In a somewhat curious move, Disney has announced that its 2017 D23 Expo will take place from July 14 - 16. This is a curious move seeing how D23 is usually held in August. Not to mention this puts it just one weekend before San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCC) which is set for July 19 - 23.
Is Disney trying to take on SDCC?
Well, D23 has been a growing presence since Disney acquired big names like Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. Last year there was an expo for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as well as hints for upcoming Marvel releases. In other words, it is very likely that Disney wants to increase the pressure and competition for other studios in regards to SDCC.
The interesting thing will be if Disney chooses to screen any and all footage for upcoming Marvel and Lucasfilm releases exclusively at D23. This would basically give Hall H attendees at SDCC scraps/repeats of D23 offerings — or nothing at all. This wouldn't be a surprise in a way seeing how Disney skipped SDCC entirely last year and didn't present anything Star Wars for Hall H attendees.
What would happen if Disney goes exclusive for D23?
Basically all that really could happen is other studios will have more room to amp up their panels and presentations, specifically Warner Bros. This studio is the main superhero competition for Marvel Studios and with upcoming releases like Justice League, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman, I highly doubt WB would let any chance for more exposure to slip past them. Especially given the so-so response they got with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, they have some making up to do to some viewers.
This might also open the avenue a bit for other animation studios as Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar would be at D23 and not SDCC. With pending releases for LEGO Batman, The Croods 2, Peter Rabbit, Ninjago, Despicable Me 3, and the untitled LEGO Movie sequel, I'm sure DreamWorks, Sony, and Warner Bros. would gladly accept less direct competition at the big showcase in 2017.
What is even on its way by the time these conventions happen?
Disney has some major releases coming between now and 2017, plus major releases extending into 2018 and 2019. Specifically happening in 2017 is Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man, and Star Wars: Episode VIII. Releases coming in or after 2018 that could realistically be previewed/teased at D23 2017 include Black Panther, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, the Han Solo Star Wars spin-off, The Incredibles 2, Captain Marvel, and Avengers: Infinity War - Part 1 / Part 2.
Releases coming from other studios include, but are not limited to:
Justice League - Part 1 / Part 2
Kong: Skull Island
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2
Ready Player One
Jungle Book: Origins
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Pitch Perfect 3
There are many non-Disney releases from now until July 2017 that are potential big hits with audiences at SDCC. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds.