Ever since its establishment in 1987 the Disney Legend Awards honored people whose works have been integral to the success of the House of Mouse. Whether they were animators, theme park designers, musicians, film/TV production personnel, and artists, many have been named Disney Legends. Now, the 2019 awardees are revealed.
Disney announced the ten names that make up this year’s class of Disney Legends on May 16. Two are from the company’s theme park arm, two are from ABC News. The rest made their marks in Disney films and television. Some of them however, are from the MCU film franchise.
It’s perhaps appropriate that following the decade-one culmination of the MCU storyline, some of its stars will be honored. Some of them will continue with the franchise’s future installments and shows. One however, may have taken his final bow for the MCU. Becoming a Disney Legend makes a proper sendoff.
Here’s a list of the honorees for Disney Legends 2019:
- Robert Downey Jr. – Tony Stark/Iron Man, Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-2019)
- Jon Favreau – Happy Hogan, MCU; also film director for “Iron Man” 1-2, “Jungle Book” and “Lion King” remakes (2016, 2019)
- Ming-Na Wen – voice of “Mulan” (1998); also Melinda May in ABC-MCU series “Agents of SHIELD”
- Hans Zimmer – composer for “Lion King” (animation and remake) and the first four “Pirates of the Caribbean” films
- James Earl Jones – voices of Darth Vader (“Star Wars”) and Mufasa (“Lion King”)
- Kenny Ortega – film director; currently famous for Disney Channel originals (“High School Musical” and “Descendants”)
- Bette Midler – film star for Disney (“Hocus Pocus” and Touchstone label
- Robin Roberts – ABC journalist
- Diane Sawyer – ABC journalist
- Barnette Ricci – Walt Disney Studios President/Show Director
- Wing Chao – Disney Parks and Resorts Asia Pacific VP (Development); Disney Imagineering Executive VP
Enough time has passed, perhaps, for the hype of “Avengers: Endgame” to subside. The MCU film has broken box office records and is gunning to become all-time highest-grosser by beating James Cameron’s “Avatar.” And it had all the superhero-vs.-super-villain action sequences audiences worldwide could ever want or need for years.
But blockbuster as “Endgame” may be, it’s not perfect. One qualm viewers had with it – especially if they liked “Captain Marvel” – was that the character’s screen-time was short. It may have been to hold back the powerful Captain (Brie Larson) until the critical moment in the Thanos fight. But audiences also noted her colder personality compared to her earlier solo.
“Avengers: Endgame” co-screenwriter Steve McFeely explains why that is. Owing to the “assembly-line” method of making films at Marvel Studios, the “Endgame” scenes with Larson/Carol Danvers were actually shot before work on her “Captain Marvel” film even began. Feeling confused?
“We shot [Brie Larson] before she shot her movie,” notes McFeely. Since filming for “Endgame” and its predecessor “Infinity Wars” was rather close, that meant Captain Marvel was being shot on camera before her origin story (set in the 1980s-90s) was even finalized on script.
Brie Larson could act a bit more in “Captain Marvel” (despite detractors claiming otherwise) because the script was centered on her character’s development. Her jaunt in “Avengers: Endgame,” while happening later story-wise, was produced earlier behind the scenes. That Larson had to act as if her character development was complete instead made her wooden and necessarily absent most the time.
“Endgame” is still running in theaters, but “Spider-Man: Far from Home” is coming in July.
Disney may have had done a media masterstroke with its exclusive content streaming platform, Disney+. Offering their massive media library (within reason) is an attractive proposition for binge-watchers. But Disney films and series are under the blanket impression of being family-friendly. What about any content that doesn’t fit the mold?
For that, Disney has Hulu, the subscription video-on-demand service they established as a joint venture with fellow media giants. But that was 2007. In recent months Disney increased its 30% stake by acquiring Fox media assets (and their 30%), then AT&T/Time Warner’s 10%. Only Comcast retained 33%, but it’s moot.
That’s because Comcast announced Tuesday, May 14, that they’ve reached a deal with Disney for eventually selling their stake. Their 33% can be purchased by Disney come the year 2024. While everyone waits, the conglomerate that owns NBC and Universal Pictures is giving up its operational control of Hulu now.
So while their stake remains 70% until years from now, Disney already has full control over the whole Hulu platform. It’s being touted by Disney boss Bob Iger as the third leg of their over-the-top options including Disney+ and ESPN+. This will also be the platform of choice for their non-Disney-“compliant” content films and shows.
Iger has proposed the bundling of ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu. Consumers can then choose to avail of any or all of them as they want. While not as impressive as Netflix’s regular users, Hulu still has 27 million subscribers, a solid foundation to build on.
In 2014, Disney fans were caught by surprise when “Maleficent” premiered. This alternate telling of the “Sleeping Beauty” story, but with the titular witch as the protagonist was a hit. The fact that Angelina Jolie owned and mastered her role as Maleficent was a bonus. Now the “evil” fairy returns.
Joachim Rønning takes over from Robert Stromberg in directing “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” due later this year. It follows up sometime after the first film. Maleficent and Queen Aurora (Elle Fanning) are unofficial co-leaders of the combined kingdom of men and fairy creatures. When diplomacy with a neighboring realm threatens the inhabitants of the Moors, fairy and queen might yet see themselves on opposite sides.
Walt Disney Pictures has already brought out the first trailer. Let’s look over the scenes:
- Voiceover by Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) telling the story between Maleficent and Aurora. Only this time, it’s the traditional “Sleeping Beauty” narrative instead of what actually happened in-film.
- Some human hunters find their way into the Moors. Then they run into Maleficent. Guess what happens.
- Prince Philip (now played by Harris Dickinson) seems to have proposed to Aurora.
- Aurora, Philip and Maleficent engage in diplomacy with Queen Ingrith and King John (Robert Lindsay). A heated exchange between Ingrith and Maleficent leads to trouble.
- Maleficent attacks Ingrith’s soldiers and flees, leaving Aurora aghast. Why did she do that?
- A giant flock of birds fly towards Ingrith’s castle.
- Cue magical red explosions and Maleficent in the midst of them.
- This time, Maleficent laughs as the titles rolls.
“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” premieres in cinemas on October 18.
There are only two weeks left before Disney releases its live-action remake for their 1992 animated classic “Aladdin.” By now most of the sticking issues for fans have been resolved. The Genie has gone past its bad blue CGI. Its actor Will Smith has also made the role his own.
Aside from “improvements” in past trailers and TV spots, it’s also time for Disney to intensify the promotion for “Aladdin.” What bigger way to drum up more interest and support than to unveil the theme song? The pop version of “A Whole New World” is now up for viewing online.
One of the things fans didn’t like about the “Beauty and the Beast” promotion in 2017 was its pop theme. Performed by Ariana Grande and John Legend, audiences thought the sweeping percussion-filled version in the trailer was it. Hearing the actual, more poppy song number came across as a letdown.
Disney doesn’t appear to have made that mistake for “Aladdin.” Only the in-movie version of “A Whole New World” by stars Mena Massoud and Naomi Scot is heard in the trailers. The pop version is all its own. Former One Direction member and Pakistani-British singer ZAYN (Malik) sounds awesome alongside Zhavia Ward in this number.
ZAYN and Zhavia’s duet synergy is also helped by the instrumentation for this version of “A Whole New World.” Middle Eastern acoustics introduce and end the song. Disney’s sure going for as much cultural accuracy as they could. Comments on YouTube have praised the music video, alongside some light-hearted grousing that ZAYN should’ve been cast as Aladdin instead of Massoud.
“Aladdin” premieres on May 24.