Star Wars fans desperate for a sneak peek of the newest film planned by Disney were destined for disappointment at the 2014 CinemaCon as the eagerly anticipated installment of the franchise was kept firmly under wraps. There have been very few details given about the continuation of Lucas’ film franchise, with the only confirmation being that the world’s most lovable droid, R2D2, is all set for his return to the silver screen and that the film will be set 30 years after episode six.
There have been rumors abounding about which previous Star Wars cast members may or may not be on board with the new venture, but the makers of the film will only state that there will be three main leads in the film, with no reference to whether it is new or old talent. Having bought the company which created Star Wars, Lucasfilm, in 2012, for four billion dollars, Disney has committed to making three more films in the series with this first one due to be screened on the 18th of December 2015. The first one of the new three to be produced will be directed by J J Abrams. Interestingly Abrams has a tendency to allude to the original Star Trek series in his work, a characteristic which seems rather out of place given the long time rivalry between self-confessed “trekkies” or “treckers” and jedi loyalists.
However, although fans were deprived of their Star Wars fix as the film remained still under wraps, a preview of the studios latest version of a classic, Cinderella was welcomed with excitement at this years CinemaCon. Scheduled to make its debut in 2015 the film has an impressively glittering cast with Cate Blanchet, Helena Bonham Carter and Lily James all on board the traditional rags to riches tale. At the directorial helm is well-known Kenneth Branagh who has had main stream success with films such as Thor and My Week With Marilyn. The screenplay seems to remain quite faithful to the original and much adored animated film of the 1950’s, although the story has been fleshed out to give it more depth. Prince Charming and his future wife, for instance, do actually meet before their famous ballroom dance. However, the dreamy colors, magical presence and wide-eyed wonder of the title character are all front and center, with the irresistible attraction of the Richard Madden as the prince providing the perfect premise for a real cinematic fairytale.
It was on the third day of the convention that Disney took center stage with their offerings for the upcoming year, but contributions from their Pixar studios were strangely lacking. Alan Horn, the company chairman, stated that there would not be any releases by Pixar in 2014, although they would have films coming out the following year. He justified this by claiming that in order to produce quality films sufficient time and planning is required and while there had been a potential film in the pipeline it had been pulled. An extended preview of the Pixar film, Inside Out, due on screens in 2015 was shown at CinemaCon to an appreciative audience. The film is based on a young girl whose inner emotions are the primary characters of the story. As well as this Disney also promoted its other big name films for the coming year; the adaption of the Marvel comics led to the creation of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and the cross between Marvel comics and Star Wars spawned the outer space Guardians of the Galaxy, both of which were greeted enthusiastically by the spectators at the event.
So despite Disney’s reluctance to unveil any details concerning the newest Star Wars episode, keeping any information or clips still tightly under wraps, CinemaCon fans were still treated to a variety of previews of upcoming films, including Cinderella, Inside Out, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which were welcomed with Disney loving arms.
Commentary by Rhona Scullion