AotG - Phasing in

     With their acquisition of 20th Century Fox complete, Disney now owns the five highest grossing movies of all time. Their dominance over the entertainment industry is becoming increasingly hard to ignore and it's something anybody with more than a passing interest in popular culture should probably be worried about.

     I know all this, and yet I still just pre-paid for three years of Disney+, their upcoming streaming service. By signing up for a free D23 account, you can get a special deal that cuts the monthly cost of Disney+ to less than $4 a month, a ridiculously low rate compared to their competitors.

     Of course, Disney can afford it if it means playing the long game. Three years is a long time to get people into a habit and now that D23 has wrapped up we know more about what we'll be getting for those first three years.

     On the Marvel side of things, Marvel Studio's Phase Four looks to be pretty much evenly split between theatrical offerings and original programming. The MCU has had television spin-offs for a long time now, but what Disney+ has on schedule is far more closely intertwined with the MCU's theatrical adventures than we've ever seen before.

     "The Falcon and Winter Soldier" kicks things off next fall, reuniting Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan for a limited series centered on Captain America's best pals. The banter of these two was one of the unexpected highlights of "Captain America: Civil War" so it'll be great to see a whole series dedicated to their adventures.

     "WandaVision" is among the most mysterious of the lot. Featuring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as The Scarlet Witch and Vision, one of the Avenger's most iconic couples, the premise of the show seems to be about the two heroes living the domestic life in the 1950s. A somewhat unusual premise considering A. Scarlet Witch was last seen making Thanos beg for mercy in the 2020s and B. Vision is dead. It's unclear how those two issues will be reconciled, but I would imagine that the show's reported tie-in to "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness" will probably clear things up.

     Speaking of dead characters getting their own shows, Tom Hiddleston's Loki returns in a limited series in 2021. Unlike "WandaVision" though, it's plainly obvious how this Loki has returned. While Thor's reformed brother may have died a noble death in "Avengers: Infinity War," a slightly younger and still maliciously mischievous Loki was seen vanishing away with the Tesseract during the Avenger's time heist, giving us a chance to see this alternate timeline version of Loki become a loveable anti-hero all over again.

     And for even more alternate reality adventures, "What If…?" brings the classic comic book formula to Disney+ with an animated series that plays out various scenarios in the MCU had one thing gone differently, starting with a story exploring What if… Peggy Carter had taken the Super Soldier Serum.

     Now, we've known about these four series since Disney+ was formally announced, but that's only half of the upcoming MCU line-up. Scheduled for 2021, Jeremy Renner will be getting his bow back out for "Hawkeye." Not much else is known about this project, but it's expected that Hawkeye will be sharing his adventures (and his name) with a yet-to-be-cast Kate Bishop.

     All of these shows so-far are banking on pre-established characters, but the final three will be new properties, starting with "Ms. Marvel." No, not Carol Danvers going back to her original name. This show will be about Kamala Kahn, a teenage shapeshifter striking out on her own. In the comics, Kamala Kahn was part of Marvel's push to make Inhuman's relevant in both the comic book and cinematic universes. Now that that time is passed, it'll be interesting to see if her origins are changed for the MCU.

     Probably the most obscure of the lot, "Moon Knight" is a niche favorite even among comic readers. The big question surrounding this show will be what Moon Knight are we getting? His complicated history has portrayed the vigilante as everything from a mentally unstable Batman rip-off to a literal avatar of a moon god.

     And finally, there's "She-Hulk." Probably the most easily adaptable comic book character from page to television, "She-Hulk" isn't really a super-hero so much as a lawyer who happens to have Hulk blood running through her veins. If you want a law drama where the main character can also throw a taxi-cab, keep an eye out for this.

     Of course that's just the Marvel content. We haven't even gotten to Star Wars. Between "The Mandalorian," "Star Wars: Clone Wars," and most importantly, a new series centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi.

     When Disney bought Lucasfilm and announced they would be making spin-off movies to fit between the main entries, bringing back Ewan McGregor to do a dedicated Obi-Wan Kenobi movie seemed like the most obvious choice.

     You'd be hard pressed to find somebody that didn't think McGregor's Obi-Wan wasn't a bright point of the otherwise middling prequel trilogy and there is two decades worth of unexplored story between Episode III and Episode IV rich for exploring.

     With this much content announced before the service even launches, I anticipate my three year investment will probably turn out to be worthwhile.

     All hail our mousy overlords.

     Travis Fischer is a news writer for Mid-America Publishing and now needs to find time to watch all this stuff!