Disney+ Has a Nice Surprise for Marvel Fans Wanting More Content

Remember those special features you used to see all the time on DVDs and Blu-Rays like deleted scenes, commentaries and making-of featurettes? Those will apparently be available on Disney+ when it launches next month. 

The new streaming service is undergoing a test run in the Netherlands, and users are reporting finding these features on some of the Marvel movies, although they tend to be buggy.

Disney plus app showing on a mobile phone screen
Disney+ logo | Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The heyday of physical media

When home video started, pretty much all you got was the movie. In the mid-1980s, the Criterion Collection rolled out laserdiscs, which were sort of like record-sized DVDs. The bad news was, the medium could only house a maximum of an hour of video per side.

The good news was, the format allowed for multiple audio tracks, so you could listen to Martin Scorsese talk about how he made Raging Bull, for instance. 

Fun as this was for film buffs, laserdiscs were expensive, sometimes costing more than $100, so the format never truly broke through to the general public. Occasionally, bonus features might appear on VHS tapes, but they were few and far between. Then the DVD market exploded in the late 90s, with the format replacing the laserdisc.

Only this time, it wasn’t just classics and arthouse movies that got the bonus features – it was everything, including Adam Sandler movies. 

Once Blu-Ray hit in the late 2000s, some of the bonus features got even fancier, like branching away from a scene in the movie to a making-of feature to show us how, for instance, how Christopher Nolan made the anti-gravity rooms in Inception.

At about the same time, Netflix switched over to streaming, which meant you could access your favorite movie with a few clicks on the remote. 

Streaming usually didn’t have bonus features … until now

While streaming was a step forward in terms of convenience, at first it was a step backward in terms of bonus features. As in the VHS days, you only got the movie. That was fine for casual fans, but if movie buffs wanted the extra stuff, they had to shell out for the disc. 

By this time, however, as streaming became more popular and physical media sales started to decline, budgets for bonus features started to dry up too. Whereas there used to be hours of bonus features on the disc, sometimes you were lucky if you got 30 minutes. On streaming, you usually got nothing. 

Disney+ seems to be aiming to change that. MovieWeb reports that in the Netherlands test, some Marvel movies on Disney+, like Avengers: Infinity War, have deleted scenes, featurettes and gag reels.

Fans on Reddit have spotted them too.

One fan said: “It sometimes crashes but it is a minor issue. I do think the title screen load is quite long, but again minor issue. I do quite like it and find myself binging old shows from my childhood. So for two months free and then $6.99 a month, I think it is a pretty sweet deal.”

Disney+ will have a lot, but not everything

If Disney+ does have these bonus features in the US, that gives them an edge over Netflix and Amazon Prime, which usually do not offer bonus features. Sometimes Netflix may offer something unique like the Bandersnatch version of Black Mirror that let viewers dictate the story, but more often than not, it’s the movie or show only. 

There’s a catch to all this, however. Some of the movies available in the Netherlands, like Infinity War, won’t be available on Disney+ in the US because Disney is still honoring their deal with Netflix to show the movies there.

Only the Marvel movies from Captain Marvel forward will appear on Disney+ first. This also goes for titles like Ant-Man and the Wasp, Black Panther, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Iron Man 2 and Thor: Ragnarok, according to ComicBook.com.

It may not be ideal, and it may be a far cry from the days when we got one disc for the movie and one or more discs with the bonus features, but it’s a step in the right direction – and a sign that Disney aims to be a competitive streamer right out of the gate.