The End of ‘The Mandalorian’ Season 1 Didn’t Hurt Disney+ Numbers After All

Everyone knew that Disney+ would succeed to some extent. With such deep wells of Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars content, not to mention its own movies and shows, interest was bound to be high at launch – and it was, with The Baby Yoda Show ….er, The Mandalorian turning out to be a big draw. 

Some people, however, didn’t expect it to last. Once The Mandalorian was done, pundits said, people would flee Disney+ in droves. Not only did people not leave in droves, but many subscribers also plan to stick around for the duration. 

Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau speak onstage
Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

‘The Mandalorian’ drew people in – and kept them

When Disney+ debuted in November, much media attention focused on the fact that Disney+ broke the internet, just like its character Ralph. Disney apparently low-balled its own lofty expectations, and their servers initially struggled to keep Disney+ up and running. 

Once the technical bugs were squashed, though, Disney was doing well. According to Screen Rant, it signed 10 million subscribers the first day alone. That number has since nearly tripled to 28.6 million subscribers, lured in large part by Baby Yoda, who made his grand entrance at the end of the first Mandalorian episode.

Simply put, there’s too much on Disney+ for people to leave it behind for long. Finished The Mandalorian? Well, here’s The Last Jedi moving over from Netflix, so all of the Star Wars features (except the brand new one) finally were under one roof.

Did you love Aladdin, The Lion King and Toy Story 4 from 2019? You sure did, and now here they are so you don’t have to fork over money for an individual copy. 

What does Disney+ have coming up?

Granted, some people probably did leave once The Mandalorian wrapped, but here’s the thing – those people will be back in the fall for season 2 of the show, hopefully to find out where Baby Yoda came from and/or what we should actually call him.

By that time, The Rise of Skywalker will probably be on Disney+ as well, so all nine episodes of the Skywalker saga will be there for people to binge. 

And since there’s quite a bit of crossover between Marvel and Star Wars fans, another lure will come via the highly touted Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision TV shows, with Loki and the animated What If ..? to follow in 2021. And of course, as Kevin Feige and company keep telling us, you’ll need to see those shows as  lead-ins to the May 2021 movie Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 

And then Disney’s own movies will keep coming, with the Mulan live action remake, and not one but two Pixar movies in Onward in March and Soul to follow in June. Through its various acquisitions, Disney has a stranglehold on pop culture, and a large part of that hold is through Disney+

What are other streamers doing? 

So what about those guys at Netflix? The Irishman may have went home empty-handed at Oscars, but Netflix  is still very comfortably the streaming leader, with 167 million subscribers around the world –  more than six times Disney’s numbers. It certainly helps to have a long head start as they have.

Per TV Guide, their offerings this year include season 4 of Dear White People, season 5 of Fuller House, David Fincher’s Mank, about the co-author of Citizen Kane and an interactive Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt feature. 

Then in May 2020, the streaming wars intensify with another new player, HBO Max. It will not only include the entirely of Friends, but a new reunion special has been announced for the show’s 25th anniversary.

Also on tap will be The Big Bang Theory, and all the various Batman and Superman movies. It’s not so much the streamers worrying about each other, as it will be satellite and cable customers leaving for the streaming options.