Having spent much of the last 10 years buying up all the companies that make the shows and movies you love, Disney closed out the 2010s by launching perhaps the most ambitious streaming service we’ve seen yet (sorry, Apple TV+).
Despite a low price point and an absolutely mind-boggling amount of content, though, Disney has left itself a little room for improvement in the next decade. Here’s what that might look like, starting this year.
New Original Content Coming to Disney+ in 2020
“The Mandalorian” has already worked its way into the zeitgeist pretty thoroughly, thanks in large part to “Baby Yoda” (not actually a younger version of Yoda, but a youngling of Yoda’s species). But what else will Disney+ be serving up?
It starts with “Diary of a Future President”, released on January 17, a comedy about a 12-year-old Cuban-American girl named Elena who frames her life as a journey towards becoming president. (“Jane the Virgin’s” Gina Rodriguez stars as the older, in-the-middle-of-her presidential-campaign Elena.)
The latter part of 2020 will begin the rollout of Marvel’s second attempt at a streaming TV universe. The Marvel series that premiered on Netflix, like “Daredevil” and “Jessica Jones,” will remain streaming on Netflix even though their runs have concluded. These series seldom referenced the Marvel Cinematic Universe in anything other than oblique terms.
The Marvel shows on Disney+, though, will be more tightly tied to the MCU. “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” will follow Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan). “Loki,” which should debut in early 2021, will revive Tom Hiddleston’s Norse deity. “Hawkeye” will see Clint Barton hand off his bow to Kate Bishop, and rounding out the set of original Avengers will be “WandaVision” with Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda.
And that’s not all! The list of planned originals includes a “Lizzie McGuire” revival, a “Star Wars” series following “Rogue One’s” Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (the Ewan McGregor version of the character), and She-Hulk and Ms. Marvel series.
(And yes, you will be able to buy Baby Yoda plushies.)
The Missing Content on Disney+
Well, more than you’d think, including a few of Disney’s live-action remakes of classic animated tales.
Yes, currently the 2017 “Beauty and the Beast” starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens is unavailable, as is “The Jungle Book.” That will change on Oct. 1, 2020 and May 30, 2021, respectively. “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and “The Incredibles 2” will hit later next year.
And though “The Last Jedi” will be available just after Christmas, “Solo: A Star Wars Story” won’t make its way onto the service until July 9, 2020.
Tech Changes Coming to Disney+ in 2020
The launch of any streaming service is going to come with a fair amount of bugs. Users who signed up for Disney+ on launch day ran into a number of errors—some involving content that Disney didn’t yet hold the rights to in all territories, and some that were came from “the way we architected the app,” as a Disney executive said at the Recode Code Media Conference.
Another issue that plagued early users was that of a widely reported “hack” of Disney+ account usernames and passwords. This wasn’t exactly a hack—instead, online evildoers simply took information from previous data breaches (passwords, usernames) and tested to see if it was being used for Disney+ accounts. Accounts with this previously leaked information had their information posted as a Disney+ account available for sale. The fix for this isn’t on Disney’s end: You just have to come up with a different password to make it stop.
Finally, one of the bigger beefs early Disney+ users had was the formatting of old episodes of “The Simpsons.” In the pre-HDTV days, these episodes aired in a 4:3 aspect ratio. To make them “fit” the standard HDTV ratio of 16:9, the episodes were crudely cropped, cutting out a whole bunch of visual gags in the process. Starting in “early 2020,” these episodes will be available in all their 4:3 glory.
Disney+ Cost in 2020
Disney, which now controls streaming service Hulu outright, recently announced a massive 22 percent price hike on Hulu’s Live TV service.
We cannot say for certain whether Disney+ prices will increase in the future. For now, Disney’s price offering of $6.99/mo (or $69.99 upfront for 12 months) was a successful one, drawing 10 million sign-ups on just the first day it was live. The company also offered attendants at the D23 event the ability to pre-pay for three years of Disney+ in advance.
With various new streaming services taking over in 2020, it will be interesting to see if Disney+ is able to remain competitive in the market. If the reaction to Baby Yoda is any indication, they just might have a fighting chance.