Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

What to expect on Disney+: D23 Expo reveals 'Star Wars' news, upcoming Marvel shows and reboots

Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Marvel's Wanda and Vision getting their own spin-off were among the weekend's revelations

The emergence and dominance of streaming sites like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu has already irreversibly altered the landscape for both the big and small screens, as more and more viewers now decide to stay at home to watch their entertainment.

But this is just the beginning, as massive companies like Warner Bros, Apple and, most seismically, Disney are all set to launch their own services in the very near future, which will see them combine their vast back catalogues with expensive new series and films.

Scroll through the gallery above to see more stars at the D23 Expo.

Disney used yesterday's D23 Expo panel to reveal their humungous plans for Disney +, with the most raucous reaction of the afternoon reserved for the confirmation that Ewan McGregor will finally reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new Star Wars television series. McGregor took to the stage to join Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for the announcement, and the sound that greeted his arrival was so deafening it almost drowned out the news that all of the scripts for the series are already written and it will shoot next year.

Ewan McGregor will star as Obi Wan Kenobi in a new 'Star Wars' television series on Disney +. Courtesy Lucasfilms
Ewan McGregor will star as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new 'Star Wars' television series on Disney +. Courtesy Lucasfilms

There was plenty more Star Wars news for fans to devour, though, as creator Jon Favreau and producer and director Dave Filoni teased the imminent release of The Mandalorian, which introduces a brand-new set of characters to the universe and will be on Disney + when it launches on Tuesday, November 12.

Favreau explained that the show will take “place after Return Of The Jedi. After the revolution". "After everyone is done celebrating because the Empire has gone. When chaos reigns because there is no central government in the galaxy," the filmmaker continued. "It degrades into a world where, like the old Samurai and western movies, the gunfighters are roaming and people are fighting for their own safety and to build safe communities. It is a dangerous world.”

With no new Star Wars movies due for at least three years after the release of The Rise Of Skywalker in December, Kennedy was keen to stress that the quality of the episodic live-action series will be identical to the feature releases. In fact, she said, it was “exhilarating and liberating to tell stories that last beyond two hours".

As well as The Mandalorian and the brand-new adventures for Obi-Wan Kenobi, Disney + will be the home for another series of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which will debut in February 2020, and a new spy show that will revolve around Rogue One’s Cassian Andor and droid K-2SO, played by Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk, which is still untitled but will shoot in London next year.

Kennedy wasn’t the only one to send the masses into a frenzy at D23 Expo, as Kevin Feige’s deep dive into what Marvel will deliver on Disney + proved to be just as exciting and enlightening.

Unsurprisingly, Feige’s most stunning revelations came right at the end of his preview, as he confirmed that television shows of Ms Marvel, Moonlight and She-Hulk, which will revolve around lawyer Jennifer Walters struggling to contend with the brawn of the Hulk, are now in development.

Most of what Feige discussed before that point had already been announced at July’s San Diego Comic-Con. However, he was able to provide much more insight this time around. We already knew that the Twilight Zone-inspired What If would take an animated look at what might have happened in all 23 instalments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe if just one element had been altered, but at the D23 Expo we learnt that will include a zombie Captain America and the debut of Captain Carter.

We also discovered that Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan will be joined in The Falcon and Winter Soldier by Emily Van Camp’s Sharon Carter and Wyatt Russell as brand-new character Jon Walker, while Loki, which will premiere in 2021, will consist of six episodes, take the God of Mischief to “an entirely new part of the MCU" and reveal what he did with the Tesseract he stole in Avengers: Endgame.

But Feige’s most impressive revelations were saved for WandaVision, which is now so intriguing it has immediately become the most interesting Marvel show on Disney +’s upcoming slate. Described as a classic sitcom in the mould of The Dick Van Dyke Show merged with the full-on spectacle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Paul Bettany, who will star opposite Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda as Vision, described WandaVision as “so funny,” before insisting that it ends up “being huge and epic". Bettany and Olsen will be joined on the series by Thor and Thor: The Dark World’s Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Randall Park will reprise Ant-Man and The Wasp’s Agent Jimmy Woo and Kathryn Hahn will make her Marvel debut as a “nosy neighbour".

Disney + isn’t just all Marvel and Star Wars, though – far from it. Bill Hader and Anna Kendrick’s Christmas comedy Noelle, the live-action reimagining of Lady and the Tramp, and High School Musical: The Musical - The Series, which follows a group of teenagers trying to stage a performance of High School Musical, will all be available on Tuesday November 12, as will Pixar’s Forky Asks A Question, a series of shorts revolving around Toy Story 4’s breakout character. But you’ll have to wait until 2020 for the Monsters, Inc. spin-off, Monsters At Work.

Hilary Duff is also going to return for a new series of Lizzie McGuire, which will see the now 30-year-old professional living in New York but still contending with the animated version of herself who reveals what she is actually thinking, while Jeff Goldblum’s new show, The World According To Jeff Goldblum, will revolve around the idiosyncratic actor learning about a variety of topics, from ice cream to denim, jewellery and tattoos.

And that’s just new material. Disney + will also feature 600 hours' worth of National Geographic content, every Pixar film, every animated Disney movie, every Marvel film, every Stars Wars film and show, and all 661 episodes of The Simpsons. Clearly Disney are raising the bar with their streaming service, and it is hard to see how Netflix and its rivals are going to keep up.

Updated: August 24, 2019 11:10 AM

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