As Disney Plus prepares to launch, the streaming service is prepping a number of shows and films it hopes will have broad family appeal. (It’s been reported that the launch date in the United States will be in the last quarter of the year, and it will expand to other markets through 2019 and 2020.)
In fact, “family” is the operative word. Despite the constraint-free world of streaming, all of the new projects Disney has announced for the service will be viewable by a wide age range. Don’t expect a gritty reboot featuring an armed Bambi who turns the gun on the hunter anytime soon.
Disney Plus will be the online home of a library of more than 5,000 hours of the studio’s films and TV programmes.
Disney hopes this trove of classic material will make it a must-have for families with young kids, in the same way previous generations of parents bought the company’s VHS and DVD titles by the millions. The service will also be the exclusive streaming home of upcoming theatrical releases like Avengers: Endgame and the Aladdin remake.
Indicating that Disney Plus is also using diversity to welcome a wider audience, many of its announced original series feature actors of colour in lead roles, including Pedro Pascal in Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian, Diego Luna in the untitled Rogue One prequel and Zoe Kravitz in an adaptation of High Fidelity.
Disney is also using the service to continue to build out its various expanded universes, not only with the two Star Wars series but in multiple limited series based on characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. MCU series focus on Loki and Scarlet Witch, with a Falcon and a Winter Soldier series also on tap.
Disney Plus has not confirmed the latter three, but multiple sources have verified the projects are in development.
Several original films are planned, with stars including young talent such as Grace VanderWaal, Tessa Thompson and Janelle Monae, as well as more established stars like Willem Dafoe and Ben Kingsley.
While some of the films, like Lady And The Tramp, will be remakes of classic Disney fare, others will tell stories that are new to the studio, like that of the 1925 Nome Serum Run previously dramatised in the Universal Pictures animated movie Balto.
Here are some key Disney Plus projects:
The Mandalorian – The first scripted live-action Star Wars series. Written and produced by Jon Favreau, cast includes Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Giancarlo Esposito. In production.
Untitled Rogue One Prequel – The adventures of Rebel spy Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) during the formative years of the Rebellion. In development.
Marvel Cinematic Universe Limited Series Six- to eight-episode series centred on characters from MCU. In development.
High School Musical – Series reimagining of the Disney Channel movie franchise. Joshua Bassett has been cast in the lead role. Set for production this year.
High Fidelity – Female-led take on Nick Hornby’s novel and the Disney-produced film from 2000. Goes into production in early 2020.
Monsters, Inc. – Series based on the Pixar animated film. In development. – Reuters