Disney Plus: Timing is everything in more ways than one

Pedro Pascal is The Mandalorian in the Disney+ series THE MANDALORIAN.
Pedro Pascal is The Mandalorian in the Disney+ series THE MANDALORIAN. /

Disney Plus has big plans for the Marvel and Star Wars universes, with multiple shows on the way for both franchises.

But when it comes to producing this much original content, timing is everything. That doesn’t just mean when these new shows drop for streaming on Disney Plus. When these shows are set on their respective timelines is arguably more important to the health and quality of the narrative.

Since it’s inception, Disney Plus has made some lofty claims as to their goals for new content. That included multiple shows set within the MCU as well as more than a few featuring different Star Wars characters. So far, there hasn’t been much delivered on those claims.

The Mandalorian

The first season of The Mandalorian dropped in late 2019, gaining rave reviews from both fans and critics. Well, the critics who aren’t total genre snobs and actually take science fiction seriously. Regardless, this first season set the tone for the high level of content Disney Plus was planning on offering. The problem was that there wasn’t an immediate follow up.

A year later, and fans are getting Season 2 of The Mandalorian, which no one is complaining about. But it did come as a bit of a surprise that no other Marvel or Star Wars live action series debuted in the interim. Admittedly, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus changed everyone’s plans, and Disney was surely not immune to that. But it was still odd that nothing else was close to being ready to go.

As production ramps up again, fans are on the verge of getting seasons of MCU shows like WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. Additionally, more Marvel and Star Wars shows are in development or production. But the timing of these show will play a huge part in determining their success or failure.

The Mandalorian worked for a number of reasons. Din Djarin is a great protagonist, a lone warrior against the odds with The Child by his side. The first season also had a great supporting cast in Cara Dune, Greef Karga, Kuiil and IG-11. Some of them didn’t survive the Season 1, but the rest will be back for Season 2 alongside new additions to the series.

Star Wars Timeline

A big part what makes The Mandalorian so great is when it is set on the overall Star Wars timeline. The first season occurs five years after the events depicted in Return of the Jedi. It’s after the fall of the Empire but before the rise of the First Order.

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There have certainly been books and comics set during this era over the years, but never a movie or TV series. The Mandalorian is offering a look into what the Outer Rim of the galaxy was like while the New Republic while still establishing itself. It could even be giving fans insights at the primordial totalitarian soup the First Order grew out of.

It is a unique period in the Star Wars timeline, the perfect place to set up a series like this. Disney Plus has similar plans for other Star Wars series like Obi-Wan Kenobi with Ewan McGregor. Given how Obi-Wan’s life plays out, it’s likely set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope.

The timing of the Cassian Andor series is also easy to guess since it will focus on Diego Luna’s Rogue One character and his robot sidekick K-2SO. Keeping mind that they both died in the movie, this series will likely tell the story of how Cassian transitioned from Separatist spy to Rebel operative.

The Mandalorian, Disney Plus
The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in Lucasfilm’s THE MANDALORIAN. Photo: François Duhamel/Lucasfilm /

What will prove to be even more intriguing are the rumored Lando Calrissian, Ahsoka Tano and Cara Dune series. When these shows fit in the overall timeline will make or break them. If they tell stories about a time fans aren’t interested in, then they won’t answer questions fans are asking.

This was a large part of the reason the animated series Resistance fell flat on its face. It was answering questions no Star Wars fan was asking or even cared about. Conversely, The Clone Wars and Rebels filled in some incredibly key gaps in the narrative.

MCU vs Netflix

As it stands right now, Star Wars has had a lot of success on the TV front thanks to canonical series like The Mandalorian, The Clone Wars and Rebels. Marvel has had its share of TV success but how those series fit into the bigger picture was confusing at best.

Marvel and Netflix built a group of great shows in Luke Cage, Daredevil, Punisher and Jessica Jones. They also made an Iron Fist show but the less said about that, the better. As good as all of those series except Iron Fist were, they suffered from their convoluted and, quite frankly, unclear place in the MCU. They were part of the MCU but had no substantial interaction with the rest of the MCU.

It created a secondary world of shows, one that did it’s own thing. Fans started questioning why the Avengers weren’t getting involved in the giant superhero versus ninja wars breaking out in New York. And for an organization involved in all super powered activity, S.H.I.E.L.D. sure steered clear of everything going on in Harlem and Hell’s Kitchen.

There were “behind the scenes reasons” for this huge disconnect but it still weighed the stories down. On the other hand, DC made the right move by keeping the Arrowverse separate from what they were doing on the big screens. The recent Crisis on Infinite Earths arc showed the movies and TV series operated in separate universes that could still interact.

As for the MCU’s place on TV, that’s about to truly begin.

The Future is on Disney Plus

The upcoming Disney Plus Marvel series are a direct extension of the MCU films. As such, where they fit on the timeline will be incredibly important. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier looks to be set after Avengers: Endgame. How long after remains to be seen. When exactly WandaVision is set is also not clear, but it’s presumably after the death of the Vision.

Fans of Star Wars and the MCU are incredibly particular about the timelines, so Disney needs to make sure that everything fits. Setting them in the wrong time, and doing something incongruous with the narrative already in place could easily ruin a series.

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Which upcoming Disney Plus series are you most looking forward to? Let us know in the comments below!