In June, the third season of National Geographic’s drama series, “Genius” will be coming to Disney+ in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In the third season, the show will focus on Aretha Franklin and stars Cynthia Erivo as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and Courtney B. Vance as CL Franklin, her father.
The series consists of 8 episodes and the first two episodes will be released on Disney+ on Friday 4th June, with two new episodes a week being released.
Aretha Franklin is widely regarded as a musical genius whose incomparable career has had an immeasurable impact and lasting influence on music and culture around the world. Raised in Detroit, she was largely a self-taught and gifted pianist and singer, recording some of her earliest tracks at age 14 at her father’s church.
From her crowning as the “Queen of Soul” in 1967 to her record-breaking gospel record “Amazing Grace” to her involvement and support of the Civil Rights movement, Aretha Franklin remained a groundbreaking artist. Throughout her life, Aretha shouldered family misfortune and balanced professional demands all while managing her public image.
The showrunner for the series, Suzan-Lori Parks said:
“In GENIUS:ARETHA, as we watch her life, as we learn the truths of her life, the things she endured and the ways in which she continually triumphed—my hope is that any viewer, regardless of race or color, national origin or whatever, will allow Aretha’s genius to spark them, and then, in turn, they’ll recognize the genius in themselves. Because we each have genius, maybe not as fabulous as Aretha Franklin’s, but we each have a little bit of it.”
“It’s sumptuous; it’s large; it’s expansive. The places we get to go in our eight hours. The heights we get to rise to. We get to tell the story of her childhood. We get to tell so many angles and aspects of her life. We get to demonstrate her genius.”
The series director, Anthony Hemingway, also recently spoke about the series, saying:
“Tackling a story like Aretha Franklin, and not only just about Aretha Franklin but to tap into what made her a genius, was one that was somewhat necessary. What I knew about her tenacity and her activism spoke really loudly to me. We’re always looking for healing mechanisms, and in the times we live in right now, [I’m] just really hungry for finding the stories that I, as a filmmaker and an artist and even more importantly a Black man, can tell that I feel I contribute to that and are socially responsible and culturally responsive. Thinking about Aretha Franklin and the complexities of who she is and what her story means right now was exciting to want to be a part of, and it felt necessary. From the start, I delved deep into the woman, the human behind the celebrity.”
“When I sit and think about just the times we live in right now, her story is just still so relevant and necessary. Aretha’s music brought many people together, and I think it’s that contribution through her music that speaks to one major aspect on why she can be considered a genius. That transformative quality of hers continues, and that, to me, is what a genius is. And so, again, I think wanting to tackle this story was not a hard decision. It was one that I thought about probably for a night and was, like, I have to do this.”
The first two seasons of “Genius” are already available on Disney+ in the UK and Ireland, which focus on the lives of Picasso and Albert Einstein. The fourth season will look at the life of Martin Luther King Jr and will be a Disney+ Original series globally.
“Genius: Aretha” is coming to Disney+ in the UK and Ireland throughout June. The series is already available on Disney+ in Australia and New Zealand, while in the United States, “Genius” is available on Hulu.
Are you going to be checking out “Genius: Aretha” on Disney+ in June?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.