Even though Disney's D23 fan convention kicks off today in Anaheim, it seems we have an early glimpse of what to expect from the convention. Empire is reporting that Pixar's John Lassetter was in London in advance of the convention and revealed some of the big news and clips that will be unveiled at the convention.

Lassetter revealed that Timothy Dalton will be portraying a character in Toy Story 3 called Mr. Pricklepants. Here's the magazine's description of the character and the footage that was shown.

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We saw a tiny animation test with Mr Pricklepants (who's cute in a spiky way), but the big news was a lengthy Toy Story 3 clip and trailer. The clip showed Andy packing from college, and emptying all his toys into a black bin bag for storage in the attic. He hesitates over Woody and Buzz, finally putting Woody in the box of things to take for college. But all the toys are panicked - especially Woody, who's worried for his friends. When Andy is distracted by his little sister and leaves the garbage bag on the landing instead of upstairs in the attic, his mother takes it out to the kerb - and a frantic Woody has to save his friends from a rapidly approaching bin lorry.

We also saw the as-yet unreleased trailer, which showed bits of the same scene, but developed the story. Clearly the toys end up being sent to a daycare centre, where they are horribly abused by the little kids - and after that it's time for a break-out attempt to find a safe haven, and hopefully a new owner, in a cruel world. It looks every bit as good as its titanic predecessors.

The site also reported that Lassetter talked a bit about the story for Cars 2 as well.

The story sees Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), his pit team and new pit boss Mater head around the world for the Race of Champions, to take place in five different countries and involve the champions of different disciplines like Formula One and rally driving. First up is a race in Tokyo, starting at Mount Fuji and heading downtown (somewhat reminiscent of Mater's Tall Tales short about drift-racing, that); then there's a German race through the Black Forest; then "Porto Corsa" in Italy, which is based partly on the Monte Carlo Grand Prix; then a 24-hour race around Paris (so somewhat like Le Mans then) and finally a thrilling climax in London, approaching Buckingham Palace (where the guards appear to be Land Rovers).

But all this racing is not the only focus. Mater, who we know from the series of cartoon shorts Mater's Tall Tales (more on that in our blog in a minute) is prone to exaggeration, gets involved in a "Hitchcockian" case of mistaken identity, saves the life of a British secret agent called Finn McMissile (who looks a heck of a lot like an Aston Martin) and becomes embroiled in a huge spy thriller. Only no-one believes him. That too comes to a head at Buckingham Palace.

Along the way there are towtruck-abroad pictures to be taken at the Oktoberfest in Germany (where Mater wears "Materhosen") and harassing the aforementioned Palace Guards. Is it weird that Mater isn't annoying me at all any more, after being a bit of a pain at times in the first film?

Lassetter also spoke of a new film of Winnie the Pooh as well.

Lasseter followed that - and a series of gorgeous production stills - with Winnie-the-Pooh, which the studio is bringing back to the big screen in spring of 2011, and which we are assured will not just be for little kids. The writers went through the archives and the books of A.A. Milne and found five stories that had never been filmed, combining the plots of all five into a feature-length story. Burny Mattinson, an animator who's been at Disney for over 50 years and who worked with Walt on the original Pooh films, is working closely with directors Steve Anderson, Clark Spencer and Don Hall.

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