As the new decade begins, a rapid tectonic shift is taking place in the entertainment landscape. Both Apple TV+ and Disney+ launched standalone streaming services, with NBC and HBO following in the months ahead. All four small-screen powerhouses know the key to getting consumers to sign up is content, which is why "What's Coming in 2020" promo videos are critical. But the Disney+ video announcement held a surprise for fans, with the reveal that the WandaVision premiere date would be far earlier than anyone had guessed.
Most of Disney+ offerings for the new year are either known to fans already or easily guessed. The YouTube video starts out hyping last July's hit, The Lion King, which will join the other live-action remake movies along with the Will Smith-led Aladdin. Pixar will premiere Toy Story 4, along with a Bo-Peep-centered tale, Lamp Life, following the adventures of Bo and her sheep after they left Andy's house.
Season 2 of The Mandalorian and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series were already greenlit before the service launched, so it's not a surprise to see them promoted as part of the upcoming highlight reel. Nor is it a surprise to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars will be making its way to Disney+ since The Mandalorian ties directly back to the animated series with the Darksaber.
But then there's the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which pops up at the 36-second mark.
Disney+ hypes two series: The Falcon & The Winter Soldier and WandaVision. The former was always expected to arrive in 2020, airing between Black Widow's May release and The Eternals' November premiere. But WandaVision wasn't slated for 2020. It was slated to air after Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings' release in February of 2021, sometime in the spring.
This might not seem like a big deal; Marvel was probably hedging in how long filming would take. If production is going more smoothly than anticipated and the show is ready for a late fall or holiday-timed debut for 2020, why not go with it?
But these Marvel shows are supposed to be parts of Phase IV, tying directly into what happens on the big screen. MCU president Kevin Feige specifically singled out WandaVision as a significant part of this experiment, calling it a direct prequel to the big-screen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in May of 2021.
In short, whatever Wanda accidentally releases in her moving of time and space live out a life with Vision causes Doctor Strange's adventures in the multiverses. That may still work with releasing WandaVision in 2020 instead. But any time something in Marvel's giant interconnected puzzle moves, it affects everything.
If nothing else, this may mean moving up some of the other Marvel TV series premiering down the line. Maybe multiverses of madness aren't the only chaos on Marvel's upcoming menu.