Disney+ is the streaming behemoth rolling towards us, set to unleash its torrent of content on November 12th. Will this be the Netflix killer that all over-the-top platforms will be judged by from here on out?
We honestly don’t know. But looking at some of the original content in store, a few things feel pretty risky while others may just be too big to fail. We combed through the internet for the past three years to see if people were clamoring for some of these characters to have their own shows or are asking themselves, “Who?”
Moon Knight is definitely in the “Who?” column when it comes to online engagement. The “Mentally ill Batman” has quite the backstory and is considered an antihero of sorts, making him a compelling comic book character but not exactly someone people have been begging to see on screen.
Marvel’s TV and streaming attempts to highlight smaller characters have so far been a blunder, but Moon Knight is practically unheard of (that spike is, of course, from when the show plans were announced). This may be the perfect opportunity to shape the character for maximum appeal.
She-Hulk’s popularity, though, makes Moon Knight seem like Spider-Man in comparison.
The immensely powerful, green lawyer (that’s right) was really only created because in 1980 Marvel feared the people behind The Incredible Hulk TV show would add in a woman and they wanted to own the rights first. Not exactly the most inspiring story behind a character’s creation, but someone clearly sees the possibilities of smart, assertive woman who can lift a tank. Pretty much no one was talking about She-Hulk until the show was announced, and this is probably even more of a clean slate, allowing Disney to make the show funny, action-packed or both.
Okay, so Forky is the newest of the characters here, created specifically for Toy Story 4, which only came out in June. Just like in the movie, he didn’t exist until he was created, so the years before that show no one talking about him.
Since he’s been known for less than a year it’s hard to know if Forky fever will be able to sustain him through an entire TV show, aptly titled Forky Asks a Question. But since we don’t know the exact format of the show, and Tony Hale, who voices the spork-turned-toy, is incredible, the character may become a true icon.
High School Musical
Starting in 2006, the High School Musical franchise has developed quite a following with films, stage shows, video games and books. So now that a series is finally going to be coming out, this is one of the shows that feels more like a slam dunk… as long as they don’t mess it up.
The success of this will be one of the best gauges of how Disney+ is managing its original content and if it can capitalize on a fairly dependable audience. But back to the wild cards…
As you can see, it was around the beginning of 2017 when the internet decided that Jeff Goldblum was their boyfriend. The internet has a few boyfriends, of course, but Goldblum is probably the oldest one and also the most eccentric.
His show, The Wolrd According to Jeff Goldblum, seems to be dependent purely on this internet boyfriend angle, because it doesn’t look much different than an Anthony Bourdain show or something on the Food Network or History Channel (It was, in fact, developed by National Geographic). This seems relatively low-key so it will be very interesting to see if the entertainment behemoth can make such modest fare work.
And now for the tale of three Star Wars characters. The first one up is Cassian Andor, the charismatic leader of Rogue One who starred in, you guessed it, Rogue One. As a new character in the franchise universe, he made a significant splash but… [SPOILER ALERT]… at the end of the movie he dies, making it a little more difficult to capitalize on his initial popularity.
But Disney is going to try, with a prequel that follows his adventures before the film. Will that have the same kind of effect and impact as a feature-length film? Well, they’ll be testing the waters first with The Mandalorian.
This show, following a bounty hunter who is not Boba Fett, is the flagship show when Disney+ debuts, and they’re clearly trying to show that even if it’s not everyone’s favorite bounty hunter (or even Jango), someone who looks similar, with a similar story, can be just as good. And by the looks of the online engagement people have thought this for quite a while.
The trailer pulls out all the stops and they’re already working on season 2, so this may be the show that sets the template for the future.
But beyond anything else in any galaxy, no matter when or how far away, the planned Obi-Wan Kenobi series is going to be hard to top. With a returning Ewan Macgregor as the Jedi, this is the kind of dream series people have been hoping for.
Not only will it fill out the story of the beloved character, but it will also (hopefully) make up for three certain movies that maybe could have been better, if you ask pretty much everyone. But no one, even from Star Wars, has had that much online engagement compared to these heavy-hitters.
The Winter Soldier
It is not surprising that the phrase “The Winter Soldier” has generated so much online chatter. Not only did the Captain America film of the same name make over 700 million dollars, but the character of the Winter Soldier, aka Bucky Barnes, has also had a not insignificant role in multiple other Marvel films up through Infinity War.
So, along with Falcon, a new show called The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, highlighting their post-Infinity War exploits, will really show the strength of these characters once they jump to the small screen. Will it still have the energy and spectacle of a Marvel film? We’ll know soon enough. But even these heroes can’t compare to a good old-fashioned villain.
Thor’s adopted brother and frenemy has made quite the impression since Tom Hiddleston first donned his horned helmet. And people love to talk about Loki, with his online engagement handily beating the Winter Soldier and leaving everyone else in the cosmic dust.
So does that mean people will want to watch a show where he is the main character? It’s kind of a risk, considering that Loki has flourished as an morally ambiguous foil to so many others. Once he is tasked with shouldering an entire series, all of that evil charm may go by the wayside.
But these are the growing pains of a new streamer, even one as big and rich as Disney. And besides, even if none of these work out, they’re still gonna have The Simpsons!