin Feige, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hol­land, El­iz­a­beth Olsen, Paul Bet­tany, Don Chea­dle and An­thony Mackie gather at the D23 Expo Satur­day in Anaheim, Calif.

CHARLEY GALLAY, GETTY IMAGES, FOR DIS­NEY

Josh Gad and Kris­ten Bell re­unite for Olaf ’s Frozen Ad­ven­ture.

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