2019 may feel like it has lasted a hundred years at this point (Captain Marvel was released in March? Absurd!), but we still have a ways to go before the year is out, and plenty of content to look forward too. The Walt Disney Company Africa shared with us what we can expect from them and their brands by way of new and upcoming releases set to be launched from August 2019 until August 2020.
The three Disney television channels in South Africa – Disney, Junior, and XD, all continue popular series with new seasons and introduce one or two new ones.
Of particular interest to me amongst the Junior programming was a re-imagining of The Rocketeer. Previously a comic series and a cult classic live-action film released in 1991, it’s being rebooted as a young child-friendly series? Well, at the least I’m glad to see Disney taking an interest in some of its more obscure properties again.
What I’m most interested in from Disney Channel is the upcoming series Amphibia, an animated series where a normal girl gets sent into a world populated by human-like frogs and toads. While that premise doesn’t do much on its own, it’s a Matt Braly project, who previously worked on Gravity Falls, and it shares much of the art style and sense of humour. Here’s hoping that it can capture something of the spark that set Gravity Falls apart from the more run of the mill series.
Disney XD brings back more seasons of the rebooted DuckTales and Big Hero 6 series. The new season of Marvel’s Spider-Man is subtitled Maximum Venom, so I suppose we can all guess what might be a focus on the next plotline. Star Wars: Resistance also returns for a second and final season.
Disney has been making much of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox recently, and first out of the gate was their news about the television line up for Fox Africa.
Fan favourite series like Blue Bloods, The Walking Dead, and CSI return for another season, while Empire is coming back for its final season in September. Legion season 3 is also currently ongoing, due to conclude in September.
What I’m looking forward to mostly in October is the new miniseries of The War of the Worlds, and I’ll be interested to see if Fox manages to do the classic alien invasion story justice in its new, modern setting.
The biggest campaign set to launch on National Geographic in September is the Activate: Global Citizen Movement series, which highlights a campaign to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The 6-episode series features explorations of different aspects of global poverty, supported by celebrities and grassroots activists.
Nat Geo WILD has a few new interesting shows focused on the animal and nature genres, including Dog Impossible, a new series focused on rehabilitating anti-social dogs. Also of note is Kingdom of the White Wolf, which looks at arctic wolves, and has some amazing cinematography on display from what I’ve seen.
Of course, we also heard a bit more about the major studio film releases upcoming.
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil continues the reimagined Sleeping Beauty storyline, with Angelina Jolie playing the “evil” fairy Maleficent. She is joined in this sequel by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The huge upcoming release for animation and sing-along fans must be Frozen II, which will arrive at the start of December. The plotline this time will focus on Elsa discovering where her powers came from, and the overall aesthetic seems to be rather more autumnal than the wintery setting of the original.
Naturally, I don’t think I need to hype up Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker, any more than it already is. You know about it, we’ve seen the footage of the new lightsaber and the Emperor cackling like a madman. It’s finally almost here, launching on 20th December, just in time for Christmas.
Pixar’s next major release will be Onward, in March 2020. Starring Chris Pratt and Tom Holland as two Elves, it seems to be following the genre of modern urban fantasy, where fantastical creatures are placed into a modern world very much like ours. Hopefully, it does it better than Bright did. However, the footage we saw looked very promising, and the two lead actors have great banter together.
Pixar’s other release will be on June 2020, and is simply titled Soul. We know little beyond a logo, but it promises to explore where your passions, dreams, and interests come from. If it’s a more complex story like Inside Out or Up, I’ll be right on board.
The next Disney live-action reboot will be Mulan, which we have seen some footage of. Set to release on March 2020; okay fine, I can accept that we might not have any Mushu anymore, but please keep the songs? I’m all for realism, but let’s also honour the Disney original it came from.
The final film highlighted and set to release in May is Artemis Fowl, the long-awaited adaptation of the YA book classic. I’m a huge fan of the book series myself, and have nervous interest in the film. It’s directed by Kenneth Branagh, and has some great casting, so here’s hoping they manage to pull this one off.