Disney Plus has had a very successful first year. The company had initially hoped to reach between 60 and 90 million subscribers in the year 2024. This week, the company announced that the service had hit 86.8 million subscribers in its first year. That kind of explosive growth, assisted greatly by the lockdowns, has pushed the company to expand the future of the service. With that, this week Disney announced plans for the future of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises over the next few years.
After more than a year of no direct contact with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (the final half-season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't entirely count), Disney will be going the opposite direction and inundating viewers with content. On January 15, 2021, Disney will release WandaVision, followed shortly by Falcon and the Winter Soldier on March 19, and then Loki in May.
While all of these series have been previously announced with details, a lot of new details were released about other shows. Tatiana Maslany will be playing Jennifer Walters AKA She-Hulk, with support from Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner (The Hulk) and Tim Roth as Emil Blonsky (Abomination). Ruffalo has played Banner in the MCU since Edward Norton was fired after the character's stand-alone film, in which Tim Roth originated the Abomination character. This show will bring those two actors together in those characters.
Marvel is not just returning to Roth's Abomination, but also to the world of Fantastic Four. This attempt with the characters will be the first in which MArvel is in charge, after purchasing Twentieth-Century Fox, which had the rights. With the proper Marvel team behind the project, hopefully, this one will not go off the rails, as the team will be official members of the MCU.
These are just some of the many new projects coming, including Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Secret Invasion, Don Cheadle as War Machine in Armor Wars, and a Christmas special from The Guardians of the Galaxy, which has to be better than the Star Wars Christmas special, right?
Fortunately, it does not seem that a new Star Wars Christmas special is on its way. However, a ton of other projects are in the works. Some will be live-action, some will be animated, and then there's A Droid Story, which will be somewhere inbetween. It will feature R2-D2, C-3PO, and a "new hero." The project is said to work at "the intersection of animation and visual effects" though we don't know quite what that means just yet.
One of the animated projects is The Bad Batch, a new series that will take place following Star Wars: The Clone Wars and follows the Bad Batch "as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War." The other animated project is Star Wars: Visions, in which they will be "celebrating Star Wars through the lens of the world's best anime creators."
The other projects are a little less publicly defined. Some of the projects (Ahsoka, Andor, Rangers of the New Republic, and Rogue Squadron) will be live action, while others are even less defined. Among these, we will see the return of some previous actors and characters, most notably Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the format of which is unknown.
With all of this new content, much of it coming to Disney Plus, and a huge number of subscribers, the company has decided to test the waters with pricing. Only a year into the service's life, Disney will be increasing the price by $1 to $8 per month. They also announced a long-awaited bundle, which will include ESPN and Hulu without ads for $19 per month, but will be $20 after the price increase.