D23 Review: What Disney’s Dogged Commitment to Its Past Says About Its Future

The entertainment giant teased upcoming plans for films, TV and parks at its annual expo, but the company’s future sounds decidedly backwards

D23 Expo, the Disney fan event held every two years, just wrapped up in Anaheim, California. For fans of the brand, it’s their chance to get a first look at new movies, television shows and theme park attractions from every corner of the vast Disney empire and to celebrate (along with other like-minded folks) the stories that mean so much to them. And for those of us who cover the company, it gives an opportunity to see what each part of it will be offering up, outlining where the company is headed in the next few years.

But after this year’s D23 Expo, which was packed with presentations about sequels and spinoffs and decidedly light on original storytelling, it looks very much like Disney’s future is mired in the past. And they’re running out of past to mine.

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Drew Taylor

Drew Taylor is a reporter at TheWrap. Before joining the organization in 2021, Drew was a freelance film journalist with a keen interest in animation and Disney history. Drew has been covering film, television and theme parks for 15 years. He has written for the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, Collider, The Playlist, Polygon, Vulture, Box Office Magazine, AOL Travel and Syfy. He was the executive editor and social media manager for Moviefone before it was purchased by MoviePass. Additionally, Drew co-created and co-hosts “Light the Fuse,” a weekly podcast dedicated to the “Mission: Impossible” film franchise that recently celebrated its 200th episode milestone. He also authored the book “The Art of Onward,” about the making of Pixar’s 2020 fantasy film, and provided liner notes for several Mondo vinyl releases for Pixar features (“Up,” “Coco” and “Lightyear”).