On Thursday, April 11, Disney held its annual “Investor Day.” That’s when the studio tries to impress the people who give it money with all the cool things they’re working on. No. 1 on that list of “impressive stuff” is the studio’s long-gestating plan for Disney+, a rival streaming service to Netflix. And with Investor Day out of the way, we have our clearest picture yet of what Disney+ will look like.
For starters, Disney’s entire “Signature Collection” (consisting of animated classics including Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Beauty and the Beast) will be available on the service’s first day of launch. This isn’t a particularly surprising announcement as those cartoon classics are the backbone of the Disney brand. Having announced plans to pull them (along with all Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar content) from Netflix late last year, it’s only natural that Disney+ would start by highlighting the company’s long history.
All of Pixar’s animated shorts will be available on the service to start, with Pixar’s features (The Incredibles, Up, Toy Story and the like) being added within the first year of operation. Disney will also hype future theatrical releases with a behind-the-scenes documentary charting the making of Frozen 2 (hitting theaters in November) and a string of shorts spotlighting characters from the upcoming Pixar film Toy Story 4 (slated for release on June 21). The company is also working on a string of live-action features, such as the live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp (featuring the voices of Tessa Thomson and Justin Theroux).
Disney will exploit its Marvel properties, of course, with several shows that spin off from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany are attached to star in “WandaVision,” which Marvel head Kevin Feig told investors would tell “a story that is unexpected and surprising” (a vague but intriguing tease for a show about a witch and an android). Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will also be reprising their Marvel superhero characters in “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” Disney+ is preparing an as-yet-untilted Loki series as well, concentrating on Thor’s nefarious half-brother. Tom Hiddleston is locked for that one. Feig also teased plans for an animated “What If?” series—an adaptation of Marvel’s popular exploration of what would have happened if crucial moments in Marvel history had played out differently. According to Feig, the first episode examines “What if Peggy Carter was the one who became a super soldier?” (which gives Hayley Atwell another chance to play the role of the popular super spy). Disney didn’t give any date when these series might premiere, but it probably won’t be on launch.
Day one, however, will be the date when viewers can check out the first-ever live-action Star Wars series. “The Mandalorian,” produced and directed by Jon Favreau, will be a “space Western” focusing on a “lone gunman” in Mandalorian armor—although it will not be fan favorite Boba Fett, as some folks were hoping. Some time after that, we’ll get a look at a still-untitled Cassian Andor “spy series” starring Diego Luna and featuring Alan Tudyk as the voice of reprogrammed Imperial security droid K-2SO. (We’ll assume that series takes place before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which doesn’t exactly set those characters up for a sequel.) A new season of the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” will also be hitting Disney+ sometime in the future, bringing the show’s unfinished storyline to a long-awaited ending.
The Disney+ service becomes available to the public on November 12, 2019. The cost is slated to be a reasonable $6.99 a month or $69.99 for a one-year subscription.