In early December, The Walt Disney Company held their 2020 “Investor Day,” a four-hour webcast where they shared updates on a plethora of hotly anticipated projects that will be released in the next several years.
With announcements for new titles from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and more premiering either in theaters or on the Disney+ streaming service, there was certainly a lot to take in, and below, we list the top five most notable developments from the presentation.
- A Day-and-Date Premiere for “Raya and the Last Dragon”
Following Warner Bros. shocking statement that they would release their entire 2021 film slate in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously, many in the film industry wondered if Disney would use “Investor Day” to make a similar declaration. However, such was not the case. Instead, “Raya and the Last Dragon” seemed to be the only film whose release strategy was shifted due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with the animated adventure receiving a day-and-date premiere both in theaters and on Disney+ on March 5, where it will be available for a “Premier Access” fee that is still to be announced.
- A Buzz Lightyear Spin-Off Story
After “Toy Story 4” grossed nearly $1.1 billion worldwide in 2019, Disney can’t be blamed for wanting to stay in the business of Buzz Lightyear. Therefore, it should have come as no shock when Pixar announced the development of a spin-off about the space toy titled “Lightyear” during their section of the “Investor Day” presentation. The prequel will serve as an origin for the real space ranger who the Buzz Lightyear toyline is based on, with “Avengers” star Chris Evans taking over vocal duties for Buzz from franchise veteran Tim Allen.
- More Live-Action Adaptations of Animated Classics
With the success of live-action adaptations like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “The Lion King,” it makes sense that Disney would want to double down on these profitable projects for the near future. Aside from franchise continuations for “The Lion King” (with a prequel from “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins) and “Beauty and the Beast” (with Luke Evans’ Gaston and Josh Gad’s LeFou receiving a Disney+ spin-off series), Disney will also be producing a Cruella de Vil movie for theaters starring Emma Stone (simply titled “Cruella”) and the big-screen adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” starring musician Halle Bailey as Ariel. In addition, a new take on Neverland is being planned for Disney+ with “Peter Pan & Wendy,” as is a “Pinocchio” remake starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto.
- A Surplus of “Star Wars” Shows
Ever since Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” became a cultural sensation, Disney has been fast at work to capitalize on this “Star Wars” success for the streaming service, and they officially announced their latest titles at “Investor Day.” Spin-offs for “The Mandalorian” include “Ahsoka” (starring Rosario Dawson as the titular Jedi warrior) and “Rangers of the New Republic,” while the upcoming “Andor” will follow Diego Luna’s character of the same name from 2016’s “Rogue One.” Finally, the biggest surprise of the “Star Wars” presentation was the reveal of an “Obi-Wan Kenobi” miniseries, with both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprising their roles from the franchise’s prequel films.
- Marvel Mania
As always, Marvel stole the show, with their presentation coming at the tail end of “Investor Day” and containing the most significant shocks. Disney+ is set to become a center for MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) content in 2021, with new series like “WandaVision,” “Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” “Loki,” “Ms. Marvel” and “Hawkeye” all primed to premiere next year. Beyond that, shows for the popular “She-Hulk” and “Moon Knight” characters will debut in 2022 and beyond. Finally, Marvel’s real mic drop moment was the official announcement of the development of a new “Fantastic Four” movie, to be directed by Jon Watts of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”