Unless you are living under an internet-less rock, you are probably aware that Disney made some big announcements yesterday. In a massive, 3.5-hour event that was called an Investor Day (but really played out more like six D23 Expo panels smashed into one), the House of Mouse provided updates for Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Animation, Marvel Studios, Hulu, ESPN, National Geographic, Pixar, Disney+, and more.
This included everything from trailers and first look images to casting news, new projects, and release date updates.
In case you feel a little overwhelmed by the (literally) dozens of breaking-news-worthy reveals, we’re here to give you the highlights, share the best fan reacts, and point you in the direction of the most comprehensive Twitter thread possibly ever. Okay, buckle up — There’s so much content to cover. We’ll break it down for you by brand/category!
Business Stuff — Including a Price Increase
According to Disney, the company’s streaming services now have a whopping 137 million global paid subscriptions (including Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu). The company expects to at least double that amount by 2024. Casual. Disney’s stock price also took a massive jump following the presentation.
However, the company also announced a price increase for Disney+ (Perhaps intentionally overshadowed by the deluge of content announcements that followed). Starting on March 26, Disney+ will be $7.99 per month (right now, it’s $6.99) or $79.99 per year. The monthly bundle with Hulu and ESPN+ will cost $13.99.
According to the presentation, Disney+ subscribers can expect 10 new Star Wars series over the next few years. A few of those shows were announced yesterday, including “Rangers of the New Republic” and “Ahsoka,” which will both be set in the timeline of The Mandalorian.
Don’t worry, we aren’t even close to done. For Disney+, we are getting Star Wars: Visions, a series of animated short films made by leading anime creators; Lando, a series following the character Lando Calrissian; The Acolyte, a mystery-thriller that follows the final days of the High Republic era (this is the previously announced, female-led series from Leslye Headland); and A Droid Story, an adventure film starring R2-D2 and C-3P0. Oh, and Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) December 10, 2020
On the feature film side of things, Lucasfilm has a few projects in the pipeline. For Star Wars, there is the previously announced Taika Waititi project and Rogue Squadron, which will be directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and introduces a new generation of starfighter pilots. Rogue Squadron is set to debut in theaters on Christmas 2023.
Outside of a galaxy far, far away, Lucasfilm is partnering with 20th Century Studios for an adaptation of Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood & Bone. Also, Harrison Ford will officially return for another installment of Indiana Jones, set for a July 2022 release.
It’s been a long, content-less 18 months for Marvel Studios fans, and we finally got some trailers yesterday (alas, still no Eternals trailer).
We got… a second Wandavision trailer, a first-look at Loki (above), a Falcon and the Winter Soldier trailer, a first-look at What If…?, and a sizzle for Ms. Marvel. Kevin Feige also announced release dates for some of these MCU series. Falcon and the Winter Soldier will premiere on March 19, Loki will arrive in May, What If…? is coming in summer 2021, and Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye are set to debut late next year.
Not to be outdone by Star Wars, Marvel Studios also came ready with many additional announcements. For Disney+, these included:
- An official first look at Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop in Hawkeye
- Mark Ruffalo is reprising the role of Bruce Banner for the She-Hulk series, and Tim Roth will return as the Abomination
- Secret Invasion, a series starring Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as the Skrull Talos (a followup, it seems, from that Far From Home credits scene)
- An Ironheart series starring Dominique Thorne as Riri Williams
- A War Machine series starring Don Cheadle, called Armor Wars
- A 2022 Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, written and directed by James Gunn
- I Am Groot, a series of original shorts staring the fan-favorite baby tree
On the feature film side of the MCU, new announcements included confirmation that Rachel McAdams will return for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which will officially tie in with Wandavision and the third Spider-Man film. Christian Bale is joining Thor: Love and Thunder as villain Gorr the God Butcher, and the next Ant-Man and The Wasp movie will be called Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania. Marvel also officially confirmed that it will not recast Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther for the upcoming Black Panther 2, “honoring Chadwick Boseman’s legacy and portrayal of T’Challa.”
Finally, the Fantastic Four are heading to the MCU (!!!!). Jon Watts is on board to direct this new adaptation for Marvel Studios.
Blasting into theaters June 17, 2022, Lightyear is the definitive story of the original Buzz Lightyear. Voiced by @ChrisEvans, get ready to go to “infinity and beyond” with Lightyear. 🚀 👨🚀 pic.twitter.com/LdYXlN33sP
— Pixar (@Pixar) December 11, 2020
Pixar has a few new projects in the pipeline, but perhaps the most notable announcement in this portion of the presentation was Lightyear, a Buzz Lightyear origin story film starring Chris Evans as the voice of the titular hero. Other Pixar announcements included a new feature film from Domee Shi called Turning Red (following a 13-year-old who turns into a giant red panda whenever she gets excited) and a few new Disney+ series, such as Dug Days (starring the beloved dog from Up), a new Cars series, and an original long-form series called Win or Lose.
Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
This is not a drill: Hocus Pocus 2 is really happening and coming to Disney+!! Other Disney Live-Action announcements included a remake of Cheaper by the Dozen starring Gabrielle Union, the full cast of The Little Mermaid (pictured above), and first-looks at the live-action Pinocchio and Peter Pan & Wendy adaptations.
Walt Disney Animation Studios
— Disney (@Disney) December 10, 2020
One of the biggest announcements from Disney’s entire presentation was that the upcoming animated original Raya and the Last Dragon will launch on Disney+ (with Premier Access, like Mulan) on March 5, the same day as its theatrical release.
The animation studio also announced plans for a variety of Disney+ shows, including a Baymax series, Zootopia+, Iwájú (made in collaboration with Pan-African comic book/entertainment company Kugali), Tiana, and Moana The Series.
Hulu & FX
— The Handmaid's Tale (@HandmaidsOnHulu) December 10, 2020
Not only is The Handmaid’s Tale getting a fourth season (debuting next year), but it has already been renewed for a fifth season. Highlights from the many other projects announced for Hulu and FX on Hulu include an American Horror Story anthology spin-off series and Alien, a show inspired by the film series that is set in the not-so-distant future here on Earth. Oh, and the Kardashians are coming to Hulu!
Disney tweeted more than 125 times during this presentation, but they weren’t the only ones with great social content. Here are some of the best fan reactions to yesterday’s overwhelming (but incredibly exciting) Disney information dump.
— Darragh is excited for 🎄⛄ | BLM (@Darragh_Scanlon) December 11, 2020
— The Watch Podcast (@thewatchpod) December 11, 2020
— manon 🪐 (@reedushiddles) December 11, 2020
— 🎄carla odinson ϟ🎄 (@paintingthewind) December 11, 2020
Even More Info
If you want to take an even more comprehensive deep-dive into yesterday’s investor call — including the ESPN and National Geographic newness — you can check out this Twitter thread, which Disney’s rockstar social media team kept updated throughout the entire event. It is a great way to get a quick summary of every single announcement! Or, if the mood strikes, you can actually watch the entire Investor Day presentation on this web page.