One of the world’s biggest entertainment giants is giving streaming services a run for their money. Disney has now unveiled a list of original series’ and films that will be part of the Disney+ platform, in addition to the already existing content that will become available.
“For nearly a century The Walt Disney Company has sought to entertain and inspire audiences of all ages, and our film and television shows continue to impact generations of viewers in heartfelt and deeply compelling ways,” Kevin Mayer, chairman, direct to consumer & international, told the audience at the Disney+ presentation at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California on Friday.
“Disney+ will ensure that this connection remains powerfully present for viewers in their daily lives, providing them...with the content you want on the devices you use, at the time and place of your choosing.”
Earlier this week, the company announced that the streaming service will be available in Canada as of November 12 for $89.99CAD a year. Within the first year, the entire Pixar library will be available for subscribers, in addition to the full collection of classic animated Disney films that will be released from “the vault,” the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe films, Star Wars content and all 661 episodes of The Simpsons, following the acquisition of 20th Century Fox earlier this year.
There is no word on whether ABC content, also owned by Disney, will eventually become available on the platform as well. Executives also have yet to communicate exact dates for when content that exists on other streaming services in Canada will transition to Disney+, but it’s expected that the content will be fazed out as contracted agreements with services like Netflix in the country begin to end.
Marvel Cinematic Universe’s huge expansion
For Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, the addition of Disney+ provides “tremendous” opportunities to grow and evolve the MCU.
All Marvel films will be available on Disney+, including Avengers: Engame, which will hit the platform, exclusively, on December 11. Feige did not specify whether that would be the case for international audiences, including Canadians.
Probably the most intriguing project slated to be released is the WandaVision series, which executives described at the D23 Expo as the Dick Van Dyke show meets a “classic MCU spectacular.” Paul Bettany is Vision, Elizabeth Olsen will return as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, but there’s also the addition of classic comedian actress Kathryn Hahn as a new “nosey neighbour” character.
In 2021, Marvel fans will get to see the MCU’s first animated series What If…?, which asks the question - what would happen if some elements of the existing Marvel films worked out differently? Details of the traditional Marvel storylines will be altered - but it does result in the return of Peggy Carter.
“It fells like the gift that keeps on giving,” Hayley Atwell who plays Peggy Carter said. “But that’s also partly because of the fans, they love Peggy, they brought her back.”
Feige announced that “almost” all of the MCU cast will be lending their voice to the series.
Disney also unveiled three releases that we don’t know much about at this point, but fans are already excited - Ms Marvel, Moon Knight and She Hulk. We know they are live-action series’ based on the Marvel comics but release dates and casts are not known.
Welcome back ‘Lizzie McGuire’
Disney+ will include over 5,000 episodes of Disney Channel and Disney Junior content and well over 100 Disney Channel original movies, including fan favourites like Hannah Montana, Halloweentown and Even Stevens.
For original content, the entertainment giant is bringing back the Millennial fan favourite Lizzie McGuire, which will still star Hilary Duff and has the original creator, Terri Minsky, at the helm.
“She’s older, she’s wiser, she has a much bigger shoes budget, which is super exciting,” Duff said. “She has her dream job, she has kind of the perfect life right now.”
Lizzie is turning thirty and she lives in Brooklyn, New York, working as an apprentice to a New York City decorator and dating a guy who owns a restaurant. But she still has all those frantic thoughts running through her head - just like the younger Lizzie.
“She is still dealing with that 13-year-old, no holds barred animated Lizzie that’s constantly babbling in her adult Lizzie head,” Duff told the D23 Expo crowd.
If you’re looking for another “feel good” series, you’ll want to check out Encore!, with Kristen Bell as executive producer. This unscripted series brings together individuals who performed in high school musicals together, allowing them to reconnect and hit the stage as a group again.
More details on ‘The Mandalorian’
Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, announced that Disney+ will be the home of the entire Star Wars collection.
“Every single film will be made available to subscribers within the first year, including Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker,” Kennedy said.
On November 12, Disney will be releasing a new series called The Mandalorian. With Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni in charge, this show promises to “stand side-by-side” with the existing Star Wars experience, but this is a whole new world and a different time frame.
There will also be a new animated Clone Wars series, something fans have been wanting for over a decade, set to launch in February 2020.
Ewan McGregor also announced that he will return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new untitled series from Lucasfilm.
New films and remakes
Even though Disney+ is a space for series productions to be released, the company will also include exclusive, original film content on the platform. Some of the titles to be released include: Star Girl, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, Lady and the Tramp, Togo: The Untold Story and Noelle.
Lady and the Tramp stars Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux in the lead roles. Janelle Monet is recording her own version of “He’s a Tramp” for the film’s November 12 release on Disney+ as well. This new version of the classic film uses real dogs, mostly rescue pups. Yvette Nicole Brown who plays, Aunt Sarah in the film, even took one home with her.
If you’re looking for a new Christmas movie to watch, Noelle is the one for you. Starring Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader, Nick Kringle (Hader) is next in line to be Santa Claus but when he runs away because he can’t handle the pressure, his sister Noelle (Kendrick) has to chase him down to save Christmas. This film will be available when the streaming service launches.