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– by James Burns

Legends! LRM Online was in attendance this morning for the Disney Legends Ceremony where the Marvel Universe was celebrated in a big way. This Disney Legends Awards is a sort of hall of fame recognizing certain individuals who have had a major impact on the Walt Disney Company. Established in 1987, the honor was usually bestowed during a private ceremony; however, since 2009, Disney has been holding the ceremony at D23 Expo.

The morning celebrations kicked off with a huge sizzle-reel containing footage from Deadpool as well as The Simpsons, Lady and the Tramp, Black Widow, The Rise of Skywalker, and much more.

Panelists:

Bob Iger

Jon Favreau

Robert Downey Jr.

Christina Aguilera

Dianne Sawyer

Robin Roberts

Barnette Ricci

Ming-Na Wen

Wing T. Chao

Kenny Ortega

Bob Iger claims no matter how big they get, they will never forget: it all started with a mouse. He explained how they have come so far from when they last held this even two years ago. He also thanked the many cast members and employees working for the Walt Disney Company today.

He said that we will get a glimpse of what they’re working on over at Fox this weekend. And All thirty seasons of The Simpsons will be available on Disney+ at launch.

Christina Aguilera performed her hit single “Reflection” from Disney’s Mulan live on stage. 

The crowd burst into cheers at the name Iron Man as Bob Iger introduced Robert Downey Jr to the stage. A sizzle reel celebrating the actor’s career was shown before he took the stage. He joked about getting detained in Disneyland for smoking pot on his first-ever visit. He thanked the fans and the filmmakers and accepted his award.

Jon Favreau’s reel was also shown before he took the stage— with thunderous applause. He quickly flashed the inside of his sport coat, which brandished the head of a Lion. He wanted to talk less about him and more about Walt Disney and technology in regards to the magic it brings to film. He had a beautiful speech about Fantasia, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and his journey from Mouse to Apprentice.

Hanz Zimmer was after that. His reel ended with him saying “I score all my dreams.” Hanz wasn’t in attendance to accept the award but sent a video message thanking everyone including Disney and his fans. “Thank you for thinking of me as a Legend, it means the world to me.”

Actor and voice-over artist Ming-Na Wen took the stage just after Iger revealed she will be starring in The Mandalorian. She asked Disney to continue buying franchises as “they just keep employing me.”

The Star Wars theme and Darth Vader’s voice boomed as James Earl Jones’ reel began. He also sent in a video, as he couldn’t attend the event. He said, “Thank you and may the force be with you.” 

Bette Middler was also awarded Disney Legend. Unfortunately, she couldn’t be here due to weather; but her daughter took the stage in her honor. She read a beautiful speech written by her mother and struggled back tears as she accepted the award.

Robin Roberts,  Dianne Sawyer, Barnette Ricci, Christina Aguilera, Wing T. Chao, Kenny Ortega also received a Legends Awards.

This was a very positive way to start off the Expo as it celebrated all aspects of the massive, magical engine that is the house of mouse. One thing the note here is that every Legend had a story to tell about how Disney help shaped their dreams and pushed them toward their careers. Powerful stuff! 

Stay tuned to LRM Online for all the updates this weekend from the most exciting panels! 

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