Disney is gambling big on their upcoming streaming service. Previously announced is the news that Jon Favreau is leading a $100 million dollar Star Wars show for the Service, dubbed ‘Disney Play’. Disney has also announced a live-action Lady and the Tramp film that will be exclusively on the platform. Now, Variety is reporting that Disney’s plan is to launch television series – in six or eight episode season lengths – and films based on Marvel Studios’ Avengers. The report says two projects in development now are centered around Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. Reportedly, the Disney Play Avengers initiative will focus on Avengers and Marvel Cinematic Universe characters that have not had their own feature solo films.
Instead of the Jeph Loeb – led Marvel TV, this will come under the direction of Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige. That makes sense if they intend to tie in directly to the overall MCU story. While Loeb’s stories in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Netflix shows (Jessica Jones, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Punisher and the Defenders) they’ve only, for the most part, been on the periphery of the MCU world. From news clippings to brief references, that has remained the extent of their tie-in. The biggest exception to this is Clark Gregg’s Agent Phil Coulson who will appear next in 2019’s Captain Marvel feature film. Incidentally, reports indicate that Disney Play will launch with Captain Marvel available to watch.
This is an interesting strategy by Disney but it does make a good bit of sense. In a steadily-growing space that is barreling towards the point of crowded, OTT streaming services need to stand out and offer exclusive content to draw market share. Arguably the biggest draw for Disney now is the MCU film series and so to draw from and connect to that world is enticing to the legions of fans that those movies bring out to theaters each year.
The current dominant force in OTT streaming, Netflix, maintains a large percentage of market share. Disney has to compete with Netflix, DC Universe, Sling TV, HBO Now, CBS All Access, Amazon Prime Video, and even (to some extent) with Hulu, a service that Disney owns 60% of. As previously reported, the R-Rated content in Disney’s stable will be on the Hulu platform instead of Disney Play.
More projects and standalone series/films will surely be launched as we get nearer to launch day in 2019. That means the long-in-development Black Widow movie might be exclusive to the platform.
I will leave you with this. If Tom Hiddleston is set to reprise his role as Loki, what will the show be about? Does this mean that Loki did not actually die at the hands of Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War?