by Thinus Ferreira
Grab a snack and sit back - Disney is full-on signalling that it's ready to do big battle with Netflix for global video streaming supremacy and bringing out the fully loaded content guns for its Disney+ streaming service. Here are the 80 biggest announcements Disney made.
The Walt Disney Company on Thursday night held a virtual 2020 Disney Investor Day that included a raft of content announcements that ranged from the Kardashians to the Marvel universe, from Pixar to National Geographic and even that Star Wars galaxy far, far away.
Disney's presentation was strongly focused on how the Mouse House is bolstering its catalogue of its Disney+ video streaming service, clearly showing that as the world's second-biggest streaming service it is ready to take on Netflix for first place.
Disney executives said that it's main-focus in content creation is now on growing its direct-to-consumer business, meaning Disney+, and that it is pivoting to a "DTC first business model".
Disney spoke multiple times about its Disney+ subscribers "all around the world" and new territories where it plans to launch Disney+ as well as its general entertainment video streamer STAR, yet Africa and any news or announcements regarding rollout in South Africa or sub-Saharan Africa was once again conspicuously absent from Disney's presentation.
South Africans who are pirate-viewing unavailable Disney+ content like Star Wars The Mandalorian are desperate for Disney+ to launch or for a pay-TV operator like MultiChoice to announce that it's adding Disney+ to its new DStv Explora Ultra as as streaming service option.
With its presentation Disney clearly wanted to show that it can rival or outpace a competitor like Netflix when it comes to creating new original content based on its own sought-after brands and intellectual property.
Here is the 80 most noteworthy announcements Disney made:
1. While Disney plans to rollout Disney+ in more countries and territories in 2021, the continent of Africa and South Africa as it's most developed TV market still doesn't feature anywhere.
Disney+ is already in all of the comparable markets to South Africa like the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and South American countries, and Disney will roll out STAR as a new general entertainment video streamer in places like South America.
2. STAR as Disney's new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service will be a general video entertainment service that will launch outside of the United States.
It will be for more mature audiences like adults and older teenagers, so it will, for instance, carry a film like Deadpool and general content that - although part of Disney - Disney wants to keep separate from the kid and family-friendly Disney+ brand.
STAR is essentially the hulu video streamer that is available in America but that Disney last year said "has no name brand recognition" outside of America, which is why Disney is going with STAR internationally.
STAR will include series from Disney Television Studios and FX, as well as films and library content from the Disney library and its 21st Century acquisition, for instance, The Simpsons. Available content titles will only show up within STAR depending on the parental control level chosen.
In South America STAR will launch as it's own stand-alone service called STAR+. Elsewhere, for instance, in Australia, Canada and elsewhere, it will launch in February 2021 as STAR as the 6th tile within the existing Disney+ streaming service. Disney+ now has 86.8 million subscribers globally and will hike prices from March 2021 because of the fold-in STAR content offering.
3. hulu's The Handmaid's Tale seen on M-Net (DStv 101) and Showmax has been renewed for a 5th season.
4. The Kardashian Jenner clan and their Keeping Up with the Kardashians that got cancelled on NBCUniversal's E! (DStv 124) a few months ago is jumping into streaming. hulu and STAR is doing a new video streaming reality series with the Kardashians that it plans to run for several years.
hulu content, unlike Disney+ content, is for sale to M-Net so expect this series to show up on M-Net, one of the M-Net channels like VUZU, or somewhere on DStv.
5. FX's It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia seen on M-Net (DStv 101) and Showmax has been renewed for a further 4 more seasons, taking it to season 18.
6. FX has commissioned an Alien TV series, as "the first Alien story set on Earth" and Ridley Scott is involved. "Set not too far into our future, it's the first Alien story set on Earth. By blending both the timeless horror of the first film with the action of the second, it's going to be a scary thrill-ride that will blow people back in their seats". This series will very likely be available for pick-up by M-Net (DStv 101) or FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131).
7. FX is working on Shogun, a new series based on the James Clavell novel, as "one of the most sweeping, sophisticated adult series that FX has ever created". It is "set within the riveting and real Game of Thrones that was feudal Japan".
8. Disney and Lucasfilm are working to bring a further 10 Star Wars series to Disney+. Star Wars The Mandalorian is getting two, live-action spin-off TV series. Star Wars Rangers of the New Republic and Star Wars Asoka will both be set within the timeline of The Mandalorian. "These interconnected shows along with future stories will excite new audiences," says Disney. These series will "culminate in a climactic story event".
9. "One of the most exciting and ambitious series we have coming to Disney+ in 2022 is Endor - a tense, nailbiting spy-thriller in the Star Wars universe," with Diego Luna back in the role as Rebel spy Cassian Endor from Rogue One. Production on Endor started in London 2 weeks ago.
10. Star Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi is a special event series and will start 10 years after the dramatic events of the Revenge of the Sith film. "Hayden Christensen will be returning in the role of Darth Vader. This will be the rematch of the century". Production will start in March 2021.
11. The animation series Star Wars The Bad Batch is a new spinoff from Star Wars The Clone Wars and "follows the specialist commandos of Clone Force 99 as they embark on new missions in a rapidly changing galaxy".
12. Star Wars Visions will be a series of animated short films celebrating the Star Wars galaxy through the lens of the world's best anime creators. This anthology collection will bring 10 stories from the leading Japanese anime studios to life and offer a fresh and culturally diverse perspective on Star Wars.
13. In Star Wars Lando, Lando Calrissian will return in a brand-new limited, event series.
14. Star Wars The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into "a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic Era".
15. Lucasfilm Animation is teaming up with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) to develop A Droid Story. "This epic journey will introduce us to a new hero guided by our most iconic duo, R2-D2 and C-3PO on a special mission, known only to them".
16. The new Willow series will be set decades after Ron Howard's 1988 movie "continuing the spirit of adventure, heroics and humour of the original film". Filming starts in March 2021 in Wales and will debut on Disney+ in 2022.
17. The next and final film of Indiana Jones is in pre-production. Harrison Ford will be back to "conclude this iconic character's journey". Indiana Jones will start shooting in late 2021 and will be released in July 2022.
18. Tomi Adeyemi's book Children of Blood and Bone is getting the feature film treatment and the story will revolve "around a young African girl's heart-racing quest to restore magic to her forsaken people, the magi".
19. Taika Waititi is busy writing the next Star Wars film.
20. Patty Jenkins will be directing the next Star Wars film, Star Wars Rogue Squadron that will "introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride". Rogue Squadron will be released in cinemas Christmas 2023.
21. Courteney Monroe, president of National Geographic content, says the new documentary film Cousteau "features never-before-seen archival footage as a deep-dive into the fascinating life of the man who first showed us the beauty and wonder under the sea".
22. The National Geographic anthology series Genius is moving exclusively to Disney+ from the 4th season that will dramatise and profile the life of the American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr.
23. James Cameron is doing the new National Geographic natural history series, Secrets of the Whales, narrated by Sigourney Weaver, showcasing never-before-seen behaviour from 5 different whale species.
24. A Real Bug's Life will be using the latest miniaturised camera technology to capture and show the world of insects from the African savannah to New York's urban life.
25. America The Beautiful is a natural history portrait series showing the wildlife and places of the United States.
26. In Welcome to Earth, Will Smith takes viewers on a journey around the world, exploring the strangeness of our planet and some of the most extreme and exciting places, for instance, the side of a volcano and going inside a glacier in Iceland.
27. Big Shot from David E. Kelly is a new dramedy series set in the world of high school basketball with John Stamos who becomes the coach of a girls team at a private California high school.
28. Beauty and the Beast The Prequel Series will be a live-action drama series set before the events of the film with Luke Evans and Josh Gad who will return to reprise their roles.
29. Swiss Family Robinson will be a live-action drama series and reimagine the classic story as a live-action drama series.
30. The Mysterious Benedict Society is a live-action dramedy, based on the young adult book.
31. Disney is working on Hocus Pocus 2 as a "spooky sequel" to the original bewitching film.
32. Disney is "deep in development" with "a hilarious take on the 80s comedy" Three Men and a Baby. Aiming for a 2022 release, Three Men and a Baby has Zac Efron attached in a starring role.
33. Greek Freak, heading into production in 2021, is a biopic based on the life of the life story of NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family as they lifted themselves out of poverty as undocumented immigrants living in Greece. Disney+ is developing another similar biopic about another NBC star, Chris Paul.
34. The live-action film Flora & Ulysses is based on the book about the girl Flora and her squirrel Ulysses and will be released in February 2021 on Disney+.
35. In 2022, Disney is reimagining the comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, centred around a multi-racial, blended family of 12, navigating a hectic home-life, while managing their family business. Gabrielle Union will star in this reboot.
36. Disney is revisiting the beloved Diary of a Wimpy Kid but this time as an animation film.
37. After 5 films, 20th Century Studios is now in production on a spinoff film, exclusively for Disney+ entitled The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild and will revolve around the possum brothers and weasel Buck.
38. Night at the Museum is returning as a new animated film.
39. In July 2021 Disney will release Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.
40. Disney is developing "a Lion King prequel of sorts that revisits these iconic characters" and production is underway on the already-announced live-action version of The Little Mermaid that will have the classic songs as well as new music.
41. Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers is becoming a Disney+ hybrid live-action and animation film. In this film, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, "cartoon are living among us, in all their forms, and let us just say they may have gone a little overboard to keep up with current popularity of CGI". The film will be release in late-2022.
42. The live-action remake of Pinnochio was already announced but the Tom Hanks film with state-of-the-art special effects is now moving to Disney+.
43. Peter Pan & Wendy is a new film specifically for Disney+ with Jude Law as Captain Hook.
44. Disney confirms that Amy Adams will be back as Giselle in a sequel to Enchanted exclusively for Disney+. The live-action film, Disenchanted will once again follow the hapless Disney princess who accidentally found herself in New York.
45. Disney is developing Sister Act 3 - and Whoopi Goldberg will be back in the starring role and producing. Tyler Perry is also a producer on the project.
46. The already-announced live-action film Cruella will dive into the early life of "one of the most notorious, and most notoriously fashionable villains, the legendary Cruella de Ville played by Emma Stone. Set in the 1970's punk-rock London, Cruella (then Estella) is noticed as a burgeoning fashion designer.
47. Walt Disney Animation Studios is doing its first-ever original animation series based on the Big Hero 6 film, entitled Baymax!. It will be on Disney+ in early-2022.
48. Zootopia+ is a short-form series that will take a hilarious look at some of the animal that moviegoers only briefly met in the film. Viewers will get to know more about Zootopia's hottest shows like The Real Housewives of Little Rodentia, So You Think You Can Prance about the back-up tiger dancers, and a show that follows the fast lane of sloth speed. Zootopia+ will release on Disney+ in late-2022.
49. Tiana is a new long-form animation series coming to Disney+ in 2023 and revolves around the Disney princess and her friends in a musical comedy series with Tiana stepping into her role as a princess of a land yet to be seen, as well as with a lot of New Orleans to be discovered.
50. Disney is developing a long-form musical comedy series, Moana, to explore new stories with this character. "In this series, Moana's boundless sense of adventure takes her far beyond the reef". Moana the series will be on Disney+ in 2023.
51. Walt Disney Animation Studios is teaming up with the pan-African comic book company Kugali to create the original animation series Iwájú for Disney+. Walt Disney Africa was asked how viewers in Africa will be able to see Iwájú - that roughly means "the future" but the company didn't respond. Iwájú will debut on Disney+ in 2022. The long-form series, steeped in science fiction, is set in Lagos, Nigeria.
52. Walt Disney Animation Studios' 60th feature film will be an animation musical set in Colombia, where a magical family lives in a magical home in Encanto. Songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda is attached with songs in Spanish and English.
53. Pixar has a new upcoming animation spinoff series from the UP film entitled Dug Days, following the talking dog's adventures and that will release around March 2021.
54. The Cars franchise is making a comeback around late-2022 with a new animation series following Lightning McQueen and his best friend Mater as they head on a roadtrip across America. Episodes will be filled with imaginative new destinations as well as old friends.
55. Win Or Lose is Pixar's first long-form original animation series and follows a primary school sports team in the week leading up to a game. Each 20-minute episode follows the same week but from the perspective of a different character. The Pixar series will debut on Disney+ in late-2023.
56. Luca is a new Pixar animated feature film set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian riviera following the adventures of the boy Luca and his friend Alberto experiencing an unforgettable summer. It will debut in cinemas worldwide in June 2021.
57. Around March 2022 Pixar will release the feature film Turning Red revolving around May, a confident 13-year old who uncontrollably turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets excited.
58. In mid-2022 Pixar plans to release Lightyear in cinemas. Remember in Toy Story how the Buzz Lightyear
doll action figure was based on a never-seen film? Lightyear is now that film as the "definitive origin-story of the original Buzz Lightyear and reveals how this young test pilot became the space ranger we all know him to be today". Captain America's Chris Evans will be voicing Buzz.
59. Marvel Studios' already-announced WandaVision series coming 15 January 2021 released a new trailer and it looks a bit like the Pleasantville film, with the characters of Wanda and Vision who will discover that they're trapped in some reality/universe not of their making.
60. Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be released in cinemas 25 March 2022 and will connect directly to the events of Wandavision and will also connect to the new Spider-Man film coming to theatres in December 2021.
61. Marvel Studios also unveiled a new trailer for the already-announced Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier coming from March 2021 and will be "a cinematic experience playing out over 6 episodes".
62. The already-announced Black Widow will return to the big screen on 7 May 2021 with Scarlett Johansson.
63. Loki with Tom Hiddleston will debut as a Disney+ series in May 2021 and is joined by Owen Wilson, Richard E. Grant and others. "We've put Loki in the centre of his own crime-thriller. If that sounds a little confusing, don't worry, Loki is just as confused."
64. What If...? is the first animated series from Marvel Studios and will release on Disney+ in mid-2021. The series "flips the script on the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), taking famous events from the films and reimagining them in unexpected ways". Many MCU actors will reprise their roles for their animation versions.
65. Production has just wrapped in Australia on the film Chang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and will release in cinemas on 9 July 2021.
66. The already-announced American-Pakistani superhero series Ms Marvel will release next year on Disney+ with Iman Vellani in the title role.
67. The already-announced Captain Marvel 2 is currently in the works and will also be connected to the Wandavision series.
68. The already-announced Eternals will release in cinemas ofrom 5 November 2021 and Marvel Studios describes it as "introducing a brand-new emsembleof superheroes" that "is an epic story spanning thousands of years and is one of our most ambitious films yet".
69. The original Avenger Jeremy Renner returns to star in Hawkeye launching on Disney+ in late 2021. In this new series Hawkeye will team up with another well-known archer Kate Bishop who will be played by Hailee Seinfeld.
70. She Hulk is coming to Disney+ as a new series and is described as "a very funny series" with Tatiana Maslany in the title role. Tim Roth is returning as the Abomination first introduced in 2008's The Incredible Hulk. Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk will be appearing in the series as well.
71. Moon Knight is an action-adventure, Indiand Jones type story from Marvel Studios as a Disney+ series. Moon Knight is a vigilante suffering from disassociative identity disorder and these multiple identities are very distinct characters. The backdrop to the series is Egyptian iconography.
72. Secret Invasion was a Marvel Comics cross-over story and now with Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury is a new series coming to Disney+.
73. Ironheart is a new Disney+ series about inventor Riri Williams, played by Dominique Thorne, who makes her own most advanced suit of armor since Iron Man. Ironheart and Secret Invasion will both tie-in to MCU feature films.
74. Production is also underway on a new series, Armor Wars. Tony Stark's worse feat comes true - it's what happens when his tech falls into the wrong hands. Don Cheadle will appear as War Machine.
75. Marvel Studios will be doing a live-action The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special for Disney+ with James Gunn as writer and director and will release in December 2023.
76. Baby Groot, everybody's favourite little tree, will appear in the series I Am Groot on Disney+, featuring several new characters.
77. Thor Love and Thunder will start filming in January 2021 with director Taika Waititi and Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tessa Thompson returning and Christian Bale as Gorr, the God Butcher. It will release in cinemas on 22 May 2022.
78. Development and storylines are coming together for Blade with Mahershala Ali in the title role.
79. The third Ant-Man film from Marvel Studios will officially be called Ant-Man and the Wasp Quantumania. Paul Rudd as Ant-Man will be back together with Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer, and Kathryn Newton is joining the cast as Cassie Lang.
80. Black Panther II won't recast the role of Chadwick Boseman and will release in cinemas 8 July 2022.Writer and director Ryan Coogler is working on the story. Marvel Studios is working on a new The Fantastic 4 feature film.