17 must-see Disney Plus original movies and shows
From WandaVision to The Mandalorian and everything in between
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From early releases like highly popular The Mandalorian to upcoming film releases like Luca, Disney+ has granted Disney fans, Marvel fans, and Star Wars fans alike access to the films and series they know and love, as well as brand new, groundbreaking movies and shows unique to the platform in the form of Disney+ Originals. Disney+ Originals open incredible doors for new film content, but also allow for the development of long-form content that hasn't previously been the focus of properties like the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Star Wars universe, paving the way for new generations of fans.
Whether you're in the middle of The Bad Batch or you're gearing up to be way too excited about Loki, there are Disney+ Originals aplenty to explore. Here are some of the best originals you can watch on Disney+.
WandaVision follows the story of Wanda Maximoff and Vision, continuing after the events of Avengers: Endgame and exploring a brand new story in the MCU through a series of sitcom-themed episodes. Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles as Wanda and Vision, and the series brings back Marvel favorites like Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) and Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), as well as newcomers Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) and Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) for the critically acclaimed six-episode series.
2. The Mandalorian
The phenomenon that is Baby Yoda (Grogu, to be precise) is still unmatched. The Mandalorian is a fantastic space Western series that takes place in the Star Wars universe between the events of the newest films and the original trilogy (Episodes IV-VI). The Mandalorian himself, played by Pedro Pascal, is a bounty hunter who embarks on a series of adventures in order to obtain, and then protect, Grogu, the Child, a young Force-wielding individual sought after by members of the old Galactic Empire.
3. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
The most recent MCU installment on Disney+, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, follows the events of Endgame in a similar way to WandaVision but follows the stories of Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) as they attempt to bring order to the world and fight new enemies. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier precedes Loki, which premieres in June 2021.
4. Star Wars: The Bad Batch
The Bad Batch, the newest animated series in the Star Wars universe on Disney+, follows the story of five clones (Clone Force 99) as they travel the galaxy on mercenary assignments in the aftermath of the events of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
The Bad Batch is currently airing every week on Fridays. The 16-episode series will be streaming in its entirety in August 2021.
5. Big Shot
John Stamos stars as Coach Marvyn Korn in this comedic sports series about a basketball coach who gets fired from his college coaching gig and is forced to take a position at an all-girls high school. Big Shot also features Yvette Nicole Brown as Sherilyn Thomas and Jessalyn Gilsig as Holly Barrett.
6. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Yes, you read the title right. Already in its second season, this mockumentary musical series follows a group of East High School teens (including current hitmaker Olivia Rodrigo) who are in the process of auditioning for a high school production of "High School Musical: The Musical." The series stars Olivia Rodrigo as Nina Salazar-Roberts, the student cast as Gabriella Montez, as well as Joshua Bassett as Ricky Bowen, the student cast in the role of Troy Bolton.
Featuring critically acclaimed selections like Burrow, Float, and Kitbull, the SparkShorts series on Disney+ features some of the most innovative animated sequences and some of the most heartwarming stories streaming today. The SparkShorts films are all part of a program in which Pixar animators were tasked with developing animated shorts over a limited time period with a small budget.
8. Pixar Popcorn
Bite-sized and wholesome, Pixar Popcorn allows Pixar's animators and teams to revisit old characters and stories from films like Toy Story, Finding Dory, Cars, and more in the form of quick animated shorts that last only a few minutes each. You can catch all of the Pixar Popcorn shorts individually or in an episode-length feature on Disney+.
9. Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Final Season
Star Wars: The Clone Wars ran for six seasons before being revived for its seventh and final season (exclusive to Disney+). The final season of the beloved series follows the end of the saga of Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Ahsoka as they work with popular characters like Yoda, Clone Force 99, and more to protect the Galactic Republic. The series sets up the events of Star Wars: The Bad Batch and leads right to the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Soul, the most recent Disney Pixar film, is an emotional tour-de-force that explores the idea of fulfillment, passion, and purpose. Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) dreams of playing jazz professionally when his life is cut short just before his big break. He travels to the "Great Beyond" where he meets 22 (Tina Fey), an unborn soul looking for a purpose, and is inadvertently tasked with showing 22 how good life can be. Soul is breathtaking, sweet, and will definitely make you cry.
Welcome to the room where it happened. Much to the delight of audiences everywhere, musical fans finally got a recorded version of the original cast performance of Lin Manuel-Miranda's hit musical Hamilton that aired exclusively on Disney+ last summer, and if you still haven't managed to catch the story of Alexander Hamilton's rise to power, you're in luck. You can watch Hamilton in all its glory on Disney+.
12. Black Beauty
Anna Sewell's novel Black Beauty has inspired countless adaptations over the years, and the most recent has found its home (after several delays due to COVID) on Disney+. Mackenzie Foy, Kate Winslet, Claire Forlani, Iain Glen, and Fern Deacon star in this feel-good story about a wild mustang named Beauty (voiced by Winslet) who meets and forms a strong bond with Jo Green (Foy).
13. Flora & Ulysses
Flora Buckman (Matilda Lawler) adores superheroes, preferring the world of her comic books to her real life. When Flora has a run-in with a squirrel named Ulysses, her life is forever changed when it's revealed that Ulysses has superpowers. Flora & Ulysses also stars Ben Schwartz as Flora's father George Buckman, Alyson Hannigan as Phyllis Buckman, Danny Pudi as Miller, and more.
14. Secrets of the Whales
Filmed by National Geographic cinematographer Brian Skerry and narrated by Sigourney Weaver, Secrets of the Whales documents the stories of many different groups of whales in an effort to unveil the various ways that orcas, belugas, narwhals, humpbacks, and sperm whales maintain culture, history, and language over the course of their varied lives. Secrets of the Whales was filmed over the course of 3 years in 24 different locations around the globe, and features breathtaking visual storytelling and never-before-seen footage of several whale behaviors.
15. Inside Pixar
Inside Pixar offers an in-depth look at the creators and teams behind Pixar's beloved catalogue of films, from the work of the animators, producers, and developers to the behind-the-scenes processes it takes to get a Pixar animated film from concept to theaters. The short episodes are fascinating, and if you have any interest in the production process behind animation the series is worth a look.
16. Marvel Studios: Assembled
If you, too, enjoy spending hours at a time combing through YouTube for behind-the-scenes clips of the films you love, rejoice. Marvel has made it incredibly easy to get access to the behind-the-scenes action of the MCU in the new series Marvel Studios: Assembled. Each episode of the series explores the making of currently airing MCU properties like WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and features interviews with the cast and crew as well as intimate glimpses of the processes behind the MCU's magic.
Taylor Swift's "Folklore" album was one of the balms of 2020, and you can catch the entirety of the album in concern through Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions. Swift performs the album in a laid back, rustic cabin, while openly chatting about the stories within each song and the process of writing the album.
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