Usually, investor calls are dry, numbers-heavy business meetings intended for people far richer than you or I. But because It’s Capitalism, yesterday Disney turned its 2020 Investor Day call into something that would’ve been right at home screamed from the rooftops of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H. Here’s all the Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars news that dropped last night.
Walt Disney Animation revealed a huge slate of not just animated movies, but for the first time, its own streaming series for Disney+. Baymax!, Zootopia+, Tiana, and Moana will all be shows set after their respective theatrical entries (Big Hero Six, Zootopia, Princess and the Frog, and, uh, Moana), while Iwájú is a bold new collaboration with the studio and Pan-African production company Kugali, telling an Afrofuturistic tale set in Lagos, Nigeria.
On the theatrical side of things, Encanto will be the 60th original title from Walt Disney Animation; it’s a magical family adventure set to release in late 2021 inspired by Colombian culture. Its predecessor, the previously announced Raya and the Last Dragon, starring Kelly Marie Tran as the titular heroine, was the only movie confirmed by Disney to be receiving a day-and-date theatrical and on-demand launch, using the “Premier Access” program on Disney+. We’ll keep you updated on these as we go on.
Pixar revealed the new entry of its Spark Shorts program, Burrow, to air on the Disney+ exclusive premiere of Soul on December 25; a new shorts series named Pixar Popcorn; and a new documentary series called Inside Pixar—but the animation house also had big announcements for new movies and its first TV series. On Disney+, Dug Days will follow the life of Up’s talking pooch after the events of the movie, while a new Cars show will see Lightning McQueen and his best friend Mater go on a tour across the country. There’s also a brand new original series coming from Pixar in the form of Win or Lose, which will follow a single week in the life of a young softball team with each episode following a different optimistic or pessimistic lens through one of the team’s members.
Theatrically, Pixar re-confirmed its plans for the previously announced, Italian-set adventure Luca, due to release in 2021, and Bao director Domee Shi’s first full-length feature for the studio, Turning Red, about a tween girl who transforms into a Red Panda when excited. But Pixar’s weirdest announcement however might have been Lightyear, starring Chris Evans. Inspired by the fiction behind Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear, Evans will voice the original adventurer that inspired the toy line that gave Andy his beloved Buzz figure in the first movie.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy kicked things off with an explosive series of announcements. But before she ventured into the galaxy far, far away, three non-Star Wars projects from the company received updates: the fifth (and final?) Indiana Jones movie, featuring Harrison Ford in the title role, is in development with Logan director James Mangold, while Lucasfilm is also tackling an adaptation of Tomi Adeyemi’s hit fantasy novel Children of Blood and Bone. On Disney+, we got a reminder that Warwick Davis will return to his titular role in the Ron Howard film Willow, for a show of the same name set after the events of the movie.
But you’re here for Star Wars. On the streaming side of things, Kennedy unleashed a ton of new upcoming projects. In the realm of animation, we got a first look at the Clone Wars followup series The Bad Batch, alongside the announcements of Star Wars: Visions, an anime-inspired anthology series created by Japanese animation houses, and A Droid Story, a new robotic adventure from ILM and Lucasfilm animation.
On the live-action TV front, two Mandalorian spinoff series were announced: Rangers of the New Republic, a series that will culminate with a crossover storyline with the series, and Star Wars: Ahsoka, starring Rosario Dawson as the former Jedi, as seen in The Mandalorian’s second season.
Beyond that, a brief look at Andor, the Rogue One prequel series starring Diego Luna’s titular Rebel spy was revealed, as was news that Hayden Christensen will reprise his role as the fallen Anakin Skywalker alongside Ewan McGregor in the now-officially-titled Deborah Chow series Obi-Wan Kenobi. Leslye Headland’s female-focused show was given an official title and premise in the form of The Acolyte, a series following a Dark Side user in the last days of the High Republic era. And finally, an entirely new series: Justin Simien will helm a new series simply titled Lando, about an incarnation of the beloved Cloud City baron and smuggling legend—it was not confirmed if it would see Billy Dee Williams reprise his role, or if it would be the younger Lando played by Donald Glover in Solo.
But Kennedy wasn’t done, officially lifting the lid on two more Star Wars movies. It was re-confirmed that Taika Waititi is developing a “fresh, unique, and unexpected” movie in the franchise, but the biggest bombshell: the next Star Wars movie is Rogue Squadron, the story of the legendary fighter pilot team lead by Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. It’s coming in 2023, and directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins.
Not to be outdone, Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige capped off the deluge of announcements with a breathless, whirlwind tour of reveals from the comic book world. Disney+ shows like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If?, and Ms. Marvel all got new looks, while previously rumored casting for lead roles in Hawkeye and She-Hulk rounded out the studio’s streaming reveals (Interestingly? The recent reports of Oscar Isaac landing Moon Knight’s lead role were not confirmed).
Several new Disney+ Marvel shows were also revealed: Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn will reprise their Captain Marvel roles for Secret Invasion, a series inspired by the Skrull-invasion event comic of the same name, while Don Cheadle will return as War Machine in a similarly comics-inspired event series called Armor Wars. In the realms of entirely new shows, Dominique Thorne will play Riri Williams in Ironheart, adapting the young recent successor to Iron Man from the comics, while James Gunn will pen a festive holiday special for the Guardians of the Galaxy while filming his third film in the sci-fi trilogy. Speaking of which, all that was before Feige even touched on Marvel’s upcoming movies!
Nods were made to next year’s arrivals of the delayed Black Widow, Eternals, and Shang-Chi, and previously rumored casting for Thor: Love and Thunder was confirmed, in that Christian Bale will play cosmic villain Gorr the God Butcher. Peyton Reed will return for Ant-Man and the Wasp 3, now officially subtitled Quantumania, adding Freaky’s Kathryn Newton as Scott’s daughter Cassie Lang, and Lovecraft Country’s Jonathan Majors as time-traveling comics villain Kang the Conqueror.
It was also confirmed that the multiversal shenanigans of Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (featuring Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, and introducing Xochitl Gomez as portal-punching heroine America Chavez) will impact upon Spider-Man 3. The studio head touched upon the tragic passing of actor Chadwick Boseman by confirming that Black Panther 2, currently in development, will not recast the role of the titular hero, T’Challa, embodied by the dearly missed actor.
Whew! Feige also had one more surprise confirmation: Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home director John Watts will officially bring Marvel’s first family, the Fantastic Four, into the MCU.
TV and Beyond
While the announcements last night for Disney+ and movie slates mostly stuck to genre, there were a few other tidbits throughout the call—most notably that Legion’s Noah Hawley (who recently denied continued involvement) is working with FX to bring Ridley Scott’s iconic sci-horror franchise Alien to TV, telling a near-future story in the universe, set on Earth.
Oh, and bad news: all this new stuff’s gonna cost you an extra dollar each month.
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