Disney+ Steals the Show at D23 Expo
This weekend’s D23 Expo was likely the most important in the convention’s short history. Alongside the traditional sneak preview of the studio’s upcoming movie slate and brand new theme park attractions, this year’s Expo also served as the launch event for Disney+, the brand new streaming service set to debut in just over two months. Whilst the biggest news out of the panel came from Marvel and Star Wars, which our own Grant Davis and Star Wars News Net have covered, there was far, far more revealed during the panel so read on for all the magic that awaits on Disney+.
Following a procession of High School Musical drummers, Disney’s Chairman of Direct-to-Consumer Kevin Mayer took to the stage. To the packed Hall D23 Mayer announced that within the first year of Disney+ the entire Pixar catalogue and, according to Hypable‘s live coverage, the entire Disney vault would be available on the service, alongside content from National Geographic, The Muppets, Marvel, and all the Star Wars films. I’m assuming when they say the entire Disney vault they’re referring strictly to the Walt Disney Animation Studios canon, which is still 58 movies including this year’s Frozen 2 and includes many of the studio’s most famous and beloved pictures.
He then shared a video introducing the service and featuring everything from the original classic Snow White to last month’s The Lion King;
I have to say, Disney certainly know how to use music in a good trailer. It still feels a little weird seeing The Simpsons alongside Mickey Mouse and Jack Sparrow, but I love the way they transitioned between shots of animated classics and live action remakes, and way they put together the images from Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast as the respective princes spin the princesses in the air.
And then Mayer said the word that would make Netflix jealous; “Permanently.” I know there have been reports recently that Disney’s 2016-2018 catalogue would return to Netflix around 2026 under the existing deal so I’m not quite sure how this affects things, but if Disney have resolved it then that’s a major win for Disney+.
Day one will see over a thousand hours of Disney Channel content coming to Disney+. Which is good news, because if you liked those old shows you may want to catch up with them as Disney+ is going to see some unexpected revivals!
Summer vacation isn’t over! Phineas and Ferb are back in brand new original movie, Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe.
And the inventive duo aren’t the only Disney Channel favorites returning as Hilary Duff is back for a brand new series of Lizzie McGuire that will see the former high school girl living her dream life in New York City. With the cartoon teenage Lizzie still in her head, of course.
The Wild Cats are also back, as Disney unveiled the first look at High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. A documentary style show within a show, set at the real-life East High, where the original movie was filmed, as they stage their own production of the film’s musical adaptation.
Pixar was up next, premiering the first in a brand new series of shorts, Forky Asks a Question, which sees Tony Hale return as the inquisitive piece of trash turned toy as learns about the world around him, with help from his Toy Story friends.
Whilst the Forky shorts begin streaming on 12th November, we’ll have to wait a little longer for Pixar’s full length series Monsters at Work. The Monsters Inc. spin off is due for release next year and new artwork revealed at D23 introduced us to Tylor Tuskmon (Ben Feldman) and Millie (Aisha Tyler), two of the new characters from the series;
In addition to Feldman and Tyler, the series has cast Kelly Marie Tran, Henry Winkler, and Lucas Neff in undisclosed roles, and will see the return of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Jennifer Tilly, and John Ratzenberger from the original films.
The Marvel section of the panel kicked off with Kevin Feige confirming that the biggest movie in the world, Avengers: Endgame, would begin streaming exclusively on Disney+ on 11th December.
Talk then moved to the Disney+ series announced at SDCC. First up, What If? The animated series that looks at what might have been if events in the MCU had taken a different path. Almost every star from the MCU is said to be returning and Hayley Atwell came on stage as they revealed a look at Peggy Carter as Captain Britain.
In a short video Tom Hiddleston thanked fans as it was revealed that Loki would follow the God of Mischief after he stole the Tesseract and vanished in Endgame.
Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan came out on stage to confirm that Sharon Carter (Emily VanCamp) would be returning for The Falcon and The Winter Soldier along with a new character called John Walker. A poster for the show was also given away at the Expo;
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany were on hand to debut a sneak peek of WandaVision that interspersed footage of Wanda and Vision with The Mary Tyler Moore Show to given audience members a feel for the show, which the stars called funny, wacky, and epic. They also announced that Darcy Lewis would return as Kat Dennings in the series, and joining the cast would be Randall Park and Katheryn Hahn.
As I mentioned before, Grant has already covered the three new series that were announced at D23 – Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, and She-Hulk. And yes, Ms. Marvel will appear in the movies as well!
Disney+ is set to play host to a slew of unscripted series from Disney, National Geographic, and even Marvel. These shows include Marvel Hero Project, Pixar in Real Life, Disney Nature Dolphin Reef, and Pick of the Litter. But the two we’re getting at launch are National Geographic’s The World According to Jeff Goldblum and Disney’s Encore! from Kristen Bell. Trailers for both were released at D23 Expo, and I swear Encore! may be the most heart warming show on this platform when it launches.
Disney has a whole host of original movies in the pipeline for Disney+. After touching on Stargirl, a musical coming of age story, and Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, both of which are due to premiere next year, Disney revealed the trailers for two films launching with the service on 12th November.
Josh has already said how fantastic Lady and the Tramp looks, but I just want to add the heart warming fact that the dogs featured in the film are all rescue dogs who have now found forever homes, which just makes the trailer even more magical to me.
In addition to the remake of the beloved classic, Disney+ will launch with an all new Christmas film. Noelle stars Anna Kendrick as Santa’s daughter who has to find her brother, Billy Eichner, after he runs away rather than become the next Santa.
Disney also treated those in Hall D23 with early looks at Togo, the pup who wants to be a sled dog, along with the new series, Diary of a Female President.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a new Muppets series coming next year! Muppets Now, will be a short form, unscripted series featuring all your favorite muppets and celebrity guests, but more details than that remain a mystery for now due to Joe the Legal Weasel;
The panel ended with Lucasfilm as Kathleen Kennedy took to the stage confirming that all of the canon Star Wars films will be on the platform within the first year. Then came her first reveal – the much anticipated seventh season of The Clone Wars will begin streaming February 2020.
Next up, Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk came out to discuss the still untitled Cassian series, which Alan jokingly wants to call K2Fast K2Furious: A Cassian Andor Series. There’s not much they can revealed except that the series is due to film next year.
Then came the big moment. Arguably the most anticipated trailer of the panel, The Mandalorian. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni joined Kennedy on stage alongside the stars of the show, Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, and Taika Waititi to introduce the long awaited trailer for the first live action Star Wars series!
But there was still one surprise left. Well, not really a surprise at this point, but we finally got official confirmation that Ewan McGregor is putting on the Jedi robes once more and returning as Obi-Wan Kenobi!
Even as the return of Ewan McGregor brought the Disney+ panel to it’s conclusion, there was still one more series for the streaming platform that wasn’t covered at the panel. Announced the day before the Expo, One Day at Disney is a collaboration between Disney Publishing and Disney+ that offers an in depth look at the roles Disney cast members play. From Imagineers to animators, stage performers to the coach drivers on Main Street USA, each of the 52 short-form episodes will highlight the people behind the magic.
Disney+ launches on 12th November in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands, with an international rollout to follow.
Thanks to Hypable for the live panel coverage.