Splashy presentations of new series set within Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar franchise worlds teases both fans and industry with previously unannounced details about the studio’s aggressive new streaming platform programming plans.
Friday afternoon, Disney+ made its D23 Expo debut with its first-ever showcase presentation, announcing a number of new series in development while revealing key details about the highly anticipated streaming service before an enthusiastic Anaheim Convention Center audience. The event showcased an array of talent with in-person and video appearances from the stars of Disney+’s slate of originals from Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars, and included sneak peeks, trailer premieres, and exclusive news about the service and its upcoming projects.
Kevin Mayer, chairman, Direct-to-Consumer & International, kicked off the presentation, stating, “With less than three months until launch, Disney+ will soon entertain and inspire audiences of all ages for generations to come, and we’re excited to preview some of the amazing original content being created for the service exclusively from our world-class brands today at the D23 Expo. Storytelling is the cornerstone of The Walt Disney Company and we’re thrilled to unveil a new slate of original shows from the Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universes, along with popular television franchises set to return with all-new series streaming only on Disney+.”
As part of the presentation, some of the creative minds behind Disney+’s content slate including Sean Bailey, president, Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production; Kevin Feige, president, Marvel Studios; Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm; and Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channel Worldwide, gave fans a first look at some of the service’s upcoming originals and announced a number of new titles:
- Ewan McGregor made a surprise appearance to announce his return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new untitled series from Lucasfilm.
- Kevin Feige announced that Marvel Studios is developing three new live-action series: Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight and She-Hulk, all derived from Marvel comics.
- Forty years after leaving the swamp in his big screen debut in The Muppet Movie, Kermit the Frog is heading upstream with Miss Piggy, and the gang, bringing a new kind of mayhem and laughter to Disney+ with their first-ever unscripted short-form series, Muppets Now.
During the 90-minute presentation, a number of celebrities, filmmakers, and creatives treated the 6,800-person audience to the first public preview of Disney+’s original movies and shows set to stream when the service launches on November 12:
- For Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian, executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni joined series stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito, along with Taika Waititi, who brings the droid IG-11 to life, to premiere the teaser trailer for the first Star Wars live-action series. Earlier in the day at the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, Robert A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company, announced that new Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen will join the cast of the series. Set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, The Mandalorian follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
- Host Yvette Nicole Brown joined fellow Lady and the Tramp cast members Rose (“Lady”) and Monty (“Tramp”)—the canine stars of the film—to premiere the first trailer from the film. In the timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.
- Noelle stars Anna Kendrick and Billy Eichner joined Sean Bailey to announce their film will premiere on Disney+ on November 12 before sharing a new trailer. In the upcoming holiday comedy, Kris Kringle’s daughter is full of Christmas spirit and holiday fun, but wishes she could do something “important” like her beloved brother Nick, who will take over from their father this Christmas. When Nick is about to crumble like a gingerbread cookie from all the pressure, Noelle suggests he take a break and get away…but when he doesn’t return, Noelle must find her brother and bring him back in time to save Christmas.
- Tony Hale, who reprises his craft project turned toy role from Toy Story 4 in the new collection of Pixar animated shorts “Forky Asks A Question,” premiered the first short (What is Money?). In the 10 shorts, Forky explores important questions about how the world works, such as: What is love? What is time?
- The audience was treated to a scene from the Disney+ original film Togo, an untold true story set in the winter of 1925 across the treacherous terrain of the Alaskan tundra. An exhilarating and uplifting adventure, Togo stars four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe and is directed by Ericson Core. The film also stars Julianne Nicholson, Christopher Heyerdahl, Richard Dormer, Michael Greyeyes, Michael McElhatton and Michael Gaston. Kim Zubick is the producer and Tom Flynn wrote the screenplay. Togo will launch on Disney+ in December.
- Kathleen Kennedy announced that the highly anticipated new season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will stream on Disney+ in February 2020. The Emmy Award-winning animated series will be returning with 12 all-new episodes and will mark the return of classic characters Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and fan-favorites Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex.
- Sean Bailey shared a first look at the original film Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. Directed by award-winning filmmaker Tom McCarthy with screenplay by McCarthy & Stephan Pastis and based on the best-selling book series by Pastis, the film follows the hilarious exploits of our quirky, deadpan hero, Timmy Failure, who, along with his 1,500-pound polar bear partner Total, operates Total Failure Inc., a Portland detective agency. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made will launch on Disney+ in early 2020.
- Director Kari Skogland introduced Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, the stars of Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which finds Falcon and the Winter Soldier teaming up after Avengers: Endgame. Emily VanCamp came on stage and Feige revealed that she will reprise her role as Sharon Carter. Then, he introduced the crowd to Wyatt Russell who will play John Walker—a character from the comics coming to the screen for the first time. Head writer Malcom Spellman was also on hand to greet the crowd. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will launch on Disney+ in 2020.
- Monsters At Work stars Ben Feldman and Aisha Tyler unveiled the latest design of their characters Tylor and Millie. Inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award-winning feature film Monsters, Inc., the new series from Disney Television Animation returns to Monstropolis and follows a new cast of monsters with special appearances from Mike and Sulley (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman).
- Stars Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen were on hand for their new series, Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. Bettany returns as Vision and Olsen as Wanda Maximoff—two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives who begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. Kevin Feige surprised the audience by bringing to the stage Kat Dennings and Randall Park who will reprise their roles from Thor and Ant-Man and The Wasp, and then he introduced Kathryn Hahn who has been cast as a new character in the series. Director Matt Shakman and head writer Jac Schaeffer joined everyone on stage to reveal that the streaming series will blend the style of classic sitcoms with Marvel Cinematic Universe. WandaVision premieres on Disney+ in 2021.
- Kevin Feige welcomed the director, Kate Herron, and head writer, Michael Waldron, of Loki to the stage. In Marvel Studios’ new Disney+ series Loki, Tom Hiddleston returns as the mercurial Loki, the god of mischief and everyone’s favorite villain in stories that take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Loki debuts on Disney+ in 2021.
- For Marvel Studios’ What If…? Hayley Atwell was on hand to greet the audience. Atwell will voice Peggy Carter in Marvel Studios’ first animated series that focuses on different heroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and imagines what would happen if the events in the films worked out differently. Kevin Feige also introduced director Bryan Andrews and head writer Ashley Bradley to the crowd. What If…? premieres on Disney+ in 2021.
- Stars Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk joined Kathleen Kennedy to introduce the audience to the second Lucasfilm live-action series for Disney+, which is now in development. Both actors are reprising their roles from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the stories follow Cassian Andor’s adventures as a rebel spy during the formative years of the Rebellion, before the events of A New Hope.