A Look at What’s Streaming on Disney Plus

By Amit Jagwani  | 

Disney Plus hit a notable milestone this summer, with its subscription base skyrocketing to 116 million people on July 3. The viewing platform added over 12 million new fans in a few months, thanks in part to the success of its original programming plus an extensive lineup of family-friendly movies. Last year, media analyst Michael Nathanson called Disney Plus “one of the greatest product launches of all time,” and the fairytale achievement currently shows no signs of slowing. The streamer predicts it will have up to 260 million subscribers by the time its five years old, in 2024. In the meantime, here’s what to watch now from the House of Mouse.

Original Programming
One of the biggest Disney Plus draws is its extensive collection of Marvel TV shows and movies, which range from classic ‘90s cartoons (X-Men, Iron-Man, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk) to recent offerings from Marvel Cinematic Universe. One such example is Loki, a time-hopping series that debuted June 9 to instant rave reviews. English actor Tom Hiddleston stars in the title role as the villainous God of Mischief viewers can’t help but love, with Owen Wilson playing Mobius, an agent attempting to restore order. Studio execs recently confirmed the show will return for a second season, though filming may not start until 2023.

Luckily, fantasy fans can fill the interim hours by watching WandaVision, a nine-episode miniseries starring Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany as superheroes Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively. The show starts with the couple living a seemingly idyllic suburban life in the town of Westview, New Jersey. Decades pass as they try to conceal their true natures, until the duo realize things around them may not be as normal as they seem. Season two hasn’t yet been confirmed, though both fans and actors are rooting for the show’s renewal.

Animated Favorites
In 2006, the Walt Disney Company made headlines by acquiring Pixar for a whopping $7.4 billion, which totaled more than the Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm deals combined. That spelled good news for animated film lovers, who now get to enjoy classics like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, The Incredibles and more on the streaming platform. Add to this mix Pixar’s latest offering, Luca, a coming-of-age tale set in a seaside town on the Italian Riviera. The story follows a trio of friends enjoying scooter rides, bottomless pasta bowls and endless servings of gelato—but two of the boys are guarding a dark secret about their true identities. The film premiered June 18 exclusively on Disney Plus, skipping theaters entirely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Soul followed that same release model, stunning fans with its musical sequences and winning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature—the only film to ever take that prize without having played in a movie theater. It made further history by being the first Pixar movie to feature a Black protagonist, voiced by Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner, a jazz musician whose soul gets separated from his body. It also had the first predominantly Black cast and Black director, Kemp Powers. Academy Award nominee Angela Basset and actress Tina Fey round out the fun in their supporting roles.

Nostalgic Offerings
Gen X viewers—and anyone tapping into ‘90s-era nostalgia viewing—may fondly recall The Mighty Ducks trilogy of live-action films starring Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay, the reluctant coach of a Minneapolis kids’ ice-hockey team. Perennial losers who always finish at the bottom of their league, their fate changes following Bombay’s arrival. Now, that heartwarming classic is getting a reboot. Some stars from the original flick are set to reunite for Mighty Ducks: Game Changers. The series will focus on a 12-year-old player who starts his own team after getting cut from the Mighty Ducks. Production wrapped in Vancouver last year, with Estevez reprising his role as Coach Bombay and Lauren Graham (Parenthood, Gilmore Girls) joining the cast.

From pucks to baskets, Big Shot calls on references to various kids’ sports movies to tell the story of Marvyn Korn, former head coach of an NCAA basketball team who takes a job leading a group of young players at an elite all-girls private high school. Fans of classic American sitcom Full House will revel at the sight of actor John Stamos (aka, Uncle Jesse) in the lead role. “This show represents everything Disney is to me—family, inclusion, and unity,” said Stamos. The dramedy was recently renewed for a second season, which will start filming in 2022. Here’s to many hours of happy viewing!

Amit Jagwani
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