The delayed international rollout of Disney+ means that The Mandalorian’s biggest twists and turns have already been plastered all over the internet, if only so Disney can sell us on some very bad Baby Yoda merchandise while promising that the better stuff will be on the way eventually. So news that international fans will have to wait even longer to see it all is all the more perplexing.
Yesterday, Disney+ launched new locale-specific social media accounts for the service’s upcoming wave of European debuts, the first major wave of additions since the service launched in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand in November 2019.
While doing that “look, we’re chipper on social media!” thing of introducing itself via a Twitter thread, the Disney+ UK account confirmed several new details about the platform’s launch, including one particularly odd decision: The Mandalorian’s first season will not be available in its entirety when the service launches on March 24, despite the fact that it finished airing in its entirety in the U.S. almost two months ago. Instead, it will roll out on a weekly basis.
In a way, it’s understandable—Disney would quite like you to keep subscribed to Disney+ for as long as possible, and parceling out one of its biggest pieces of original content is a way to guarantee that, rather than people signing up for a month, binge-watching all the Baby Yoda they desire, and then peacing out. But given the fact that it has been such a significant time since the show ended—and that the massive delay between rollouts has meant that Star Wars fans outside of the initially supported areas have taken to, diplomatically speaking, aggressively negotiating some alternate means of acquiring their Mando fix—it seems like an absurd choice.
Especially when, as The Mandalorian was rolling out, Disney and Lucasfilm were incredibly precious about spoilers for the show, declaring they wanted to “preserve the experience” for fans...as long as they were in those initial countries, that is, because it was only a matter of weeks before Baby Yoda was here, there, and everywhere, whether you were trying to dodge spoilers for five months or not. It also raises questions about release parity of other upcoming shows, whether it be Clone Wars, The Mandalorian’s second season, or the arrival of Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision.
Not having parity on a show that has been already available for months in other regions from the get-go does little toward instilling faith that going forward, fans outside of the U.S. will be able to see these shows as they were intended, alongside their fellow fans across the world. Even more so when part of the same thread about this Mandalorian news also included an incredibly vague statement about Disney+’s international content parity, with an attached Falcon and the Winter Soldier gif for good measure:
There is something to be said in this age of streamable, bingeable TV for a weekly roll out—and what it adds to the discussion around a piece of media, ensuring that by and large, the audience is at the same place in the story as each other, instead of having to dance around people who checked out an episode or two versus those who already got right through to the end. But that only works if the entire audience is on that level. Demanding that people wait months and months to get a show like The Mandalorian, only to then tell them they’ll have to wait another couple of months for it to fully roll out, just seems to fly in the face of that. In fact, it feels like this is distinctly...not the way.
Disney+ begins rolling out in the UK, Spain, France, and Italy starting March 24.
For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.