Most of these new projects will be television series featuring some of Disney’s biggest properties and characters. This is a departure from the studio’s previous emphasis on big screen film releases. As a whole, the entertainment industry appears to be moving away from films and more towards television series. However, Disney seems particularly devoted to this development in storytelling, proving that it prioritizes story and characters over the medium in which it presents them.
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Disney+ announced ten new Star Wars series and ten new Marvel series that will be released in addition to Disney and Pixar original content. The addition of so many series signals that the big screen is no longer considered the absolute pinnacle of production, indicating television is as viable an option for storytelling as film.
The separation from film may seem counterintuitive being that movies seem to have brought more popularity, success and money for the entertainment industry historically. However, television series have developed to become almost equal to movies in some respects, and are a better medium depending on the story. By producing shows about fan favorite and previously unexplored characters, it leaves more room to explore stories simply because there is more time to do so. A movie can only run about 120 minutes in most cases, whereas an eight episode series might have upwards of 240 minutes, leaving room for a more complete study of a character or story.
Disney+’s announcement also signals the continuation of the ever-evolving world development in the MCU. While the MCU has been devoted to producing big blockbusters to strengthen its universe, it seems it will now be adding more television characters and series to the mix. This is most clearly seen in the reports that Charlie Cox will return as Daredevil in the upcoming Spider-Man 3. Daredevil’s cross from his Netflix show to the larger MCU opens the door for other Marvel television characters to do the same, creating an even richer universe.
Disney looks to be implementing its MCU world-building technique for its Star Wars stories as well. Setting the stage for this endeavor is the wildly successful The Mandalorian, a series that has captured the minds and hearts of fans. The Mandalorian is clearly inspired by serial Westerns from the early days of television. Therefore, to maximize the potential of that story, television is the obvious choice. However, some ventures are still better suited for the big screen. Rogue Squadron from director Patty Jenkins is clearly designed to be a feature film, and that medium is best for that particular story.