By the end of 2020, Disney+ had signed up more than 137 million paid subscribers making it one of the most successful streamer debuts in history. That popularity was not only due to the hundreds of films and TV shows from Disney’s archives. Disney+ Originals produced exclusively for the on-demand streaming service played a big role in convincing families and fans to sign up. We’ve compiled everything we know in 2021 about Disney+ Originals.
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What You Need to Know About Disney+
Back in the days of VHS tapes and DVDs, Disney’s strategy was to keep its library of classic films in limited circulation. Each time it re-released films like Dumbo, the company generated more sales of movie tickets and home media. But then the film would disappear for a decade or more.
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Disney+ changes all of that. With a single, low-cost subscription, you can stream almost everything Disney has ever produced. That also includes everything from Lucasfilms, Pixar, National Geographic, 21st Century Fox and Marvel Studios.
Better yet, each Disney studio is producing original programming — films, TV shows, documentaries and more — to add even more value to Disney+.
Disney Originals Available Now
The November 2019 launch of Disney+ included nearly a dozen Disney Original titles with a few more premiering before the end of the year. Dozens more appeared in 2020.
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Original Scripted Live-Action Content
Diary of a Future President
Elena, played by Tess Romero, is a 12-year-old Cuban-American girl who knows she’s destined to be the President of the United States — if she makes it through middle school. Created by Ilana Peña (writer, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Diary of a Future President will also feature Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin) as grown-up Elena during her Presidential campaign.
Lady and the Tramp
Disney+ will combine live-action and computer graphics to retell the canine love story. Directed by Charlie Bean (Lego Ninjago Movie), the film casts Tessa Thomson (Thor: Ragnarok) as the voice of Lady and Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) as the voice of Tramp.
Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect) stars as, Noelle, the daughter of Kris Kringle who must save Christmas. Marc Lawrence (Miss Congeniality) directs.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Disney+ goes full meta in this TV series about a high school theatrical troupe putting on a production of High School Musical. Broadway’s Kate Reinders (Wicked) stars as the drama teacher leading an ensemble cast. Producer Timothy Federle was the screenwriter of animated hit Ferdinand.
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Sing Along
If you’re the kind of person who can’t watch a musical without bursting into song yourself, then Disney has you covered. You can watch High School Musical: The Musical: The Series with the lyrics on the screen.
As the first live-action TV series in the franchise, The Mandalorian has launched a new era for the Star Wars franchise. Set during the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, the titular character, played by Pedro Pascal (Prospect), is a gunfighter operating on the edge of civilization who helps a child (you know the one) with Jedi powers.
The Muppets return to the screen in this behind-the-scene series about the Muppets new streaming show.
The Right Stuff
The first season of the inspired-by-true-events series follows America’s first astronauts as they train for NASA’s Mercury program.
Secret Society of Second Born Royals
This feature film stars Peyton Elizabeth Lee (Andi Mack) as a princess whose second-in-line to the kingdom’s throne. Upon learning she has superpowers, she enters a training academy where she learns how to save the world. Anna Mastro (Bench Seat) directs.
Based on Jerry Spinelli’s bestselling young adult novel about teenage non-conformity, the Julia Hart (Fast Color) directed film stars singer-songwriter Grace VanderWaal (America’s Got Talent) as Stargirl Caraway and Grahame Verchere (Fargo) as Leo Borlock.
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
Stephan Pastis’ middle-grade children’s books become a Walt Disney Picture in 2020. Timmy Failure, played by Winslow Fegley (Fast Lane), is an 11-year-old private investigator who solves crimes with the help of an imaginary polar bear.
Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate) stars as a sled dog trainer who, with his lead dog Togo, helped deliver diphtheria serum during a winter outbreak in Nome, Alaska. Ericson Core (Point Blank) directs.
Original Animated Content
Forky Asks a Question
This series of ten animated shorts features the most recent addition to the Toy Story menagerie. In each episode, Forky — voiced by Tony Hale (Veep) — ponders some of the deepest questions in the universe such as: What is cheese?
This animated short film from Pixar’s Toy Story franchise features Bo Peep, voiced by Annie Potts (Any Day Now). The film will explain why Bo Peep “was M.I.A.” during Toy Story 3.
Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe
Vincent Martella (Everybody Hates Chris) and David Errigo (Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V) voice the titular characters. When their sister Candace, voiced by High Shcool Musical’s Asley Tisdale, is kidnapped by aliens, it’s up to Phineas and Ferb to save her.
Similar to Pixar’s SparkShorts, Short Circuit showcases Disney’s animators and let them explore creative storytelling and visual styles.
Another animated option from Pixar, SparkShorts gives up-and-coming animators the chance to explore new storytelling techniques.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Disney+ brought back the 2008 animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars for a final season. Set in the time between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, the original show followed Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and new character Ahsoka Tano voiced by Matt Lanter (90210), James Arnold Taylor (Ratchet and Clank) and Ashley Eckstein (Blue Collar TV).
The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse
It wouldn’t be a Disney streaming service if Disney+ didn’t have a Mickey Mouse production. This show follows Mickey and he gang through a series of adventures.
Original Non-Fiction Content
A Celebration of the Music from Coco
Recorded live at The Hollywood Bowl, this “concert appearance” celebrates the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos as imagined by the hit movie Coco. An all-star cast of performers appear on the stage.
Be Our Chef
Angela Kinsey (The Office) hosts this cooking competition in which families come to Disney World to prepare traditional family dishes. Whichever team wins will see their dish served at one of the theme park’s restaurants.
Athletes and entertainers like Candace Parker and Julianne Hough share their origin stories in this series co-produced by LeBron James.
The Big Fib
A comedy game show hosted by Yvette Nicole Brown, the Big Fib challenges kids to figure out which adult is a real expert and which one’s a big fat liar.
Get behind-the-scenes glimpses at Disney’s production studios and theme parks. Each weekly episodes tells three stories of the Imagineers, actors and others making the Disney magic happen.
Disney Gallery – Star Wars: The Mandalorian
Now in its second season, this series features roundtable conversations among the directors, actors and creatives who brought the first Star Wars live-action TV series to life.
Narrated by Natalie Portman (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace) and directed by Keith Scholey (Our Planet), this live-action film tells the story of a bottle-nosed dolphin named Echo who must learn to fit into dolphin society.
Earth to Ned
The puppeteers at the Jim Henson Company created this comedy talk show. Ned, an alien commander who loved human culture too much to invade, conducts celebrity interviews with the likes of Andy Richter, Kirsten Schaal and NeNe Leakes.
This unscripted series executive produced by Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) reunites the former castmates of high school musicals who then recreate their performances for a high school reunion.
Fairy Tale Weddings
For many people, their dream wedding happens at a Disney theme park. Fairy Tale Weddings tells the stories of couples and their wedding-of-a-lifetime experiences. This docuseries got its start on the Freeform network, and has now moved over to Disney+.
Crafter and blogger Amber Kemp-Gerstel guides young families through unique DIY projects that kids and parents can do together.
It’s a Dog’s Life
For decades, Bill Farmer was heard but never seen. The voice of Goofy and Pluto hosts this documentary about dogs who work for a living.
Marvel’s Hero Project
Marvel creates real-life superhero comics by telling the story of kids who are doing remarkable things to make a difference in their communities.
This documentary anthology series explores the role Marvel’s comics and films have played in society. Episodes focus on cosplayers, artists and more. Gillian Jacobs (Community), Paul Scheer (The League) and David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi) are among the directors.
Meet the Chimps
Chimp Haven is a wildlife sanctuary in Louisiana dedicated to fostering chimpanzees once held in captivity. National Geographic created this six-part series to follow some of the 300 chimps living there.
The Imagineering Story
This documentary reveals the inside story of the engineers and artists who create Disney theme parks’ magical experience. Directed by Leslie Iwerks (The Pixar Story).
Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2
This six-episode documentary follows the development of the sequel to the 2013 hit film Frozen.
Magic of Animal Kingdom
This behind-the-scenes series lets you see how Disney’s animal care experts tend to the stars of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Epcot’s The Seas with Nemo & Friends aquarium.
A six-part docuseries, On Pointe follows the lives, training and performances of young ballet students in New York City.
One Day at Disney
A full-length documentary feature ten employees of The Walt Disney Company around the world. From ESPN sportscaster Robin Roberts to Disney World veterinarian Natalie Mylniczenko, One Day at Disney ”takes an in-depth look at the unique and surprising roles these Disney cast members call their daily jobs.”
One Day at Disney Shorts
These brief companion pieces for the full series focus on individual creators and cast members.
Pick of the Litter
This series follows six puppies as they learn how to become guide dogs for the blind. Six adorable puppies doing adorable puppy things. Just watch it.
Pixar in Real Life
Disney’s special effects experts have a little fun by creating real-life versions of favorite Pixar characters and letting them roam the streets. Dori escapes from an aquarium and WALL-E thanks people for their kindness.
This documentary series examines iconic props from many of Disney’s most popular movies like Mary Poppins and Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
TV journalist Bob Woodruff (ABC Nightly News) and his son Mack visit formerly war-torn regions of the world to find how communities recovered and prospered.
This National Geographic-produced documentary follows nine teens from around the world competing in The International Science and Engineering Fair. The film won audience awards at Sundance and SXSW. Directed by Cristina Costantini (Pimp City) and Darren Foster (The OxyContin Express).
Teams of students compete to design and build gadgets. A panel of experts will judge the teams’ creativity and engineering as the teams compete to become Shop Class Champs.
Weird but True
This National Geographic series introduces kids to the fascinating natural world around us and the science that helps us make sense of everything.
The World According to Jeff Goldblum
In each episode of this National Geographic series, actor Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park) takes a simple object, like ice cream, and traces a “wonderful world of astonishing connections.”
Disney Originals in 2021 and Beyond
When it launched, Disney+ already had ambitious plans to expand its original content. But the company surprised everyone in late 2020 when executives announced how much original content they will produce in the coming years. Here’s a glimpse at what’s on your entertainment roadmap.
Original Scripted Live-Action Content
One of the most popular characters from the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series, Ahsoka Tano was played by Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian. Now she gets a dedicated series.
This prequel series to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will tell the backstory of rebel spy Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También), and his droid sidekick K-2SO, played by Alan Tudyk (Firefly).
Set deeper in the history of the Star Wars universe than any of the movies, The Acolyte promises to be thematically and creatively different from anything we’ve seen before.
Beauty and the Beast
Luke Evans and Josh Gad will star in this musical series inspired by Disney’s animated classic.
A hot-headed basketball coach, played by John Stamos, gets fired and winds up coaching at a private, all-girls school.
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier
The first Disney+ original in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is this mini-series from showrunner Malcolm Spellman (Empire). Starring Anthony Mackie (The Adjustment Bureau) and Sebastian Stan (The Martian) as the titular superheroes, filming began in late 2019 with an expected release in late 2020.
Flora & Ulysses
Kate DiCamillo’s children’s novel gets the Disney treatment. Cynical comic book fan Flora, played by Broadway’s Matilda Lawler (The Ferryman), saves the squirrel Ulysses whose superpowers trigger a series of “antic-filled” adventures. Directed by Lena Khan (The Tiger Hunter).
This limited series from Marvel expands the story of Hawkeye, the bow-and-arrow wielding superhero played by Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker). The series will include the character Kate Bishop who takes on the Hawkeye mantel in Marvel’s comics.
This tale of the life of Lando Calrissian will be a follow-on series to the stand-alone film Solo.
Former Disney teen star Hillary Duff (Casper Meets Wendy) returns to the role of Lizzie McGuire. All grown up, Lizzie is navigating life and love in Manhattan but she’s still accompanied by her animated 13-year-old self. Original Lizzie McGuire creator Terri Minski is the showrunner of this new series.
Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager) brings the Norse god of mischief to Disney+ in 2021. Little is known about the plot of the limited-run series, but Hiddleston has said that it will answer questions that remained after Avengers: Endgame.
The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers
Based on the 1992 film starring Emilio Estevez, the Mighty Ducks are now a youth hockey powerhouse ready to be knocked down by a new generation of underdogs.
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Based on Trenton Lee Stewart’s young adult novels, this series follows four orphans who use their powerful gifts to fight evil.
Ms. Marvel, Moon Knight, She-Hulk
At Disney’s D23 fan conference, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige revealed that three more Marvel superheroes will get their own Disney+ series.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Disney+ will turn this popular series of young-adult novels into a multi-season TV show.
Swiss Family Robinson
Disney’s classic castaways film will get reimagined by Ron Moore (Outlander, Battlestar Galactica) and Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, Justin Bieber:Never Say Never).
Turner & Hooch
This adaptation of the 1989 Tom Hanks film will star Josh Peck as a US marshal saddled with a canine partner.
Not much is known about this series which Disney announced at the 2019 D23 conference. Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) will play the Jedi, presumably as he deals with the aftermath from Revenge of the Sith.
Rangers of the New Republic
A spinoff from The Mandalorian, this series will presumably see Gina Carano expand on her character Cara Dune.
Samuel L. Jackson will bring his Marvel character Nick Fury to Disney+.
Another Marvel Cinematic Universe series will reunite the superheroes Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen (Kill Your Darlings), and Vision played by Paul Bettany (Wimbledon). Jac Schaeffer (TiMER) directs this mini-series which will bridge the time between Avengers: Endgame and the upcoming film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
A follow-on series to the 1988 fantasy film will star Warwick Davis as the sorcerer Willow.
Original Animated Content
A Droid Story
This feature-length animation will star R2-D2 an C-3PO
Disney took a cuddlier take on Baymax in the film Big Hero:6 and now the inflatable robot gets a dedicated series.
Chip ‘n’ Dale
Disney’s comedic chipmunks are getting their own series of seven-minute episodes chronicling their adventures in the big city. Jean Cayrol (Oggy and the Cockroaches) directs the non-verbal reboot.
Co-produced by African entertainment company Kugali, this science fiction series set in Nigeria will present an African take on the future.
Marvel’s What If…?
The second of Marvel-centered Disney+ originals is an animated anthology series. Stars of the Marvel movies will return to voice their characters in episodes that explore what would have happened if critical moments in the films played out differently.
Monsters at Work
The world of Monsters, Inc., returns — as do Billy Crystal and John Goodman — in this Pixar animated series. Bobs Gannaway (Mickey Mouse Clubhouse) developed this sequel in which mechanic Tylor Tuskmon, voiced by Ben Feldman (Superstore), dreams of a brighter future.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch
A spinoff from the Star Wars:Clone Wars animated series, The Bad Batch follows a squad of clone stormtroopers in the period leading up to the Empire.
Star Wars: Visions
Disney has turned to Japanese animation studios to create this anime-inspired anthology series.
Tiana and Moana, The Series
Two of Disney’s princesses will team up in this series.
This animated anthology will follow characters from Disney’s popular film.
Original Non-Fiction Content
Behind the Attraction (TBD)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is producing this docu-series that goes “behind the curtain” of Disney’s theme parks. The ten, one-hour episodes will interview Disney Imagineers and cast members and dig into the history of Disney’s most famous rides. Brian Volk-Weiss (The Toys That Made Us) is the director.
Earthkeepers (Year Two)
The production team that created Chef’s Table has signed a deal to create new original documentaries for Disney+. Earthkeepers examines the lives of conservationists casting new light on the animal kingdom.
Howard (Year One)
This documentary tells the story of Howard Ashman who created Little Shop of Horrors and wrote the lyrics to modern classic Disney animations like Beauty and the Beast. Don Hahn (Beauty and the Beast) directs.
Ink & Paint (Year Two)
Another inside-Disney documentary, Ink & Paint spotlights women who brought many of Disney’s most popular animated films possible — but never got the full credit they deserved.
Limitless With Chris Hemsworth
Marvel star Chris Helmsworth will host this National Geographic science series about living longer, healthier lives.
People & Places (TBD)
This docu-anthology series will highlight people around the world who “embody the Disney ethos.”
(Re)Connect (Year One)
This unscripted show challenges families to set aside their digital devices and other outside influences in order to address some conflict in their lives.
Untitled Mickey Mouse Documentary (TBD)
Produced by Morgan Neville (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) and directed by Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol), this yet-to-be-named documentary aims to become the “definitive analysis” of Mickey Mouse’s cultural impact.
Welcome to Earth
Independence Day star Will Smith travels the world in this National Geographic nature series.
Director David Gelb (Jiro Dreams of Sushi) examines the life of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.