Oct. 24, 2014 | 12:00 p.m.
Before the directors of the new Walt Disney Animation movie “Big Hero 6” settled on their story, they created the world in which it’s set: a jammed, vibrant place called San Fransokyo. A mash-up of San Francisco and Tokyo set in the not-too-distant future, San Fransokyo is a dense, hilly city with cable cars and cherry blossoms, Victorian row houses and glittering neon billboards. The filmmakers’ idea — never stated in the film — is that in a parallel universe after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city split off and an influx of Japanese immigrants helped rebuild it. San Fransokyo is a quintessential example of the craft of world building, the process of constructing a wholly imaginary universe for films, television, video games and other media, that involves creating the look of everything from buildings, vegetation and vehicles to […]
Oct. 20, 2014 | 10:57 a.m.
Walt Disney Animation Studios has revealed a first look at “Moana,” an animated feature slated to hit theaters in late 2016. Billed as an “epic comedy-adventure,” the CG-animated movie will transport Disney fans to the ancient South Pacific world of Oceania, where spirited teenager Moana sets sail in search of a fabled island. “Moana” is directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, the filmmaking duo behind “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “Aladdin.” The tale follows Moana, a born navigator, and her hero, the legendary demigod Maui, as they set off on an impossible mission to fulfill Moana’s ancestors’ quest. Along the way, they encounter enormous sea creatures, breathtaking underworlds and ancient folklore, according to Disney. “Moana is indomitable, passionate and a dreamer with a unique connection to the ocean itself,” Musker said in a press statement. […]
Oct. 14, 2014 | 2:15 p.m.
Angelina Jolie says that when thinking about playing a live-action incarnation of Maleficent, the wicked sorceress from Disney’s animated classic, “Sleeping Beauty,” it was chiefly important to preserve at least one facet of the grand villain. “I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose her sense of wicked fun,” the actress says in a new behind-the-scenes featurette included in the Blu-ray and DVD editions of “Maleficent,” due for release Nov. 4. Hero Complex readers can check out an exclusive clip from the special features in the video below. Disney’s lavish retelling of the “Sleeping Beauty” story from the point of view of the dark sorceress became one of the breakout hits of the summer — earning upwards of $69 million in its opening weekend and going on to bring in more than $240 domestically. (Its worldwide total stands at $757 […]
Oct. 09, 2014 | 3:08 p.m.
“You wanna go?” George Clooney asks in a new teaser for “Tomorrowland,” Brad Bird’s upcoming live-action feature based on a Disney theme-park attraction. After the teaser played at a New York Comic Con panel on Thursday, Clooney then did some going himself — right on to the stage as a surprise guest. “It’s not lost on me that I’m spending my honeymoon at Comic Con,” Clooney said to laughter as he joined Bird, writer Damon Lindelof and cast members including Hugh Laurie and Britt Robertson, who were already seated on the panel. Clooney then quipped to the crowd,”If you want to know about the plot, just ask me.” Story details have indeed been a closely guarded secret for the futurist adventure, which Disney is scheduled to release May 22. Based on comments made and footage shown during the panel, the […]
Oct. 09, 2014 | 1:00 p.m.
The first trailer for “Tomorrowland” has arrived, preserving much of the sense of mystery surrounding Disney’s 2015 release. George Clooney leads the cast of the new film, which Brad Bird directed and co-wrote with Damon Lindelof, who, of course, is well known for his fondness for elaborate puzzles, given his history on ABC’s “Lost.” Clooney appears near the end of the new clip, but the teaser opens with a young woman, played by “Under the Dome” actress Britt Robertson, being released from jail. Among the belongings being returned to her by a clerk is a pin, which she claims isn’t hers. Touching the item appears to transport a person to another plane, but little else is specified in terms of the overall story or plot. Some fleeting visuals, however, suggest that the film will have a significant scope and sense […]
Oct. 09, 2014 | 11:23 a.m.
“Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion,” the one-hour animated film that launched the new Disney XD series, is coming to ABC — with a special appearance from a certain well-known Dark Lord of the Sith. Iconic villain Darth Vader, once again voiced by actor James Earl Jones, will make a cameo in the extended version of the movie, which is set to air Oct. 26 on ABC. “Spark of Rebellion” premiered Oct. 3 on Disney Channel, though “Star Wars Rebels” is set for a regular run on Disney XD. “We wanted to do something special for the ABC broadcast,” “Rebels” executive producer Dave Filoni said in a statement. “We’ve added a scene which gives audiences insight into [the show’s villain] the Inquisitor and includes a cameo by Darth Vader.” Set in the time period just before the original 1977 “Star […]
Oct. 02, 2014 | 1:25 p.m.
“Star Wars Rebels” is getting a second season, Disney announced Thursday, the day before the cartoon’s first season premiere. Disney XD has ordered a second season of the new animated series, which has been praised by critics as well as fans who saw a debut screening at San Diego’s Comic-Con International in July or who caught early screenings on digital platforms. “The fan response to the show has been amazing, humbling and inspiring,” Lucasfilm’s vice president of creative development, Kiri Hart, said in a news release. “We’re looking forward to the adventure ahead.” “Star Wars Rebels” is meant to be the origin story of the Rebel Alliance — the group that Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo would eventually lead to defeat the evil Empire. Set about five years before the beginning of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New […]
Aug. 04, 2014 | 6:05 p.m.
Excited to see “Star Wars Rebels”? Tonight, you can watch the first seven minutes of the first episode online. Set about five years before the beginning of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” the new animated series follows the adventures of a group of heroes desperately trying to combat the all-consuming might of the Empire, the fascistic government arisen from the ashes of the Old Republic in “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Although the story will recount the formation of the Rebel Alliance, the group that Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo would eventually lead to defeat the evil Empire, at the outset of the show the organization is little more than a ragtag band of aliens and a Jedi Knight in hiding, Kanan (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.), who engage in minor skirmishes with Imperial […]
July 05, 2014 | 8:09 a.m.
Outside of certain circles, Tom Ruegger may not be a name that is synonymous with animation. But throw out the titles on which he was executive producer and helped create — “Animaniacs,” “Tiny Toon Adventures” and “Pinky and the Brain” — and images of really smart and fun cartoons come to mind. The multiple Emmy Award-winning Ruegger is heading up a new cartoon that launches on Disney XD on Monday called “The 7D” that hopes to capture the fun spirit of some of Ruegger’s other shows. “The 7D” is, as its name might suggest, about the tales of the Seven Dwarfs — 30 years or so before their fateful run-in with Snow White. Living in the Enchanted Forest in the kingdom of Jollywood under the rule of Queen Delightful, the dwarfs are the area’s “most trusted” heroes, righting the wrongs […]
May 21, 2014 | 5:55 p.m.
Want to appear as a Wookiee in “Star Wars: Episode VII”? Today, “Star Wars: Episode VII” director J.J. Abrams announced that a walk-on role for a member of the general public has been created and will be raffled off to benefit the charity UNICEF. Maybe you won’t be Chewbacca’s distant cousin, but you’ll be on camera, guaranteed (mostly… more on that in a moment). In a video shot on the film’s set in Abu Dhabi, Abrams explains how the guest turn will work: “You get to come to London, where we’re shooting the movie mostly at Pinewood Studios… You’ll get to meet the cast, go behind the scenes, and see the whole movie-making process. But more than that, we’ll put you in hair, makeup and wardrobe, and you’ll actually get to be in the movie.” Unless your part ends up on the cutting […]