Disney Plus has a lot of content, and more is on the way.
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Disney Plus’ launch in November unleashed a vast Disney and Fox catalog of new and classic movies and shows to stream, boasting hundreds of movies and thousands of TV episodes from Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, X-Men, The Simpsons, Disney’s eponymous studios and others. As the coronavirus pandemic shuttered theaters and forced millions to entertain themselves at home, Disney has tweaked Disney Plus’ role as a bigger and earlier part of how it releases its big-screen films. Prior to the pandemic, you could generally count on Disney Plus to start streaming all of Disney’s theatrical releases about six to 10 months after their big-screen debuts. Now, Disney has announced a string of surprise streaming releases as the streaming service takes on a new role in big-screen films’ release plans. However, the pandemic has also closed down film production worldwide, which has left big question marks hanging over the release of some of Disney Plus’ highly anticipated original shows. Daily News NewsletterAll the latest tech news delivered to your inbox. It’s FREE!As Disney first started to cope with coronavirus cinema shutdowns, Disney Plus simply started streaming already-released movies months earlier than planned. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker began streaming three months early in May. Before that, Disney released animated hit Frozen 2 three months early as well, and Pixar’s Onward hit Disney Plus just weeks after coronavirus lockdown orders soon after its premiere deflated its theatrical run. Now Disney is ratcheting up the streaming releases of brand new movies too. The company’s live-action film version of the musical Hamilton arrived on July 3, spurring a big bump in interest in the service. Artemis Fowl, a sci-fi fantasy based on a popular series of young-adult books, started streaming June 12, even though it had been scheduled to hit theaters May 29. But the biggest surprise is Mulan, the 2020 live-action remake of Disney’s 1998 animated classic. Prior to Mulan, Disney had mostly been holding back its biggest-budget movies by delaying them into next year and beyond. But with no end in sight for the widespread cinema closures, the company plans to release Mulan on Sept. 4 not only in some theaters, but also on Disney Plus for an extra $30 fee. Mulan had originally been set to hit theaters in March, but then it was delayed three times before Disney finally settled on a release strategy.On the other hand, the future of other highly anticipated Disney Plus programming remains unclear. Disney Plus has called off the planned August release for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the first of its live-action Marvel original series that tie in directly with all the blockbuster movies. It hasn’t provided any guidance about when the show will premiere instead. And Disney Plus series WandaVision was meant to debut on the service in December, but it reportedly still needs to complete filming: Actor Paul Bettany was supposed to appear at a convention in July, but he canceled the appearance because he’s supposed to be resuming filming WandaVision in Los Angeles at that time. (That cancellation came before LA coronavirus cases spiked again, raising questions about whether shooting ever resumed.)One silver lining: Even though the coronavirus has been widely disruptive to filming schedules, The Mandalorian’s second season will premiere on the service in October as planned. This article provides details about when to expect high-profile titles. It also summarizes the pipeline of originals coming to Disney Plus, with timing details if they’re known.
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Library highlights to comeDisney has started skipping cinemas in favor of streaming movies originally planned to be a theatrical release: Aug. 14 – Ant-man and the Wasp rounds out the Disney-based Marvel Cinematic Universe catalog on Disney Plus. Once Ant-man and the Wasp joins the service, Disney Plus will have every MCU movie except for 2008’s The Hulk, which was distributed by Universal before Disney bought Marvel; and 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which were distributed by Sony. Aug 14 – The Greatest Showman, the 20th Century Fox movie musical, is loosely based on the life of circus magnate P.T. Barnum.Aug. 21 – Beauty and the Beast is 2017 live-action remake of Disney’s animated classic. Aug. 28 – Fantastic Four, the Marvel-based movie released in 2005, will be released to stream on Disney Plus alongside the 2015 remake already available there. Aug. 28 – Alice Through the Looking Glass is Disney’s live-action spin on the characters from Lewis Carrol’s book series. Sept. 4 – Mulan, the 2020 live-action remake will be available exclusively on Disney Plus in many of its markets for an additional $30 fee. Read full details about Mulan’s release. Sept. 4 – The Wolverine In normal times, you’d expect every theatrical Disney movie to hit Disney Plus roughly six to 10 months after its big-screen debut. But during the coronavirus pandemic, Disney may change the role of Disney Plus for other titles too. Original shows and movies The Falcon and The Winter Soldier series will launch in 2020.
Confirmed timing Disney’s Magic CampA film comedy about misfit campers who help magician rediscover his love of magic. Timing: Aug. 14The One and Only IvanA movie about a silverback gorilla in a mall-based circus who’s torn between his love for his caretakers and the wild life of freedom he left behind. Timing: Aug. 14Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the UniverseStepbrothers Phineas and Ferb; their older sister, Candace; Perry the Platypus; and the Danville gang come back together in an animated adventure. Phineas and Ferb set across the galaxy to rescue Candace, who has been abducted by aliens and spirited away to a far-off planet free of little brothers. Timing: Aug. 28Secret Society of Second-Born RoyalsA live-action movie that “combines the allure of royalty with the action-packed adventures of superheroes-in-training,” according to Disney. Timing: Sept. 24The Magic of Disney’s Animal KingdomThis reality series will follow the teams of more than 1,000 animal-care experts, vets and biologists at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium. Timing: Sept. 25The Lego Star Wars Holiday SpecialThe animated special draws inspiration from the infamous 1978 Holiday Special, now featuring the minifig versions of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Rose Tico, Chewbacca and the droids celebrating Life Day. Timing: Nov. 17Marvel’s 616This documentary series explores the intersection between Marvel’s stories, characters and creators and the real world. Each documentary will dive into the historical and cultural context to the stories of the Marvel Universe. Timing: Fall 2020The Right StuffNational Geographic’s original scripted series is adapted from Tom Wolfe’s iconic, bestselling nonfiction book about the the early days of the NASA space program. The eight-episode series chronicles the historic drama as the country’s earliest astronauts jockey to be the first man in space and follows NASA’s engineers, who work against the clock as pressures mount from Washington and a transfixed public. Timing: Fall 2020. CloudsAn inspirational film that tells the true story of Zach Sobiech, a musically gifted 17-year-old living with a rare bone cancer. The film follows Zach’s journey over the course of his senior year as he navigates love, friendship, family and leaving behind a musical legacy. Timing: Fall 2020Black BeautyA contemporary adaptation of Anna Sewell’s classic 19th century novel, Black Beauty is about the bond between a teen girl grieving the loss of her parents and a wild mustang horse. Kate Winslet will voice Black Beauty and Interstellar’s Mackenzie Foy will play Jo Green, the young woman who becomes her caregiver. Timing: 2020Star Wars: Bad Batch An animated series about a unique squad of clone troopers, which first appeared in the final season of The Clone Wars. Timing: 2021Just BeyondA horror/comedy anthology series based on the best-selling graphic novel series from children’s writer R.L. Stine. Timing: Fall 2021 Unconfirmed timing Disney hasn’t confirmed the release dates for any of the following titles since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted plans. The release timing that’s listed for each title is either its originally planned timing or the expectation for when that show or movie is likely to come out. The Falcon and The Winter SoldierClosely tied to events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson character (and his Falcon alter-ego) return as the new Captain America, after elderly Steve Rogers handed off his shield in Endgame. Sebastian Stan’s Bucky joins him to fight evil as a duo, and Daniel Bruhl will reprise his role of villain Zemo from Captain America: Civil War in the series. Even though the budget of the miniseries doesn’t quite reach the stratospheric heights that MCU movies enjoy, Mackie said in June that the the filming experience for the show “feels exactly like” a big-screen Marvel movie. “So instead of a two-hour movie, a six or eight-hour movie,” he said. It is being written by Malcolm Spellman of Empire, according to Variety, and John Wick writer Derek Kolstad, according to The Wrap. Meanwhile, Kari Skoglan — known for work on The Handmaid’s Tale — will direct all six of the series’ episodes, according to Deadline. Timing: Indefinite; August release date was scrapped, and production was halted because of coronavirus. WandaVisionElizabeth Olsen will return as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany will reprise his role as Vision in the new Marvel Studios series. Marvel has called WandaVision a “mega event series” for Disney Plus. WandaVision will take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. With Bettany returning, the series will presumably address how Vision is revived after his death in Infinity War. It will also include Teyonah Parris playing adult Monica Rambeau, first seen as a child in Captain Marvel. The events of WandaVision were supposed to lead directly to Scarlet Witch’s appearance in theatrical film Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness, a theatrical film that has been delayed until March 2022. WandaVision is “unlike anything we’ve done before,” Olsen said at the Comic-Con announcement of the show. “It’s gonna get weird.” Timing: Originally slated for December, but production was halted because of coronavirus.LokiTom Hiddleston will reprise his role as Loki, saying the show will feature the version of Loki seen in 2012’s first Avengers film. Loki appeared to be killed by Thanos at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, but Endgame’s “time heist” plot showed Loki in 2012 snatching the tesseract/space stone and teleporting away. The Loki series will explain what happened to Hiddleston’s character right after that, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said. Hiddleston also said the series version of Loki reflects the mischievous version seen in The Avengers, not the reformed Loki seen in Thor: Ragnarok. Timing: Originally slated for spring 2021, but production was halted because of coronavirus. Marvel’s What If…? Marvel Studios’ first animated series takes inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into alternate realities. Many actors from the MCU will serve as voice talent, and the casting is already hinting at what storylines What If…? will explore. Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman coming back ensure a Black Panther alternate reality with Jordan’s villain Kilmonger. In the Thor corner, the Ragnarok team of Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Taika Waititi and Jeff Goldblum are all getting back together — plus Natalie Portman. Another episode will address a Peggy Carter alternate world with Hayley Atwell returning as Peggy and Dominic Cooper reprising young Howard Stark. Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas will voice their Ant-Man roles, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury will be showing up too. A narrator voiced by Jeffrey Wright will serve as a through line across episodes. Wright’s narrator is The Watcher, part of a celestial race that watches over events taking place in the MCU. The Watchers were briefly seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 during Stan Lee’s cameo. Timing: Originally slated for summer 2021. Hawkeye Picking up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the Hawkeye series will see Jeremy Renner reprise his role as the archer, and feature Kate Bishop, who in the comics becomes the next Hawkeye. Exploring the character’s time as Ronin, Renner said in a Comic-Con appearance, “I get to teach someone else how to be a superhero without superpowers.” Timing: Originally slated for fall 2021. Ms. Marvel In the comics, Ms. Marvel, or Kamala Khan, is a teen protege of Captain Marvel’s Carol Danvers and is Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book. Timing: Originally slated for 2021. Untitled Cassian Andor Star Wars SeriesDiego Luna will reprise his role of rebel spy Cassian Andor in this series set during the formative years of the Rebellion prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire. Alan Tudyk will also reprise his role as K-2SO with Stephen Schiff (The Americans) as showrunner and executive producer. Timing: Unknown, possibly 2021. Luna said in February that shooting was set to begin in 2020 ahead of the planned 2021 release, but any progress toward shooting halted in March. Monsters at WorkInspired by the characters of Monsters, Inc., the animated series picks up six months after the events of the original film. Tylor Tuskmon, an eager young mechanic who works on the Monsters, Inc. facilities team, dreams of working his way up to the Laugh Floor. Returning cast members Billy Crystal, John Goodman, John Ratzenberger, Bob Peterson and Jennifer Tilly will join new cast members Ben Feldman, Kelly Marie Tran, Henry Winkler, Lucas Neff, Alanna Ubach and Stephen Stanton. Timing: Originally slated for spring 2021. (Re)Connect Another reality series, each episode of (Re)Connect will show a family disconnecting in order to address a relatable issue and confront the family’s dilemma. Timing: Originally planned for 2020. Earthkeepers (working title)Earthkeepers is a cinematic documentary series profiling people changing the way we see the animal kingdom: conservationists who seek to help some of the planet’s most endangered species. Timing: Originally planned for late 2020 or 2021. Ink & Paint The documentary series, based on the book of the same name, tells the story of how an unsung workforce of women helped create some of the most beloved animated films of Disney. Timing: Timing: Originally planned for late 2020 or 2021. Other originalsThe release timing of some Disney Plus originals is hazy. In some cases, the company has announced plans for originals without any indication of when they’ll come out: She-Hulk series, a Marvel original about the cousin of Bruce Banner who gains super-human powers from a transfusion of Banner’s blood (and yes, Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo is in talks to appear on the show) Moon Knight series, another Marvel original abut former mercenary and CIA agent Marc Spector, who has multiple personalities and is imbued with powers from an Egyptian godA female-focused Star Wars seriesA series based on the National Treasure franchise of moviesA Gaston and LeFou original series that is a prequel to 2017’s live-action Beauty & the Beast, starring the actors from the filmA live-action remake of Robin HoodA Lizzie McGuire reboot seriesA Home Alone reboot movieA Mighty Ducks rebook seriesBig Shots, a dramedy focused on girls high school basketball, starring John StamosThe Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, a series based on The Disney Channel animated series A comedic puppet talk show, Earth to Ned, with the Jim Henson CompanyA Turner and Hooch series updating the 1989 Tom Hanks movieAn untitled Mickey Mouse documentaryA docu-series about people who “embody the Disney ethos,” called People & PlacesA project about celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, called simply WolfgangA National Geographic documentary called Science Fair