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Disney Streaming Service to Feature Marvel & Star Wars Spin-off Series

Ross Kelly

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Disney Plus

Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) can dive into miniseries starring Loki and Hawkeye, while Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, is expected to raise eyebrows. 

Disney has announced a long-awaited streaming service that will reportedly launch in North America later this year.

Customers outside that region could be waiting longer for the service, though, as the company is yet to release details for other markets.

The announcement follows its acquisition of 20th Century Fox in March for a whopping fee of around $70 billion (£53.56 billion).

Priced at around $6.99 (£5.35) per month, Disney+ could mount a series challenge to Apple’s aspirations of streaming dominance later this year; the latter of which has not yet detailed pricing. The pricing could prove to be a thorn in Netflix’s side as well, which currently charges $12.99 (£9.94) a month.

Speaking at Disney’s investor day in California yesterday, chief executive Bob Iger said: “This is our first serious foray in this space, and we want to reach as many people as possible with it.”

Exclusive series could set the service apart, with the release of the first live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, coinciding with the launch. Content from other recently acquired companies, such as the Simpsons, is also expected to be incorporated within the service’s offering.

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Content could be a stumbling block for the streaming service early on, though. Disney is in the process of regaining the rights to content that had previously been sold to other streaming platforms.

The company said that it could take up to four years before all of these deals have expired. Iger said that overcoming this hurdle is his “biggest priority” looking forward.

Upon its launch, though, Disney+ is likely to be a behemoth within this market; bringing together major franchises including works by Marvel, Pixar and its Star Wars Franchise.

The company owns sports network ESPN, which commands more than 2 million paid subscribers. Disney also owns Hostar, India’s largest premium streaming platform, which boasts more than 300 million subscribers.

US streaming service, Hulu, also falls under the Disney umbrella, with the company planning to expand globally within the next 12-months.

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What’s on offer?

Upon its launch, core content will be kept off Disney+, which makes sense given its staggering box office revenue stream. Last year, the company sold more than 900 million movie tickets and brought in an estimated $7 billion in revenue through the box office.

Disney titles will still be launched in cinemas worldwide and will likely undergo their usual life cycle before being added to the service. For subscribers, additional content including mini-series based on film characters and behind-the-scenes footage will be available.

Straight-to-Disney+ films will also be available when the service launches. Christmas film Noelle is expected to be among them, as well as a remake of Lady and the Tramp.

The company was keen to distance itself from the straight-to-video tag of days past, which was often regarded as an indictment of the quality of the content in question. These titles will be made with “all the care” of typical Disney productions, the company insisted.

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For Marvel fans, the Disney+ service could be a dream come true. Two new series based on MCU characters will be coming to the subscription service.

WandaVision, which will focus on Scarlet Witch and Vision, played by Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany respectively, is expected to dive deeper into the pair’s relationship.

Falcon and Winter Soldier is set to see Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie return as the two popular Avengers characters. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige hinted that the series will take a closer look at the characters from what we’ve previously seen in the MCU titles.

A new miniseries based on Loki, as well as with Hawkeye, are also expected to feature; Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Renner are both set to reprise their roles in these productions.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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