In the weeks following Michael Jackson's shocking death this past June, a lot of discussion centered on what would become of the 100 hours of raw rehearsal footage shot in his final weeks. On October 28, fans can finally find out for themselves when "This Is It" hits theaters nationwide — and a newly released featurette is promising to deliver on a bold claim. (Head here to check out even more footage.)
"When the fans go see 'This Is It,' they're going to have Michael back," promises Travis Payne, a choreographer who assisted Jackson with the planning of his stage show. "They're going to have Michael back, just for a little while."
The two-and-a-half-minute-long featurette promoting the film unveils a healthy chunk of new material from the King of Pop's sold-out stage show, as well as a promise that the documentary is being released "for the fans."
"So we open the show, as you know, with all the lights down," we hear producer/director Kenny Ortega explaining to the crew, walking us through the intended blueprint of MJ's show. "We're going to create a spectacular opening with pyrotechnics, and we want some sizzles and some cracks and some pops."
At this point, Ortega — a renowned choreographer who also directed the "High School Musical" films — explains a montage that was to feature footage of Jackson interwoven with such notable figures as Mother Theresa, President Obama, Princess Diana and Nelson Mandela. "We have our video that is called 'Glimpses and Flashes.' And that's where light man comes out on the gantry, floating above the stage," Ortega explained of an ambitious, massive statue that would consist of TV monitors. "And he'll be dazzling in video information [and open] piece by piece; MJ is revealed until he jumps out. And on Michael's command, we begin."
Much of the featurette shows clips of Jackson performing such classics as "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Bad," "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough" and "Billie Jean," while MJ's co-creators promise that the movie will bring back all his chart-toppers. "In his press announcement, he said, 'We're going to sing the songs the fans want to hear,' " Ortega explained. "So he put it out as a contest online, and millions of people responded."
Agrees Payne: "What we ended up with for 'This Is It' is a show full of the fans' favorites."
"I look at this as a kind of musical mosaic. We're pretty much wall-to-wall music in the film," explains Ortega, as we glimpse lots of pyrotechnics, musicians and — of course — eye-dazzling dancing. "People are ready to celebrate his music, his ideas, and celebrate his genius and artistry. And that's what they're going to see."
Don't miss "Michael Jackson's This Is It" Premiere Special, airing on MTV and VH1 on Tuesday, October 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET! "Michael Jackson's This Is It" opens in a limited engagement on October 27 and wide on October 28.
Check out everything we've got on "Michael Jackson's This Is It."