In September 2017, Disney announced plans to create its own streaming video service — a platform created to challenge Netflix, Hulu, and similar high-end streamers. Just over a year later, that service was given a name, Disney Plus, and we recently got our first look at the service in all its Disney-fied glory, as well as information on pricing and a launch date of November 12, 2019.
Disney Plus (also known as Disney+) is intended to compete with industry leader Netflix and the various other direct-to-consumer streaming video platforms currently in use and in development. It won’t have as many movies or television shows as Netflix and its ilk, but Disney hopes to draw customers in with lots of high-profile exclusive content and nearly every movie in Disney’s expansive library, including a number of previously hard-to-find animated features and blockbuster hits like Star Wars and Avengers: Endgame.
Here’s everything we know about Disney Plus so far.
What will it include?
The studio’s upcoming movie slate — which includes Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, and the live-action remake of The Lion King — will also have exclusive streaming availability on the service, with Captain Marvel becoming the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie not available on Netflix. The record-busting conclusion to Marvel’s Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame, won’t be available on Disney Plus at launch, but it will be there by December 11, according to Disney’s financial reports.
Approximately 7,000 episodes of television series and 400 to 500 movies are expected to be available on the service when it launches, including some of the aforementioned shows and films. Compared to Disney Plus’ biggest competitor, Netflix, that’s not a lot. According to a study by research firm Ampere Analysis, Disney Plus’ television show totals only amount to 16% of what Netflix offers. Netflix’s movie library is also eight times bigger than Disney Plus’ launch lineup. In terms of sheer numbers, Disney Plus also falls short of Hulu, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access, and HBO Go.
What Disney Plus lacks in volume, however, it’s making up in quality: Disney Plus will be the exclusive home to some of the biggest and most popular movies, shows, and franchises around. First and foremost among the content will be projects tied to Disney’s Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney-specific properties, with an overall family-friendly theme to the content.
Almost every single movie in the Disney catalog will eventually be available on the service, according to Disney CEO Bob Iger, dispensing with the so-called Disney “vault” that kept classic films locked away for extended periods. The one exception is Disney’s Song of the South, which Disney has more or less buried since the ’80s thanks to its racially insensitive content (a racist scene from the animated Dumbo will be removed for Disney Plus, too).
Disney Plus won’t just be a greatest-hits collection, though. There will be original content on the service, too.
Original Marvel shows planned for the service include series based on Hawkeye, Falcon and Winter Soldier, and Scarlet Witch and the Vision. A series following The Avengers villain Loki is also in the works, with the original MCU actors reprising their roles for the shows.
Another animated series called What If? will feature alternate-universe tales featuring MCU characters voiced by the live-action actors who portray them. The series will explore what would have happened if certain events in the MCU transpired differently.
Several original Star Wars projects are also in development including
Star Wars shows
The live-action Star Wars series being developed by Jon Favreau will be set seven years after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, and will follow “a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.” Game of Thrones actor Pedro Pascal will play the series’ title role. The first season has already wrapped production, and the pilot episode (and possibly others) will be on Disney Plus on launch day.
Untitled Cassian Andor series
— Star Wars (@starwars) November 8, 2018
Set after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi and before Episode VII — The Force Awakens, this series will bring back Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Diego Luna as the rebel spy Cassian Andor. Alan Tudyk will also return to voice K-2SO, Andor’s sassy robot sidekick. The series will take place prior to the events of Rogue One.
Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries
The long-rumored Obi-Wan Kenobi feature could live on as a Disney Plus TV show. Star Wars News Net reports that a six-episode Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries is “the next top priority” at Disney Plus. It’s not clear if Ewan McGregor will appear in the series — or if the project is actually happening — but Star Wars News Net notes that McGregor has seemed enthusiastic about slipping back into his Jedi robes in the past and that the script is reportedly “great.”
Star Wars: The Clone Wars series
A seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is currently in production for Disney Plus.
More rumored Star Wars solo series
Obi-Wan might not be traveling to Disney Plus alone. We Got This Covered claims that series starring Star Wars characters like Lando Calrissian, Solo‘s femme fatale Qi’ra, reformed stormtrooper Finn, and ace Resistance pilot Poe Dameron are all in early development at Disney. The report doesn’t say whether or not Donald Glover, Emilia Clarke, Oscar Isaac, or John Boyega, all of whom are highly sought-after Hollywood stars, will reprise their big-screen roles, and none of these shows have been confirmed by Disney. For now, consider these shows rumors, and nothing more.
Untitled Muppets Series
A new show based on The Muppets, developed by actor Josh Gad and Once Upon A Time creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, is rumored to be in the works for Disney Plus.
A new series set in the world of Disney and Pixar’s Monsters Inc. is also in the works, although it’s uncertain when the series will be set in the franchise’s timeline.
Other series and movies
A spin-off of Disney Channel’s High School Musical franchise, called High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, will be part of Disney Plus’ original live-action offerings.
Series or movies based on the following properties are also rumored to be in development:
- 3 Men and a Baby
- Don Quixote
- Father of the Bride
- Flora & Ulysses
- Lady and the Tramp
- Magic Camp
- The Paper Magician
- The Parent Trap
- The Sandlot
- The Sword in the Stone
- Timmy Failure
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.
In April, a report indicated that Disney Plus is developing 10 unscripted series for its streaming platform. They include the following projects.
An anthological documentary series will explore Marvel’s legacy of stories, characters, and creators and the “historical, cultural and societal context that has become inseparable from stories of the Marvel Universe.”
The creators of Chef’s Table helm a cinematic documentary series following the people changing the way we see the animal kingdom, including conservationists and the animals they’ve devoted their career to studying.
Be Our Chef
Angela Kinsey of The Office hosts a Disney-inspired cooking competition that will ask contestants to create a dish that “represents their family through a Disney lens.”
Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies
An anthology series that explores the props and costumes that made films unique.
The Good Place actress Kristen Bell serves as producer on this series, which brings together former castmates of a high school musical and tasks them with re-creating their original performance.
Marvel’s Hero Project
This series puts the spotlight on inspiring kids who have dedicated their lives to selfless acts of bravery and kindness.
A family that has reached their breaking point gets the help they need in this series that explores the issues driving families apart and the ways they can resolve those issues.
Bob Woodruff and his 27-year old doppelgänger son, Mack, host this travel guide to all the places the average tourist is least likely to venture.
A competition series featuring inventive students tasked with designing, building and testing new contraptions.
Untitled Walt Disney Imagineering documentary series
This show chronicles the history of Walt Disney Imagineering and the people, craft, and business behind Disney’s theme park magic.
Disney Plus will also feature some non-Disney owned content, including material from National Geographic, that it is in the process of acquiring through its purchase of 21st Century Fox’s magazine and affiliate TV businesses.
Pricing, release date, first look
Disney rolled out a long and somewhat star-studded presentation (does Jon Favreau count?) to investors on April 11 to give a first look at its new service, along with some intriguing details. The highlights? The service will cost $7 per month at launch or $70 per year (don’t be surprised if that price rises quickly) and is expected to arrive in November 2019.
The company also showed off a prototype of its new service which, frankly, looks very Netflix-y — but in a Disney kind of way. The smooth and clean interface offers a row of tiles at the top of its home screen differentiating the multiple tiers, including Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Disney, and National Geographic tiles for each of the service’s marquee properties.
Disney also shared some other details including a road map for the service’s first year, which is set to include 25 original series (starting with titles like its new Star Wars series The Mandalorian), a whole slate of films from its vault (including classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Little Mermaid, and Pinocchio), and, in a surprise reveal, all 30 seasons of The Simpsons, fresh off the brand’s new acquisition of Fox properties.
— Disney (@Disney) April 11, 2019
Initially identified as “Disney Play” by Iger in early interviews, the official Disney Plus name — and its logo — was revealed in a November 2018 earnings presentation, with a press release confirming the details shortly thereafter.
What it won’t include
In what could be a sign of things to come, Netflix announced a series of cancellations in late 2018 and early 2019 that brought its five live-action Marvel series to an end following their most recent seasons. Various reports indicated that Netflix and Disney had reached an impasse in negotiating the terms of the series’ continuation on the streaming service, with Netflix looking to reduce costs for future seasons, only for the streaming provider to eventually pull the plug.
As initially promised by Disney, however, the existing episodes of every show will remain exclusively available to view on Netflix. However, Marvel TV teased that the series could return elsewhere. “As Matthew Murdock’s Dad once said, ‘The measure of a man is not how he gets knocked to the mat, it’s how he gets back up. To be continued…!,” Marvel told Deadline. Could that mean a Disney Plus revival for Daredevil and his friends? It’s not out of the question.
In keeping with Disney’s family-friendly approach to programming, there won’t be any R-rated projects available on Disney Plus, either. Any movies or TV series that push the boundaries of Disney’s typical PG-13 audience will be diverted to Hulu, according to various reports. This includes titles like Marvel’s Deadpool.
Updated on May 8, 2019: Added Avengers: Endgame’s Disney Plus premiere date.
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