Disney+ will debut this year with a number of new shows and movies available at launch. The Walt Disney Company announced its hotly awaited streaming platform Disney+ to a flurry of headlines and excited fan responses. With the service set to launch in North America on November 12, with staggered releases internationally, the $6.99 a month ad-free platform seems guaranteed to be a huge hit. It may also present the first real competition that undisputed streaming giant Netflix has ever faced.
When Netflix got into making original programming, it benefitted greatly from being most people’s go-to platform for watching the stuff they already loved, and while Netflix’s subscriber numbers have risen and its own films and TV shows have gone great, by and large, they are still best known as the place to stream old episodes of Friends. That’s where their audience loyalty lies.
So, in that aspect, Disney has already won half the battle because they’re the home of some of the past century of Hollywood’s most beloved properties, even without the substantial acquisitions like Marvel Studios, Star Wars, and the recent Fox deal. Netflix has a head start in terms of sheer quantity of content, but Disney+ has already promised that by the end of their first year, they will house more than 500 movies and 7,500 episodes of TV, which is extremely impressive.
Not every show and movie owned by Disney will be immediately available in the Disney+ library due to various rights issues and licensing agreements still in place with other platforms, but the aim is for the streaming service to be the ultimate and completely comprehensive home of the company’s historic output.
Here is a more detailed look at what we know will be available on Disney+ on the day of launch, both new and old.
- This Page: New Original Content
- Page 2: Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, The Simpsons, and the Rest of Disney’s Catalog
Arguably the most anticipated original Disney+ series of the lot, The Mandalorian represents the historic first step into live-action television for Star Wars (not including the ill-fated Star Wars Holiday Special or Ewok Adventure TV movies). With Jon Favreau (The Lion King) and Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) at the helm, the directors attached to the first season include Thor: Ragnarok‘s Taika Waititi and actress Bryce Dallas Howard (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom). Set before the rise of the First Order and after the fall of the Galactic Empire, the series will follow a lone gunfighter “in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic”. The all-star cast includes Pedro Pascal in the lead, as well as Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposito, Carl Weathers, and none other than Werner Herzog. The Mandalorian will be available on Disney+ for its November 12th launch.
When the Disney Channel screened the TV movie High School Musical in 2006, few could have predicted how big a deal it would be. It became the most watched Disney Channel Original Movie upon its premiere, its soundtrack was the highest selling album of the year, it spawned two sequels (one of which got a theatrical release), and it helped to make Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens bona fide stars. The ten-episode scripted series that will premiere on Disney+ has been described as a meta take on the material, centering on a group of students who are performing their own production of High School Musical. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series will be available on Disney+ for its November 12th launch.
Disney got its start as a company making animated shorts and that tradition has continued throughout their many decades of business, winning them many Oscars and introducing future animation stars to the world. Disney+ will be home to many new animated shorts from the company: These include SparkShorts, the short films of Pixar, “designed to discover new storytellers and explore new storytelling techniques from across the studio”; and Forky Asks a Question, a series of shorts focusing on the newest star of the upcoming Toy Story 4. (Lamp Life, another Toy Story shorts series, this time focusing on the return of Bo Peep and filling in on where she’s been since Toy Story 2, will premiere at a later date).
The Good Place and Frozen star Kristen Bell will be the executive producer on this documentary about a group of former high school musical cast members who reunite to perform the shows they did as teenagers. Imagine High School Musical with a nostalgic twist. Encore! promises help from Broadway’s best and big performances of some musical classics. Encore! will be available on Disney+ for its November 12th launch.
The work of Disney’s Imagineers has helped to craft decades of the company’s most beloved and iconic theme park attractions. With Disneyland and its various theme park siblings launching into a new era of industry-wide domination thanks to the upcoming Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, it makes sense that Disney+ would want to focus in on that work, if only for promotional purposes (it’s also a proud part of Disney’s history as Walt Disney himself would present television specials that promoted the park and his various enterprises, winning him a few Emmys along the way). This documentary promises to chronicle over 65 years of Walt Disney Imagineering, with new behind-the-scenes footage of Disney’s parks and interviews with the people who made them. The currently untitled documentary will be available on Disney+ for its November 12th launch.
The series, produced by Marvel New Media in partnership with MaggieVision Productions, will focus on the real-life young heroes making a difference in their towns and communities, with Marvel celebrating the good work they do. It’s another example of Marvel’s growing influence, not to mention how Disney+ will allow them to dominate outside of cinema. The series will be available to view at launch.
Beloved actor Jeff Goldblum has giddily embraced his meme status over the past few years, and now Disney+ is taking advantage of that with the wonderfully titled series The World According to Jeff Goldblum. The show will follow Goldblum as he goes full Bill Nye in explaining the wonders of science, history and the stories behind the familiar objects that fill our lives. The series will be available to watch on launch.
Disney continues its recent tradition of live-action remakes of animated classics, with this take on the 1955 film being the first exclusive to debut on the streaming service. Lady & the Tramp will be directed by Charlie Bean (The Lego Ninjago Movie) and has a screenplay by indie icon Andrew Bujalski (Support the Girls). The voice cast includes Thor: Ragnarok‘s Tessa Thompson as Lady and The Leftovers‘ Justin Theroux as Tramp. The dogs won’t be CGI here. It’s all real and highly trained canines in the main roles. Lady & the Tramp will premiere with the service’s launch.
Page 2 of 2: Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, The Simpsons, and the Rest of Disney’s Catalog
Disney+ will serve as the exclusive streaming home of The Walt Disney Company’s major releases, which has proven to be their primary selling point so far. The press release makes a point of noting that all the major releases of 2019 will be Disney+ exclusives, although it does not give specific dates for their arrival on the platform. The listed recent releases include: Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Toy Story 4, The Lion King, Frozen 2, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Interestingly, Disney’s press release did not state every film that will be available at launch on Disney+. Instead, they offered “a sampling of content”, which included some of the biggest name properties. Key to this was, of course, Disney and Pixar’s illustrious back-catalog of animated classics. Not every animated film was named, but that’s not to say they won’t eventually premiere or even do so on the launch day. Many of those films are still tied up in other streaming and distribution deals. The big animated films by Disney and Pixar listed on the press release are: 101 Dalmatians, A Bug’s Life, A Goofy Movie (and its sequel), Bambi, Big Hero Six, Cars, Fantasia, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Frozen, Fun and Fancy Free, Hercules, Inside Out, Lady and the Tramp, Lilo & Stitch, Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas, Moana, Monsters University, the first volume of the Pixar Short Films Collection, Ratatouille, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Steamboat Willie, The Good Dinosaur, The Incredibles, The Prince & the Pauper, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Sword in the Stone, The Three Caballeros, Toy Story, Up, Wall-E, and Zootopia.
The Star Wars canon was always expected to be a crucial part of Disney+, although it is only with the Fox acquisition that Disney are able to offer the complete original trilogy since Fox still owned the distribution rights for the recently retitled Star Wars: A New Hope. As the press release notes, the first seven Star Wars films will be available on launch, as will Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the entire animated series of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (including the revival season 7), but Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story are not currently listed.
Netflix losing the streaming rights to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is certainly a loss that will sting for the platform. Disney+ promises “unprecedented access to the best content” from brands like Marvel, although the press release only lists Iron Man and Thor: The Dark World right now. It is hoped that by the end of their first year, Disney will have the full library.
In addition to Disney’s rich library of acquisitions and animated classics, Disney has plenty of live-action titles to show off on their streaming service. The Disney+ press release lists a handful of them: High School Musical, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Mary Poppins, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Remember the Titans, The Parent Trap (the original version), The Princess Diaries, The Rocketeer, and Tron. Their live-action output also includes several documentaries, such as Born in China and this year’s Best Documentary Feature Oscar winner Free Solo (a National Geographic title that came with the Fox acquisition). Interestingly, not many Fox titles are listed here, although that is expected to change.
As part of their aim to get over 7,500 episodes of television on the platform within its first year, the TV output of Disney+ includes plenty of Disney Channel favorites, including Andi Mack, Boy Meets World, both versions of DuckTales, Goof Troop, Kim Possible, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man, Mickey and the Roadster Racers, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey Mouse Shorts, Raven’s Home, Star Wars Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and That’s So Raven.
Another key feature of their TV output is National Geographic series: Amazing Planet, Brain Games, Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, Dr. K’s Exotic Animals, Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet, Drain the Ocean, Earth Live, Great Migrations, Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things, Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue, The Incredible Dr. Pol, Unlikely Animal Friends, and Wicked Tuna. Fox programming features briefly in the press release too, most notably Malcolm in the Middle. But the real jewel in the crown is much bigger than that.
If Disney only needed one reason to move forward with the much-discussed acquisition of Fox, then having the exclusive streaming rights to every episode of The Simpsons would certainly be a pretty good one. FXX has been hosting the show’s streaming rights for a while now, with the network launching the occasion with a marathon of every episode ever made at the time. Given the show’s popularity, its immense influence, and the sheer joy of binge-watching it, this element could very well end up being the biggest selling point of Disney+ to cynics who aren’t all that invested in the studio’s own products.
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