When Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige spoke to investors during Disney’s presentation of its upcoming streaming service yesterday, one thing he mentioned was this: “We’re extremely enthusiastic about the opportunities that Disney+ supplies.”
This was in the context of describing how his brand’s superheroes would be showcased in the original series being created for the platform. “These are new long-form stories in ways we’ve never done before,” he said.
However Disney’s massive initiative to unite all its brands under one umbrella might play out, one thing’s for certain — it isn’t taking chances, and the announced projects represent an innovative way of representing what each of these stalwart properties means to fans.
For “Star Wars,” the new Disney+ projects that have been announced largely serve to expand upon what we know about a galaxy far, far away, with “The Mandalorian” (debuting with the service’s launch) offering perhaps the freshest look at the story universe, as it’s set between “Star Wars” Episode IV and Episode VII, a relatively under-explored period of time for the franchise. In addition, the untitled Cassian Andor series (announced as a Year Two offering) is a “Rogue One” prequel, which sets it between Episodes III and IV.
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Meanwhile, Marvel is largely banking on its pre-established characters for its original series, putting the spotlight not on Iron Man or Captain America but supporting players including the Scarlet Witch, Vision, the Falcon, the Winter Soldier, and Loki. Working to those series’ advantage is the fact that Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie and Tom Hiddleston will be reprising their roles.
The emphasis across the board is on family-friendly content — especially notable in the unscripted genre. The announced reality competition series “Be Our Chef” (hosted by “The Office’s” Angela Kinsey and set to debut during Year One) focuses on families facing off inside Walt Disney World for appropriately-themed cooking challenges, but the official release emphasizes that the show is “positive and playful in tone.”
Also emphasizing positivity are unscripted series featuring young “heroes” doing important work in their communities (“Marvel’s Hero Project”), a series aiming to bring families together to examine “relatable” issues (“(Re)Connect”), and a series focusing on animal conservationists (“Earthkeepers.”)
All of the above just represents ongoing series — the service also has plenty of plans for original standalone films as well, including its big launch title, a live-action adaptation of “Lady and the Tramp” featuring the voices of Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux. Some of the most interesting projects won’t be part of the platform’s initial debut, but as seen in the gallery above, there’s still plenty to get excited about.
Disney+ will be available in the United States on November 19. The monthly subscription price is $6.99, with annual subscriptions available for $69.99 a year.