Perhaps my expectations for Disney’s CinemaCon presentation were too high, because I was definitely disappointed when it was all said and done. Despite its acquisition of 20th Century Fox and all the movies that come along with it, the Mouse House came up short in Las Vegas despite unveiling new scenes from Avengers: Endgame and The Lion King. That’s because everyone was hoping for a sneak peek at Star Wars: Episode IX, but alas, it was not to be. With Star Wars Celebration right around the corner, you can expect Disney to reveal the Episode IX title and first footage in Chicago next week, so let’s talk about what they did show, shall we?
We were treated to a new scene from Endgame where Captain Marvel joins the squad. She’s all like, “I’m off to kill Thanos,” and everyone is like, whoa there, slow down, we’ve gotta find out where he is and make a plan. War Machine tells her, “hey, new girl, we’re all about that superhero life.” Rocket brings up some digital hologram of the universe thing and Nebula finds Thanos on some unnamed distant planet, saying, “it looks like he’s used the stones again.” Then Thor emerges and his weapon whizzes past Captain Marvel’s head (it looks like a deluxe version of his hammer) and he basically says she’s cool by him. Then Captain America is like, “let’s go get that son of a bitch!” Cut to the gang, including Black Widow and Hulk, on Rocket’s ship, and he asks who has been to outer space before. We get a show of hands, and Rocket warns everyone, especially Captain America, not to puke on his ship. They do some traveling at warp speed, and that’s pretty much it. If you can believe it… I wasn’t impressed. This clip did very little for me besides reinforce my belief that Captain Marvel is a boring character who I don’t enjoy spending time with. That doesn’t make me a sexist, because I like Black Widow and Nebula just fine. I just don’t find Carol Danvers all that fun. Sue me.
The Lion King scene was much, much better, and frankly, the clear highlight of Disney’s presentation. We saw young Simba waking up his father, Mufasa, a little too early in the morning. Lions like to sleep, remember? Mufasa tells Sarabi, “he’s your son before sunrise.” But then he gives in to the persistent little guy, who just wants to “patrol” the kingdom with his old “man.” Mufasa explains to him that “everything the light touches” is part of their kingdom, but a king’s time as ruler rises and sets, just like the sun. Eventually, Mufasa’s time as king will set, and Simba’s time will rise. Simba is feeling good about his lot in life. ‘You mean this is all ours?’ Mufasa tells him that the kingdom belongs to no one, but it is his job to protect it. All this time, Mufasa’s mane is blowing in the wind, and it looks absolutely gorgeous, if a little too windy, like the animators were trying to flex or something. Then we saw a brief scene with John Oliver‘s Zazu, who engages in a bit of playful wrestling with Simba (“cheetahs never prosper!”) and that’s it. Listen, I loved Jon Favreau‘s take on The Jungle Book, and what he and his team have appear to have accomplished here is, somehow, even more impressive. This film should give Disney a license to print money this summer, and that’s before we even get to the soundtrack featuring Beyonce and Donald Glover.