Disney Investors Call Sheds Light on the Future of Disney Plus

 Maybe I was just too busy at work, but when I got home, I saw the massive announcement on the plans for Disney Plus.  Wow not only are we getting a lot of Star Wars television shows, but we are also getting a lot more Marvel than we expected.  I wonder if Warner Bros. announcement earlier in the week about all of their 2021 films will be available on HBO Max the same day they open in theatres was because they knew Disney had something big planned for their call.  The Warner Bros. while massive also has been received negatively by filmmakers and seems like a PR disaster now since they have been publicly blasted by directors (Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve).  The decision is great for film fans that live in the United States but it is means nothing for film fans in Canada as we will need to see it in theatres and wait for it on HBO still.  The decision will likely lead to a boost in HBO Max subscribers but will also lead to a lower box office for their slate of 2021 releases.  I am sure theatre chains are not happy with this decision either as it can only mean less people willing to go to the movies.  The decision is due to the effects of the pandemic and I can understand why they did this, but as a fan of the movie going experience this does not bode well for movie theatres.  I have spent a whole paragraph covering the HBO Max getting Warner Bros. releases and that is small potatoes compared to what Disney has announced.  


The Disney investor call was about the plans for the Disney streaming service, and did they blow peoples minds.  The main presentations were from Marvel and Lucasfilm (Star Wars) with the announcement of a new Disney animated film Encanto being released in 2021 and a new Pixar film centred around Buzz Lightyear now voiced by Chris Evans.  There was a bunch of release date adjustments that was expected due to the ongoing pandemic, but they were all minor.  Nothing was mentioned about the Avatar films, but that is likely because they are due to arrive for another two years.  The major non-Marvel or Star Wars announcement was that we will be seeing Harrison Ford suiting up as Indiana Jones for a final time in 2022, we're getting a new Indiana Jones film directed by Logan director James Mangold.  The new Indiana Jones film has been mentioned for so long and it is exciting that we will finally be seeing it (though with a two-year wait).  I hope at some point in the near future we are able have the Indiana Jones films on Disney Plus.  The last Indiana Jones film, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was not well received, and I personally was disappointed in it.  

The Marvel announcement confirmed things we already knew, things we didn't know and has everyone excited for the future of the MCU after a year in which we got no new content.  Marvel announced that She-Hulk will be played by Tatiana Maslany (news that broke months ago but was never confirmed until now).  She-Hulk will centre around She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters) as a lawyer, it is a comedic series that will have guest appearances by Tim Roth (the villain from Incredible Hulk) and Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner).  Another series that was hinted at during Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home is Secret Invasion.  Secret Invasion will star Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, they will be trying to stop a Skrull invasion of earth.  This was a great comic book storyline, and I am curious what they do with the series, do we get some cameos from MCU stars.  We got confirmation that the Loki show will premiere in May while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier series will premiere in March.  Those two shows also got trailers, both shows definitely are going to have different styles.  A Guardians of the Galaxy holiday special written and directed by James Gunn will be released in December 2022.  Christian Bale has been confirmed to play Gorr the God Butcher, the main antagonist in Thor: Love and Thunder.  Marvel confirmed that in Black Panther 2 they will not have another actor replace Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa, they gave no indication of who will be Black Panther.  Two other new shows were announced, Ironheart will follow Riri Williams who reverse engineers Iron Man's armor and uses it to protect her community.  Armor Wars will star Don Cheadle reprising his character War Machine must step up when Iron Man tech falls into the hands of some not so good people.  The last big news from the Marvel announcement was that Jon Watts (director of Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home) will be directing a new Fantastic Four film had me the most excited.  The Fantastic Four films that have been released so far have all been bad, this one now being overseen by Marvel has a lot of promise.  

The Lucasfilm Star Wars announcements also had some surprises of their own, the biggest being that Patty Jenkins will be directing the next Star Wars film Star Wars: Rogue Squadron to be released in 2023.  Mandalorian season 3 has been given a Christmas 2021 release date but no other details were announced.  The Cassian Andor series titled Andor will be released in 2022 and will be a prequel to Rogue One following Cassian's adventures.  Another big announcement was that Hayden Christensen will be playing Darth Vader once again in the Kenobi series, the series was given a tentative 2022 release date.  A Mandalorian spinoff series Ahsoka was announced with Rosario Dawson playing the titular hero once again, no other details were announced.  A second Mandalorian spinoff series Rangers of the New Republic was also announced, no cast or plot detail were announced though expect Cara Dune to be the lead character.  The Bad Batch a new animated series following characters from the Clone Wars adjusting to life after Episode III.  The Acolyte is a series that will take place near the end of the High Republic era, it will be a mystery series with a female lead character.  The final new series announced was Lando, a series following the adventures of Lando Calrissian, there was no mention if Donald Glover will return to play the role of Lando.  

For most of the years it has been very quiet on the Marvel and Star Wars front, I guess Disney was busy confirming all of the plans for the future before announcing.  The announcements have more excited for the future of Disney Plus than any other streaming service, though if you are not a big fan of Marvel or Star Wars than you may not be impressed.  I am sure executives at HBO Max and Netflix are currently in meetings to try and see what they can come up with challenge Disney Plus.  I do not envy their executives as they will be fighting a losing battle since Disney owns Stars Wars and Marvel, they have an endless supply of shows and movies.  I think this announcement will be a wakeup call to HBO Max, Netflix and Prime as Disney is going all in on Disney Plus delivering a lot more Star Wars and Marvel content.  I am a fan of Prime and Netflix (HBO Max does not exist in Canada) and I do enjoy a lot of their content but neither streamer really scratches my fanboy itch (though Prime's The Boys does).  Having Darth Vader appear on the Obi Wan Kenobi series was something I hoped for but never believed would happen.  A Secret Invasion series was a true surprise, I was expecting that storyline to be played out in the movies in phase four culminating in an Avengers film.  I assumed there would be at least one spinoff series coming from The Mandalorian and Ahsoka was a likely choice given her connection to fans.  The Rangers of the New Republic series was something I was not expecting, I am curious what the story will be based on.  The Acolytes series is very interesting, the High Republic era is the next big thing in Star Wars, there will be books, comics, now a series and quite possibly a movie.  Starting in the new year Disney Plus will get a lot more exciting and will be giving fans lots of new content.  

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