Disney+ To Curate Star Wars, Marvel


During last week’s Disney first quarter earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed curating Star Wars and Marvel by changing the pace.

“We will aggressively curate our general entertainment content,” Iger said when discussing profitability and growth for Disney+.

Iger came back to the subject during a Q&A portion of the call.

I talked about curation and general entertainment. We have to be better at curating the Disney and the Pixar and the Marvel and the Star Wars of it all as well. And of course, reduce costs on everything that we make because, while we’re extremely proud of what’s on the screen, it’s gotten to a point where it’s extraordinarily expensive. And we want all the quality. We want the quality on the screen, but we have to look at what they cost us.

It’s not just that they are expensive to make. Look at how many Star Wars programs or Marvel programs launch on Disney+ during a single calendar year. Think back to how much Marvel was on the platform in 2021 on top of the four theatrical releases that year!

  • WandaVision
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
  • Loki
  • What If…?
  • Hawkeye

In 2022, it was less aggressive so to speak in that Marvel did not control our eyeballs for the large majority of the year.

  • Moon Knight
  • Ms. Marvel
  • She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Where last year felt less aggressive with Marvel content on Disney+, this year is going to feature quite a bit of programming from the studio unless things change as they space things out. Per The Hollywood Reporter, only Loki season 2 and Secret Invasion are “sure bets” for this year. Marvel has come under scrutiny during the past year for its visual effects and treatment of artists. I’m sure that this is also going to be a factor. It was enough that the She-Hulk finale made a comment on it.

  • What If…?
  • Secret Invasion
  • Loki
  • Ironheart
  • Echo
  • Agatha: Coven of Chaos

Daredevil: Born Again is eying its launch in early 2024.

Turning our attention to Star Wars, there have been a mix of both live-action and animated programming. For what it’s worth, live-action flagship The Mandalorian took a break in 2021-22 while Star Wars focused its efforts elsewhere in the universe. It’ll be back on March 1.

  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch
  • Star Wars: Visions
  • The Book of Boba Fett
  • Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Andor
  • Tales of the Jedi

Still to come:

  • Young Jedi Adventures
  • Ahsoka
  • Skeleton Crew
  • The Acolyte
  • Andor
  • Lando

It should be said that Lucasfilm is focusing a lot of its output on developing feature films. No clue if Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron will take flight but Taika Waititi, Damon Lindelof, and Rian Johnson are among those filmmakers working with Lucasfilm or have had films announced in recent years as being in development. We’ll have a better idea when Star Wars Celebration takes place in London this year.

It isn’t just Iger who is looking at changes on the platform. Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige also made similar comments in a wide-ranging interview for Entertainment Weekly ahead of Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opening this weekend.

I do think one of the powerful aspects of being at Marvel Studios is having these films and shows hit the zeitgeist. It is harder to hit the zeitgeist when there’s so much product out there — and so much “content,” as they say, which is a word that I hate. [Laughs] But we want Marvel Studios and the MCU projects to really stand out and stand above. So, people will see that as we get further into Phase 5 and 6. The pace at which we’re putting out the Disney+ shows will change so they can each get a chance to shine.

Feige clarified that there would be fewer shows and spaced out. Franchise fatigue is certainly a real thing. This does not even begin to take into account the amount of films and series that one needs to watch before a new movie comes out. In any event, we’ll have to see how things develop during Phases 5 and 6.

Here is how you know that there is way too much on streaming: Disney ended up moving She-Hulk: Attorney at Law‘s release to Thursdays because of conflicting with Andor releasing on Wednesdays. They would have otherwise been releasing on the same date and that would not have been good for anyone. Earlier in the summer, there were conflicts between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ms. Marvel because of both series releasing on Wednesdays.

On the same call, Iger announced sequels for Frozen, Zootopia, and Toy Story. While sequels to Frozen and Zootopia make sense, there’s much debate by fans as to whether a Toy Story sequel is necessary and whether it’s possible with how Toy Story 4 ended. This leads to a bigger debate about original content vs. sequels, reboots, and remakes. It also begs the question of whether Disney+ will drive growth and subscribers from fans skipping theaters or if they’ll rewatch movies on Disney+. But that’s another column especially after Strange World performed poorly at the box office. Many families were trained during the pandemic to wait for films to hit streaming but they’ll need to return to theaters for original films to be successful. The success in theatrical is what ultimately drives profits in ancillary markets.

We’ll see what happens with both Elemental and Wish this year. My guess is that with Bob Iger back in charge, Wish will have longer theatrical play and not on Disney+ before the end of the year. It also speaks to how both Iger and Chapek are different in their visions and in how they run the company.

Per Nielsen, Disney+ was home to ten of the top fifteen films streamed in 2022. To which Iger responded, “That suggests to us that our brands and franchises work extremely well in streaming.” Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has also been performing well since arriving on Disney+ this month. It’s also available to bring home on physical media.

At the end of the day, however, streamers cannot just release content just for the sake of releasing content. It’s not just Disney. Anything–be it movies or series–needs to be a quality product. I cannot tell you how many original streaming movies I’ve watched that feel like they could have been a stronger product. Netflix is releasing maybe a movie a week or more and to be honest, prestige television is where it’s at right now when it comes to offerings at home. Apple might be releasing a lot of content on Apple TV+ with many new episodes a week but they’re releasing product that is also high in quality.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.