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Disney+ Streaming Service Coming In Late 2019

by January 28, 2019
Disney+ Streaming Service

Disney+ Streaming Service

Disney isn’t completely new to streaming media; within five months of launching the ESPN+ streaming service, the company had amassed a million-strong following of sports fans willing to pay the monthly subscription fee. But now the Walt Disney Company is entering new territory as it plans to challenge the biggest names in streaming media, Netflix and Amazon, in a direct competition for your media consumption dollars. Disney’s new streaming service, which the company’s Chairman and CEO Bob Iger recently revealed will be called Disney+, is slated to begin beaming content to US subscribers in late 2019. We don’t yet know how much it will cost, but Iger said last year that it will be cheaper than Netflix, owing to the fact that Disney+ will “have substantially less volume” when it comes to content. The new service will reportedly focus quality over quantity, delivering new, exclusive TV shows and movies, as well as Disney’s blockbuster catalog, which includes the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars franchise, and Pixar. All three of those big-name properties have new films coming out in 2019 (Captain Marvel, Star Wars Episode 9, and Toy Story 4, respectively), and Disney+ will be the only streaming service to bring them into viewers’ homes.

Disney is spending big money to develop new content for the service, concentrating on family-friendly material. (When Disney took over 21st Century Fox, the company also gained a controlling interest of Hulu, which will remain a separate subscription with more mature shows, such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock.) Among the most highly anticipated projects are two new live-action Star Wars shows, the first of which is being helmed by bigwig producer and director Jon Favreau. According to Lucasfilm, The Mandalorian will star Pedro Pascal (whom viewers will recognize from Game of Thrones and Narcos) as “a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic,” and will take place after the events of Return of the Jedi but before The Force Awakens. The second new Star Wars series doesn’t yet have a title, but Lucasfilm has confirmed that it will be a prequel to the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Diego Luna will reprise his 2016 role of Rebel spy Cassian Andor in what Disney calls a “rousing spy thriller.” The company says that this new series “will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire.

Disney Movies

The new Star Wars shows are certainly going to draw large audiences, but Disney+ isn’t putting all of its eggs in a galaxy far, far away. Marvel fans can look forward to a new live-action series about Loki, the trickster god and brother of Thor played by Tom Hiddleston. Other new Marvel shows might include one about Captain America’s pals Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) and Falcon (Anthony Mackie), and a separate series about Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) — both rumored to be in development. The kids of Disney+ subscribers will enjoy a reboot of Disney Channel’s High School Musical, as well as a new show set in the world of Pixar’s Monsters Inc. CEO Bob Iger has said that animation will be “integral” to the streaming service, and that many of the company’s animated classic films will be available along with original, behind-the-scenes documentaries about how they were made. A documentary about Walt Disney Imagineering and the Disney theme parks is also in the works. National Geographic, another Disney property, will see an entire section of the service dedicated to the brand’s award-winning educational programming.

The bad news is that Disney content will almost entirely vanish from Netflix, which has been the go-to place to binge Disney blockbusters since the two companies struck a deal in 2016. Netflix has also been home to a number of original Marvel-based shows, such as Daredevil and Luke Cage, both of which recently got the axe from Netflix despite high ratings and an enthusiastic fanbase. Viewers can expect the forthcoming 2019 seasons of Jessica Jones and The Punisher to be the last to appear on Netflix as well. I’m a fan of these Marvel/Netflix shows (yes, I even enjoyed the critically panned Iron Fist), and it’s a shame to see them sacrificed at the altar of corporate strategy. Kevin Mayer, the Disney executive in charge of Disney+, has suggested that the shows could potentially be revived on Disney’s own service at some point in the future, but the terms of the original licensing deal between the two companies dictate that any potential reboots can’t begin until 2020 at the earliest. 

Netflix subscribers may not be happy about losing Disney content, but Disney is in a strong position to convince viewers to shell out for yet another subscription. Assuming the service is as successful as the company expects it will be, Disney will continue to use the platform to deliver new titles including a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp, a remake of The Sword in the Stone, and a new Muppets series, just to name a few. Will Disney+ offer enough to attract tens of millions of paying subscribers, or is Disney too late to the streaming party to become the next Netflix?

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About the author:
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Jacob is a music-lover and audiophile who enjoys convincing his friends to buy audio gear that they can't afford. He's also a freelance writer and editor based in Los Angeles.

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