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Star Wars Episode IX The Rise of Skywalker
Star Wars: Episode IX, officially called “The Rise of Skywalker,” director J.J. Abrams said Friday during an appearance at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago that some time has gone by since the events of the last movie and doesn’t pick up immediately after the events of “The Last Jedi.” Yes, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia will make an appearance through unused scenes from “The Force Awakens” that have been integrated into the story. It opens nationwide on Dec. 10, 2019. Read more to watch the trailer and for a reaction video.

Audi Holoride The Walt Disney Company
Audi’s new spin-off company, Holoride, announced at CES 2019 today that they have teamed up with The Walt Disney Company to bring the virtual reality experience into the backseat of every car. This startup uses an open platform that enables any automaker as well as content developers to create reality formats that fit their vehicles using “elastic content,” which is automatically generated for each journey. Read more for a video and additional information.

Stan Lee 96th Birthday

Photo credit: Jun Chiu
Stan Lee would have turned 96-years-old today, and Marvel honored the late comic book legend with a Tweet that read: “Happy Birthday, Stan. Thank you for everything.” Despite stepping away from regular duties at Marvel in the 1990s, he teamed up with Peter Paul in 1998 to start a new Internet-based superhero creation, production, and marketing studio, called Stan Lee Media. After that, Lee, Gill Champion, and Arthur Lieberman formed POW! (Purveyors of Wonder) Entertainment in 2001 to develop film, television and video game properties. Read more for more Stan Lee fan tributes.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge Land Disneyland Disney World

Disney has just released a behind-the-scenes video for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which is set to open in 2019 at both Disneyland (summer) in California and at Disney World (fall) in Florida. This sneak peak gives us a preview of two of its main attractions: Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run. “It will be jaw-dropping and incredibly emotional to walk into the land for the first time, to actually be standing there amongst the buildings, amongst the ships and have this feeling that it is all real, that it has been brought to life, and it is right there in front of you. It’s overwhelming,” said Carrie Beck, vice president of Lucasfilm Story Group. Read more for pre-alpha Millennium Falcon ride footage and additional information.

Beauty and the Beast Tokyo Disneyland
The Enchanted Tale of “Beauty and the Beast” attraction is currently being built in Tokyo Disneyland as part of a large-scale development plan bringing new attractions, entertainment, shopping and dining to the park in spring 2020. Beauty and the Beast Castle, the centerpiece of this area, will tower nearly 98-feet above the surrounding area. The Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast will invite guests to step into the animated film aboard ride vehicles that dance in rhythm to the film’s music, filled with next-generation animatronics. Read more for a sneak peek video, additional pictures and information.

Live-Action Lion King Movie

Photo credit: Bored Panda
It’s true, The Lion King is getting a live-action reboot, and it’s directed by Jon Favreau. Thisphotorealistic computer-animated remake of Disney’s traditionally animated 1994 film of the same name features the voices of Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billy Eichner, John Oliver, Keegan-Michael Key, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, and James Earl Jones. Principal photography began the summer of 2017 on a blue screen stage in Los Angeles, and the film is scheduled for an official release on July 19, 2019. Read more to see how this modern remake compares to the 1994 animated version.

Disney PuppetPhone
You can either play video games to control characters that can agilely evolve in virtual environments, or use Disney Research’s PuppetPhone. Simply put, this augmented reality experience reduces the gap between physical toys and virtual characters. As you move your smartphone around, a puppet responds in real time to the manipulations seen through the screen. “The virtual character moves in order to follow the user gestures, as if it was attached to the phone via a rigid stick,” according to the paper. Read more for the video and additional information.