With the launch of Disney unleashed a vast catalog of new and classic movies and shows to stream, boasting hundreds of movies and thousands of TV episodes from Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, The Simpsons and Disney’s eponymous studios.in November,
But as thepandemic shut theaters, forced millions to entertain themselves at home and closed down filming worldwide, Disney has accelerated the streaming-release date some of its films — and left big question marks hanging over the release of some of its highly anticipated original shows.
But the coronavirus pandemic has upended those norms. Disney has announced a string of surprise streaming releases as Disney Plus takes on bigger and earlier involvement in its big-screen films’ release timelines.
At first, Disney Plus simply started streaming already-released movies months earlier than planned. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker began streaming three months early in May. Before that, Disney released animated hit Frozen 2 three months early as well, and Pixar’s Onward hit Disney Plus just weeks after its theatrical run was suffocated by coronavirus lockdown orders.
Now Disney is ratcheting up the streaming releases of brand new movies too. The company’s live-action film version of the musical Hamilton will be going straight to Disney Plus on July 3, coinciding with the Independence Day holiday weekend in the US. Artemis Fowl, a sci-fi fantasy based on a popular series of young-adult books, will stream starting June 12, even though it had been scheduled to hit theaters May 29.
On the other hand, the future of other highly anticipated Disney Plus programming remains unclear, such as its Marvel original shows. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was supposed to be the first of those to debut in August, but the company hasn’t directly addressed its release plans for any of the series. Disney Plus series WandaVision was meant to debut on the service in December, but it reportedly still needs to complete filming: Actor Paul Bettany was supposed to appear at a convention in July, but he canceled the appearance because he’s resuming filming WandaVision in Los Angeles at that time.
Despite the coronavirus disrupting film schedules, the Mandalorian’s second season will premiere on the service in October as planned, Disney’s CEO has said.
This article provides details about when to expect high-profile titles. It also summarizes the pipeline of originals coming to Disney Plus, with timing details if they’re known.
Library highlights to come
Disney has started skipping cinemas in favor of streaming movies originally planned to be a theatrical release:
- July 10 – will complete the full Star Wars motion-picture library.
- July 10 – X-Men: Days of Future Past will be the first of at least four X-Men movies originally distributed by 20th Century Fox that will be added to Disney Plus in the coming months
- July 17 – X-Men: Apocalypse
- July 24 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will round out the streaming availability for the five-film franchise of movies based on Disney’s theme parks’ ride.
- July 31 – Incredibles 2 will round out the full Pixar catalog of films.
- Aug. 7 – X-Men
- Aug. 14 – will round out the Disney-based Marvel Cinematic Universe catalog on Disney Plus. Once Ant-man and the Wasp joins the service, Disney Plus will have every MCU movie except for 2008’s The Hulk, which was distributed by Universal before Disney bought Marvel; and 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, which were distributed by Sony.
- Aug 14 – The Greatest Showman, the 20th Century Fox movie musical, is loosely based on the life of circus magnate P.T. Barnum.
- Aug. 21 – Beauty and the Beast is 2017 live-action remake of Disney’s animated classic.
- Aug. 28 – Fantastic Four, the Marvel-based movie released in 2005, will be released to stream on Disney Plus alongside the 2015 remake already available there.
- Aug. 28 – Alice Through the Looking Glass is Disney’s live-action spin on the characters from Lewis Carrol’s book series.
- Sept. 4 – The Wolverine
In normal times, you’d expect every theatrical Disney movie to hit Disney Plus roughly six to 10 months after its big-screen debut. But during the coronavirus pandemic, Disney may change the role of Disney Plus for other titles too.
Original shows and movies
A live-stage capture of the original Broadway cast performing the award-winning musical, Hamilton was originally planned as a theatrical release for late 2021, but Disney moved up the release date significantly to become a streaming original on Disney Plus much earlier. Timing: July 3
Journalist Bob Woodruff travels the world with his 27-year-old son, Mack, focusing on places your average tourist is least likely to venture. Timing: July 24
Beyonce Knowles-Carter — who played Nala in Disney’s 2019 remake of The Lion King — will release her next visual album exclusively on Disney Plus on July 31. Black is King is based on last year’s alternative “soundtrack” to The Lion King titled The Gift, and it’s a reimagining of the lessons of The Lion King “for today’s young kings and queens in search of their own crowns,” the company said. The visual album “honors the voyages of Black families, throughout time… in a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity. His ancestors help guide him toward his destiny, and with his father’s teachings and guidance from his childhood love, he earns the virtues needed to reclaim his home and throne.” Timing: July 31
In this six-episode “unscripted” series, Scooter is in a rush to upload the brand-new Muppet series for streaming, but the rest of the Muppet gang throws zany obstacles, distractions, and complications in his way. Timing: July 31
- Secret Society of Second-Born Royals
A live-action movie that “combines the allure of royalty with the action-packed adventures of superheroes-in-training,” according to Disney. Timing: Sept. 24.
National Geographic’s original scripted series is adapted from Tom Wolfe’s iconic, bestselling nonfiction book about the the early days of the NASA space program. The eight-episode series chronicles the historic drama as the country’s earliest astronauts jockey to be the first man in space and follows NASA’s engineers, who work against the clock as pressures mount from Washington and a transfixed public. Timing: Fall 2020.
An inspirational film that tells the true story of Zach Sobiech, a musically gifted 17-year-old living with a rare bone cancer. The film follows Zach’s journey over the course of his senior year as he navigates love, friendship, family and leaving behind a musical legacy. Timing: Fall 2020.
A horror/comedy anthology series based on the best-selling graphic novel series from children’s writer R.L. Stine. Timing: Fall 2021.
Disney hasn’t confirmed the release dates for any of the following titles since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted plans. The release timing that’s listed for each title is either its originally planned timing or the expectation for when that show or movie is likely to come out.
- The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
Closely tied to events in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson character (and his Falcon alter-ego) return as the new Captain America, after elderly Steve Rogers handed off his shield in Endgame. Sebastian Stan’s Bucky joins him to fight evil as a duo, and Daniel Bruhl will reprise his role of villain Zemo from Captain America: Civil War in the series. Even though the budget of the miniseries doesn’t quite reach the stratospheric heights that MCU movies enjoy, Mackie said in June that the the filming experience for the show “feels exactly like” a big-screen Marvel movie. “So instead of a two-hour movie, a six or eight-hour movie,” he said.
It is being written by Malcolm Spellman of Empire, according to Variety, and John Wick writer Derek Kolstad, according to The Wrap. Meanwhile, Kari Skoglan — known for work on The Handmaid’s Tale — will direct all six of the series’ episodes, according to Deadline. Timing: Originally slated for August, but production was halted because of coronavirus.
Elizabeth Olsen will return as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany will reprise his role as Vision in the. Marvel has called a “mega event series” for Disney Plus. WandaVision will take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. With Bettany returning, the series will presumably address how Vision is revived after his death in Infinity War. It will also include Teyonah Parris playing adult Monica Rambeau, first seen as a child in . The events of WandaVision were supposed to lead directly to Scarlet Witch’s appearance in theatrical film , a theatrical film that has been delayed until March 2022. WandaVision is “unlike anything we’ve done before,” Olsen said at the Comic-Con announcement of the show. “It’s gonna get weird.” Timing: Originally slated for December, but production was halted because of coronavirus. As of early June, filming was set to resume in July in Los Angeles.
This documentary series explores the intersection between Marvel’s stories, characters and creators and the real world. Each documentary will dive into the historical and cultural context to the stories of the Marvel Universe. Timing: Originally planned for 2020
Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role as Thor: Ragnarok. Timing: Originally slated for spring 2021, but production was halted because of coronavirus., saying the show will feature the version of Loki seen in 2012’s first Avengers film. Loki appeared to be killed by Thanos at the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, but Endgame’s “time heist” plot showed Loki in 2012 snatching the tesseract/space stone and teleporting away. The Loki series will explain what happened to Hiddleston’s character right after that, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has said. Hiddleston also said the series version of Loki reflects the mischievous version seen in The Avengers, not the reformed Loki seen in
Marvel Studios’ first animated series takes inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into alternate realities.
Many actors from the MCU will serve as voice talent, and the casting is already hinting at what storylines What If…? will explore. Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman coming back ensure a Black Panther alternate reality with Jordan’s villain Kilmonger. In the Thor corner, the Ragnarok team of Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Taika Waititi and Jeff Goldblum are all getting back together — plus . Another episode will address a Peggy Carter alternate world with Hayley Atwell returning as Peggy and Dominic Cooper reprising young Howard Stark. Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas will voice their Ant-Man roles, and Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye and Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury will be showing up too.
A narrator voiced by Jeffrey Wright will serve as a through line across episodes. Wright’s narrator is The Watcher, part of a celestial race that watches over events taking place in the MCU. The Watchers were briefly seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 during Stan Lee’s cameo. Timing: Originally slated for summer 2021.
Picking up after the events of Avengers: Endgame, the comics becomes the next Hawkeye. Exploring the character’s time as Ronin, Renner said in a Comic-Con appearance, “I get to teach someone else how to be a superhero without superpowers.” Timing: Originally slated for fall 2021.series will see Jeremy Renner reprise his role as the archer, and feature Kate Bishop, who in the
In the comics, Ms. Marvel, or Kamala Khan, is a teen protege of Captain Marvel’s Carol Danvers and is Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book. Timing: Originally slated for 2021.
- Untitled Cassian Andor Star Wars Series
Diego Luna will reprise his role of rebel spy Cassian Andor in this series set during the formative years of the Rebellion prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire. Alan Tudyk will also reprise his role as K-2SO with Stephen Schiff (The Americans) as showrunner and executive producer. Timing: Unknown, possibly 2021. Luna said in February that shooting was set to begin in 2020 ahead of the planned 2021 release, but all of Disney filming shut down in March.
Inspired by the characters of Monsters, Inc., the animated series picks up six months after the events of the original film. Tylor Tuskmon, an eager young mechanic who works on the Monsters, Inc. facilities team, dreams of working his way up to the Laugh Floor. Returning cast members Billy Crystal, John Goodman, John Ratzenberger, Bob Peterson and Jennifer Tilly will join new cast members Ben Feldman, Kelly Marie Tran, Henry Winkler, Lucas Neff, Alanna Ubach and Stephen Stanton. Timing: Originally slated for spring 2021.
This reality series will follow the teams of more than 1,000 animal-care experts, vets and biologists at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium. Timing: Originally planned for 2020.
Another reality series, each episode of (Re)Connect will show a family disconnecting in order to address a relatable issue and confront the family’s dilemma. Timing: Originally planned for 2020.
A documentary about the Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast lyricist Howard Ashman. Timing: Originally planned for 2020.
- The Phineas and Ferb Movie (working title)
Stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb; their older sister, Candace; Perry the Platypus; and the Danville gang come back together in an animated adventure. Phineas and Ferb set across the galaxy to rescue Candace, who has been abducted by aliens and spirited away to a far-off planet free of little brothers. Timing: Originally planned for 2020.
- Earthkeepers (working title)
Earthkeepers is a cinematic documentary series profiling people changing the way we see the animal kingdom: conservationists who seek to help some of the planet’s most endangered species. Timing: Originally planned for late 2020 or 2021.
The documentary series, based on the book of the same name, tells the story of how an unsung workforce of women helped create some of the most beloved animated films of Disney. Timing: Timing: Originally planned for late 2020 or 2021.
The release timing of some Disney Plus originals is hazy. In some cases, the company has announced plans for originals without any indication of when they’ll come out:
- She-Hulk series, a Marvel original about the cousin of Bruce Banner who gains super-human powers from a transfusion of Banner’s blood (and yes, Hulk actor Mark Ruffalo is in talks to appear on the show)
- Moon Knight series, another Marvel original abut former mercenary and CIA agent Marc Spector, who has multiple personalities and is imbued with powers from an Egyptian god
- A series based on the National Treasure franchise of movies
- A live-action remake of Robin Hood
- A Lizzie McGuire reboot
- Big Shots, a dramedy focused on girls high school basketball, starring John Stamos
- A comedic puppet talk show, Earth to Ned, with the Jim Henson Company
- A Turner and Hooch series updating the 1989 Tom Hanks movie
- An untitled Mickey Mouse documentary
- A docu-series about people who “embody the Disney ethos,” called People & Places
- A project about celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, called simply Wolfgang
- A National Geographic documentary called Science Fair
This story was originally published April 12, 2019, and is updated as new information is revealed.