Will Disney+ Exhaust Its Biggest Fanbases?
When Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm was completed in 2012, some Star Wars fans had mixed feelings. Although its treatment of Marvel properties was met with popular acclaim, Disney’s monolithic reputation left many to wonder if the IP would be treated with the respect fans would wish for.
Those fans’ worries may have been justified after all. Three live action “Star Wars” shows have either already been released on Disney+ or are scheduled for 2022, as well as two animated shows. Fan reactions to “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “The Book Of Boba Fett” were decidedly mixed, and “Andor’s” release on August 31st is scheduled to overlap with “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law” on August 17th.
Marvel fans are also struggling to keep up with the rate of new releases. In addition to “She-Hulk,” Disney has already released “Moon Knight” and “Ms. Marvel”, with a “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special” coming later this fall/winter. Disney has also added “Eternals” and “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” to its platform this year, with “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “I Am Groot” expected to arrive in August. Disney+ has also added R-rated content for the first time with its additions of “Logan” and “Deadpool”.
This onslaught constitutes a major part of Phase 4 of the MCU, and fans have been slower to respond to the offerings. Titles like “Ms. Marvel”, as well as theatrical releases like the fourth Thor film have received uneven audience scores on sites like Rotten Tomatoes, indicating that audience fatigue is setting in.
In 2021, Lucasfilm’s VP of Franchise Content and Strategy James Waugh was asked if he was concerned the release schedule of “Star Wars” content was too much. He responded, “Are we worried about oversaturation? I think we’re always very thoughtful and cautious about how do we keep Star Wars‘ specialness in this landscape.”
Despite these words, glut of titles these properties are spawning is only increasing. Disney+ already has seven live action or animated Star Wars/MCU titles scheduled for 2023, and any theatrically released movies will stream on the platform 45 days after their initial release.
Doubtless, many fans will argue that having more content in general is a good thing. But realistically, sooner or later Disney’s executives must examine whether they are furthering their own best interests by constantly releasing so much content. Star Wars and the MCU are some of the most valuable streaming IPs, but bombarding fans with new releases will exhaust those fan bases before long.
Related: When Will Disney+ Have a Non-Marvel, Non-Star Wars Original Hit? ►
Marvel Phase 4 Films
Black WidowJuly 7, 2021
Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsSeptember 1, 2021
Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.
EternalsNovember 3, 2021
The Eternals are a team of ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. When an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows, they are forced to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants. The film will be released on Disney+ January 12, 2022.
Spider-Man: No Way HomeDecember 15, 2021
When Spider-Man’s secret identity is revealed, Peter Parker asks Doctor Strange to help him regain his anonymity with a magic spell. But when the spell goes wrong, Spider-Man faces a battle against a rogue’s gallery from his past. As the emotional toll grows, Peter must face the most difficult choice of his life.
The film is a delight for anyone who’s followed the Spider-saga since its cinematic beginnings. Be sure to watch the original “Spider-Man” series with Tobey Maguire and the “Amazing Spider-Man” series with Andrew Garfield to fully appreciate this crowd-pleaser.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessMay 4, 2022
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.
The film also stars Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Karl Mordo), Benedict Wong (Wong), Xochitl Gomez (America Chavez), Michael Stuhlbarg (Nicodemus West), and Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer).
Director Sam Raimi returns to the superhero genre for the first time since the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films.
Thor: Love and ThunderJuly 6, 2022
After his retirement is interrupted by Gorr the God Butcher, a galactic killer who seeks the extinction of the gods, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie, Korg, and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster, who now inexplicably wields Mjolnir as the Mighty Thor. Together, they embark upon a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late.
The film stars Chris Hemsworth, Christian Bale, Tessa Thompson, Russell Crowe, and Natalie Portman. Taika Waititi returns to direct after “Thor: Ragnarok.”
Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverNovember 9, 2022
Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with the help of War Dog Nakia and Everett Ross and forge a new path for the kingdom of Wakanda.
Marvel Phase 4 TV Series
WandaVisionJanuary 15, 2021
Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
The Falcon and the Winter SoldierMarch 19, 2021
Following the events of “Avengers: Endgame”, the Falcon, Sam Wilson and the Winter Soldier, Bucky Barnes team up in a global adventure that tests their abilities, and their patience.
LokiJune 9, 2021
After stealing the Tesseract during the events of “Avengers: Endgame,” an alternate version of Loki is brought to the mysterious Time Variance Authority, a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space and monitors the timeline. They give Loki a choice: face being erased from existence due to being a “time variant” or help fix the timeline and stop a greater threat.
What If…?August 11, 2021
Taking inspiration from the comic books of the same name, each episode explores a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turns it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory.
HawkeyeNovember 24, 2021
Former Avenger Clint Barton has a seemingly simple mission: get back to his family for Christmas. Possible? Maybe with the help of Kate Bishop, a 22-year-old archer with dreams of becoming a superhero. The two are forced to work together when a presence from Barton’s past threatens to derail far more than the festive spirit.
Moon KnightMarch 30, 2022
When Steven Grant, a mild-mannered gift-shop employee, becomes plagued with blackouts and memories of another life, he discovers he has dissociative identity disorder and shares a body with mercenary Marc Spector. As Steven/Marc’s enemies converge upon them, they must navigate their complex identities while thrust into a deadly mystery among the powerful gods of Egypt.
Ms. MarvelJune 8, 2022
A great student, avid gamer, and voracious fan-fic scribe, Kamala Khan has a special affinity for superheroes, particularly Captain Marvel. However, she struggles to fit in at home and at school — that is, until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s always looked up to. Life is easier with superpowers, right?
She-Hulk: Attorney at LawAugust 18, 2022
Jennifer Walters navigates the complicated life of a single, 30-something attorney who also happens to be a green 6-foot-7-inch superpowered hulk.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday SpecialNovember 25, 2022
On a mission to make Christmas unforgettable for Quill, the Guardians head to Earth in search of the perfect present.