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Disney bets streaming launch on new 'Star Wars', past classics

Update: November, 12/2019 - 11:23
Disney+ has relatively few original titles at launch, meaning a lot is riding on "The Mandalorian". AFP/VNA Photo

LOS ANGELES — The star of Disney's hugely ambitious new Star Wars television series remembers the moment he first stepped into a galaxy far, far away.

Pedro Pascal was trying on his character's helmet for The Mandalorian -- the mega-budget, live-action show which launches the Disney+ streaming platform this Tuesday -- when he caught a glimpse in the mirror.

"If you grow up playing with Star Wars toys, and seeing the movies, and then you're staring at yourself and you are the image of that childhood imagination -- it's a super 'pinch me' moment," recalled Pascal.

Disney is banking heavily on audiences getting that same feeling.

Its new rival to Netflix -- costing $6.99 a month in the US -- trades heavily on nostalgia, boasting a huge back-catalog from classic Disney animations and Pixar favourites to Marvel superhero films and The Simpsons.

But Disney+ has relatively few original titles at launch, meaning a lot is riding on The Mandalorian.

Written and helmed by Jon Favreau, who directed Disney's wildly successful remakes of The Jungle Book and The Lion King, the show brings together a constellation of stars from within and beyond the legendary franchise.

Chilean actor Pascal, familiar to fans of Game of Thrones and Narcos, plays a masked bounty hunter known as The Mandalorian.

Plot details are tightly under wraps. But the story is set five years after Return of the Jedi, and follows his adventures as a gun-for-hire roaming the galaxy's lawless outer reaches.

"He's cloaked in mystery -- an entire story that is literally hidden underneath the armor," Pascal told journalists at a Los Angeles press conference.

He will be joined by veteran action star Carl Weathers (Rocky), former martial arts fighter Gina Carano (Deadpool) and Breaking Bad villain Giancarlo Esposito. —AFP

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