Yesterday was a huge day for Disney with their investor day as they announced that they have more than fifty new projects in developments across the plethora of Disney properties. Whilst I’m not going to go into detail on each and every one, I’m going to be looking at some of the biggest reveals and trailers and throw in a bit of my own speculation as to where certain projects could go. So, let’s have a look!
There were a fair few announcements for the animation side of Disney, with several new shows in the works as well as information on movie releases.
Raya and the Last Dragon
The upcoming animated adventure from Disney Animation- Raya and the Last Dragon– will be coming to Disney Plus with the Premier Access feature on March 5th 2021. This is the second film that Disney will have released with Premier Access, following Mulan (though that is now free). I’m not sure about the Premier Access feature to be honest. We already pay for our Disney Plus subscriptions so it’s irritating to have to pay more on top of that. Pixar’s Soul film is coming to Disney Plus in December for no extra cost, so honestly I’m not sure why Premier Access has to be a thing.
Tiana and Moana
One of the most underrated Disney Princesses (in my humble opinion) from the 2009 The Princess and the Frog is getting her own Disney Plus series. Moana is getting one too, which will see the Polynesian princess venture out beyond her island and will take inspiration from the pacific island traditions surrounding storytelling. Both princess series’ will be musical comedies, possibly in the same vein of Rapunzel’s 2017 animated series Tangled: The Series. Randy Newman provided the music for The Princess and the Frog in 2009 whilst Mark Mancina and Lin-Manuel Miranda worked on the music for Moana in 2016. It’s unclear as to whether they will be returning to work on the music for these series’ respectively, but both films had amazing soundtracks. No matter who is enlisted to work on the music, I have no doubt the music will be incredible. Both the Tiana and Moana Disney Plus shows will be coming to the streaming service in 2023. Baymax from Big Hero Six is also going to be getting a Disney Plus series, as is the Zootopia movie. Both of these will be coming to the service in 2022.
Speaking of Lin-Manuel Miranda, Disney has enlisted his help with the music for another upcoming animated feature: Encanto. Encanto will focus on a Columbian girl who comes from a family with magical powers, though she herself doesn’t have them. The film is currently in development and will be directed by Byron Howard, Jared Bush and Chasire Castro Smith. I really like this idea as- let’s be honest- Disney characters are usually special snowflakes that are destined for greatness. Of course, just because this character doesn’t have magical powers doesn’t mean she won’t be that but it does make her instantly more normal. Encanto doesn’t have a release date as of yet.
This one was a particularly interesting announcement. Based on the African comic book series Iwájú from pan African Entertainment company Kugali Media, this animated series will be a first from this new partnership between Disney and Kugali. Set in Lagos in a science fiction future, the show will be coming to Disney Plus in 2022. The concept art looks absolutely stunning, depicting an Africa steeped in futuristic design.
Cars: The Series
Cars is getting a Disney Plus series in 2022. That is all I have to say on the matter. No wait, there is one more thing. Why? Just, why? Well, money I guess. But still…why??
Some interesting upcoming films were announced for Pixar, including two coming of age stories: Luca,- about an Italian boy who discovers otherworldly sea monsters- and Turning Red– a film about a 13 year old girl experiencing puberty who turns in to a giant red panda when she is excited. Yep. However, the most unexpected turn of events came from the announcement of Lightyear. An origin story to the well-known Space Ranger from the Toy Story series, Pete Doctor explained that when they created Buzz, they always had the idea that he was a toy based on a character from an epic space adventure. So why not make a film about that space adventure? I have always wondered whether Buzz was an original toy or a toy based on a movie or a space hero from the world that Toy Story is set in so to me, this is amazing. I can’t wait. I also love that Buzz himself is going to be voiced by Chris Evans. I know some people were wondering why Tim Allen couldn’t do it but I think it is to separate the toy character from the actual character of Buzz (is he a character in a sci-fi epic or an actual astronaut though??). Chris Evans has that all American charm and I think he perfectly fits as a variation on Tim Allen’s Buzz Lightyear (the toy, of course) voice. I’m hyped for this one, not gonna lie. Lightyear will be coming to theatres in summer, 2022.
We got our first proper look at Tom Hiddleston in the Loki Disney Plus series. We see that moment from Avengers: Endgame where 2012 Avengers Loki escapes with the Tesseract, cementing how he is now very much alive in an alternate timeline. Loki looks set to get up to many wacky hijinks in this series and I am all for it. Tom Hiddleston doesn’t miss a beat in his performance, even though it’s been nine years since his debut as Loki in the first Thor movie. He clearly knows this character inside out and I can’t wait to see him as Loki again in this series. He also wears a suit in the trailer and gives a cheeky wink. Swoon. We finally got a release date for the Loki series. It will be coming to Disney Plus in May, 2021.
The final trailer for the Disney Plus series starring Scarlet Witch/ Wanda Maximoff and Vision is just as bizarre as the rest of the promotional material has been. After Wanda’s losses and trauma during her time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it would seem that her mind has been fractured and she has created multiple realities with her powers. This weirdness might not be to everyone’s tastes but I am definitely looking forward to this to see how out there Marvel is willing to go with it. The use of The Monkee’s “Daydream Believer” in this trailer is a stroke of genius by the way. WandaVision is coming soon, releasing next month on Disney Plus.
An animated series based on the What If series of Marvel Comics was announced over a year ago and we got a more concrete look at it with this new trailer. The main stories on display were What If Peggy Carter was Captain America, which looks amazing. Peggy gets her own shield with the British flag emblazoned on it and I am all for it. We stan a lady super soldier/British queen. There was a glimpse at Bucky/ The Winter Soldier fighting a zombified Captain America too in the trailer. Marvel Zombies, yes please. There was also a look at a storyline that will focus on Black Panther’s Prince T’Challa switching places with Peter Quill and becoming a space explorer. It was bittersweet to hear Chadwick Boseman’s voice again but I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Falcon and The Winter Soldier
A proper trailer for the Disney Plus series was revealed and Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan are on top form in their roles. With Sam Wilson/ Falcon taking on the mantle of Captain America after the events of Avengers: Endgame, he and Bucky Barnes/ The Winter Soldier team up to fight against Zemo who makes a return following his villainous turn in Captain America: Civil War. That closing shot of Falcon swooping through a gorge is absolutely insane. I also didn’t think I would approve of Bucky’s short hair but damn boy, you’re looking good.
There were some glimpses at the upcoming Ms Marvel series as well as confirmations of the Hawkeye series coming in Fall 2021-with Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop- and three new Marvel Disney plus series announcements: Secret Invasion– the Nick Fury series- , Ironheart– focusing of Riri Williams, engineering expert- and Armour Wars– which will star Don Cheadle as War Machine/ James Rhodes a.k.a Rhodey. There is also a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special coming to Disney Plus in 2022 and a series of Groot based short films called I Am Groot.
Black Panther Will Not Be Recast
Onto Marvel movie news, Kevin Feige confirmed that Marvel will not be recasting Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa following the actors death last August. This is great news, though not unexpected. Boseman simply cannot be replaced and personally, I think it would have been unfair to do so. Black Panther 2 hasn’t had any information confirmed yet but there is a release date of July 2022.
Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania
What a title. Peyton Reed will return to direct this third Ant-Man film. I love this film series and I don’t think it gets the love it deserves so it makes me glad to know that Marvel haven’t forgotten about it entirely.
Jon Watts will direct the new feature film for Marvel’s First Family, Fantastic Four! pic.twitter.com/Eu26ghxbGT— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) December 11, 2020
No release date or casting news but official confirmation that there will be a brand new Fantastic Four movie from the director of the Tom Holland Spider-Man movies, Jon Watts. This series hasn’t really clicked in any of its iterations so here’s hoping that now Marvel’s first family are officially in the hands of Kevin Feige, they have a shot.
There was plenty of Star Wars news revealed yestersay, including shows and films.
The Mandalorian Spin Offs
Not one, but two spin off shows from The Mandalorian will be coming to Disney Plus and- just like The Mandalorian– will have Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni on board as executive producers. The first is Rangers of The New Republic, which will be set in the same timeline as The Mandalorian. The second is Ahsoka, a series focusing on Rosario Dawson’s Ahsoka Tano who made an appearance in The Mandalorian recently. Dawson will be reprising her role, which is awesome and she as literal perfection as Ahsoka. The shows will both have crossovers with The Mandalorian, so Mando and Ahsoka are likely to be crossing paths again.
Even More Disney Plus Star Wars Shows
The success of The Mandalorian has obviously made Disney go full throttle with their Star Wars shows as there were confirmations of tons more coming to their streaming service. Star Wars: Andor will be a show focusing on Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor from Rogue One. Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi will be set a decade after the prequel film Revenge of the Sith and will not only star Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan, but also Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader. It’s so crazy to think that this is actually happening. Lando Calrissian is also getting is own show from Justin Simien, creator of Dear White People. There will also be an animated series, a spin-off of the Clone Wars called The Bad Batch as well as an anime anthology series called Star Wars: Visions, The Acolyte– which will be a mystery thriller- and A Droid Story which will be about R2-D2, C-3PO and a brand new hero. It would seem that Lucasfilm are going to be rather busy over the next few years. The Mandalorian is a great show but it I do worry that Disney is putting all of their eggs in one basket with this plethora of shows. Only time will tell if television is going to become the primary media form for the Star Wars franchise.
In terms of films, the next Star Wars movie is definitely shaping up to be an interesting one. Rogue Squadron will be released in December 2023 and is going to be directed by Patty Jenkins, the awesome lady behind Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman: 1984. According to the Star Wars website, the story 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, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.” This is a really exciting way to push the franchise in a new direction, but there could always be returning characters. Maybe a cameo from Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron? Please let that happen. There was also an as of yet untitled Star Wars film coming from Taika Waititi which I am really excited for. I adored his take on Thor with Thor: Ragnorak so I can’t wait to see how he tackles a galaxy far, far away.
There was even more news on all of these properties during Investors Day so for the full details on everything announced, check out Disney’s official website.