For months, Disney (and even non-Disney fans) of all ages watched the Disney+ announcements with great anticipation. The new streaming service is now entertaining the masses by allowing fans to have the entirety of the Disney catalog at their fingertips, plus original programming.
There is an enormous amount of existing and nostalgia-inducing properties available over Disney+, but there are (and will be) also many new productions like Star Wars’ The Mandalorian, Monsters at Work, and any number of Marvel spin-offs. It is apparent that original content will be the ongoing lifeblood of this Netflix competitor. With that in mind, there are a number of Disney IPs from the monumental Eisner era, also known as the Disney Renaissance, ready for a re-imagining that will tap into the generation who grew up on them, as well as entertain a new generation.
Here are three such properties that I believe are ready for an energizing reboot on Disney+:
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It’s time that Newsies had its day to bask in the sun of success in the form of a new musical series on Disney+. Many remember this Eisner era classic that helped show off the talents of a young Christian Bale, and was the directorial debut of Kenny Ortega who would go on to direct and choreograph other Disney classics like Hocus Pocus, High School Musical, and most recently, the Descendants series.
There is a lot of flexibility in the property that would allow a Disney+ version of Newsies to possibly shift the timeline away from 1899 New York City to something more modern like a group of young, unpaid interns at an internet news outlet. Or, Disney+ could lean into the original, gritty setting of turn-of-the-century New York. Newsies was not quite a success at the box office when it was released, but, over the years, it has taken on a cult status as a film, and has even maintained a successful run on Broadway as a must-see musical.
With Ortega at the helm as director for a reboot (and the IP already inside Disney), Newsies is ideal for a live-action Disney+ revival worth at least 13 episodes. I mean, if Netflix can revitalize shows like Full House and Arrested Development, there must be room for a powerful musical addition like Newsies. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see if they could bring Christian Bale back for a cameo?!
2. Darkwing Duck
We’ve already seen that DuckTales can be rebooted for a new generation, and, with the power of Marvel and the recent run of success with DC franchise characters like Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Shazam!, it may be time for Disney’s original cape crusader, Darkwing Duck, to put on the mask and save St. Canard from mayhem once again.
There’s a whole new world of parody and fun available to the most daring waterfowl hero in the Disney landscape. A new age of superhero movies and television shows have brought more people into a genre that was only at the edge of the general public’s peripheral vision when Darkwing Duck premiered in 1991. After a run of only three seasons, there are still a lot of stories and adventures left for Darkwing Duck and his sidekick Launchpad McQuack. It would be a wonderful addition for Disney+ as it looks to bring more up-to-date, yet nostalgic, titles to a younger audience, and it would appeal to parents who remember the characters from their own childhood.
With the live-action version of Mulan set to come out in 2020, the addition of a Mulan series may be a timely addition for Disney+. Mulan typically does not get the love in the Disney parks like so many other animated films from the 1990s, but it is certainly deserving of more exposure throughout the The Walt Disney Company.
We are seeing Disney take advantage of Star Wars by adding a new season of the Clone Wars animated series to the Disney+ docket. A property like Mulan, with a strong female lead and a live action remake in production, makes it a solid choice for an expanded library of storylines. I also see spin-off opportunities throughout the Disney parks, as well as the eventual Mulan merchandise being sold.
We saw Disney create a series from one of its major animated films, Hercules, in the late 1990s, and this has been further replicated with The Lion King and the creation of The Lion Guard. Mulan could certainly be re-imagined and crafted with a new tone. This would, of course, be dependent on how the live-action version performs at the box office, but the synergy between theatrical release, incorporation of a new Disney+ series, and even a expanded presence in the Disney parks could be exactly what this IP and Disney need.
With so much IP in the hands of Disney that includes Marvel, Lucasfilm, and now, Fox, the media behemoth is not short on properties to choose from, but these Eisner era gems should not be lost in the shuffle. These properties hold a lot of value and love in the Disney community, and have a built-in fan base that can be tapped into for support. Of course, only time will tell.
If it were up to you, what properties you think Disney should expand on for its new streaming service?
Photos courtesy of Disney