MCU Officially Abandons Disney+, Moves to Rival Streaming App

in Disney, Marvel

MCU characters with the Disney+ logo

Credit: Disney Plus

Marvel Studios is ditching Disney+ and rebooting the MCU on an extremely expensive rival streaming app.

Disney+ logo on a blue gradient background.
Credit: Disney+

The MCU, Disney+, and the Future

Disney+ was launched in 2019 as the next big streaming service, with the implicit promise that it could (and would) rival the market-dominating Netflix. Things haven’t exactly turned out that way. The service is only barely beginning to turn a profit five years later, and even that small glimmer of hope is expected to immediately turn into a loss next fiscal quarter.

When it was launched, one of the most compelling elements of Disney+ was that it would offer unique, original content for some of the most popular franchises in the world, like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans were thrilled by the first wave of shows like The Mandalorian and WandaVision, but audience enthusiasm has waned as superhero fatigue kicks in and the subscription cost of Disney+ steadily rises.

Pedro Pascal as Din Djarin in 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

As subscribers ditch Disney+ by the millions and the company cancels MCU and Star Wars projects left and right, Disney is getting more desperate to make money by any means necessary.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has previously insisted that the company (and its many subsidiaries like Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel Studios) would not license out its IP to rivals like Netflix and HBO. He seems to have abruptly turned on that idea, and Disney has announced a new project that will bring the MCU to Apple, one of its biggest rivals.

Related: Marvel Boss Is Happy That the MCU Is Failing, Apparently “Much More Comfortable”

‘What If…? – An Immersive Story’

Marvel has announced a new interactive MCU “experience” that will only be available to stream on an app on Apple Vision Pro, essentially partnering with one of the world’s largest tech companies to share its IP. The Apple Vision Pro was launched as a new “mixed reality” tech gadget in February, raising eyebrows with its hefty $3,499 price tag.

Digital illustration of Wu casting a spell with mystical symbols in a destroyed, floating landscape background, featuring a large portal arch.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Inside the Magic previously reported that Bob Iger was toying with the idea of using the popular Disney+ animated series What If…? as a new Choose Your Own Adventure-style story, and it is now official. This will be the first original MCU program to launch on any service other than Disney+ since it launched, which is a real sign of the future for the company and Marvel itself.

Promo art for Apple Vision Pro
Credit: Apple

Marvel’s official statement describes the new experience as:

Marvel Studios and ILM Immersive announce “What If…? – An Immersive Story”, the first-ever interactive Disney+ Original story coming exclusively to Apple Vision Pro. Fans will be invited to step inside the Multiverse like never before and have the chance to dive into an immersive, narrative-driven and innovative story in mixed reality. Connected to the critically acclaimed Disney+ Original animated series What If…?, was given a first look at the hour-long experience, diving into what fans can expect when it is released soon as a new app for Apple Vision Pro.

Reportedly, this new immersive story will use the template of What If…? to allow users to interact with Variants of existing characters and essentially rewrite the events of the MCU, this time with an Apple Visio Pro owner as the first-person POV hero.

Promotional image for marvel studios' series "what if...?" featuring various animated marvel characters positioned around a central thanos, each holding a different colored infinity stone.
Credit: Marvel Studios

The initial promotional art for What If…? – An Immersive Story prominently features Uatu the Watcher (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) and the Infinity Stones, both of whom should be immediately familiar to MCU fans.

Related: Marvel Confirms Radical MCU Reboot, ‘Deadpool 3’ Release Canceled

It also teases several intriguing characters, including what appears to be a Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) Variant, some version of Red Guardian (David Harbour), the Collector (Benicio del Toro), a new character wielding Mjolnir who is likely a Loki Variant, Thanos (Josh Brolin), Wong (Benedict Wong), a member of the Nova Corps, and an unknown character in bandages and a trenchcoat.

It is unknown whether any of the original MCU actors for these characters will return to voice them in the immersive story, but it seems more likely than not.

Two animated characters in a living room, one dressed in a blue superhero costume with pink glasses casting a blue energy beam, and the other in a dark outfit with red accents, observing intently.
Credit: Marvel Studios

Director and executive producer Dave Bushore describes this new MCU offering as the future of the franchise:

“As a kid, my favorite stories were about worlds beyond my own, advanced technologies, and heroes traveling across space and time. ‘What If…? – An Immersive Story’ is the next evolution in how we tell our stories, where fans across generations can experience them and live out the adventure alongside their favorite heroes. This experience kicks the door open to the Marvel Universe, and it’s a glimpse of what I’ve been waiting for my whole life.”

What If…? – An Immersive Story is a massive new step for Disney, given that it is officially giving up its exclusive rights to the MCU and partnering with a tech giant like Apple. It will remain to be seen if this is a one-off project or whether Bob Iger really wants to abandon Disney+ for someone else’s app.

Do you think mixed reality experiences like this are the future of the MCU? Tell us in the comments below!

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