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Disney+: Here’s What We Know So Far About The Upcoming Streaming Service

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In September 2017, Disney announced plans to create its own streaming video service — a platform created to challenge Netflix, Hulu, and similar high-end streamers. Just over a year later, that service was given a name: Disney+.

Disney+ (also known as Disney Plus) is intended to compete with industry leader Netflix and the various other direct-to-consumer streaming video platforms currently in use and in development. Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger has indicated that Disney+ is the company’s “biggest priority” in 2019 — which says a lot, given the scope of Disney’s influence and content.

Here’s everything we know about Disney+ so far.

When we’ll see it

Disney hasn’t given the service an official launch date at this point, other than a vague late-2019 target for it to go public and become available to subscribers.

Before it officially launches, however, the company plans to give investors a sneak peek at the service in April, according to Bloomberg. Disney is expected to provide the very first preview of Disney+ during its April 11 investor meeting.

Until then, anyone interested in the service can sign up for updates at the official preview site: Preview.DisneyPlus.com.

The name

Initially identified as “Disney Play” by Iger in early interviews, the official Disney+ name of the service — and its logo — was revealed in a November 2018 earnings presentation, with a press release confirming the details shortly thereafter.

What will it include?

Disney has revealed few details about its streaming service, offering the public little more than a general idea — and lots of rumors — about what Disney+ will likely feature when it launches in 2019 and beyond.

Initial reports suggest that Disney is planning to have approximately 7,000 episodes of television series and 400 to 500 movies available on the service when it launches. First and foremost among the content will be a variety of projects tied to Disney’s Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney-specific properties.

Avengers Age of Ultron

A report published in September 2018 indicated that Disney is developing multiple series featuring characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the actors who played them on the big screen reprising their roles.

According to Variety, Loki and Scarlet Witch are two of the characters with shows in development, with both Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen, respectively, expected to reprise their roles from the MCU films. Iger confirmed the Loki series with Hiddleston during the November 2018 earnings report. A live-action series featuring MCU veterans Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie as Winter Soldier and Falcon, respectively, is also in the works with Empire writer Malcolm Spellman penning the script.

The Mandalorian, the previously announced, live-action Star Wars series being developed by Jon Favreau, is also among the projects destined for Disney+. Another series will bring back Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Diego Luna as the rebel spy Cassian Andor.

While The Mandalorian will be set after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi and before Episode VII — The Force Awakens, the still-untitled series starring Luna will be set prior to the events of Rogue One.

A new series set in the world of Disney and Pixar’s Monsters. Inc. is also in the works, as is a series based on the Disney Channel’s High School Musical franchise. A seventh season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is also in production, as well as a series based on the movie High Fidelity.

This is all in addition to the studio’s upcoming movie slate — which includes Captain MarvelFrozen 2Toy Story 4, Star Wars: Episode IX, and Favreau’s live-action remake of The Lion King — which will probably have exclusive streaming availability on the service.

Other original movie projects announced for the service include multiple remakes of classic and more recent Disney films, as well as new films. Some of the projects specifically identified include 3 Men and a Baby, Don Quixote, Father of the Bride, Flora & Ulysses, Lady and the Tramp, Magic Camp, Noelle, The Paper Magician, The Parent Trap, Stargirl, The Sword in the Stone, Timmy FailureTogo, and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Whether those projects will find their way to other streaming platforms at some point remains unknown.

How much it will cost

Disney+ plans to undercut Netflix when it comes to pricing for its streaming service, and will likely come in under the monthly $8 to $14 fee charged by Netflix. This decision, Iger acknowledged, has as much to do with making the service more appealing financially as it does with accurately valuing the amount of content available when it debuts.

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When it comes to its initial library, Disney+ won’t attempt to match Netflix in sheer volume of content, explained Iger in a wide-ranging feature published by Variety. Being able to draw from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney brands gives the service an exclusivity that other platforms lack, he argued, as long as the content is kept to the high standard fans expect.

“We have the luxury of programming this product with programs from those brands or derived from those brands, which obviously creates a demand and gives us the ability to not necessarily be in the volume game, but to be in the quality game,” Iger said.

What it won’t include

One thing Disney+ won’t be doing is pulling original Marvel, Star Wars, or Disney content off competing platforms. While that likely comes as good news to fans of live-action Marvel series on Netflix, for example, as well as recent series such as The Gifted and Runaways, that doesn’t mean the series will continue on their respective platforms and television networks.

In what could be a sign of things to come, Netflix announced a series of cancellations in late 2018 that brought three of its five live-action Marvel series to an end following their most recent seasons. Various reports indicated that Netflix and Disney had reached an impasse in negotiating the terms of the series’ continuation on the streaming service, with Netflix looking to reduce costs for future seasons, only for the streaming provider to eventually pull the plug.

As initially promised by Disney, however, the existing episodes of all three series — Iron FistLuke Cage, and Daredevil — remain exclusively available to view on Netflix.

Star Wars Episode IV: A New HopeStar Wars Episode IV: A New Hope Disney

The availability of the first six films in the Star Wars franchise is also uncertain at this point, as Disney sold the U.S. broadcast rights to the films — which also apparently included streaming rights — to Turner Broadcasting System in a 2016 deal that gives Turner control of the movies through 2024. Disney has made efforts to buy back the rights, but no deal has been struck at this point.

In keeping with Disney’s family-friendly approach to programming, there won’t be any R-rated projects available on Disney+, either. Any movies or TV series that push the boundaries of Disney’s typical PG-13 audience will be diverted to Hulu, according to various reports.

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