At the beginning of October, Disney+ added “Werewolf By Night” to the service as a special presentation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It felt like an old horror movie set in a dark corner of the MCU that has permeated our TV screens and movie theaters since 2008. I enjoyed it and like the potential for more special presentations going forward. This is not the first special presentation either, with Disney unveiling “The Muppets Haunted Mansion” last year. Let’s take a look at some of the bonuses of the special presentation format, some of the special presentations already available and what characters could possibly see special presentations going forward.
INTRODUCE NEW CHARACTERS
As we saw with “Werewolf By Night,” the special presentation allows Disney to introduce new characters in a different format. Not every character will draw people to the movie theaters. And not every character is strong enough to carry an entire series. The special presentation format allows for these new characters to be introduced into their respective universes. “Werewolf By Night” probably would’ve failed at the box office and didn’t look strong enough to carry its own series, but it was fun for a 55 minute special presentation. We got Werewolf By Night, Elsa Bloodstone and Man-Thing in one special when it’s unlikely they would’ve appeared anywhere else. Plus, they can now appear in other Marvel projects and audiences will know him. It works. It not only works for Marvel. Imagine adding some specials about popular expanded universe “Star Wars” characters we haven’t seen yet. Maybe a “High Republic” special?
RE-INTRODUCE CLASSIC CHARACTERS
Have you ever wondered why we don’t see more of certain characters we used to see all the time? It happens. The next big things take over and we stop seeing former classic characters. It doesn’t make sense to give these characters series, but it could work to give them a special to bring them back to the forefront of people’s attention. We’ve seen “Winnie the Pooh” specials that put a hyper focus on one of the supporting characters. Let’s bring back some classics who haven’t been seen in a while.
EASY HOLIDAY CONTENT
Disney has no trouble filling its holiday slate, but they may want some more holiday content going forward. They’ve used the special presentation format to tackle Halloween wonderfully with both “Werewolf By Night” and “Muppets Haunted Mansion,” and they are tackling Christmas with the “Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special.” They can use special presentations to tackle other holidays that don’t get the recognition of these two holidays. Plus, they can even recognize holidays in other countries and use those specials to bring international content to other countries. It’s a win-win situation for both holidays and expanded content.
As I’ve mentioned, one special presentation already on the service is “Muppets Haunted Mansion.” The special presentation format can lend to expanded content for the Muppets, Disney+ Original Series, Pixar content and even “Star Wars.” The Muppets made so many specials over the years, that if Disney can ensure it has all of the rights locked up, it could add them without even having to create new content, although I want as much new Muppets content as I can get. There’s also “The High School Musical: the Musical: the Series: The Holiday Special” on the service. It could be a way to get more content from popular Disney Channel or Disney+ Originals like “High School Musical,” “Descendants” or “Z-O-M-B-I-E-S.” Plus, I think it would work better for Pixar series with an established narrative like “Cars on the Road,” than just a series of shorts.
Not everything needs to be a film or a series. There’s plenty of characters and content to explore, that don’t need a film or series, but can still be fun to watch. I’m eager to see what happens with this format going forward.