The Walt Disney Company hosted its Investor Day presentation for 2020 on Thursday afternoon, and they put most of their focus on Disney+. The streaming service has been around for just over a year and managed to snag 86.8 million subscribers (as of December 2, 2020). Disney already went all in on the platform, but after a year that has hugely affected their theme park and film segments, Disney+ is likely even more valuable. The company announced a ton of new content coming to the streaming service during their presentation. A ton. As well as some theatrical news, because hey, when you have a captive audience…
If you want to get caught up on the nerdy highlights all in one place, we have it all right here. This is everything notable we learned from Disney’s Investor Day webcast.
Over the next few years, Disney+ will get approximately ten Marvel series, ten Star Wars series, 15 Disney live-action; Disney animation; and Pixar series, and 15 Disney live-action; Disney animation; and Pixar feature films. Those will all be directly released on the streamer.
Raya and the Last Dragon will get the Premier Access treatment a la Mulan. That means consumers will have to pay an additional charge to rent the film through the streaming service. It will arrive in theaters and on Disney+ on March 5, 2021. After Warner Bros. shook up the industry last week, we assumed Disney would follow suit but…
Star and Star+
20th Century Studios
Building off the success of Disney+ Hotstar in India, Disney is launching Star and Star+ for general entertainment content brands outside of the US. “General entertainment content brands” includes films like Alien and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Think of it as Disney+ for 18+. Star launches in many markets in February 23, 2021.
Hulu announced several new series. Only Murders in the Building will reunite Steve Martin and Martin Short and also feature Selena Gomez. They also announced The Dropout, Dopesick, and Nine Perfect Strangers. Finally, The Handmaid’s Tale (which is apparently Hulu’s most successful original series) got a fifth season.
The FX segment largely focused on painting a successful portrait of the network. However, they announced a few key things. First of all, they renewed It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for an additional four seasons (which takes it to 18 seasons). New series include The Old Man, starring Jeff Bridges as a former CIA operative who is forced to reconcile with his past. They’re spinning an anthology from American Horror Story called American Horror Stories. Then there’s scripted anthology Platform and a comedy called Reservation Dogs from co-creators Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi—it’s about four Native American teenagers growing up on a reservation in eastern Oklahoma. And of course, Y: The Last Man is still supposedly on the way.
FX has a couple of exciting projects in development too. One of these is Alien. The series is the first of the Alien stories to be set on Earth. Noah Hawley is serving as showrunner and working with Ridley Scott. And finally, they’re working a retelling of James Clavell’s saga Shōgun.
Whew, did Lucasfilm share some news! So much news. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy discussed their series and their theatrical slate. Let’s summarize. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are developing two more original series for Disney+: Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka. Both shows are set within the timeline of The Mandalorian. Filoni will write Ahsoka, which is being called a limited series.
Then there’s Andor. We already knew about this Rogue One spinoff starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, but we didn’t know the name. The 12-episode series is coming in 2022.
Obi-Wan Kenobi will be set ten years after Revenge of the Sith. As we were aware, Ewan McGregor will reprise his role. And Kennedy announced Hayden Christensen is returning as Darth Vader.
Next, Star Wars: The Bad Batch. The animated series follows the group of clones the final season of The Clone Wars introduced. It will debut exclusively on Disney+, and we have the first teaser.
Then we heard about Star Wars: Visions. From StarWars.com, It’s “all-new, creative takes on the galaxy far, far away, Star Wars: Visions will be a series of animated short films celebrating Star Wars through the lens of the world’s best anime creators. The anthology collection will bring ten fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars.”
More Star Wars in development includes a Lando Calrissian series, Lando, from creator Justin Simien. And don’t forget about Leslye Headland’s show. It’s called The Acolyte, “a mystery-thriller that will take the audience into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.” Finally, Lucasfilm Animation and ILM are working on a A Droid Story, “epic journey will introduce us to a new hero, guided by legendary duo R2-D2 and C-3PO.”
And about those theatrical films. Kennedy mentioned Taika Waititi’s Star Wars film and that he’s writing it. But we found out the next Star Wars feature is coming in Christmas 2023 from none other than Patty Jenkins. It’s called Rogue Squadron and will “introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.” Jenkins shared the above lovely video about it.
Besides Star Wars, Lucasfilm is working on the Willow Disney+ series, the final Indiana Jones film (shooting is set to begin in spring 2021), and a film adaptation of Children of Blood & Bone.
Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios dropped news about some series for the streaming service. Let’s review! We have The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Turner & Hooch (unclear if this is a film or a series), Big Shot, and an adaptation of The Mysterious Benedict Society.
On the film side, they confirmed Hocus Pocus 2, Three Men and a Baby (starring Zac Efron), Flora and Ulysses, and Cheaper By the Dozen. On the animated side, they’re making Diary of a Wimpy Kid, another installment of the Ice Age franchise called The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, and Night at the Museum.
And no that’s not all. They talked about Jungle Cruise briefly (finally coming to theaters in July 2021), a prequel to the “live-action” The Lion King, and a live-action The Little Mermaid. One that came out of nowhere was news about a hybrid live-action animated feature called Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers starring John Mulaney and Andy Samberg.
Speaking of animated films coming to live-action and Disney+, Walt Disney Studios also mentioned Pinocchio with Tom Hanks as Geppetto, as well as Peter Pan & Wendy.
Then to wrap their segment, they revealed they’re working on a sequel to Enchanted; Amy Adams will return as Giselle. Plus, they have Whoopi Goldberg and Tyler Perry for Sister Act 3.
Walt Disney Animation
After touching on Raya and the Last Dragon, which will be available in theaters and through Premier Access as mentioned earlier, Walt Disney Animation dropped plenty of news. First up, they touched on their first-ever animated series for Disney+: Baymax!, Zootopia+, Tiana, and Moana. Even cooler Disney is working with Pan-African entertainment company Kugali on an all-new, science fiction series for 2022, Iwájú.
This Fall, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ all-new film Encanto takes you to Colombia, where a magical family live in a magical home. Directed by Byron Howard and Jared Bush, co-directed and co-written by Charise Castro Smith, and music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. pic.twitter.com/bdxag3SzPv
— Disney Animation (@DisneyAnimation) December 11, 2020
Disney Animation wouldn’t be Disney Animation without talking about a film. Please meet Encanto. It’s set Colombia and centers on a magical family living in a magical home. Lin-Manuel Miranda‘s writing the music.
With a reminder that Soul will debut on Disney+ on Christmas, Pixar looked into the future with some previews. For the streaming service they’ll have the documentary series Inside Pixar, a mini shorts collection called Pixar Popcorn, Dug Days, a new Cars series, and Win or Lose (their first original long-form animated show).
And again, unrelated to Disney+ but because they had a platform, Pixar also peeled back a look at two new features. Next, for June 2021, is Luca. “It’s a celebration of the friendship between a boy named Luca and his best friend Alberto during their unforgettable summer.” Following that, they’ll debut Turning Red (from the director of Bao!). Turning Red follows Mei. She experiences the awkwardness of being a teenager, with an added twist: when she gets too excited, she transforms into a giant red panda. It will arrive in March 2022.
One more film, also coming in 2022: Lightyear. This movie tells the definitive story of the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on. And Chris Evans is voicing Buzz.
Last but not least, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige took the stage to share a slew of updates. He basically said, “Here, Star Wars. Hold my beer.”
He kicked things off with a new trailer for WandaVision, coming to Disney+ on January 15, 2021. WandaVision has ties to a couple other Marvel Cinematic Universe titles: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (which we learned will feature Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez and the return of Rachel McAdams) and Spider-Man 3. Plus Teyonah Parris’ Monica Rambeau will appear in Captain Marvel 2.
We got first looks and release dates for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (March 19, 2021), Loki (May 2021), and What If…? (summer 2021). Then Feige shared more information about previously known Marvel TV series. Ms. Marvel will feature Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan. And finally confirmed something we already know: Hailee Steinfeld is playing Kate Bishop in Hawkeye. Oh and he mentioned Tatiana Maslany will star in the She-Hulk series, which will also feature Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth—who will reprise his role as the Abomination from The Incredible Hulk.
Feige announced new shows as well. We found out about Secret Invasion starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn as Fury and Talos. And let’s not forget Ironheart, all about Riri Williams, starring Dominique Thorne. Baby Groot is coming to Disney+ in a series of shorts called I Am Groot. Finally, Feige unveiled Armor Wars. Don Cheadle will return in the show about Tony Stark’s worst fear coming true.
It’s not exactly a TV series but Marvel’s bringing something else to Disney+: The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special from writer and director James Gunn. The special arrives in 2022.
In Marvel’s theatrical world, Black Widow stays on track for its theatrical release in May. Production has wrapped on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Captain Marvel 2 will arrive in November 22 and will feature Monica Rambeau from WandaVision and Ms. Marvel. Eternals is on track, as is Blade, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (Jonathan Majors joined the cast as Kang the Conqueror, as did Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang) and Thor: Love and Thunder (Christina Bale is indeed playing the villain, Gorr the God Butcher). Feige noted they will not be recasting the role of Black Panther 2 in the sequel out of respect for Chadwick Boseman. Feige capped his presentation with the announcement of Jon Watts directing a Fantastic Four film.
Whew. No wonder the presentation needed to be four hours long.
Amy Ratcliffe is the Managing Editor for Nerdist and the author of The Jedi Mind, available now. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
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