Disney+ News and Releases

 

Why Bob Iger’s return to Disney replacing Bob Chapek Doesn’t Matter

November 2022 at Disney may be marked as a special moment in Disney history. One of Disney’s most profound CEOs has returned.  Bob Iger’s replacement of Bob Chapek has Disney team members, associates, and anyone who has worked with Disney in the past 10 years cheering from the sidelines. Fanboys with no insider information about Disney, interpret this as good news due to all of  Disney’s failures over the past three years. Fans see it as a signal Disney will return to a less woke agenda. That’s not necessarily why anyone including fans should be hopeful about Disney’s future. After all, under Iger, Disney had already run the Star Wars movie franchise into the ground. To best understand, some historical points of interest will help best understand why Iger’s return matters. 

From the start of Bob Iger’s tenure in 2005, he has demonstrated he’s the type of CEO that plays a move like chess. It’s not the first move that pays off, it’s what he sees as possible based on a move. Take for example his purchase of Pixar (at 7.4 billion) in 2006, Marvel (at 4 billion) in 2009, and The Star Wars Franchise (at 4 Billion) in 2012. These moves and others quadrupled Disney’s market capitalization from a modest 48 billion to 257 billion. One can argue the woke agenda manifested under Iger, but overall, Bob Iger had made all the right moves, which included Disney+ (and Hulu).

Best yet, unlike Chapek, Iger was hands-off. He didn’t need to fix Pixar, Marvel, or Lucas Films. He counted on each enterprise to continue its winning formulas. What he couldn’t forecast was the next generation of writers influencing every Disney franchise with their social-political views. He didn’t seem to have the social equity to push back.  

In the end, Iger the visionary isn’t perfect. His return isn’t to fix wokism as an anti-woke leader. He ushered it in. 

When Iger retired in January 2020 he hand-picked Chapek. People may think Iger rode off into the sunset. He didn’t. He quietly stayed on as Executive Chairman. He claimed it was to assist Chapek to navigate his new CEO role and avoid a Game of Thrones death by internal Disney politics. One would assume they saw eye-to-eye. In truth, by the time COVID-19 shut down the economy and entertainment business, it became apparent Iger was never truly interested in retiring or assisting Chapek. Chapek made his own decisions without consulting Iger. Bob Chapek’s public battle with Black Widow star Scarlett Johansen resulted in exposing her salary. This infuriated Iger. 

Their working relationship continued its negative spiral coinciding with Disney’s brand image and box office issues. When Florida’s Governor DiSantis signed a 2022 bill into law forbidding educators to instruct children on gender identity in relation to sexual orientation before reaching 4th grade, Disney employees positioned Disney as woke with threats towards the state to sway public opinion. The law was successfully labeled in the media as the “Don’t say gay” bill. DeSantis pushed back threatening to end Disney’s special tax status and self-governing status. In April of 2022 he made good on both threats. Disney employees then held Chapek responsible for failing to take a bigger stand on their LGBTQ position, such as moving Disney from Florida. 

The mess Disney suffered has been felt over continued poor quarterly earnings reports. Mo is the bottom line for any business and Disney needed more than a scapegoat. Iger has now eagerly retaken the crown of CEO at Disney. As fans of Star Wars and Marvel comics rejoice along with the full-time YouTube critics of Star Wars and Disney films, the woke industry insiders are doing the very same Snoopy ecstasy dance. 

The sum result of this change is more of the same. Disney may or may not have intended any drastic policy changes to its storytelling. The reaction across the Internet may quickly redefine what direction they take. The wind is blowing hard for the anti-woke community. The wind may be blowing harder yet within the woke community. Money has made an impact on this change of leadership. Will money have an additional impact on policy? That’s yet to be determined, but anyone who believes the return of Bob Iger is going to return Disney’s Marvel and Star Wars franchises to their earlier glory – clearly, doesn’t read beyond headlines. 

Is Disney+ Building West Coast Avengers?

Two related news items in the MCU are coming to Disney+ and to the discerning MCU aficionado, it appears MCU is quietly building up a streaming-only West Coast Avengers. 

MCU News Item #1 — Vision Quest

After the success of Wandavision in 2021, Marvel and Disney have their sights on another big story involving Wanda and Vision. Step back to the 80s. Writer John Byrne used the West Coast Avengers as a vehicle for the story of the white Vision. Elements of that story played out in the last episode of Wandavision. Vision Quest aims to take on the conundrum of who is the White Vision at length.  There’s more to the story of course, but let’s not enter spoiler territory before Vision Quest even has a chance to air. Still, if you feel the need to deep dive, Marvel has a complete graphic novel reading list in complete reading order.

MCU News Item #2  — Wonderman

Breaking the last of October 2022, it’s reported that Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is in talks with Disney+ for a Wonderman series. Wonderman is a legacy Marvel character debuting in 1964 in Avengers #9.  He quickly shifted from a chaotic neutral character to a hero.  How do these two news events relate besides simply being news from the MCU? The White Vision and Wonderman make up part of the West Coast Avengers. Is it a stretch to think the remaining team members are due for appearances or shows on Disney+? 

Warwick Davis Returns to Willow Series

An epic period fantasy series with a modern sensibility set in an enchanted land of breathtaking beauty, “Willow” features a diverse international cast with Jonathan Kasdan, Ron Howard, Wendy Mericle, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michelle Rejwan serving as executive producers. The story began with an aspiring magician from a Nelwyn village and an infant girl destined to unite the realms, who together helped destroy an evil queen and banish the forces of darkness. Now, in a magical world where brownies, sorcerers, trolls, and other mystical creatures flourish, the adventure continues, as an unlikely group of heroes set off on a dangerous quest to places far beyond their home, where they must face their inner demons and come together to save their world.