The streaming wars are well and truly underway. This week saw the launches of Apple TV+ and Britbox, and a confirmed UK launch date for Disney+ – a behemoth that will include movies from the entertainment giant’s back catalogue of classic animation, as well as new shows tied into the Marvel and Star Wars universes, and long-running Fox television series like The Simpsons.
That’s what it’ll have in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Netherlands, anyway, where it launches on November 12. In the UK, a mish-mash of pre-existing licensing deals and contracts with other broadcasters make the picture a little less clear. But here’s our best guess for what you can expect to see on the service when Disney+ launches in the UK on March 31, 2020.
Obviously. Disney has an immediate jump on its streaming rivals thanks an immense back catalogue stretching back almost a century – and it will all be available at launch. That’s everything from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the original Dumbo and Fantasia, right through to Frozen, Moana and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties. In the coming years, Disney will be milking its original properties for all they’re worth – we’ll see Monsters at Work, a TV series based on Monsters Inc, as well as remakes of Lady and the Tramp, The Parent Trap (again) and a host of others.
Live-action Disney films
Again stretching back decades, subscribers will have access to 1947’s Miracle on 34th Street, 1957’s Old Yeller and two versions of The Parent Trap to whet their appetite while they wait for the third one. The Muppets movies will make an appearance, along with 10 Things I Hate About You, The Santa Clause, Pirates of the Caribbean and dozens more.
Disney television series
For readers of a certain age, this will be a real trip down memory lane. Disney+ will have DuckTales, Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers, Recess and a dozen other series that blow modern kids shows out of the water. There’s live action too: Even Stevens (starring a young Shia LaBeouf), Lizzie McGuire, and That’s So Raven. It’s not all for children, though: the service will launch with a new documentary series called The World According to Jeff Goldblum, where the laconic actor will – according to the pre-publicity – talk about consumer products without having done any research. It’s sure to be riveting.
All the Star Wars movies
Except the ones that have just come out, and the inexplicable omission of the Star Wars Holiday Special. As well as everything from A New Hope to The Force Awakens, there’s also numerous episodes of The Clone Wars, a box full of Lego tie-ins, and lots more to come.
Star Wars is coming to the small screen with its first ever live action TV series, directed by Jon Favreau – who has been given a budget of $100 million for the eight-episode first season. A stellar cast, including Taika Waititi and Bryce Dallas Howard, will feature in a story that follows a mysterious bounty hunter and which is set between the end of the original trilogy and the start of the most recent ones. There’s also a planned prequel to spin-off film Rogue One, a standalone Obi-Wan series starring Ewan McGregor, and a seventh season of The Clone Wars – an animated series that last aired in 2013.
All the Marvel movies
Until now, Marvel’s wildly popular movies have eventually ended up on Netflix, but that arrangement has come to an end – and 2019’s Captain Marvel will be the first movie to go straight to Disney+ after the usual cinema and home entertainment run. The entire back catalogue of 23 movies will be available to stream, alongside some of the pre-cinematic universe works such as the animated Fantastic Four, X-Men and Silver Surfer series from the 1990s.
However, the darker Netflix Original shows in the MCU (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and Daredevil) won’t be making the switch. Instead, Disney are going all out with multiple short series for characters who haven’t had their own standalone movies, although these won’t be available at launch. Chief among them is Loki, starring Tom Hiddleston, but there’s also WandaVision – starring Scarlet Witch and the Vision – and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier – starring The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Even Jeremy Renner’s Hawk-Eye – the forgotten man of the MCU – is eventually getting his own show as are Ms Marvel, She-Hulk, and someone called Moon Knight.
Lots of Pixar movies
Starting with Toy Story, in 1995, Pixar systematically destroyed Disney’s position as the kings of animation, and ushered in the end of the hand-drawn cartoons that had been so successful. So Disney bought them, and now every Pixar movie will be available on Disney+ – that includes classics like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, through to The Good Dinosaur and Cars. They don’t all seem to be on there, though: the US launch announcement tweeted out by Disney in a 300+ thread was missing Up, for some reason.
One area where there’s a bit of a question mark is over Twentieth Century Fox’s extensive back catalogue of movies and television shows. Disney’s massive announcement thread for the American offering didn’t include many Fox titles, but did confirm that US viewers will have access to all eight million episodes of The Simpsons. It might be a different story in the UK though, as Homer and the gang are tied up in various licensing deals with Channel 4 and Sky, which has been airing the show for decades. News reports suggest that Sky’s contract with Fox (which has been bought by Disney) is due to expire in 2020 – so it seems likely that The Simpsons, Family Guy and Fox’s other properties will be on the service before too long. But, as yet, no details have been confirmed.
If that isn’t enough, in the US the service will also launch with a host of documentaries from National Geographic, which currently has its own channel on satellite TV in the UK. It remains to be seen what that means for their content, but if it does end up coming to Disney+, you’ll be able to enjoy nail-biting films like climbing epic Free Solo, as well as Gordon Ramsay: Uncharted, where the chef travels around the world learning to cook local dishes and engaging in bouts of mild adventure.
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