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Disney Announces New Projects Highlighting Diversity

Many new projects were announced as a part of Disney's Investor Day...

Yesterday, December 10th, was Disney's Investor Day - an annual event in which the company announces future plans, projects, and earnings. This year was especially exciting as it was the first event to be held after the launch of the Disney+ streaming service!

As streaming technology continues to evolve and the pandemic keeps people out of movie theaters, the ability to stream has become a vital factor for all facets of entertainment. Disney was proud to announce a strong lineup of shorts, shows, and films set to premiere in the next few years.

Amongst the projects were quite a few milestones for diversity...

From small to big, here's some of the upcoming projects which are taking strong steps toward showcasing diversity!

Disney+ Original Series, TIANA:

The Princess and the Frog made history in 2009 for introducing the first Black Disney princess. The original film was not a major success in box offices, but the Disney audience has grown a need for more characters like Tiana. The series will premiere in 2023 and take place after the events of the film.

Disney+ Original Series: MOANA

Moana is another character earning her own original series. Like Tiana, Moana's show will take place after the events of her title film and feature new music and characters. Moana is Disney's first and only current Indigenous princess as she hails from the Pacific Islands.

ENCANTO (2021)

Coming to theaters next fall, Encanto takes place in Colombia and celebrates the culture and history of those who live there. Disney made the exciting choice to bring back songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda to write for the film. The Hamilton star had previously written music for Moana.

Disney also announced more diverse casting...

The live-action production for the new Little Mermaid had been announced a few years ago, but Disney executives took the opportunity to bubble up more excitement with an official cast list. Singer Halle Bailey is half of the musical duo Chloe X Halle, known for their most recent album Ungodly Hour. Halle will be stepping up solo to take on the role of Ariel in the upcoming remake.

Along with playing Scuttle in the upcoming Little Mermaid, actress Awkwafina is busy starring in an upcoming Marvel series titled: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Not much is known about the project as it is still in production, though Marvel fans were happy to see Asian representation expanded within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show will premiere July of next year.

Marvel's first Muslim character:

Another first for Marvel...the new series Ms. Marvel will feature Iman Vellani starring as the first Muslim character in the MCU. Kamala Khan is a young superhero...the 16 year-old Pakistani-American idolizes Captain Marvel. She begins fighting crime on her own when she, too, develops powers. Disney also confirmed that Vellani's role will appear in the upcoming Captain Marvel 2.

Disney also addressed Black Panther casting:

Following the sudden death of Chadwick Boseman earlier this year, fans of the Black Panther franchise have worried about what may lie ahead. As a powerful representation of Black power, the franchise is important to both Marvel and its fans. Disney confirmed yesterday that there would not be any recasting of Boseman's role. Instead, they will explore other worlds within Wakanda while honoring Chadwick and his work.

Disney teams up with African animation company...

Last but not least, another first for the company...Disney is teaming up with Pan-African entertainment company Kugali for a new science fiction series. The show: Iwájú will premiere on Disney+ in 2022. Not much is known at this time, but Disney did release a stunning art piece from the visual development stages of the show.

Which of these projects are you most excited for?!

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