Disney+ Day, the yearly celebration of the streaming service, on Sept. 8 brought two anticipated films to the lineup (“Thor: Love and Thunder” and “Pinocchio”) in addition to seeing the premiere of new trailers for “BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage – LA” and “Andor”, the upcoming Disney+ Original series starring Diego Luna as the titular Cassian Andor, the roguishly handsome and ruthless spy (rogue agent?) from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy brings a ton of credibility to the project as the writer of the screenplays for the original “Bourne” trilogy and writer/director of the fourth film in that franchise and the Oscar-nominated “Michael Clayton”. He co-wrote Rogue One and is now bringing the character back to life six years later.
There is a lot of hype building around this show, and it seems deserved based on the quality of both these trailers and the 2016 film. The newest Star Wars adventure started streaming with a three-episode premiere Wednesday, Sept. 21 only on Disney+.
Now for something not deserving; worrying about a loud but small group of Twitter users complaining about Halle Bailey’s casting as Ariel in Disney’s new “The Little Mermaid”. Good Morning America compiled reactions to the trailer by young Black and Latine girls in a video like the one Halle Bailey posted herself on Instagram. If these girls’ ability to connect to a character they see on-screen based on racial identity bothers you, you might be racist. Get that checked before it spreads. If you’re an advocate for those little girls – then vote with your wallet on May 26 of next year when the film opens in theaters.
Having Ariel played by a Black woman is great for inclusivity, but also, Halle Bailey can sing. The idea of testing the acting chops of a gifted singer allows for greater verisimilitude in a live-action musical. Similarly, Disney could have gone for an authentic drag queen to play Ursula (who played upon drag tropes in the 1989 animated classic) instead of Melissa McCarthy who, in fairness, performed in New York in her early 20s as a drag queen under the moniker Miss Y according to a Rolling Stone interview.
James Cameron brings the fancy cameras and Benedict Cumberbatch works his charms as narrator in this National Geographic series that will make you rethink what you know about the superior senses and abilities of the world’s most extraordinary animals, starting on Sept. 21 on Disney+.
Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi
Dave Filoni, the master architect of the modern Star Wars TV universe, is back in his favorite sandbox. Creator of the beloved and critically acclaimed series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels,” Filoni wrote two and directed three episodes of “The Mandalorian” and then returned last year to the animated world with “The Bad Batch,” a spinoff from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” As we anticipate the arrival of Rosario Dawson’s “Ahsoka” (which has no release date or official trailer yet), we can tide ourselves over with Tales of the Jedi – a six-episode event streaming on Oct. 26. Fan favorite stars Ashley Eckstein and Corey Burton return to reprise their roles voicing Ahsoka and Count Dooku.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch Season 2
Speaking of the band of misfits known as Clone Force 99, their daring adventures have involved Order 66, Fennec Shand, Cad Bane, and Rhea Perlman’s Cid, a Trandoshan the Bad Batch does mercenary work for on occasion. The story continues in this second season of a spinoff that leans into the perspectives of the cloned troopers, with Kamino itself a setting for action sequences. Dave Filoni announced at Disney’s D23 Expo that the upcoming season would begin Jan. 4.
Streaming Nov. 30, this epic fantasy series continues the story of our favorite Nelwyn, who seems to have become the great sorcerer he desperately wanted to be in the 1988 film. Warwick Davis returns as Willow and Joanne Whalley reprises her role as Sorsha, the evil queen’s daughter, a warrior, and love interest to Madmartigan, a fan favorite, who won’t be returning due to Val Kilmer’s health problems. Brownies and magic and swordsmen and trolls! Sounds fun. Actually, I hate trolls.
Add another approximately 17,368 Marvel and Star Wars TV shows on Disney+ that do not have release dates yet. Then make sure to leave room for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” on Nov. 11 and “Avatar: The Way of Water” starting Dec. 16.
Students, make sure you get your homework done early, there’s a lot of stuff to watch this fall.