In the wake of the blockbuster announcements made at the Disney Investor Day earlier this month, the Disney+ streaming service is gearing up for a jam-packed year of movies and TV.
January will mark the first foray into original Marvel Cinematic Universe entertainment on Disney+ with the launch of the mind-bending show WandaVision, as well as an accompanying series exploring some of the most significant characters within the MCU and their tangled storyline webs.
The service is also adding a selection of classic movies from its catalogue, as well as a new helping of National Geographic documentaries.
Here’s what you can see on Disney+ in January 2021...
Earth to Ned S2 (1 January)
This interesting comedy series from the Henson Company follows an alien who has been sent to Earth. Rather than carry out an invasion, he has instead become fascinated by celebrity culture and beams famous folk on to his ship for interviews in the style of a deeply unusual late night talk show. It has to be less traumatic than chatting with James Corden.
Marvel Studios: Legends (8 January)
For those who perhaps have not been following the MCU as closely as some — or need a refresh on some of its characters — this original series will be a useful primer. It will focus on individual characters from the Marvel movies, running through their biggest moments and stories. Unsurprisingly given the imminent arrival of WandaVision, its stars Wanda Maximoff and Vision are the subject of the first two episodes.
WandaVision (15 January)
Does anyone have any idea what WandaVision is going to be? Marvel is really swinging for the fences with its first MCU streaming show, putting Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany’s Vision together — despite the latter’s death in Avengers: Infinity War.
Read more: Kevin Feige says streaming is MCU future
It’s clear there’s something bizarre going on, as the couple appear to be living in an idyllic suburban world ripped straight from the tropes of a classic sitcom. Given Olsen’s upcoming appearance in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, this could be the way the “multiverse” first makes its presence felt in the MCU.
Pixar Popcorn (22 January)
With shows like Forky Asks a Question, Disney has shown a willingness to use the characters from the Pixar world for fun shorts on Disney+. There’s more of that on offer in Pixar Popcorn — a collection of short adventures featuring recognisable characters from franchises including Toy Story, The Incredibles and Finding Nemo.
Star Wars Force of Destiny S1-4 (8 January)
All four runs of these short web animations will be part of Disney+ from January, telling untold stories of Star Wars characters including Rey, Jyn Erso and Ahsoka Tano.
Marvel’s Runaways S3 (15 January)
The tale of six diverse teenagers taking on their evil parents, this series aired on Hulu several years ago and the third season is now due to arrive on Disney+.
Eleanor of Avalor Y3 (15 January)
Emmy-winning animated series following a teenage crown princess learning to rule her kingdom, inspired by diverse Latin cultures.
Puppy Dog Pals Y3 (22 January)
It’s a cartoon about adorable pug puppies getting into scrapes. What more could you want?
Hello Dolly! (1 January)
Musicals were big business in classic Hollywood. Directed by Singin’ in the Rain legend Gene Kelly, Hello, Dolly! was a big and noisy blockbuster starring Barbra Streisand as a matchmaker attempting to track down a romance for Walter Matthau’s wealthy bachelor. Despite strong reviews, it was a box office disappointment in 1969, but many have great affection for it looking back.
The Sandlot (1 January)
The 1980s and 1990s were a golden era for coming-of-age movies. Into that climate arrived the 1993 sports comedy The Sandlot, following a group of young baseball players over the course of a particularly hot 60s summer.
Dr. Dolittle 3 (15 January)
Before Robert Downey Jr. busted out that baffling Welsh accent, the role of Dr Dolittle was occupied on the big screen by Eddie Murphy in the 1990s. He elected not to return for this 2006 threequel, in which Kyla Pratt stepped into the lead role as Dolittle’s daughter — who, naturally, also has his gift for talking to the animals.
Drumline (22 January)
Another sprightly coming-of-age tale, this 2002 movie follows a college drummer butting heads with the leader of the band. It features one of the earliest screen performances from Zoe Saldana.
The Book of Life (22 January)
Produced by Guillermo del Toro, this 2014 animation depicted the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations in vibrant animation several years before Pixar delivered their own spin on the festival with Coco. It follows two men competing for the affections of a woman, while forces from the Land of the Remembered and Land of the Forgotten interfere as part of a high-stakes wager.
Ramona and Beezus (29 January)
Based on a series of children’s books by Beverly Cleary, this 2010 comedy adventure features Selena Gomez at the peak of her Disney Channel fame, before she made the jump into the music world.
X-Men: Apocalypse (29 January)
It may be considered one of the most disappointing movies in the X-Men franchise, but there’s no denying Apocalypse’s commitment to blockbuster spectacle. Oscar Isaac is the titular villain, attempting to wipe out civilisation when he resurfaces thousands of years after being buried alive.
Big Sharks Rule (1 January)
This one is, in the great tradition of shark documentaries, exactly what it says on the tin. Filmed off the coast of South Africa, it focuses on the survival of some of the world’s most enormous fish, including the tiger shark, great white and, of course, the humongous whale shark.
Great Shark Chow Down (1 January)
As anybody who has seen Jaws knows, it’s very difficult to get between a shark and its food. This doc sees scientists reflect on footage of several massive shark feeding events, exploring these creatures at their most spectacular.
700 Sharks (1 January)
So there’s massive sharks, sharks eating and now, loads of sharks at the same time. This documentary follows an extraordinary expedition to observe the largest school of sharks on the planet.
Expedition Amelia (8 January)
More than 30 years after he discovered the wreck of the Titanic, Bob Ballard is now attempting to solve the mystery of missing aviator Amelia Earhart. She disappeared in 1937 while trying to circumnavigate the globe from the air. More than 80 years after she was declared dead, Ballard wants to track down her plane.
Thailand's Wild Side (15 January)
Thailand is a nation of differing ecosystems, from rainforests to cities, creating ample opportunities for diverse wildlife to survive and thrive. This documentary explores some of the most colourful creatures to which the country plays host.
Wild Uganda (22 January)
Uganda has suffered extensively from poaching, but now has restored its national parks and nature is fighting back. There are fascinating animals in this one, including mountain gorillas, cave elephants, chimpanzees and even tree-dwelling lions.
Watch: Disney+ adds disclaimer to some older movies