There a few entries here where the reason for their absence is obvious. Firstly, there are the Marvel characters that Disney doesn’t own, like Spider-Man and The Hulk. But wait, both characters have appeared prominently in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). That’s true but their residence in the MCU has been a temporary arrangement.
Firstly, there’s the big green guy. While The Hulk is allowed to appear in other characters' movies like Thor: Ragnarok and big crossovers, such as Avengers: Endgame, Univeral still owns the rights to The Hulk’s solo movies. So Ed Norton’s Bruce Banner won’t be appearing on Disney Plus anytime soon. Even though that movie had cameos from both Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt) and Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
Next up is Spider-Man. Poor Petey Parker has been caught in a web of high-profile distribution spats over the last few years to the point where it was confirmed he wouldn’t be returning to the MCU (at least until the toddlers up top learned how to share again). Still, the simple fact is this: while Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is rented out to Marvel like some low-grade thug for big blockbusters like Avengers: Infinity War, the rights to his solo movies are still owned by Sony.
So when you dive into Disney Plus you will notice that there aren’t any listings or planned release dates for The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man: Homecoming or Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Next up are the more recent releases. Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Coco, Incredibles 2, and Ralph Breaks the Internet all released between 2017 and 2018; a time when Disney’s streaming fate was still being decided. These movies are still within whatever content distribution deals were made at the time of their home release which is also why these movies specifically have a release date on Disney Plus because Disney is, obviously, savvy to the exact dates those deals end. It’s also why you will notice that movies released in 2019, such as Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel are available day one. When plans for Disney Plus started picking up steam, Disney began withholding its properties from distributors, or in the case of local streaming services Stan, offered an incredibly limited window of exclusivity.
That leaves us with two oddball outliers: Toy Story 4 and 1999’s animated Tarzan. The latter seems to be a case of bad timing, as Tarzan is scheduled to release on Disney Plus in June 2020. Somebody’s hand must have slipped when signing the contract because, in our first check, it was the only Walt Disney Animation classic not available to stream day one.
Then there’s Toy Story 4. Who knows what the story is there. It’s not even listed on Disney Plus, despite being a 2019 release and Disney pushing a completely original spin-off of that very flick with Forky Asks A Question.
Again, this is based off what the U.S. has access to. The Disney Plus FAQ page assures that the “majority” of content will be available at each region’s launch but there might be a few titles missing here and there. We’ll report back next week to see what’s available and what’s missing on Disney Plus Australia when it launches 19 November.