The Haunted Mansion First Look and New Cast Members Revealed at D23 Expo

Today's D23 Expo brought with it the highly anticipated first look at the new The Haunted Mansion movie, just in time to start getting fans ready to celebrate the incoming spooky season. Today's panel also confirmed that Winona Ryder and Dan Levy have joined the film. The first take on the material came back in 2003, which was interestingly the same year that another beloved Disney ride got adapted into a movie, though Pirates of the Caribbean was a much bigger success than the Eddie Murphy-starring comedy about a family who accidentally gets tossed into an otherworldly love triangle. This new The Haunted Mansion is currently set to hit theaters on March 10, 2023.

While the footage shown at the event didn't reveal too much about the project, it featured glimpses of cameos fans can expect, with Danny DeVito recalling the home's history, along with shots of seance rooms and secret passageways.

In the new film, a doctor (Rosario Dawson) and her 9-year-old son (Chase Dillon), looking to start a new life, move into a strangely affordable mansion in New Orleans, only to discover that the place is much more than they bargained for. Desperate for help, they contact a priest (Owen Wilson), who, in turn, enlists the aid of a widowed scientist-turned failed-paranormal expert (LaKeith Stanfield), a French Quarter psychic (Tiffany Haddish), and a crotchety historian (Danny DeVito). 

Just last month, fans were excited to learn that two iconic figures from the original Haunted Mansion ride had been cast, with Jamie Lee Curtis set to play Madame Leota, whose spectral head is trapped in a crystal ball, while Jared Leto would be playing the Hatbox Ghost. Devout Disney fans know the Hatbox Ghost was a part of the ride when it initially opened, but the effects never worked quite right and was removed shortly after opening. Decades later, the Disney team finally cracked the code on conveying the effect necessary for the ghoul, as the Hatbox Ghost has since been reinstated.

Given how beloved the original ride is and how underwhelming the previous movie was among fans, bringing the ride to life was no easy feat. Prior to this take on the material, Guillermo del Toro was developing his own take on the project, which would have had Ryan Gosling attached to star. With del Toro going on to deliver a number of award-winning films, his own struggles with the material should confirm just how challenging that project is from the get-go, surely leaving fans excited to see what Dear White People's Justin Simien has cooked up as a director.

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The Haunted Mansion hits theaters on March 10, 2023.

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