John Lasseter, Disney’s chief creative officer, announced new films today coming from Disneytoon Studios, Disney’s direct-to-video division during his epic “Art and Imagination: Animation at The Walt Disney Studios” presentation Friday, August 9 at the D23 Expo 2013. First up were two new films from Disneytoon’s Fairies label: The Legend of the Neverbeast and The Pirate Fairy followed by a sneak peek at 2014’s Planes sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue.
Director Steven Loter was on hand to briefly discuss his new Fairies film project The Legend of the Neverbeast. “Fun and talented animal fairy Fawn believes you can’t judge a book by its cover—or an animal by its fangs—so she befriends a huge and mysterious creature known as the Neverbeast. While Tink and her friends aren’t so sure about this scary addition to Pixie Hollow, the elite Scout Fairies set out to capture the monster before he destroys their home.” The artwork shown from the film showed the Disney Fairies flying with a beast that looked to my eyes like an animated version of Falkor the Luckdragon from The NeverEnding Story (I’m just the reporter). Look for The Legend of the Neverbeast on Blu-ray and DVD in 2015.
Next up was a sneak peek at The Pirate Fairy, another Tinker Bell movie that (SPOILER ALERT) serves as more of an origin story for Captain Hook (although he has both hands in this film). Voicing Captain Hook is none other than Loki himself, Tom Hiddleston. Tom came onstage during the presentation and charmed the audiences with a rendition of “The Bare Necessities” from Disney’s classic animated film The Jungle Book. Also on stage was Christina Hendricks (TV’s Mad Men) who will voice the aforementioned “Pirate Fairy” in the film, named Zarina. The Pirate Fairy is being directed by Peggy Holmes and is coming to Blu-ray and DVD in 2014.
We were also given another peek at Disneytoon Studios’ Planes which opened today in U.S. theaters. Director Klay Hall talked briefly about the film along with star Dane Cook. Cook joked that “when you think of family entertainment, you think of Dane Cook,” but said that he “loved playing in the magical sandbox that is Disney.” Planes was also screened today for attendees at the D23 Expo 2013 in both 2D and 3D.
Last up from Disneytoon was the Planes’ sequel Planes: Fire and Rescue where our hero Dusty Crophopper joins “an elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from a raging wildfire.” Director Bobs Gannaway announced that Julie Bowen (TV’s Modern Family) would also be joining the cast. A 10-minute clip of the film was shown with shots in various states of completion. Planes: Fire and Rescue is scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on July 18, 2014.