Shut Up and Take My Money, Disney+
I pay for cable, but I also have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Crunchyroll subscriptions, and this slow then sudden switch to streaming platforms has me clutching what few remaining dollars I have. When I heard about Disney+, I rolled my eyes. But after yesterday, I think it might be worth a chance.
Yesterday was the Walt Disney Company’s Investor Day, which means we got a deluge of news about their upcoming streaming platform, Disney+, during the three-hour presentation. There had been some news earlier that got people excited – a Loki series, a Cassian Andor series, all of Disney’s movies (even the ones in the vault) becoming available. But the sheer number of announcements yesterday has my head spinning. (No, seriously. Even just writing this article has me flabbergasted. There was so much news yesterday that I missed quite a few of these.) The potential shows and movies sound amazing – but will they live up to the hype? Will they be worth the subscription?
Disney+ will be the exclusive home of any Disney films released in 2019 and beyond, including Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen 2, Toy Story 4, and the live-action reboots of Dumbo, The Lion King, and Aladdin. Every single film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will now be available in one place. The entire Star Wars franchise will be available on the platform within the first year. By the end of year one, there will be over 500 films available, including many of the animated classics as well as movies like The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, The Princess Diaries, and the original 1961 The Parent Trap. No word yet on whether controversial films Song of the South and The Black Cauldron will be made available, but I’m going to go with no on that.
In addition to a rather robust cinematic library, Disney+ will have over 7500 episodes of television available by the end of the first year. Current Disney series like Andi Mack and Raven’s Home will be on the platform, as well as animated classics Duck Tales, Kim Possible, and both Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But that’s not all! With Disney’s recent acquisition of Fox, Disney+ will now be the home of every single episode of the iconic show The Simpsons as well as other Fox shows like Malcolm in the Middle.
Now let’s look at the lineup of original shows Disney intends to showcase:
- WandaVision – A live-action show centered around Wanda Maximoff and The Vision. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, who play the characters in the MCU, will return for this series. (That title needs some work, though. Not a fan.) Currently in the MCU, Vision is dead and Wanda was dusted, so until Endgame premieres later this month, we won’t get much information about this show. For example, is it pre- or post-Endgame? It’s possible that it could be set pre-Infinity War post-Civil War, when these two were off on their own.
- The Falcon and the Winter Soldier – A live-action show centered around Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, who play the characters in the MCU, will return. (Title’s a bit on the nose, isn’t it?) Like WandaVision, we won’t know much about this until after Endgame, since both Sam and Bucky fell victim to Thanos’ snap.
- Loki – A live-action show centered around Loki. Tom Hiddleston is back for this series. Again, until Endgame, we probably won’t get much information about this show, but the possibilities are endless. Loki is, essentially, a god, and no doubt had thousands of adventures all over the universe before we even met him in Thor.
- Marvel’s What If – Based on the comic book run of the same name, this animated series takes moments in Marvel history and gives them a twist, postulating what would happen after. Each episode will feature a different scenario, and one of the confirmed episodes asks what would happen if Peggy Carter and not Steve Rogers took the super-soldier serum.
- The Mandalorian – The first live-action series set in the Star Wars universe, this series is set after the fall of the Empire and before the rise of the First Order. Written and executive-produced by Jon Favreau, the all-star cast includes Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, and Nick Nolte.
- Cassian Andor series (as yet untitled) – Diego Luna reprises his role as Cassian and Alan Tudyk returns as the voice of K-2SO for this series set before Rogue One (obviously) during the rise of the Empire.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars – This popular and Emmy-winning animated series returns for another season of 12 all-new episodes.
- Monsters at Work – This animated series follows the story of one young monster who is determined to work his way up to the Laugh Floor at Monsters, Inc. Set six months after Monsters, Inc., Billy Crystal, John Goodman, John Ratzenberger, Bob Peterson and Jennifer Tilly are all slated to return and join new cast members that include Ben Feldman, Kelly Marie Tran, and Henry Winkler.
- Lamp Life – This animated series follows the adventures of Bo Peep starting from when we last saw her in Toy Story 2 to when we meet her again in Toy Story 4.
- Forky Asks A Question – A series of 10 live-action shorts based on Forky, one of Bonnie’s craft projects that we meet in Toy Story 4, asking meaningful questions like, “What is love?” and “What is time?”
- Book of Enchantment – This series is based off of the Villains book series by Serena Valentino, which centers around Disney’s most iconic villains.
- High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – Set at real life East High, where the original movie was filmed, this series follows a group of students as they count down to their stage production of High School Musical.
- Diary of a Female President – Executive produced by Gina Rodriguez, Emily Gipson, and Ilana Peña, this series follows a 12-year-old Cuban-American girl as she navigates the ups and downs of middle school on her journey to becoming the future President of the United States.
- Love, Simon – Greg Berlanti is not involved, and there will be an all-new cast, but a series has been greenlit that will be based off of Leah on the Offbeat, Becky Albertalli’s sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was the basis of Love, Simon.
- High Fidelity – Originally designated for Hulu, this series starring Zoe Kravitz reimagines Nick Hornby’s novel – and the film of the same name – from the female perspective.
Not all of these will be available when Disney+ launches this November; some are slated to arrive in the streaming platform’s second year of service.
You know what? That’s not even everything. There are approximately 14 documentaries, unscripted series, and live specials slated to hit the streaming platform, and some of them sound absolutely amazing.
Here are some of the offerings among the documentary/unscripted series:
- The World According to Jeff Goldblum, which sounds like an entire show about Jeff Goldblum just wandering around being amazed by things.
- Cinema Relics, which is about looking back on classics films by specifically focusing on props and costumes, as remembered by the people who made them, the actors who wore/interacted with them, and the collectors/archives who currently own them.
- Magic of Animal Kingdom, which gives a behind-the-scenes look at one of Walt Disney World’s most spectacular attractions.
- Marvel’s 616, which will focus on the historical, cultural, and societal context that went into crafting Marvel’s diverse lineup of characters and rich legacy of stories.
- Ink & Paint, which tells the story of the history of animation at Disney, particularly in regards to the unsung force of trailblazing women who helped create some of the greatest animated films of all time.
I can’t. There’s just too much news, and I haven’t even gotten to the spate of original movies (live-action Lady and the Tramp, anyone?) that Disney+ will produce.
That’s just a small slice of the content that will be available when Disney+ launches later this year. After seeing the list and reading some of the descriptions, I have to admit that this sounds like a streaming service I would actually use, so it’s presumably one that I would be willing to pay for. So many of these new shows sound amazing (from what little we know of them), and the A-list actors who are signed on only further my excitement. There is some incredible talent that will be lending their strengths to Disney+, and it’s going to be difficult to pass that up.
Now for some of the nitty gritty. Yes, the content looks amazing, but what about the platform itself? How will it compare to services like Netflix and Hulu?
The first and most important point is price. Disney+ as a monthly subscription will be $6.99, but you will save a little bit of money if you commit to an annual subscription, which will be $69.99. For those of you with other streaming platforms, you’ll notice that the monthly fee is about half of what places like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime charge. That price is, by the way, for content without ads, which on other streaming services tends to cost extra.
Disney+ will be available on a number of devices, including web browsers, mobile devices, gaming consoles, streaming media players (like Roku), and smart TVs. All of its content will be downloadable, so you can watch it when you’re offline – as long as you’re a subscriber. Parents will be happy to know that they can create multiple profiles and set up parental controls.
The only thing I haven’t been able to find information about is the number of devices you can have under an account – as in, will friends and families who don’t live together be able to share one account, or will everyone need to get their own? If anyone happens to find out, please let me know!
All of this content and no ads for only $7 a month? Hell yes, sign me up for that. I really can’t afford another streaming service but honestly that’s way less than I was expecting to pay so I’m sure I can rearrange some things and come up with the fee. Honestly, that’s a pretty good deal for me. (Seriously, I would probably have paid that just for The Falcon and the Winter Soldier because I love me some Sebastian Stan.)
Disney+ launches November 12 in the US and will be global by the end of 2021.
What do you all think? Will you be getting a Disney+ subscription? Which of the new shows are you most excited for?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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