Diane Haithman is a Deadline contributor.
A new Disney Animation movie, big-name voice castings, a new Mickey Mouse short, details on the Finding Nemo and Planes sequels, two new Tinkerbell pics – there was no shortage of news during day 1 of Disney’s annual D23 expo at the Anaheim Convention Center. John Lasseter revealed Zootopia, due in 2016. It’s described as being in the tradition of Mr. Toad, where animals wear human clothes. “I loved those movies,” Lasseter said. Director Byron Howard and writer Jared Bush described Zootopia as “a buddy action film” in which the animal characters inhabit in a world where “humans never existed.”
Lasseter and company unveiled some boldfaced voice talent for a handful of upcoming projects. Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur will feature Raising Hope‘s Lucas Neff as star dino Arlo, John Lithgow as Poppa and Frances McDormand as Momma. Arlo’s siblings will be voiced by Hader, Judy Greer and Neil Patrick Harris. Lasseter said a new Monsters University short film, Party Central, will premiere ahead of Good Dinosaur when it’s released next summer. Fans at today’s panel got a sneak peak at the short, about what happens when the monsters try to throw a frat party.
Lasseter, the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, also revealed a few new characters for the Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory, which is now in production. Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy will voice Dory’s parents, and Ty Burrell will play Bailey the Beluga Whale. It’s set for a November 25, 2015, release. Also, Julie Bowen — Burrell’s TV wife on Dis corporate sib ABC’s Modern Family – was announced as the voice of a new character in Planes Fire & Rescue, the Planes sequel that’s due next summer. She’ll play Dipper, the biggest fan of cropduster Dusty (Dane Cook). Lasseter announced the film today, saying it’s “dedicated to all of those firefighters that put their lives on the line to protect people they don’t know.
Meanwhile, Christina Hendricks and Tom Hiddleston will lend their voices to new a Tinkerbell movie titled The Pirate Fairy, directed by Peggy Holmes. She will play Zarina, a new fairy in town. SPOILER ALERT: Hiddleston’s character will appear to be a cabin boy but is later revealed to be the young Captain Hook before he lost his hand. Another Tinkerbell pic, Legend of the Neverbeast from director Steve Loer, also was unveiled.
Pixar has announced a title for previous The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind. It is now called Inside Out. The movie, said director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera, will still venture into the mind with some hot comic actors playing the emotions of 11-year-old girl Riley. Hader will play Fear, Amy Poehler is Joy, Lewis Black will voice Anger, Mindy Kaling is Disgust, and Phyllis Smith will voice Sadness.
Disney also revealed that Get a Horse! — a new Mickey Mouse short that combines the style of the original 1928 Mickey short Steamboat Willie with contemporary 3D CG techniques — will make its worldwide debut in front of Frozen, which hits theaters November 27. Also, the previously announced ABC Halloween special The Toy Story Of Terror now has a premiere date: October 16 at 8 PM.