By: Jaclyn Kotora, Contributing Writer (‘23)
Disney Investor Day was held on December 10, 2020, where the company announced 100+ upcoming projects. They revealed their next steps in expanding their streaming services, the main one being Disney+, which was launched in November 2019. During the four-hour presentation, Disney unveiled a much highly anticipated and exciting new content. Here are the highlights of the upcoming projects:
Upcoming Marvel Projects
Disney is introducing a combination of movies and series to the Marvel franchise. However, Disney explains, “to blur the line between movies and TV, the Marvel TV shows are going to tie in closely with its movies”. The following series was announced to be released on Disney+:
- The first Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series, WandaVision, is expected to hit Disney+ on January 15, with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, another MCU series, releasing shortly after.
- Loki, a series that follows up the latest Avengers: Endgame, comes out on May 2021
- Hawkeye, featuring Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, will be coming in 2021
- What if?, is an animated series that explores what would happen in some of the major moments in MCU history occurred differently. Many of the characters will be voiced by the actors who played them in the live-action movies.
- Jumping off from the original Iron Man franchise, two new series are in the making: Ironheart and Armor Wars.
- Tatiana Maslany will star in She-Hulk, with an appearance from Mark Ruffalo. Plus, Ms. Marvel, a sequel to Captain Marvel, will introduce a new female character that eventually ties into the movies.
- Based on the hit movie Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special and I am Groot are set to arrive on Disney+.
Disney also announced a bundle of exciting new movies:
- Black Panther II is scheduled to arrive in 2022: the late Chadwick Boseman will not be recast. The directors are currently working on ideas to execute the movie.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Thor: Love and Thunder, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 will be sequels to the popular franchises
- Black Widow with returning Scarlett Johansson is planned to premiere on the big screen in May 2021
- Marvel will be taking on Fantastic Four and will be directed by Spider-Man filmmaker Jon Watts
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the third Spiderman are confirmed to connect with the upcoming WandaVision
New Additions to Star Wars
Disney is back on with more Star Wars projects with the announcement of the release of multiple spin-off series and films. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy stated that “the approach to Star Wars will be fresh, unexpected, and…unique,” ensuring that audiences are in for “an unforgettable ride.” Here are the upcoming works:
- The Star Wars movie, Rogue Squadron, which will arrive in 2023, revolves around a Rebel Alliance starfighter founded by Luke Skywalker
- Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, spin-offs of a Disney+ original, The Mandalorian
- The animated series Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the anime series Star Wars: Visions
- The Rogue One spin-off, Star Wars: Andor, will debut in 2022, as well a new series revolving around Lando Calrissian, called Star Wars: Lando
- Obi-Wan Kenobi will feature returning actors Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprising their roles as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader
- R2D2 and C3PO will feature in A Droid Story
Animated Series in the Making
Additionally, Disney Animation Studios revealed a group of new Disney series based on their original movies. These series include Zootopia Plus and Baymax!, which will arrive in 2022, while Moana and Tiana are expected to be released in 2023. On top of that, the animated film Raya and the Last Dragon is planned to debut in March 2021. The film follows a young warrior named Raya as she searches for the last dragon in the world. It has also been revealed that Lin-Manuel Miranda will be writing music for a musical comedy called Encanto. On top of that, in the presentation, Disney is pleased to announce, “In a first-of-its-kind collaboration, Disney Animation and Pan-African entertainment company Kugali will team up to create an all-new, science fiction series coming to Disney+ in 2022: Iwájú.”
New Pixar Projects
Pixar also announced a handful of exciting projects, one of which is based on the widely popular franchise, Toy Story. Voiced by Chris Evans, Lightyear tells the origin story of Buzz Lightyear, which will premiere in theaters in the summer of 2022. Bringing back some classics, Dug Days, revolving around the lovable dog from Up, is set to be released in fall 2021, and Lightning McQueen and Mater will also return in a Cars series in 2022. Additionally, new animated films Luca and Turning Red are comedy/coming of age stories that are currently in the making, as Luca is set to premiere June 2021.
There are also many live-action series in the making that are going to release on Disney+. The studio is in the process of developing Percy Jackson and the Olympians, based off of the best-selling Rick Rodrian series. Additionally, Luke Evans and Josh Gad will star in “Beauty and the Beast” (working title), and a re-imagining of the classic Swiss Family Robinson was also confirmed during the presentation. Disney+ also plans to premiere a series of live-action series in 2021: The Mysterious Benedict Society, The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, Turner & Hooch, and Big Shot.
Perhaps some of the projects that people are most excited about are the remakes and sequels of some popular classics. Pinocchio with Tom Hanks, Peter Pan & Wendy, starring Jude Law as Captain Hook and Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, as well as The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey as Ariel, are the re-imagined live-action films of cherished classics. It was also confirmed that Hocus Pocus 2, a sequel to the time-honored Halloween movie, as well as Disenchanted, with Amy Adams returning as Giselle, are being worked on and will release on Disney+. Some feature films also include Jungle Cruise, Cruella, and a prequel to The Lion King. On top of that, the company takes on animation through a new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie, the return of the Ice Age franchise in The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, and an animated Night at the Museum. In addition, Harrison Ford will return to star in the fifth and final Indiana Jones, suspected to come out in July 2022.
Along with Disney+, many of Disney’s other streaming services announced their projects, like Hulu, ESPN+, FX, and its new streaming service, Star, which will launch this February. Overall, Disney’s Investors Day proved to be a hit, as many are now thrilled for releases of new entertainment, which will surely make up for the damage done to the company during COVID. For many, these announcements have provided hope and happiness, as entertainment allows us to explore another world and makes us smile, which is something we could all benefit from right now.