Disney Plus: all you need to know – updated

Disney Plus takes aim at the likes of Netlfix and Amazon − here's everything you need to know about the new streaming service from Disney, including releases, shows, platforms and more

What does Disney Plus include?

Disney has conquered theme parks, it’s conquered the global box office charts, and now the House of Mouse has set its sights on the living room with its new OTT (over-the-top) streaming service called Disney Plus.

It swallowed up 20th Century Fox and all the content that studio has, and with this new streaming platform, Disney will leverage Fox, its own library and content from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

Disney’s entrance into the market is set to spice it up even further, with Netflix, Amazon, Apple and YouTube providing plenty of competition.

  • What is it? – A streaming platform that will house content from Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, 20th Century Fox.
  • When does it launch? – November 12th, 2019 in the US. Probably early 2020 in the UK
  • How much does it cost? – $6.99 a month in the US. Likely £6 a month in the UK

Disney Plus price – How much will it cost?

In the US, Disney Plus will cost $6.99 a month ($69.99 per year); for Canada its $8.99 ($89.99 a year). Dutch subscribers will pay €6.99 per month (€69.99 per year), while viewers in Australia and New Zealand will need to cough up A$8.99 (A$89.99 per year) and NZ$9.99 (NZ$99.99).

In the UK that works out to under £6 a month and (likely £60 a year). Disney wants the service to be cheaper than Netflix, although Apple have outdone it with an even cheaper price.

Image credit: Disney

Disney did confirm that 4K HDR streams will be available in its one-size fits all offering. That means we can look forward to watching content in HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR (for those with compatible TVs), as well as in Dolby Atmos audio.

US customers will be able to pick a streaming bundle that includes Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and Hulu (with ads) for $12.99. Rights issues means that’s unlikely to come to the UK, but it shows how aggressive Disney is being with the service.

If you live in the US, you can sign up for the service now but as they are no pre-release incentives, it’s probably worth waiting.

Related: What is Dolby Vision HDR?

Disney Plus UK launch date – When does it launch?

For those in the US, Canada and Netherlands, Disney Plus launches on November 12th. It turns up in Australia and New Zealand a week later on the 19th.

Disney has been quiet about other territories. There’s been no news yet of a UK launch date, but unlike some sites’ dramatic reporting, we’re not expecting it to take two years for Disney Plus to arrive in the UK. 2020 seems likely.

Disney Plus

With Sky’s contract with Disney expiring in 2020, it’s probably Disney waiting for it to elapse before launching the service. The Star Wars UK twitter put out a tweet saying that The Mandalorian, the first ever Star Wars TV series, is coming to the UK in early 2020. And the Twitter profile confirms it’ll only be on Disney Plus. That sounds like confirmation to us.

There’s also the matter of DisneyLife in the UK, Spain, France, Italy and Germany called DisneyLife. Reports suggest it will be retired as soon as Plus launches and we’d assume Disney will migrate existing users to Disney Plus if they wish to continue.

Related: Best VPN

Disney Plus – What tech platforms is it on?

Initially, Disney Plus looked like it was going to be on every platform you could wish for. That was more hopeful than concrete.

Since the service’s announcement, Disney has been negotiating agreements with streaming platforms and the list of confirmed platforms stands at Apple TV, Android mobile and OS TV; Chromecast, iPad, iPhone, PS4, Roku streaming players and Xbox One.

Credit: Disney

Conspicuous by its absence is Amazon Fire TV. An agreement could still be in the offing, but Amazon and Disney appear to butting heads over how much money each can incur from ads. That’s still at an impasse.

Offline download privileges are also expected for everything in the Disney Plus library, much like it works on DisneyLife.

Disney Plus TV shows and movies – What can you watch?

We already have a decent idea of what shows and movies will be available through the streaming service, which you can read below, but JustWatch has just put together a much more detailed, easy to browse, library.

JustWatch is database of the major streaming services’ content libraries. It includes the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, BBC iPlayer, Now TV and, as of very recently, Disney Plus, so it’s worth a visit.

In year one Disney intends to launch 25 original episodic series and more than 10 movie specials. Over 7500 TV episodes are set to be made available, with more than 400 films from the Disney library and over 100 recent titles.

Disney Plus – Marvel Studios

Marvel is throwing its considerable weight behind the service with a number of original series. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will hit first in 2020, with WandaVision and Loki dated for 2021.

Episodes are expected to be six to eight episodes long, and will carry budgets between $100 and $150 million.

Falcon and the Winter Soldier will pick up threads from Civil War and Endgame, with Daniel Bruhl’s Zemo returning and Anthony Mackie taking on the mantle of Captain America. Despite Thanos murdering him in Infinity Way, Loki will spin off from Endgame in the alternative timeline where Loki is back in the possession of the Tesseract.

Disney Plus

Credit: Marvel Studios

WandaVision will see Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bethany reprise their roles as Wanda and Vision. They’ll be backed by a cast that includes Kathryn Hahn, Randall Park (Ant-Man and the Wasp), Emil Van Camp (Civil War) and Teyonah Paris, who will play the grown up version of Monica Rambeau, last seen in Captain Marvel. The events of the show are expected to lead into 2021’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, revealed a What If? animated series, that features many of the actors in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) returning to voice their characters. The likes of Michael B Jordan, Josh Brolin, Chris Hemsworth, Chadwick Boseman, Samuel L Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Rooker, Hayley Atwell and many more will reprise their roles in interesting new ways.

Disney Plus

Credit: Marvel Studios

Jeremy Renner will star in Hawkeye, which will offer background to his Ronin character from Endgame. It’s also expected to feature Kate Bishop (possibly played by Hailee Steinfeld) from the comics, who eventually  took on the mantle of Hawkeye from Clint Barton.

Other Marvel shows announced include Ms Marvel, Moon Knight and She Hulk.

Related: The explosion of Netflix-wannabe streaming services will increase piracy − but what happens next?

Disney Plus – Star Wars

Star Wars fans will be catered for by The Mandalorian, the first ever Star Wars live action series. Iron Man and The Lion King remake director Jon Favreau is involved, with Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi directing episodes.

The Mandalorian features Pedro Pascal in the title role, and focuses on a gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy and takes place five years after the end of Return of the Jedi.

Disney Plus

Credit: Star Wars

In other Star Wars news, Alan Tudyk and Diego Luna will reprise their Rogue One roles as Rebel intelligence officer Cassian Andor and snarky droid K-2SO in the currently Untitled Star Wars Cassian Andor series.

In more exciting news, Ewan McGregor’s Obi Wan Kenobi is coming back in an as yet untitled series. Production starts in 2020 and the assumption is that it will take place after Revenge of the Sith and around the same time as Solo.

Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed that the original trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), plus the prequel trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith), will be available on the platform from day one. Will they be in 4K HDR? The rumour mill suggests that the series is coming to 4K Blu-ray next year (after Rise of the Skywalker), so probably.

Disney Plus – Disney, Pixar & National Geographic

A chunk of Disney’s library and shows from National Geographic will be available from day one. A brief selection of titles includes:

  • Aladdin
  • Bugs Life
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Lion King
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Finding Nemo
  • Free Solo
  • Gordon Ramsay Uncharted
  • Mulan
  • Tangled
  • Moana
  • Monsters Inc
  • Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum
  • The Incredibles
  • The Muppets
  • Toy Story
  • Toy Story 2
  • Toy Story 3
  • Tron Legacy
  • Enchanted
  • Wall-E
  • Up
Disney Plus

Credit: Pixar

An investment call suggested Disney was calling time on its Vault policy, which removed certain movies from purchase by rotating them in and out of retail channels. With an ongoing digital platform, there’d be no reason to hold content back.

A new live action film of Lady and the Tramp is coming with Tessa Thompson and Justin Theroux voicing characters (that’s definitely more for kids) There’ll be series from National Geographic, such as Gordon Ramsay’s Uncharted and The World According to Jeff Goldblum.

Disney Plus – 20th Century Fox

And what about mature content on the service? Like Apple TV Plus, the target audience is mainly families which suggests we’re not going to be getting much content that’s rated 12A and above.

But where does that leave 20th Century Fox? We know Avatar, The Princess Bride and The Simpsons are heading to the service, but as far as we can tell, there has been no mention of films Die Hard and Deadpool joining the rest on the service. Even the list of titles live on the trial site in Netherlands has not included any of the more grown up Fox titles. At this moment in time, we just don’t know.

Credit: Fox/Disney

We do have an idea of how Disney plans to use 20th Century Fox in the future, though. Outgoing CEO, Bob Iger, revealed during an investor call that some of Fox’s bigger hits of the past few decades will be getting straight-to-service sequels. That list includes Home Alone, Night at the Museum, Cheaper by the Dozen and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

There’ll be plenty more info as Disney Plus nears its release date. We’ll be updating this page with more info as we get it.

Disney Plus – what’s our verdict?

As interesting is the impact Disney Plus might have on the offerings from other services. Is Sky, or Now TV, going to have the same access to the Disney film library that they do now? We’ve seen Disney pull back its Netflix Marvel shows, partly as a result of this new service.

And while we don’t yet know how it’s going to perform in the UK, Disney with its vast catalogue and commissioning know-how, is clearly in a powerful position to offer a compelling, differentiated service. We’ll bring you our considered opinion as soon as we get out hands on the product.

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