Friday, January 28, 2022

Disney+: What We’re Looking Forward to Most in 2022

Disney has certainly come into the world of streaming swinging.

Despite only debuting a little over two years ago, Disney+ has become a powerhouse in a world that’s moving away from traditional cable. Two of the biggest franchises of today, Star Wars and Marvel Studios, keep fans subscribed and tuning into the relatively new streamer, which premiered in late 2019. Star Wars began first, dropping the fan-favorite series The Mandalorian upon launch of the service, with season 2 coming in 2020, along with a few animated series including The Bad Batch, the anime anthology Star Wars: Visions, and season 7 of the ever-popular The Clone Wars through 2020 and 2021. Marvel also debuted the start of their series in 2021, dropping WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, and Hawkeye, with all garnering (mostly) positive reviews from viewers around the globe.

Within the next year, Disney+ isn’t slowing down, with multiple series between these two studios and beyond debuting throughout 2022, and other highly-anticipated properties dropping new content. Our co-directors, Kaity and Lindsey, along with one of our editors, Hannah, have picked a few of their most anticipated releases coming to the service.

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Check out what we’re looking forward to on other streaming services as well!

Lindsey’s Picks

Moon Knight

Marvel Studios/Disney

The One You See Coming will soon be making his live-action debut on Disney+. Marc Spector is Moon Knight, a complex vigilante who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. His Marvel Comics appearances date back to 1975, at which time he was created by writer Doug Moench and artist Don Perlin. In the comics, Marc was a mercenary left for dead in the desert and brought back to life by the Egyptian god of the moon, Khonshu, in exchange for his service as Moon Knight. Marc’s exact number of identities is unknown, but two of his other distinct alters are millionaire socialite Steven Grant and cabbie Jake Lockley.

Marking his third run-in with Marvel following his villainous role in Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse and his post-credits introduction as Spider-Man 2099 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (to be revisited in Across the Spider-Verse!), Oscar Isaac is finally set to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Moon Knight‘s title character. When the series was announced at D23 in August 2019, news remained mum on who would portray the show’s lead. Rumors, unofficial leaks, and paparazzi photos ran rampant with no real news from Marvel, but Isaac himself finally confirmed that he was indeed stepping into the shoes of Marc Spector last May.

Considering the nature of the source material and the first tease of the show that was revealed during Disney+ Day last year, Moon Knight is likely to be a dark, elaborate, and groundbreaking new journey for the MCU. Isaac’s extensive filmography has often challenged him with complicated, layered characters and intense performances, which can most recently be seen in his roles in HBO’s Scenes from a Marriage and Paul Schrader’s The Card Counter. Because of this, I feel extremely confident in the likelihood that Isaac’s acting prowess will result in an exceptional performance as Moon Knight. This is, without a doubt, my most anticipated release across both film and television for 2022.

Obi-Wan Kenobi

Lucasfilm
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It’s truly a great time to be a Star Wars fan, because Disney and Lucasfilm have an unbelievable amount of content in the works. In 2019, The Mandalorian debuted as the very first live-action Star Wars television series, going on to become a critically acclaimed hit. But the creative team at Star Wars isn’t just crafting stories about new characters like Din Djarin and Grogu, they’re also dusting off some old fan favorites as well, such as the franchise’s latest venture with the infamous bounty hunter in The Book of Boba Fett. Now, audiences have another thrilling return to look forward to with the limited series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which sees the return of Ewan McGregor as the beloved Jedi Master and Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader.

Obi-Wan dates back to the first Star Wars film in 1977, A New Hope, at which time Alec Guinness portrayed the character. In 1999, George Lucas’ prequel trilogy went backwards in time to examine how a young Anakin Skywalker would eventually go on to turn to the dark side, and with it came a younger version of Obi-Wan, portrayed by McGregor. As Anakin aged, he was then joined by Christensen in 2002 in Attack of the Clones. Not much information has been revealed about Obi-Wan Kenobi just yet, but we do know that the story will take place 10 years after the dramatic events of Revenge of the Sith, in which Obi-Wan faced the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice. In addition to a collection of new faces, other returning cast members include Joel Edgerton and Bonnie Piesse as Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, respectively.

Personally, McGregor’s Obi-Wan has always been my favorite aspect of the prequels, and it almost seemed too good to be true when unofficial chatter about the series began. My excitement grew exponentially once Christensen was confirmed, because despite the fact that the fate of both characters is already canonically written in stone by way of the original trilogy, it will be an emotional experience to see both actors on screen together again.

Andor

Lucasfilm

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hit theaters in 2016, introducing an array of captivating characters who would go on to steal the plans to the Death Star, thus leading to the events of A New Hope. While the film was incredible, it was a bittersweet journey, because all of our beloved new heroes sacrificed their lives for the Rebel Alliance when they died in the Battle of Scarif. A light flickered at the end of the tunnel a couple of years later in 2018 when an exciting announcement dropped — Diego Luna would be reprising his role as the Alliance Intelligence officer Captain Cassian Andor in a television series, Andor.

Minimal information has been revealed about the spy thriller, but we do know that it takes place five years before Rogue One. Given the fact that Cassian didn’t meet Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso until the events of Rogue One, at which time she became involved with the Rebel Alliance, this means that we sadly won’t be seeing this brilliant pair cross paths again. But regardless, I’m certain that Luna will shine in this role, because his initial portrayal of Cassian was such a compelling performance.

The Star Wars franchise skyrocketed to fame with epic tales of the battles between the Jedi and the Sith. But with more recent ventures such as Rogue One, Solo, The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett, we’re finally being given the chance to delve into what else goes on in a galaxy far, far away for those that don’t wield lightsabers for a living. Andor presents not only the opportunity to explore the backstory of an intriguing character, but also to uncover more untold stories of the Rebellion as well.

Hannah’s Picks

She-Hulk

Disney/Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios will once again seek to prove that heroes can make a difference both on the streets fighting crime and fighting crime in the courtroom. Not only will this series tackle the justice system side of the MCU which we haven’t had much of a chance to see, but the series is also expected to contain plenty of humor with head-writer Jessica Gao (Rick & Morty) and directors Kat Coiro (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Anu Valia (Never Have I Ever). I’m personally a huge fan of when Marvel takes on more comedic themes within their movies and series, so I cannot wait to see the humor brought to the screen with She-Hulk.

She-Hulk will star Orphan Black Emmy-winning star Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk. She-Hulk has been an A-list solo hero and an on-and-off member of the Avengers throughout 40-years of comic appearances, and she will finally be making her MCU debut. In addition to Jennifer’s introduction to the MCU, fans will also get to see Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner again. Charlie Cox’s Matt Murdock is also rumored to make an appearance in the series following his brief but stellar introduction to the MCU in Spider-Man: No Way Home. As a long-time Murdock fan, I personally cannot wait to see how he is utilized in the MCU and hopefully in She-Hulk alongside fellow lawyer Walters.

Hocus Pocus 2

Disney

The dream of Hocus Pocus 2 will finally become a reality in 2022 after decades of waiting. Nearly 30 years after making their screen debuts, the Sanderson Sisters will return to be as sinister as ever in the sequel that is heading straight to Disney+. The three sisters will run amok, amok, amok in Salem once again after being unleashed by three young women. Like the original film, it is likely we will see the protagonists of the film hurry to stop the Sanderson Sisters from unleashing too much havoc on the quiet town of Salem … and draining the life-force out of children, of course.

Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy are all set to reunite on-screen as the Sanderson Sisters. The only other confirmed returning cast member from the original thus far is Doug Jones, who will reprise his role as the undead Billy Butcherson. Hocus Pocus 2 will likely fly via broomstick onto Disney+ in October of 2022, just in time for Halloween.

The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special

Marvel/Disney

The Guardians of the Galaxy have had to wait quite a while for their own title following The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but thankfully the family of rugged misfits will be making their return in 2022. The team will first be seen in Thor: Love & Thunder before The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special makes its way to Disney+ in December 2022. Writer and director James Gunn brings inspiration from this project from the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special, which he unironically loved as a child. Gunn confirmed that The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special will take place chronologically between Thor: Love & Thunder and The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

Gunn has also revealed that filming for the holiday special will take place simultaneously as the filming for The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and use the same sets and (obviously) the same cast members. There will also be information in the holiday special that audiences will need to know going into The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, so definitely be sure to check it out when the special hits Disney+ in December if you don’t want to be confused when Vol. 3 hits theaters in 2023. The special is currently expected to be under 40-minutes in length, and my hope is that we get our introduction to Will Poulter as Adam Warlock during this special.

Kaity’s Picks

What If…? Season 2

Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios took its first venture into animation this year and while it was far from perfect, it was certainly entertaining. The freedom animation gave to explore these otherworldly possibilities with our favorite heroes was a welcome new medium to the franchise. While originally thought to feature stories that wouldn’t extend into the MCU live-action films, this was quickly debunked as Strange Supreme from season 1 episode 4 has been confirmed to be making an appearance in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

I’m looking forward to more wild scenarios with heroes we know and love, along with little teases of what’s to potentially come in later live-action films. The writers have teased that this season will feature many fan-favorites from Phase 4, including Wanda Maximoff, Yelena Belova, and Shang-Chi! We’ll also get a formal introduction to the Gamora we met in the season 1 finale, along with a Sakaaran Iron Man. Unfortunately, it looks like Captain Carter will still play a heavy role heading into a new season, however. This has me wondering if the series isn’t as much of an anthology as it was advertised as, which would be a disappointment.

The Making of Lightyear Documentary

Disney/Pixar

Announced on Disney+ Day last year, a documentary focused on the making of the new Pixar film Lightyear will be speeding to the streaming service. I love a good behind-the-scenes look at the making of films and animation is always something that has intrigued me. The feature-length documentary will have all the backstage shenanigans with the stars, including the voice of Buzz Lightyear, Chris Evans, and possibly the legendary Taika Waititi in an unconfirmed role.

We’ll get to see just how this epic story came together and no doubt hear from the creators as they discuss their love and respect for one of the greatest film franchises of all time, Toy Story.

Secret Invasion

Marvel Studios

While it’s not a guarantee that this will be premiering in 2022, and with the pandemic still very much a factor it may ultimately get pushed, but I’ll remain hopeful. Filming supposedly began back in the fall of 2021, so they may still be on track for a late 2022 release.

After over a decade in the MCU, Nick Fury is finally getting the spotlight as he investigates a Skrull invasion of Earth. Like all Marvel projects, the details of this one are being kept under tight lock and key, but we know for certain that Samuel L. Jackson is back as Nick Fury, Ben Mendelsohn returns as the Skrull Talos, and Cobie Smulders will reprise her iconic role as Maria Hill. Other cast members not confirmed by Marvel but reported to have roles are Kingsley Ben-Adir, Olivia Colman, and Emilia Clarke.

Nick Fury has been off-world since he Blipped back after Avengers: Endgame, as learned in the post-credits scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Hopefully, this series answers the question as to why he was vacationing in space, and also that it follows a little of the comic storyline, with Skrulls impersonating some of Earth’s mightiest heroes.

Stay tuned for news on these series and more!

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