Disney + unveils roster of 10 European originals, including celebrity shows – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: The European strategy of the Disney + originals rolled off the launch bay after streamer Star Wars and Marvel unleashed the jetpack on a list of 10 shows, including the first projects for the international general entertainment brand Star.

Disney announced during its Investor Day last December that Disney + would give the green light to 50 international projects by 2024. The Mouse House is already a fifth of the way to achieving this goal as it seeks to complete shows like The Mandalorian and WandaVision with thoroughbred local content for its 95 million subscribers in 58 territories.

Led by Diego Londono, Disney executive vice president for media networks and content in EMEA, and Liam Keelan, vice president for original content in the region, Disney + has commissioned its first projects in France, Italy , in Germany and the Netherlands. Deadline learns that a UK listing is also set to be announced, as Disney is lavishing $ 16 billion in content over the next three years.

‘Deutschland 83’ creator Jörg Winger sets Disney + Star series about East Germany’s first black policeman

The European slate includes a mix of dramas, comedies and documentaries, with Disney + projects targeting a family audience, while Star shows targeting a more adult audience. Think of Star as Disney’s international response to Hulu.

Star will launch worldwide on February 23 as a Disney + thumbnail, and eight of the titles announced today will be part of the service, designed to improve Disney + in the increasingly fierce streaming wars. This is the first look at the service commissioning strategy, with the originals to be placed alongside catalog exhibits, including Lost, and upcoming series from Disney General Entertainment Studios, like the FX spin-off American Horror Stories.

Eye-catching projects announced today include mafia drama Star Good mothers, which places the women of the crowd in the frame and is produced by Brexit: the uncivil war House Productions and Wildside, the Italian producer behind HBO’s We are who we are. Quoc Dang Tran, the writer behind Netflix Marianne, created a series of fantastic parallel dimensions Parallels for Disney +, while Deutschland 83 Creator Jörg Winger to tell the story of East Germany’s first black policeman in Star’s Sam – A Saxon.

Documentaries include access series on Dutch football giant Feyenoord, which promises to be Star’s answer to the Netflix show Sunderland until my death. In comedy, Disney + reboots Fox Networks Group’s show-within-a-show series, Boris, after three previous seasons and a feature film. The full list of originals is below.

Diego Londono (left) and Liam Keelan (right)

Londono and Keelan have been chatting with producers for a year and are hoping to see some of their first European shows coming out later in 2021. Star has given them more flexibility in terms of the types of programs they can order, although they recognize that ‘they’re entering a crowded marketplace, with Netflix, Amazon, and Apple all fishing for top-notch international series. Authenticity is a key word for Star, and the top 10 projects are all local language stories, often rooted in real life events.

What the executives of Disney + and Star aren’t looking to do, however, is extract international value from some of Disney’s mega brands, such as Marvel. So don’t expect Disney + to tap into the UK catalog of Marvel’s comic book heroes, for example, although a dash of magical realism in future originals shouldn’t be ruled out as content strategy takes off. .

The plan is to eventually exceed the goal of 50 original series, and while the priority is still wholly owned projects, Disney is open to co-production if the rights situation is favorable. Netflix, Amazon and more recently HBO Max have become very active in the co-production space, partnering with international broadcasters on shows including Chip bag (Amazon / BBC) and The end of the fucking world (Netflix / Channel 4).

Londono said Europe is a “creative power” and local projects will help Disney + become a “must see destination” for the public. Keelan added, “Our initial European offering underscores Disney’s regional commitment to exceptional and diverse talent, reflecting our desire to work with the best storytellers in the industry.”

In addition to the shows announced today, Disney + has signaled plans to push originals in Spain and dub in Germany. Sofía Fábregas has been appointed Vice President of Original Productions, Iberia, and former eOne Director, Benjamina Mirnik-Voges, has been hired as Vice President of Original Productions, Germany. This follows Disney’s hiring of Channel 4 commissioner Sean Doyle as a resource person for unscripted producers in Europe and Africa.

While the shows announced today are Disney + ‘s first international list, these are not its first orders outside Europe. The streamer has worked with UK producers on Nat Geo-branded series, including Meet the chimpanzees by Blink Films. Meanwhile, we revealed last December that Wall To Wall, the international TV production company Warner Bros., is making a natural history series. Grow animal for the streamer.

Scroll on for the first list of European originals from Disney + and Star:



Parallels – Disney + (click to read the full story)
creators Quoc Dang Tran and Anastasia Heinzl write this six-part fantasy adventure series, which follows four teenagers whose lives are turned upside down when a mysterious event propels them into parallel dimensions. Produced by Empreinte Digitale and Daïmôn Films by Dang Trang, filming is underway on the series, which is presented as a spiritual adventure for family audiences.

Oussekine – Star
This limited four-part series explores the terrible real-life events of December 5, 1986, which led to the death of a young student, Malik Oussekine, after being pursued by the police. The show is rooted in his family’s fight for justice and the impact of his death on French society. Oussekine is created and directed by Antoine Chevrollier (Baron Noir) and co-written by Faïza Guène, Julien Lilti and Cédric Ido. It is hosted by Directions Productions.

Family weekend – Disney +
Created by Baptiste Filleul (The forest), this eight-part comedy tells the story of a new blended family that meets every weekend. But when the father enters into a relationship with a new partner, the weekends take on a whole different turn. Elephant Groupe produces, while authors include Nour Bensalem, Géraldine de Margerie, Julie-Anna Grignon, Marion Carnel and Paul Madillo.

Soprano: sing or die – Star
Access the documentary on French rapper, singer and songwriter Soprano. The six-part series follows him as he prepares for a stadium tour in 2022, and traces his history from humble beginnings in Marseille to current success. Breath Films is the producer.


‘The Ignorant Fate’
R&C Produzioni

Good mothers – Star (click to read the full story)
House Productions and Fremantle-owned Wildside are producing the six-part series, which tells the shocking true story of Alessandra Cerreti, a newly-formed prosecutor who faces the mammoth task of investigating the Calabrian Mafia in Ndrangheta, and turns realizes that their wives and daughters are the key to bringing them down. Based on a book of the same name by Alex Perry, the series is written by a BAFTA winner Baghdad Central and The last kingdom scribe Stephen Butchard.

The ignorant angels – Star
An eight-part romantic drama inspired by the 2001 Italian box office success The Fate Ignoranti. Turkish-Italian director Ferzan Ozpetek revisits his feature film for the series, which follows Antonia, who discovers her husband had a same-sex affair before he was killed in a car crash. She is devastated by the news, but the straight-laced Antonia finds herself building an unexpected and moving friendship with her husband’s former lover, Michele, and her circle of misfit eccentrics. R&C Productions produces.

Boris – Star
A new season of Fox Networks Group’s show-within-a-show series, Boris. Produced by The Apartment, backed by Fremantle, the original show followed the world behind the scenes of a low-budget medical drama series. In the new six-part season of Star, the hapless team will reunite to produce a show for a global streaming platform. Boris has already run for three seasons and a movie.


“Deutschland 83”

Sam – A Saxon – Star (click to read the full story)
Created by Deutschland 83 creator Jörg Winger, the eight-part series tells the real-life story of Samuel Meffire, East Germany’s first black policeman. The series shows how Meffire became a media sensation and a symbol of modern society in the 1990s after reunification. But a few years later, he found himself behind bars. It is made by Winger’s new production company, Big Window Productions.

Sultan city – Star
A dark comedy thriller from emerging producers Ayla Gottschlich and Aysel Yilmaz, and head writer Ipek Zübert. It focuses on the respectable matriarch of a German-Turkish family who accidentally becomes the head of a criminal world and discovers that she and her daughters have a knack for business. Two Moons Pictures produces.


Feyenoord Rotterdam
Feyenoord Rotterdam player Marcos Senesi
Feyenoord Rotterdam / YouTube

Feyenoord Rotterdam – Star
Eight-part series behind the scenes of Dutch football club Feyenoord Rotterdam. Produced by Lusus Media, the series also follows Feyenoord’s fanbase, reflecting the team’s history, filled with both melancholy and pride. This is the first time that a television series has captured the inner workings of a Dutch football club.

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