Holy cow, you guys, Disney went ham with show announcements last week and my brain is still trying to wrap itself around everything that we'll be getting from our favorite franchises in the next 2-3 years. Disney's "Investor Day" event was on December 10th, and in a four-hour long presentation they shared the slate for a ton of upcoming projects, most of which are specifically for the Disney+ streaming service.
Disney+ has already amassed 86.8 million subscribers in its first year, with the company's goal to achieve between 230 million to 260 million viewers by 2024. Of the 100 (ONE HUNDRED!?) projects that Disney announced, about 80% of them will debut on the service, which will raise its prices to $7.99 per month starting in March.
There's a lot to unpack here, so let's try to cover as much as we can - I'm mostly going to stick with the big Disney+ content announcements, though it should be noted that they announced some new things coming to Hulu and FX Networks as well. I definitely want to hear from you about what shows you're most excited for! Let's start with Star Wars.
Honestly, I thought Disney might back away from Star Wars for a bit after Solo didn't do so well in theaters a couple of years ago. Instead, they've surprised me by doubling down on the Star Wars content they're offering on their streaming service, announcing several new shows that focus on various corners of the galaxy.
Stemming from The Mandalorian and all of its success, Disney announced two new shows set in the same timeline: Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka (I am pretty sure that people could hear my scream of delight from miles away). There will also be a Rogue One spinoff series, as well as a new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which we knew about previously. The surprise with that show came in the announcement that Hayden Christensen would be reprising his role as Anakin, a piece of news I have mixed feelings on - but that's a super long tangent I don't need to get into right now.
Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian
Disney also announced a new animated series called The Bad Batch and said that they were working with anime creators on a series of shorts called Visions. We also got announcements on a droid series called A Droid Story, a spinoff Lando Calrissian series, and series called The Acolyte which has been billed as some kind of "mystery thriller" about the emergence of the Dark Side during the High Republic era.
Regarding feature films, Disney dropped a huge surprise with their announcement that Wonder Woman's director Patty Jenkins would be stepping into the Star Wars universe with a new movie: Rogue Squadron. It will focus on Rebel fighter pilots and when I say my friends who loved the Rogue Squadron games were excited, that'd be quite an understatement.
The logo for the upcoming Rogue Squadron movie
Although these aren't Star Wars, they are Lucasfilm titles so I wanted to also squeak in a mention about them, in particular the upcoming Willow series that was also announced. Fans of the 80's fantasy adventure will be delighted to know that Warwick Davis is returning for the title role. Tomi Adeyemi's novel Children of Blood and Bone is being adapted into a film by Lucasfilm and 20th Century Studios, and we also found out that a new Indiana Jones movie is expected to release in July of 2022.
Whew! Let's move onto Marvel, now.
As much as I love Star Wars and appreciate the fact that I was raised on it (thanks, Dad!), I have a particular enthusiasm for all of the movies that have been developing in the Marvel universe over the last ten or so years. There is such an incredible amount of content to work with, and to see so much of it adapted in really impressive ways has been an absolute joy. That said, I'll try not to squeal too much as I walk through all of the new superhero (and villain!) content we're going to be getting.
A promo image for WandaVision
Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, kicked off the announcements with another WandaVision trailer, a show we'll be getting in just about a month from now. He also debuted the trailer for Falcon and Winter Soldier, which now has an official release date of March 2021. We also (cue my screaming) finally got a trailer for Loki, which is due out in May of next year, plus we also have a summer release for Marvel's upcoming What If...? series, an animated show that takes on alternate possibilities in the Marvel universe.
On the cinematic side of things, Marvel is still sticking to what it does best. Black Widow was supposed to release this summer but was delayed for obvious reasons (stupid pandemic), and has been pushed to May of 2021. Marvel announced that they have wrapped production on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and that Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness will release on March 25, 2022. Apparently, the Dr. Strange film will tie into WandaVision and the multiverse in the upcoming Spider-Man film. Disney also revealed Xochitl Gomez as the character America Chavez, who will appear in the Spider-Man movies as well.
Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan
Continuing to blur the line between TV and movies, Disney demonstrated how the upcoming shows will tie into its movies. Iman Vellani will star as Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teen from New Jersey in her own series, Ms. Marvel, set to arrive in late 2021 on Disney+. She will eventually join up with the movies, appearing in Captain Marvel 2.
Then, there's Hawkeye. I've known this was coming for awhile, guys, but seriously - I am beside myself. I have always been a huge Clint Barton fan, and that love also is shared with Kate Bishop, who is completely awesome in the comic series Hawkeye. Disney also announced She-Hulk and a Moon Knight series, plus a Secret Invasion series. Let's not forget that they also announced Iron Heart, which will focus on Riri Williams, who in the comics takes over the Iron Man mantle. Finally, we are getting a War Machine series (with Don Cheadle!) called Armor Wars.
A set photo from Hawkeye, featuring Clint, Kate, and Lucky the Pizza dog
Did I say 'finally' above? Just kidding - James Gunn is filming a Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special for Disney+ while on the set of the next film for the franchise. We're also getting an I Am Groot series of shorts. Disney also announced that Christian Bale will join the cast of Thor: Love and Thunder as the villain Gorr the God Butcher, and that a new Blade film starring Mahershala Ali is coming. We're also finally getting Kang the Conqueror in the new Ant-Man movie, called Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Disney is also taking a stab at a new Fantastic Four (which, considering the inclusion of Kang the Conqueror, isn't all that surprising at this point). Finally (really finally this time!), Disney announced that they will not recast Chadwick Boseman, who tragically died from colon cancer earlier this year, as T'Challa. They will still make a Black Panther 2 that will explore the world of Wakanda and the other heroes who live there.
Man, my head is still spinning! But that was just Marvel and Star Wars. We're not done yet. Let's move onto general Disney.
Starting with television series on Disney+, we found out that we're getting a Mighty Ducks series in 2021 which sees Emilio Estevez return as coach Gordon Bombay. We're also getting a Turner & Hooch show, a girls' high-school basketball series starring John Stamos called Big Shot, and a show called The Mysterious Benedict Society.
While I personally prefer the animated Beauty and the Beast, I did enjoy certain aspects of the live action movie from a few years ago. Although Luke Evans didn't have the booming base voice that I grew up adoring, I did enjoy his portrayal of the villain Gaston. Apparently, we're getting a prequel to that story starring both him and Josh Gad as Lefou. I'll give it a chance, if nothing else. We're also getting a new version of Swiss Family Robinson, which I grew up watching as it was a favorite of my Mother's. Author Rick Riordan is said to have much more of a hand in the upcoming and newly announced Percy Jackson & the Olympians series, which will hopefully get more time to explore the lore than the movies did.
On the film front, Disney announced a Hocus Pocus 2 (but if the original 3 witches don't return, I swear I won't have anything to do with it, lol). They also announced a Three Men and a Baby remake with Zac Efron, and three new sports movies based on the lives of Chris Paul, Giannis Antetokoumpo, and Keanon Lowe. We are also getting a Lightyear movie starring Chris Evans as Buzz Lightyear - the actual hero, not the toy! Honestly, there's more (like a live action Pinocchio), but this is already turning out to be so long anyway I'm going to move onto the four new animated Disney+ shows they announced.
The logo from the upcoming Disney+ series, Tiana
We are getting four new shows on Disney+ focusing on certain Disney animated properties. Tiana, Moana, Baymax, and Zootopia+. Tiana will focus on Tiana from The Princess and the Frog, Moana sees us returning to the sea following the adventurous islander, Baymax will take us more into the world of Big Hero Six while focusing on the loveable personal health care assistant, and Zootopia+ will take us right back to the adventures of Nick and Officer Judy Hops.
There's seriously so much more that Disney announced than what I've covered here. I was getting whiplash on Thursday night trying to follow one new announcement to the next! I fully admit to being a "Disnerd," so I'm pretty excited about all of the upcoming content - Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, and anything else in between.
What shows and movies are you most excited to see? Share with me!