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What to Watch on Disney+: New ‘Star Wars,’ Classic X-Men Films and Emma Stone’s ‘Cruella’


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Is it possible we’ll be getting a new Star Wars or Marvel series every month on Disney+? That seems to be the service’s ambition. This month sees the debut of the hotly anticipated Star Wars: The Bad Batch, but it would be a typically bustling month for Disney+ even without it, thanks to choices that include some vintage selections and a new theatrical feature (for a small extra fee). Here are some of the most promising offerings.


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Star Wars: The Bad Batch (May 4)

Before his work on The Mandalorian, writer and executive producer Dave Filoni served as the driving force behind Star Wars: The Clone Wars and other animated series. That helps explain why so many Clone Wars characters have shown up in The Mandalorian, which proved they could work just as well in liver-action as animation. With Star Wars: The Bad Batch, Filoni crosses back into animation for a series about a band of mutant clone warriors who run afoul of the Empire after the Clone Wars draw to a close.

Wander Over Yonder (May 7)

Craig McCracken’s tenure at Cartoon Network, especially his work as the creator of The Powerpuff Girls, helped to push children’s animated shows in witty, stylish new directions. In the early-2010s, McCracken brought a similar spirit to this space-trotting Disney Channel series starring the voice of Jack McBrayer as the exuberant Wander, whose journey through the stars often puts him in conflict with Lord Hater. The series’ two seasons are now making their Disney+ debut.

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken (May 7)

When Disney+ debuted it seemed as if the service had scraped clean the Disney Vaults (apart from a few infamous exceptions). But apparently not: this 1991 film loosely adapts the story of Sonora Webster Carver, a rider who continued to participate in horse diving even after she went blind. Horse diving isn’t exactly smiled upon these days. Even Donald Trump backed down from a Nineties attempt to revive it in Atlantic City when protestors shouted him down. But viewers who can look past that — which might not be easy — might draw some inspiration from the film, which stars Gabriel Anwar and Cliff Robertson.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (May 7) and X-Men: The Last Stand (May 14)

Disney’s purchase of Fox means the company also inherited Fox’s superhero films, a mixed bag that includes its X-Men titles and its Fantastic Four adaptations. X-Men: The Last Stand is one of the most disappointing of the former and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer arguably the worst of the latter, but both are worth a look for the curious (even if kids hungry for all things Marvel might not find that much to like).

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Season two premiere, May 14)

How do you follow a season that offered a rockumentary look at a high school theater group’s production of High School Musical: The Series? If you’re High School Musical: The Musical: The Series you pick up where you left off and focus on the high school production of another Disney-branded musical, Beauty and the Beast. Complicating matters, season two finds the kids of East High squaring off against their hated enemies at North High, home to a theater club run by their leader Miss Jenn’s (Kate Reinders) ex-boyfriend.

Inside Pixar: Unpacked (May 21)

W. Kamau Bell narrates a series offering a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar. Each episode focuses on different aspects, including character design and the challenge of creating immersive backgrounds for the studio’s animated characters.

Cruella (May 28)

Everyone clamoring for an origin story of Cruella de Vil, the fur-coveting villain of 101 Dalmatians, can relax: You’ve been heard. Emma Stone plays Cruella as a young fashion designer with a rebellious streak that, since the film’s rated PG-13, presumably does not extend to dog slaughter. Craig Gillespie (I, Tonya) directs. Like Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon, Cruella will premiere simultaneously in theaters. To stream it online, you’ll need to be a Disney+ subscriber and pay an additional $29.99 premiere access fee (for unlimited viewings with your Disney+ account).

Launchpad (May 28)

Providing a sandbox in which up-and-coming animators can experiment, Pixar’s SparkShorts have been a Disney+ highlight since day one. Launchpad looks like an attempt to extend that initiative to the live-action realm via short films directed by a diverse array of creators. This first batch is built around the theme of “Discover” and includes contributions from emerging filmmakers like Aqsa Altaf, Moxie Peng, and Jessica Mendez Siqueiros

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers (Season finale, May 28)

The first season of Disney+’s Emilio Estevez-starring revival of the Nineties underdog franchise draws to a close with a big game. (We’re guessing, but that seems like a safe bet.)

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