Disney+ Originals have been a mixed bag since they started releasing them, but if we cut out the originals based on “Star Wars”, Disney have given us several series and movies where maturer themes are acknowledged or discussed, which is what your average Disney Channel show doesn’t.
So let’s discuss some of the originals that Disney+ has released, what they mean and why Disney needs to make more content about more mature themes.
Moon Knight Shows A Hero WIth A Personality Disorder:
Let’s start with Marvel’s hit series “Moon Knight”, which follows the character of Steven Grant, who discovers there is another personality living in his body by the name of Marc Spector, who is a mercenary. “Moon Knight” as a character is someone who is split between his multiple personalities, which makes the character not only sympathetic to viewers who don’t have personality disorders but also to those who have conditions like Borderline Personality Disorder or Schizophrenia.
Safety Is a Film About a Young Man Who Looks After His Brother After Their Mother Goes To Rehab:
“Safety” is a biopic based on the life of Ray McElrathbey, who had to take on the responsibility of looking after his younger brother Fahmarr after their mother goes into rehab. This film shows the strong bond between Ray and his little brother as well as how people will come together to help one another as Ray’s teammates, coaches, friends, and the community around them rally behind him to help. They all appear with him when it comes to his hearing at the end of the movie, where it is revealed Ray now has full custody of his little brother.
Safety is a heartwarming film that talks about addiction and shows the love that siblings have for each other and how they should always have each other’s backs.
Clouds Is a Film About A Dying Teenage Musician Saying Goodbye:
“Clouds” is a great emotional biopic showing the final year that Zach Sobiech, who we sadly lost back in 2013. “Clouds,” tells a story of living your life to the fullest and includes songs that Zach wrote but never got the ability to release. “Clouds,” tells people who have cancer that everything is okay, but you might have to say goodbye. The song which the film is named after is a sad song but is one of my favourite songs ever made as it makes you feel that everything will be fine. Zach is an icon for a generation, and this film is arguably the most mature story on Disney+ US.
Diary Of A Future President and Big Shot Both Show LGBTQ+ Coming Out Stories:
“Diary Of A Future President” mainly focuses on the lead, Elena, who one day will be the president of the United States, but for now has to deal with the horrors of middle school. However, Elena’s brother Bobby is the one with the coming out story when he develops a crush on one of his friends during season one, with him fully coming out in season 2.
“Big Shot” is in a similar position with the characters of Mouse and Harper falling in love and developing a relationship throughout season one. Both shows are great and handled these stories extremely well, unfortunately, “Diary Of A Future President” was cancelled, but hopefully, Disney doesn’t make the same mistake with the series “Big Shot”.
Soul Teaches You To Chase Your Dreams:
“Soul” was supposed to be released theatrically but was quickly moved to streaming due to the covid-19 pandemic, but that didn’t change the emotional story. “Soul” follows Joe Gardner, who must get back to earth after death. However, throughout the film John realises that life is precious, and he needs to follow his dreams before his time is genuinely up. This film might bore some kids, but the overall theme of the fact life is precious and doesn’t last forever is something kids need to be taught.
Turning Red Teaches Kids About Growing Up:
“Turning Red” is one of the latest hits on Disney+ and follows the story of Mei, who can turn into a giant red panda, but the main theme of “Turning Red” is about growing up. Mei’s power is bestowed onto her at the age of thirteen, which is when most people go through puberty. The fact that this film tackled such a topic caused there to be a mixed reaction on social media, with some people claiming to be “disgusted” that Pixar would cover a topic that all children will eventually go through as they transition into adulthood. This movie, by design, shows kids that they are not alone, similar to how previous Pixar movies like “Inside Out” and “Up” tackle loneliness, moving on and growing up.
Wandavision Shows Wanda Creating Her Dream To Deal With Her Grief:
“Wandavision” was a mixed bag when it was released but has gone on to become the “fan favourite” MCU series. In “Wandavision”, we follow Wanda Maximoff and a resurrected Vision, as each episode shows the duo going through a different decade of the classic sitcom. Wanda deals with grief and loss throughout the series as she is dealing with the death of Vision and eventually the loss of her perfect world at the hands of Agatha Harkness, showing viewers the fact Wanda is in pain by the events shows people it’s okay to be depressed and to grieve in your own way.
Why It Matters:
Think about this, my generation grew up with Disney Channel films like “The Color Of Friendship”, which was a hard-hitting film made for children about racism, but issues like racism, depression, mental health, homophobia/transphobia and death aren’t things that are going to go away unless we build a more loving caring world. Shows like “Big Shot” and “Diary Of A Future President” could help push the envelope in making LGBTQ+ storylines and characters more widely accepted. Shows like “Wandavision” and “Moon Knight” show the world that it’s okay to struggle with mental health and depression, but also show it’s important to not bottle it up.
Even though some of these originals like “Clouds” and “Moon Knight” are clearly aimed at older audiences than “Diary Of A Future President” and “Turning Red”, the fact that DIsney+ Originals have tackled such topics is quite impressive. Disney+ in the US has become referred to as a babysitting service, so with Disney+ originals showing and discussing topics such as addiction (Safety), death (Clouds) and puberty (Turning Red), it shows Disney+ has the potential to entertain more than just children, it has the potential to open new discussions with parents and their children about growing up and who to turn to when they need help.
Disney+ has said they want to focus on adding more General Entertainment content, and one good way of doing this would be for Disney to make more TV shows and movies for Disney+ about mature topics. One series I would like Disney to make would be a series about a teenager who suffers from depression and how their friends do everything in their power to help their friend. But that’s just my thoughts.
What Do You Think? Do You Feel Disney+ Needs To Discuss Mature Themes In Its Originals?