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Disney+: The Mandalorian S2 making-of special, Marvel streaming deals, and new fantasy series

By Matthew Jackson
The Mandalorian

Last week it felt like we got all the Disney+ news we could possibly handle in a single month courtesy of one whirlwind Investory Day presentation from the Walt Disney Company, but it turns out even something that big couldn't contain all the news from the streaming service. Today we've got three different new Disney+ things to talk about, and it begins as it so often does with The Mandalorian.

Earlier this year, months after the show's first season ended, we got an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at what it as like to make it in the form of Disney Gallery: The Mandalorian, a making-of series that dove deep into how the first season of the live-action Star Wars series was crafted. When it comes to Season 2, we won't have to wait that long. Disney announced Wednesday that Christmas Day, just one week after the show's Season 2 finale airs, will bring with it a new hourlong Disney Gallery special devoted to the making of The Mandalorian's blockbuster second season.

As with the previous Disney Gallery installments, we can expect interviews with the cast and crew, revealing behind-the-scenes footage, and more secrets from the set as the second season revealed everything from the return of Boba Fett to the live-action debut of Ahsoka Tano and more. This time around, though, all eight episodes will be explored over the course of one massive Christmas Day special, so when you're done opening all your Baby Yoda gifts on Christmas morning, you can spend even more time with Mando and The Child.

By now we all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has upended pretty much all of our expectations when it comes to the way that new filmed entertainment is released and enjoyed, and we still haven't seen the end of the seismic shifts facing the theatrical and streaming industries in the months and years to come. With that in mind, Marvel Studios is reportedly exploring some new deals that might head off a certain level of shakiness when it comes to future releases that may or may not wind up on Disney+.

According to a new report at The Wrap, Marvel Studios is exploring "new talent deals to provide flexibility" on upcoming feature film productions, beginning with Black Panther 2, should those films end up moving to Disney+ for some reason instead of getting a theatrical release. The new deals would include language that would provide "adjusted compensation," for key talent including stars, writers, directors, and producers who may be entitled to backend compensation based on a film's box office haul, something that's proven very lucrative for various key Marvel Cinematic Universe figures in the past. But of course, if a film ends up on Disney+, there is no backend box office compensation to be had, which means the studio has to look at other ways to offer incentives.

Again, it's worth noting that these deals are reportedly only in the works at the moment for Black Panther 2 and beyond, since those are the Marvel Studios properties that have not yet entered production. It's "unclear" if renegotiations for already completed or still-in-production Marvel films like Black Widow, Eternals, or Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, though one "insider" reportedly told The Wrap that side deals for certain key talent may be negotiated. What's important to note there, though, is that everyone involved in the report seems to emphasize that all parties would still like these films to ultimately hit theaters first, avoiding the Disney+ discussion entirely if at all possible.

At the moment, Black Widow is set for a May 2021 release, followed by Shang-Chi in July, Eternals in November, and Tom Holland's still-untitled third Spider-Man film in December. If the pandemic situation improves quickly enough, these new talent deals for Disney+ compensation might never have to be deployed, but if it doesn't, at least Marvel will have that option in their back pocket.

The future Disney+ lineup is packed with properties from Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm, but they're not the only game in town. This week the streamer also launched development of an original action-adventure property that shows a lot of promise. Deadline reports that 20th Television and production banner Imminent Collision are at work on a new hourlong fantasy adventure series titled Secret Guide to Celestial Creatures from creator Michael Golamco and executive producers Randall Park and Hieu Ho.

Secret Guide, based on a concept developed by Golamco (who co-wrote Always Be My Maybe and has worked on Taika Waititi's adaptation of Akira), will follow a Korean-American family who secretly serve as supernatural guardians protecting a community of creatures who hide "in plain sight" in our world. Golamco will also write the pilot, while Park and Ho will serve as executive producers.

There's no word yet on when we might actually see Secret Guide to Celestial Creatures, or who might star in the series, but the property adds another inclusive property to a growing list of Disney+ titles with diverse casts, including the upcoming Ms. Marvel series and the just-announced Ironheart and Iwájú.