Thanks to the company's talkative CEO, we have a good idea about when it will launch, how much it will cost, and what types of shows and films it might stream. For instance, we already know it green-lit two live-action Star Wars TV shows, and that it won't air any R-rated content. It will also have original series and should be much cheaper than Netflix. Is your interest piqued? Ours too.
Disney+: What's the story so far?
Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, first revealed in 2017 that Disney has been developing a standalone streaming service to directly compete with Netflix. As a result, Disney's extensive library of content, including Marvel and Star Wars titles, will be pulled from Netflix starting in 2019. Disney originally announced its intention to withdraw content from Netflix during an earnings report in August 2017.
Taking control of streaming is a "big strategic shift" for Disney, Iger explained.
Disney CEO Bob Iger said during an investor's call the upcoming streaming service would be Disney-branded and carry the Disney name, and that the majority of the content on the platform will be Disney original series appropriate for all ages. Although a report from Variety claimed Disney has been internally calling its streaming service "Disney Play", Disney officially announced in November 2018 that it would be called "Disney+".
Disney+: Which films and shows will it offer?
'Treasure trove of content'
When Disney's CEO announced Disney's standalone streaming service, he also confirmed Marvel and Star Wars titles will be exclusive to the platform: "I have described a very rich, treasure trove of content for this app," he said, according to CNBC. "We're going to launch big, and we're going to launch hot... We’ve now decided we will put the Marvel and ‘Star Wars’ movies on this app as well."
It was previously reported that Disney would launch its streaming service with “500 films from the Disney library... in addition to around 7,000 episodes of Disney TV.” In comparison, Netflix had 4,335 movies and 1,197 TV series in 2016.
Disney original movies and series
Disney's CEO said the new service will have up to five original series, three or four exclusive Disney movies, and Disney's entire TV catalogue.
Disney later specifically confirmed it is working on an animated Monsters Inc show, as well as a 10-episode docu-series based on High School Musical, with Joshua Bassett in the lead role of Ricky. A Mighty Ducks show is also in the works, with Mighty Ducks screenwriter Steven Brill and original producer Jordan Kerner both on board.
Another show, called High Fidelity, is expected. It's a re-imagining of the 2000 John Cusack comedy, but from a female point of view. And finally, in terms of shows, there will be Ink & Paint, an eight-episode documentary series.
As for original films, Disney is in post-production on two projects: Magic Camp and Noelle. It's also in production on a live-action adaptation of Lady and the Tramp, Stargirl, Timmy Failure, and Togo. And it's in development on a new Three Men and a Baby, Don Quixote, Father of the Bride, Flora & Ulysses, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Paper Magician, The Parent Trap, Peter Pan, and The Sword in the Stone.
In a statement, Disney said consumers can expect its upcoming streaming service to include new Disney films and other movies from the Disney library, too. Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD programming is also expected.
Disney confirmed it is working on a new TV show based around Marvel Cinematic Universe characters. It will be a live-action show based on Loki, with actor Tom Hiddleston reprising his role. More shows based on Marvel Studios characters, including Scarlet Witch/Vision and Falcon/Winter Soldier, are also expected, with the respective movie actors returning to reprise their roles.
Star Wars shows
During on an investor's call, Disney's CEO announced that The Last Jedi's director, Rian Johnson, will get his own Star Wars trilogy, and that Disney is planning a live-action Star Wars television show called The Mandalorian. Executive produced by Jon Favreau, this will be set after the fall of the Empire and before the First Order. It tells the story of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy.
Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Taika Waititi are directing episodes of The Mandalorian. A second Star Wars spin-off will see Diego Luna reprise his role as Cassian Andor. This live-action show will be set before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Finally, Disney is lining up a new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
A report from CNBC claimed Disney wanted to purchase a large majority of 21st Century Fox, including the rights to films like the X-Men franchise and TV series like Futurama. Disney hasn't commented on those reports, but Disney's CEO has said it is not ruling out licensing third-party content, so long as "the product fits within the Disney brand". Nothing will be R-rated, Iger said.
Disney+: Which devices will support it?
Device support is unclear, though Disney has referred to the upcoming service as an "app" on several occasions, suggesting it could be streamed to phones, tablets, computers, TVs, and other internet-connected devices capable of running apps.
Disney+: How much will it cost?
A subscription to Disney’s streaming service will be “substantially cheaper” than Netflix, according to Disney's CEO Bob. While on an investor's call in November 2017, Iger detailed the streaming service and also mentioned pricing:
“We’ve given a lot of thought to pricing,” Iger said. “I can’t get specific with you yet, because we haven’t determined it yet. It will be substantially below Netflix because we’ll have substantially less volume.”
We suspect the price will land somewhere between $8 and $14
Disney+: When is it launching?
Disney plans to launch its standalone streaming service in late 2019. During one of the company’s recent earnings call, Iger said the new streaming service will be “the biggest priority of the company during calendar 2019".
Disney+: Where will it be available?
The service will launch in the US. An international version of the service might also be in the works.
What about DisneyLife?
It's unclear how this will affect DisneyLife, Disney's subscription service in the UK - where you can not only watch the studio's movies and TV shows on demand and streamed to phones, tablets, computers, and TVs, as well as gain access to an extensive library of eBooks, audio books, and music.
A subscription costs £4.99 per month, and currently, there are no plans to launch DisneyLife outside of Europe.