When Disney+ launched on November 12 to popular fanfare, the new streaming service promised to add more depth and story to their popular franchises, including giants such as Star Wars and Marvel, outside of their respective movies. But what most viewers aren’t considering are those who are locked out of Disney’s story paywall are the same people who only watch the blockbusters of the franchises, and not all of the other movies.
After the release of “Avengers: Endgame,” Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige has made it clear that if you want to keep up with the ongoing slate of the Marvel Cinematic Universe story, you will need to watch the Disney+ shows or be left out in the cold. If you want to understand everything in future Marvel movies, Feige explained, you’ll need a Disney+ subscription.
“We spent 12 years at Marvel Studios really embracing and digging into all the stories of characters who had never been brought to the screen before” said Feige. “But there would be times when we’d have a supporting player or a reference point or something for a movie and legal would go, ‘don’t forget that characters on that other list and you don’t have access to it,’”
While this may seem like an innovative form to give the thousands of Marvel characters a place in the grand story, having to put fan favorite characters behind the streaming paywall, seemingly disenfranchising the fans who would only want to see one of the shows instead of Disney’s massive library would be made available on the platform.
It’s all pretty fantastic, which is why this is finally the moment that Disney gets to gorge, as it concentrates on exploiting its content and viewer base and stops chasing other tech dreams it could never be good at like “Club Penguin” or any of their VR adventures.
But there are also other problems with Disney+ that could prove die hard fans don’t have to immediately jump on the bandwagon. One of those is how older media is cropped on the platform, affecting long running shows such as “The Simpsons” where the original pre-HD seasons are cropped from their original 4×3 aspect ratio to the now standard 16×9 cutting off some visual gags.
But others have had some issues on how Disney’s modern disclaimers on older films aren’t direct enough with the truth about old stereotypes presented. While it’s commendable that Disney took responsibility for its past transgressions, they let viewers like parents decide how to present within the proper educational and historical context.
Aside from unlocking most of their vault, one title Disney still refuses to make available to the public is “Song from the South.” The film was made in 1946 and sheds a positive light on slavery set in Reconstruction, a period in which people of color were actually disenfranchised and charged a poll tax in order to vote.
While the comparison may seem far fetched, the basic idea of Disney charging money to see certain sections of larger story remain. The company never made “Song of the South” available for home release. They also pretended the title didn’t exist, which doesn’t hide the fact the company still released the film theatrically. It still doesn’t hide the fact the film won an Academy Award for its signature song, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah.” Lastly, the song and characters from the film are still present at Disney’s American theme parks in California and Florida as part of Splash Mountain.
While Disney+ might have launched to massive fanfare, there are some facets to consider when consuming the Disney content monopoly and how the disenfranchisement of non-subscribers will affect the telling of future stories for your favorite IP’s.