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The Biggest Announcements From Disney's Investor Day

On December 10, 2020, The Walt Disney Company held its annual Investor Day, a four-hour event which featured multiple speakers talking about the company's recent financial and creative achievements and promising big things in the coming years. But because Disney is a far-reaching entertainment conglomerate, what could have been a boring, remotely-connected lecture turned into a jam-packed San Diego Comic-Con-esque festival, with one announcement of new and alluring blockbuster entertainment after another. 

The event revealed way more than just a few details regarding upcoming Disney animated features aimed at kids: The House of Mouse is a massive umbrella company overseeing many high-profile and beloved brands, so Investor Day laid out future theatrical releases and small-screen offerings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars saga, as well as what's in the hopper from Pixar, FX, Hulu, Disney+, and more. Here's every big news-making item unveiled at Disney Investor Day 2020.

Lots of Star Wars shows are coming to Disney+

Building on the success of the Skywalker saga-capping movie trilogy and The Mandalorian, Disney announced on Investor Day that it plans to release around 10 Star Wars shows on Disney+ over the next few years. In March 2021, Obi-Wan Kenobi will begin filming, featuring Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen reprising their roles as Obi-Wan and Darth Vader, respectively. Debuting later in 2021 is Star Wars: Visions, a 10-episode anthology series set within the Star Wars universe, with each episode coming from a different Japanese animator.

Fresh from her work on the Emmy-nominated Russian Doll, writer-director Leslye Headland will steer The Acolyte, a mystery sci-fi series that takes place in the last days of the High Republic. The story of Rogue One will continue with Andor, starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, set to premiere in 2022. A series about galactic rogue Lando Calrissian, Lando, is in the early stages of development from Dear White People creator Justin Simien, as is A Droid Story, a series about robotic BFFs R2-D2 and C-3PO. The successful and long-running Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series will continue with a sequel project called Star Wars: The Bad Batch, while the universe of The Mandalorian will expand with two spinoffs. Mandalorian producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will oversee both The Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka, starring Rosario Dawson. All three shows will intersect in a monumental crossover event.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand

Marvel boss Kevin Feige provided more details about previously announced or discussed Marvel Cinematic Universe projects headed for movie theaters. Notably, Marvel is continuing production on a sequel to 2018's spectacular Black Panther, despite the tragic death of star Chadwick Boseman in August 2020, at age 43. According to Feige, Boseman's performance "transcends any iteration of the character," and writer-director Ryan Coogler's follow-up film will "honor the legacy" of the actor while making a point to "continue to explore the world of Wakanda."

In other MCU-expanding news, the third installment in the Ant-Man saga has an official title: Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Michael Douglas will be back, along with two newcomers: Lovecraft Country star Jonathan Majors will play villain Kang the Conqueror and Freaky actor Kathryn Newton will play an aged-up iteration of Cassie Lang.

Another new addition to the Marvel family will be Christian Bale. Best known for playing Batman in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, the Oscar-winner will play the villain Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. The previously announced Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings recently wrapped production, and at Investor Day, the full cast was revealed, along with an updated theatrical release date of July 9, 2021.

Familiar faces are set to star in Marvel shows on Disney+

As if trying to emulate the release schedule of a busy comic book publisher, Disney announced at Investor Day 2020 that it wants as many as 10 shows based on Marvel Comics characters to stream on its Disney+ service over the next three years. Many of the series discussed at the December 2020 event have previously been announced, teased, or previewed, but in this event, Disney officials solidified their release dates and casts. For instance, the time-warped sitcom throwback WandaVision, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Scarlet Witch and the Vision, will hit Disney+ on January 15, 2021, closely followed by Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan in the Captain America spinoff The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a Loki series in May, and What If...?, an alternate history MCU anthology, in the summer. 

More shows will arrive at some point in 2021, including Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye (starring Jeremy Renner and Hailee Steinfeld), and Eternals. 2022 and beyond will bring She-Hulkfeaturing Tatiana Maslany in the title role, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, and Tim Roth as Abomination, and Moon KnightGuardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 is headed for theaters, but the big announcement pertaining to that franchise on Investor Day is a streaming standalone project. Director James Gunn will shoot a Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special concurrent with production on the movie, and it will hit Disney+ in 2022.

Nick Fury, the Skrulls, and War Machine are headed to Disney+

In addition to providing details on its previously announced slate of Marvel television shows, Disney announced on Investor Day that development had started on three previously unknown MCU shows set to stream on Disney+. Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Nick Fury in so many Marvel movies, will co-star with Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, his Skrull character from Captain Marvel, for the crossover series Secret Invasion. Adapted from a 2008 comics arc, the epic, multi-character storyline involves a slew of superheroes being replaced by the nasty, shape-shifting Skrulls.

Iron Man is no more, what with the character's death in Avengers: Endgame, but Marvel will continue to explore Tony Stark's impact and legacy in Ironheart. Dominique Thorne of If Beale Street Could Talk will play a brilliant young inventor named Riri Williams, AKA Ironheart, who creates a super-suit not seen since the likes of Iron Man. On another Iron Man-related series, Don Cheadle will once again play James Rhodes and War Machine in Armor Wars. Based on a seven-issue Iron Man arc from the late '80s, it will explore what happens when Tony Stark's powerful Iron Man-enabling technology is acquired by a villainous element.

Disney will release some big franchise movies

While the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars saga are set to continue into the future with series on Disney+, Disney's major franchises also have some extremely big films in the works. In the MCU, the first Disney-overseen Fantastic Four movie is on the way. Based on a cornerstone Marvel Comics super team, cinematic tales of Sue Storm, the Human Torch, Mister Fantastic, and The Thing were previously the provenance of 20th Century Fox, and are now part of the Disney family. Jon Watts, who directed Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, will helm the film.

With its purchase of Lucasfilm, Disney acquired the rights to the company's two biggest franchises: Star Wars and Indiana Jones. In the 2020s, Disney will release theatrical movies within both lines. In the former category we have Rogue Squadron. Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman 1984) will direct this story about the best of the best Rebel X-wing pilots, which counts Luke Skywalker among its number, named for the group that conspired to steal Death Star plans in Rogue One. As for the other property, James Mangold (Ford vs. Ferrari) is set to start filming a fifth and reportedly final Indiana Jones movie starring Harrison Ford in late spring 2021, with a theatrical release date of July 2022. Lucasfilm is also in the early phases of adapting Children of Blood and Bone, an acclaimed young adult fantasy novel by Tomi Adeyemi.

Pixar is headed to infinity and beyond

Disney has released Pixar's innovative films since 1995, generating $14 billion at the box office. That partnership will continue into the 2020s, with Disney shepherding Pixar feature films to movie theaters and animated series based on popular Pixar properties to Disney+.

The previously announced Raya and the Last Dragon, featuring the voice of Kelly Marie Tran, is up first, hitting theaters and the "Premiere Access" extra-fee segment of Disney+ simultaneously on March 21, 2021. A year later, on March 21, 2022, Pixar's Turning Red will hit multiplexes. Directed by Domee Shi (who won an Oscar for the Pixar short Bao), this film follows a teenager named Mei, who transforms into a giant red panda when she gets upset. A Toy Story prequel is headed our way: Lightyear will star Captain America's Chris Evans as the titular space ranger. "And just to be clear, this isn't Buzz Lightyear the toy," Evans tweeted after Investor Day. "This is the origin story of the human Buzz Lightyear that the toy is based on." It falls with style into theaters on June 17, 2022.

Other Pixar projects will hit Disney+ directly, including Dug Days in 2021, a series about the talking dog from 2009's Up, a road trip show in 2022 starring Lightning McQueen and Mater from the Cars trilogy, and Win or Lose, a 2023 show about a middle school softball team, with each episode told from a different character's perspective.

Disney is still in the full-length animation business

The Walt Disney Company started out as a small cartoon studio in 1923, and would become the premiere producer of feature-length animated films. As the entertainment juggernaut approaches its 100th anniversary, it announced a lengthy list of animated feature films at Investor Day 2020. Encanto, Disney's 60th animated feature, is set to arrive in theaters in November 2021. Set in Colombia, it will tell the story of a magical family, and will feature songs in English and Spanish written by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Disney's other full-length animated films will skip theatrical release altogether and head straight to Disney+. Among those titles are an animated adaptation of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, a cartoon installment of the Night at the Museum series, a new Ice Age movie called The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild, and a partially animated, partially live-action take on the Disney Afternoon favorite of yore, Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers, starring the voices of Saturday Night Live veterans John Mulaney and Andy Samberg.

Turner & Hooch, the Mighty Ducks, and Percy Jackson will hit Disney+

What with The Mandalorian and Hamilton, Disney has been particularly successful with live-action content on its Disney+ streaming service. At Investor Day 2020, the company made it very clear that it intends to double down on providing well-produced, non-animated family fare for the small screen

Much of its Disney+ slate for 2021 to 2023 is based on previously existing and well-known live-action content. Emilio Estevez will help reboot the Mighty Ducks franchise with The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, while former teen star Josh Peck will star in a series reboot of the Tom Hanks police film Turner and Hooch. Luke Evans and Josh Gad, who stole scenes as Gaston and Lefou in the 2017 live-action re-creation of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, will team up again for a prequel series, while the sports comedy Big Shot, from prolific Emmy-winning TV creator David E. Kelley, will star John Stamos as a private school basketball coach. Disney+ will also be the streaming home to new shows previously made into films, such as Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Swiss Family Robinson.

An Enchanted sequel will come some day, as will new Peter Pan and Pinocchio movies

Disney executives revealed during 2020's Investor Day that it has so much confidence in its formidable Disney+ service that it will be the first and exclusive home of many of its highest-profile and most expensive live-action films from 2021 to 2023. While Disney didn't reveal any specific dates for when these movies will become available, Disney did announce a few details about each.

Amy Adams will return for Disenchanted, a sequel to the 2007 Disney princess satire Enchanted, while another frequent Oscar contender, Tom Hanks, will star in a new version of Pinocchio from Robert Zemeckis, who directed the star in Forrest Gump and Cast Away. Peter Pan & Wendy will once again tell J.M. Barrie's tale of the boy who wouldn't grow up, this time with Yara Shahidi of Black-ish and Grown-ish as Tinker Bell, and Jude Law as Captain Hook. Whoopi Goldberg will also get back in the habit for another Sister Act comedy, while Gabrielle Union is set to star in a remake of Cheaper by the Dozen, and Zac Efron will head the cast of a new take on Three Men and a Baby.

The Kardashians are coming to Hulu, while The Handmaid's Tale and It's Always Sunny will be around for a while

As of 2019, Disney holds a controlling stake in Hulu, the streaming service that offers films, original shows, and TV series from many networks, notably FX. Once a premium offshoot of Fox, it's now a Disney outlet, and at its 2020  Investor Day event, the company announced big developments for shows native to both FX and Hulu. Following the planned end of Keeping Up with the Kardashians on E!, a division of rival NBCUniversal, the Kardashian-Jenner family has signed with Disney. The reality TV stalwarts will "create global content" to stream stateside on Hulu and elsewhere on Star, Disney's International version of Hulu. In other Hulu developments, Disney gave dystopian drama The Handmaid's Tale a fifth season pickup, prior to the release of the show's fourth season.

Disney also broke the news that longtime FX creator Noah Hawley, who helmed Legion and Fargo, will next tackle a series inspired by the Alien movie franchise. The show will take place on Earth and be set "not too far in the future." Disney also announced that it had given FX's first original comedy series, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a whopping four-season renewal. That will ensure the misanthropic dark comedy will air through at least its 18th season, making it the longest-running live-action sitcom in American TV history.