Disney+ is ready to change the streaming game forever.
Yvette Nicole Brown hosted a star-studded presentation Friday at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. For nearly two hours, some of Disney’s biggest producers and architects revealed plans for the launch of Disney+ and what lies ahead in the first two to three years.
The cast of the new show, “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” kicked things off with a live performance of “We’re All in This Together.” The show, part of the line up of programs that would have belonged to the Disney Channel, is an original musical series. The students at East High, which played the setting for the movie, have never put on a production of “High School Musical.” And so they set out to change that. The series stars Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, Julia Lester, Larry Saperstein, Dara Reneé, Frankie A. Rodriguez, Kate Reinders, Mark St. Cyr.
New Shows and Returning Favorites
Kevin Mayer, chairman, Direct-to-Consumer & International, joined Brown onstage for some big announcements. He said:
“With less than three months until launch, Disney+ will soon entertain and inspire audiences of all ages for generations to come, and we’re excited to preview some of the amazing original content being created for the service exclusively from our world-class brands today at the D23 Expo. Storytelling is the cornerstone of The Walt Disney Company and we’re thrilled to unveil a new slate of original shows from the Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universes, along with popular television franchises set to return with all-new series streaming only on Disney+.”
Mayer revealed that Pixar and Disney’s full catalogs of films will be available at launch, as well new shows and movies. In addition to “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” there is so much more.
Disney Channel animated stars Phineas and Ferb are getting a movie. “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Candace Against the Universe” puts the two boys on an intergalactic quest to save their step-sister, Candace.
The audience lost their minds when they heard the news that “Lizzie McGuire” is coming back as a series. And not only is she coming back, Hilary Duff will reprise the role that made her famous. Duff stepped out onstage and told the crowd how excited she is to be back in Lizzie’s “much nicer shoes.”
Everyone’s favorite spork is getting a series of shorts with “Forky Asks a Question.” The series will feature Forky with various beloved toys from the world of “Toy Story.” Tony Hale will voice the character. Forky has a lot of questions. What is love? What is money? What are friends? In ten episodes, he’ll learn a lot about the world.
Expanding the world of “Monsters, Inc” comes “Monsters at Work.” This animated series stars Ben Feldman as a young new employee at Monsters, Inc. On his first day on the Scare Floor, he gets the devastating news that the company has switched from the Screams of Children to Laughing Powder. Billy Crystal and John Goodman will make appearances, though we don’t know yet how often.
Marvel Reveals New Details and New Shows
After an internet-crashing Hall H panel at last month’s San Diego Comic Con, Kevin Feige took to the Hall D23 stage to share even more big news.
First, he explained more about what to expect with the MCU’s first animated series, “What If…?” What if Peggy Carter had become Captain America instead of Steve Rogers? What if Killmonger grew up in Wakanda? The series will take a look at how each of the 23 MCU films might have gone differently if just one thing was changed. They haven’t released the footage yet, but what they showed us looks really great.
Feige also shared a bit more about “Loki” and “WandaVision.”
Since “WandaVision” is up first, they were ready with more details. As previously announced, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany will star as Wanda and Vision, and Teyonah Parris will be the grown up Monica Rambeau. But Emily VanCamp will return as Sharon Carter and Kat Dennings is coming back as Darcy Lewis. And Wyatt Rusell, Randall Park, and Kathryn Hahn are all joining the cast too. But what, exactly, is it? We’re still not quite sure, but the footage they shared basically intermingled the Dick Van Dyke Show with shots of Wanda and Vision where we catch up with them at the beginning of “Infinity War.”
Without sharing many details, Feige announced three additional series for Disney+. Get ready for “Ms. Marvel,” “Moon Knight,” and “She Hulk.”
“Ms. Marvel” tells the story of Kamala Khan, the MCU’s first Pakistani Muslim heroine. They haven’t cast the role yet, but her show will be the first of the new characters. And all three will also appear in future MCU films, too.
Jeff Goldblum is heading to Disney+ with “The World According to Jeff Goldblum.” The Nat Geo series takes him on a journey around the country to learn about ice cream, sneakers, tattoos, and much more. He spoke about the show at a separate panel, so we’ll have more details about this series, but check out the trailer here.
Disney+ will also be the home to a cooking competition show, “Be Our Chef,” where the winner will actually have their dish appear on the menu at Walt Disney World in Florida. Natalie Portman will narrate a documentary about dolphins and reefs. There will be adventure and travel shows, a documentary series about training service dogs, and much more.
Another new, unscripted series is “Encore,” in which producer Kristen Bell travels the country to help former high school theater geeks get a second chance to take the stage. She reunites these theater kids as adults and helps them produce a musical in just a week. It is sure to be funny, poignant, and inspiring.
There will be a collection of brand new original movies and one live-action remake of an old favorite.
“Stargirl” is a coming-of-age story based on a best-selling novel. “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” follows a boy detective and his partner, who happens to be a polar bear. “Togo” stars Willem Dafoe” in a true story about a sled dog trainer and a rambunctious puppy who end up on a survival mission in a treacherous part of Alaska.
Anna Kendrick will star as “Noelle” in a soon-to-be Christmas classic. When her brother Nick (Bill Hader), aka Santa Claus, goes missing, it’s up to Noelle to track him down and save Christmas. Billy Eichner and Shirley MacLaine also star. Check out the trailer:
And they revealed the trailer for the upcoming live-action remake of “Lady and the Tramp,” which stars Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux as the voices of the furry stars. Thomas Mann and Kiersey Clemons play the Darlings, Lady’s people. A fun fact about this movie: almost all of the dogs were rescues and all of them have found forever homes.
The Muppets are Back!
Yes, Kermit the Frog himself made a teaser trailer with Joe from Legal. The trailer was basically created to tell the audience that they can’t yet reveal anything about the show. Not the guests, not the number of episodes, and not the release date. But expect “The Muppets Now” sometime in 2020.
“Star Wars” Lives On
LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy came to the stage to lead the final round of announcements. She confirmed that all of the “Star Wars” films and series will be available on Disney+ immediately, with “The Rise of Skywalker” following early in 2020.
She also delighted the crowd when she announced that, due to very popular demand, “Clone Wars” will return with new episodes in February.
But she made an even more surprising announcement with the news that Cassian Andor and K-2SO are getting their own show. Yes, Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk are set to return in a prequel series that is something of a spy show, inspired by the work they did in “Rogue One.” It is still in the writing stages, so they didn’t announce who else might be joining them, but this will certainly be a show to look out for.
And, of course, the news everyone was waiting for was all about the highly anticipated series, “The Mandalorian.” Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni introduced a few of their stars, including Pedro Pascal, who plays the bounty hunter at the center of the story.
Favreau explained that the series picks up sometime after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” After the celebrations have died out and the last vestiges of the Empire are gone, the galaxy has fallen into lawlessness. The series will explore the years between the fall of the Empire and the rise of the First Order. In addition to Pascal, they introduced Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, and Taika Waititi. Waititi will voice the droid IG-11. He said he is very pleased to be representing Bounty Droids because they are a very marginalized group. Ming-Na Wen will also be part of the cast, although she was not present for the announcement.
At long last, they also revealed the trailer:
But Kathleen Kennedy had one final surprise in store for Hall D23.
Ewan McGregor walked out onto the stage. He said that for years people have asked if he would ever return to play Obi Wan Kenobi again and he was glad to finally be able to answer. “But,” he said, “Kathleen, I want you to ask me in front of all of these people.”
“Ewan,” Kennedy said, “are you going to play Obi Wan Kenobi again?”
“Yes!” he said as the crowd roared.
The series will begin filming in early 2020.
Disney+ will launch on November 12.
What do you think of all the Disney+ announcements? Are you ready to sign on to the new service? And how about that trailer for “The Mandalorian?” Share your thoughts below!