Disney’s vision for the future: at long last, something is happening
News & Trends

Disney’s vision for the future: at long last, something is happening

Luca Fontana
Zurich, on 08.05.2019
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
The 20th Century Fox takeover, the lagging «Star Wars» flagship and the end of the Marvel era: up until now, Disney’s prospects have been nebulous. This just changed.

When the Walt Disney Company speaks, journalists and fans the world over listen. After all, the house of mouse affects the cinema landscape like no other media company.

Now Disney has revealed definite plans concerning your favourite franchises. Exciting stuff, as these plans have been kept strangely under wraps by Disney recently. The key thing up front: after the Skywalker Saga concludes this December, another «Star Wars» trilogy is in the works. This thrilling new era will debut in December 2022.

What will follow «Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker»?
What will follow «Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker»?

«Star Wars» wasn’t the only subject that was talked about, however. Disney is explaining their intentions for the many franchises they inherited from their definitive purchase of 20th Century Fox. James Cameron’s «Avatar» or the upcoming «X-Men» movies, for example.

A tight schedule: The Avatar-Star Wars switch

Here’s the bad news: Director James Cameron’s «Avatar» sequel has been postponed by a year. The still untitled «Avatar 2» won’t release next year, but will grace cinemas by December 2021. In exchange, the franchise will crank out sequels every two years following this. In other words: «Avatar 3» in 2023, «Avatar 4» in 2025 and «Avatar 5» in 2027.

The reason for this is the new «Star Wars» trilogy, planned to resume where the current one ends with «Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker». This new trilogy shall come to cinemas in 2022 at the earliest, in order to let the series recover for a while.

James Cameron’s «Avatar» will receive four sequels.
James Cameron’s «Avatar» will receive four sequels.

Like this, «Avatar» and «Star Wars» will be able to pass around the same release date: «Episode 10» in 2022, followed by «Episode 11» in 2024 and all capped off by «Episode 12» in 2026. It’s still unknown whether this series is the one Episode 7 director Rian Johnson is leading or if Game of Thrones writers David Benioff und D. B. Weiss will take over after concluding the Song of Ice and Fire.

Disney did not explicitly confirm a trilogy, which could mean that these will just be three completely unconnected movies in the Star Wars universe. Probably not the case, however.

Coinciding with the end of an era, as well as Robert Downey Jr.’s, Chris Evans’ Chris Hemsworth’s contracts, the MCU announced a new schedule as well. While only one movie is planned for this year – «Spider-Man: Far From Home» –, two superhero movies will release next year. According to rumours, it’ll be two of the three already announced movies «Black Widow», «The Eternals» or «Shang Chi».

James Gunn has directed both «Guardians» movies.
James Gunn has directed both «Guardians» movies.

«Guardians of the Galaxy 3», «Black Panther 2», «Dr. Strange 2» and «Ms. Marvel» are still too early in development for a 2020 release date. They will follow in 2021 and 2022 alongside other still unannounced Marvel movies. Every year, three Marvel superhero movies will release. One of the two confirmed directors is James Gunn, in charge of the third «Guardians» movie; he was fired and rehired from the project after an inappropriate old tweet of his had resurfaced. The other director is Ryan Coogler, who had already directed the first Black Panther movie.

Readjusting 20th Century Fox

The infamous 71.8 billion dollar 20th Century Fox purchase was completed in March. Due to this, Disney had to rearrange some scheduling conflicts with previously Fox-owned movie franchises – «Avatar» and the new «Star Wars» trilogy for example, as mentioned above.

Another consequence is that the X-Men horror spin-off «The New Mutants» featuring Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams has been postponed from August 2019 to April 2020. The X-Men spin-off «Gambit» starring Channing Tatum as the lead was completely shelved. «Ad Astra», Brad Pitt’s astronaut drama was supposed to start May 2019, but lacking even an official trailer, it was moved to September 2019.

Besides: Steven Spielberg’s «West Side Story» remake will debut this December, coinciding almost perfectly with Disney’s «Cruella» – a live action «101 Dalmatians» spin-off. This in turn has pushed back Disney’s adaptation of the young adult’s novel «Artemis Fowl» to May 2020.

And what does Disney have to say about this? Here’s a statement from studio President of Theatrical Distribution Cathleen Taff to Variety Magazine.

We’re excited to put in place a robust and diverse slate that lays the foundation of our long-term strategy, bringing together a breadth of films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox, Fox Searchlight, and Blue Sky Studios.
Cathleen Taff, Walt Disney Company

Looks like we’re in for a treat. Here’s a complete list of all upcoming Disney movies and their release dates.

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Luca Fontana
Luca Fontana
Editor, Zurich
I'm an outdoorsy guy and enjoy sports that push me to the limit – now that’s what I call comfort zone! But I'm also about curling up in an armchair with books about ugly intrigue and sinister kingkillers. Being an avid cinema-goer, I’ve been known to rave about film scores for hours on end. I’ve always wanted to say: «I am Groot.»

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