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D23 Recap: 'Avengers,' Pixar and Muppets Highlight Disney’s Showcase

Disney held back from entering into the fray at San Diego’s Comic-Con last month to showcase their upcoming features at their D23 Expo this past weekend.

Their presentation was highlighted by The Avengers, which began with a montage recap of all the elements from the Iron Man movies, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America. Then Samuel L. Jackson lays down the lay to an imprisoned Loki in that trademark Samuel L. Jackson manner. Then Loki curses him for choosing the side with the superheroes while the rest of the Avengers watch from a control room and promises to show Fury what “real power is.” Fury snaps back, “Let me know if real power wants a magazine or something.” Robert Downey Jr. also has a run-in with the demigod.
We then get a rundown (with footage) of the Avengers roster as Tony Stark does a head count. Hawkeye and Black Widow are first (“Two world-class assassins”), then Thor (“A demigod”) and Captain America (“A living legend that actually lives up to the legend”) with Stark adding, “And you, big guy, you’ve managed to piss them all off.” Loki counters with, “I have an army.” Tony replies, “We have a Hulk.”
Several of the cast members made a very, very brief appearance on stage. They included Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Cobie Smulders (S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Maria Hill), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye), Scarlett Johannson (Black Widow), Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man). Watch our exclusive cast interviews from the red carpet here.
Pixar drew a large crowd as well, featuring a look at characters from their Monsters Inc. sequel (or should we say prequel),  Monsters University, due out in 2013. The story will focus on the college days of Sulley and Mike, who have known each other all their lives but can’t call themselves lifelong friends. Billy Crystal and John Goodman will return to voice Sulley and Mike, respectively, and Steve Buscemi will return to voice chameleon Randall Boggs.
The plot for the next Toy Story short, which will screen in front of The Muppets movie, was revealed as well. Titled Small Fry, the short shows Buzz left behind at a fast-food restaurant and having to find his way home. Nothing new here as it’s the same old “lost toy” angle we’ve seen in the feature films, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had, including an encounter with a mermaid voiced by Jane Lynch.
Speaking of The Muppets, Jason Segel stopped by with Kermit and Miss Piggy. The presentation began with Segel and Kermit seated, but Miss Piggy nowhere to be seen. Kermit went on to thank his fellow cast members. “Our movie stars the beautiful and talented Amy Adams… and the equally talented but less beautiful Jason Segel, no offense.” An audience member then shouted, “I love you, Jason,” to which he replied, “I love you too and look forward to meeting you in person someday!”
Segel then turned his attention to presenting clips from the movie, saying there was a problem as they didn’t include Miss Piggy. “She’ll tear the whole arena apart if she finds out!” said Kermit. “But she’s not here,” replied Segel, to which Kermit answered, “Good point” as a motorcycle revved backstage. The curtain parted to reveal Miss Piggy in the sidecar of a motorcycle. Kermit nervously introduced the clip saying it would feature, “almost all of the Muppets.” Miss Piggy, miffed, had her driver take her off stage.
The clip featured Segel, Adams and Segel’s best friend Walter (a Muppet) driving around Bel-Air looking for Kermit’s house. When they arrive, they're unable to find a doorbell and Walter tells Segel to toss him over the electric fence, much to Adams’ protest. Sure enough, Walter is electrocuted. Just as he tries to convince Segel to try again, a silhouette of Kermit appears to the sound of a heavenly choir (which ends up being a bus with a touring church choir inside). Walter passes out from shock.
Walter wakes up in Kermit’s home with Segel and Adams watching over him. Kermit asks what he can do for them as his butler 80s Robot appears with a silver platter of Tab Cola and New Coke. Kermit insists they don’t need anything and 80s Robot rolls away, bumping into walls and furniture mumbling catchphrases.
The second clip began with Rolf cutting the chain to the old Muppet Theater. Nostaliga overtakes Kermit as he walks in with clips of him introducing Bob Hope playing in his mind. The theater is in shambles and Fozzie Bear insists that there’s no way for them to rehearse. They try anyway and after a first lackluster attempt, Dr. Teeth busts out a boom box and plays Jefferson Starship’s “We Built This City.” A cleaning montage follows in true Muppets style, with rats skating across the floor with sudsy toothbrushes, the Swedish Chef incinerating a moldy refrigerator and Skeeter discovering Beauregard (the theater’s janitor) cowering in a closet. The clip ends with Dr. Teeth stopping the tape as the group surveys the now spotless theater.
Based on the fact that tickets for Saturday sold out, it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Disney held back from future Cons, especially if they have this amount of footage and buzz coming out of Anaheim. Did you attend D23? What were some of your favorite moments?
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