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Recap of Disney’s Investor Day Announcements!

Yesterday was pretty wild. No, not just because Sephiroth was confirmed for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The Walt Disney Company launched their Investor’s Day, announcing a tidal wave of new film and television titles, primarily for Disney+. Although most were mere title announcements with minor details, we shall pick ourselves off the floor, and do a recap for the biggest titles. ESPN, National Geographic, and other Disney-owned subsidiaries will be left out.

In total, Disney announced ten Marvel series, ten Star Wars series, fifteen television series in live action and animation, and over fifteen new animated features from Walt Disney Animation and Pixar.

Star Wars & Lucasfilm

Let’s begin with the major Star Wars announcements.  In a way, these new shows and films feel almost like Disney apologising for the muddled sequels. The success of The Mandalorian and revival of Star Wars: The Clone Wars has proved the beloved franchise can work in several television formats and genres, paving the way for brand new additions.

New television series include Rangers of the New Republic, which takes place during the same period as The Mandalorian. The New Republic was formed after the fall of the Empire, though their lack of security (or just lack of depth) leads to the formation of the First Order.

Ahsoka Tano, played by Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian, will be getting her own live action spin-off called Ahsoka. Like Rangers of the New Republic, it takes place in the same era as The Mandalorian, presumably taking place after Ahsoka meets the titular bounty hunter.

Andor, announced at D23 Expo in 2019, stars Diego Luna reprising his role as Cassian Andor. Set five years before Rogue One, the series shall follow Cassian’s role in the Rebel Alliance, accompanied by Alan Tudyk’s droid character K-2SO. The series will air on Disney+ in 2022, consisting of 12 episodes.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series, also announced at D23, is confirmed to still be in production. Though lacking an air date, the series features Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprising their roles as Obi-Wan and Darth Vader. It will take place ten years after Revenge of the Sith.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch is a spin-off for The Clone Wars, focusing in the Clone Force 99 unit, consisting of abnormal clone troopers. Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Crosshairs, and Echo will be acting as mercenaries during the early days of the Empire. Presumably, Dee Bradley Baker will be returning, since he voiced every since clone in The Clone Wars.

Perhaps the most surprising announcement was Visions, a series of short animated films, as envisioned by anime creators! Similar to The Animatrix and Batman: Gotham Knight, Star Wars will be explored in an anthology series, consisting of ten shorts.

Lando, as you might guess, will be a series starring Lando Calrissian. Justin Simien, creator of Dear White People, is in the early stages of development. Whether or not Donald Glover or Billy Dee Williams will reprise their shared role has yet to be announced.

Other announcements include the reveal that Leslye Headland is developing another series called The Acolyte. It is described as a mystery thriller that takes place in the final days of the High Republic era. Lucasfilm Animation and Industrial Light & Magic are joining forces to develop a “special” adventure called A Droid Story, featuring C-3PO and R2-D2 as they train a new hero. Taiki Waititi is set to direct a new Star Wars movie, as is Patty Jenkins, directing Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.

Non-Star Wars projects include a revival of Willow, with a returning Warwick Davis, and director Jon M. Chu. The fifth Indiana Jones film is finally launching for 2022, directed by James Mangold, and Harrison Ford putting the hat and whip back on. Tomi Adeyami’s book Children of Blood & Bone is being developed by 20th Century Studios, telling the tale of a young African girl’s quest to restore the magic of her forsaken people.

Disney+ Additions

Although this isn’t really a major focus on our website, a lot of live action and third party animated projects were announced for Disney+.

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers sees the return of Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay, to train the next generation of the Mighty Ducks, accompanied by Lauren Graham. Hocus Pocus 2 was finally announced (hooray!), as was Sister Act 3 starring Whoopi Goldberg. The odd-sounding Flora & Ulysses, a film about a cynical comic book fan who teams up with a superpowered squirrel (was Squirrel Girl too weird for Disney?) was also announced. Turner & Hooch, Three Men and a Baby, Cheaper By the Dozen, and A Night at the Museum are all getting remakes, although the latter is animated.

In the Disney remake department, Pinocchio and Peter Pan’s remakes are both confirmed. The cast for The Little Mermaid remake was fully announced, including Halle Bailey (Ariel), Daveed Diggs (Sebastian), Javier Bardem (King Triton), Melissa McCarthy (Ursula), Jacob Tremblay (Flounder), Jonah Hauer-King (Prince Eric), and Awkwafina (Scuttle). For some reason, a prequel is being made to The Lion King remake. Moving on, John Mulaney and Andy Samberg are voicing Chip and Dale in their live action film Chip N’ Dale: Rescue Rangers. What, were Tress MacNeille and Corey Burton not good enough?

Finally, is the announcement of a sequel to Enchanted, the 2007 film, with Amy Adams reprising her role as Giselle.

Walt Disney Animation and Pixar

Animation has always been the heart of Disney, even when they’ve been creatively stagnant. Four new animated series based on Disney features were announced: Baymax!, Zootopia+, Tiana, and Moana. Raya and the Last Dragon, Disney’s 59th animated feature, will be released in March 2021. The 60th feature, Encanto, will follow in November, focusing on a Colombian girl Mariana, who grows up as a squib in her magical family. Music will be provided by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Disney and Pan-African entertainment company Kugali are partnering up to develop Iwájú, an animated science fiction series.

Over on Pixar, they have been busy bees. Three new animated series are coming to Disney+. Dug of Up (squirrel!) is getting a series called Dug Days. Cars returns in a series, as Lightning McQueen and Mater go on a zany cross-country road trip. The third is an original story, Win or Lose, about a middle school softball team, with each episode being told from a different point of view.

Pixar’s next animated film is called Luca, coming in June 2021, a tale of summertime friendship between two boys named Luca and Alberto. Next, is the delightfully fun-sounding Turning Red, about a teenage girl Mei, who transforms into a gigantic red panda when she becomes too hyper. This comes out in March 2022.

The most unexpected announcement was a Toy Story spin-off: Lightyear. The film is set within the Toy Story universe, revealing the origin story behind Buzz Lightyear. Not the toy, but rather the man that inspired the in-universe character. Chris Evans is voicing the test pilot behind the space ranger. I guess Disney finally had enough of Tim Allen complaining he couldn’t use racist insults on The View.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

Finally, lastly, ultimately, we reach the news on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there’s a lot! All of the intended Phase Four films are still in production. WandaVision gained a second trailer, whilst Loki (May 2021), What If (Summer 2021), and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (March 19th) all received their first trailers, which can be views on Marvel’s official YouTube channel!

Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness debuts on March 25th, 2022. It sees the return of the first film’s principle cast, as well as Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez (aka Miss America). Director Sam Raimi revealed the events of the film tie in to both WandaVision and the unnamed third Spider-Man film. That would explain why Alfred Molina, Andrew Garfield, and Kirsten Dunst are reprising their roles from past Spider-Man films.

The first Ms. Marvel sizzle trailer was revealed, introducing us to Iman Vellani as the titular superheroine. Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, and Meera Menon have all come aboard to act as series directors.

Captain Marvel 2 is slotted in for November 11th, 2022. Iman Vellani is joining the cast, as is Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau, who is first appearing in WandaVision.

Hawkeye is in production, with Jeremy Renner co-starring with the fantastic Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop, and newcomer Alaqua Cox as Maya Lopez (aka Echo). Episodes will be directed by Rhys Thomas and the duo Bert and Bertie.

She-Hulk will be co-directed by Kat Coiro and Anu Valia, featuring Tatiana Maslany as She-Hulk, Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner, and the welcome return of Tim Roth as Abomination, the second actor to return from The Incredible Hulk, after William Hurt. Moon Knight and Blade are coming too…at some point.

Samuel L. Jackson isn’t quitting the MCU anytime, co-starring with Ben Mendelsohn in Secret Invasion. Mendelsohn appeared as the Skrull Talos in Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home. The Secret Invasion involved the Skrulls invading Earth, replacing many character in the Marvel universe, with the sweet tagline of “Who do you trust?”

Iron Man may be gone, but his legacy isn’t limited to Peter Parker. Don Cheadle reprises his role as Rhodey in Armor Wars, adapting a comic book arc, where Tony Stark’s technology fell into the wrong hands. Additionally, Ironheart introduces Dominique Thorn as Riri Williams, who designs the most advanced suit of armour since Stark.

James Gunn makes his triumphant return to the MCU with The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special coming next year, and Baby Groot gets his own miniseries called I Am Groot.

As for Thor: Love & Thunder, Christian Bale has confirmed to be joining the Marvel pantheon as Gorr the God Butcher, depicted in the comics as a vengeful alien who wants to destroy all gods for failing to save his family.

Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania is the third in the Ant-Man films, directed by Peyton Reed, sees the return of the established cast, along with Kathryn Newton as Cassie Lang, and Jonathan Majors as Kang the Conqueror!

As for the Black Panther sequel, debuting on July 8th, 2022, is being written and directed by Ryan Coogler. Marvel have made the sensible choice not to recast Chadwick Boseman, but will rather “explore the world of Wakanda, and the rich characters introduced in the first film”.

Finally, one last announcement was made: Jon Watts will be directing the fourth attempt at a successful film adaptation of the Fantastic Four!

Which announcement are you most excited for? Leave a comment below or on our Twitter feed!

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Mark Russell

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