Disney announced an impressive roster of series coming to Disney Plus over the next few years, with the most exciting news coming from Lucas Films and Marvel Studios. The Star Wars saga began in media res almost five decades ago with what became episode four in its sequential order, and since then has moved both forward and backward in time, building a web of plot points and character arcs. Similarly, the Marvel cinematic universe (MCU) has built a connected film experience over the span of 10 years, introducing new characters at every turn. It can all be pretty confusing — so where should you start if you want to join the stories but don’t know who all these people are? Here, let us help put the pieces together and prepare you for what’s to come.
Who is Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Let’s start with an easy one. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the Jedi master who trained Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and helped Luke Skywalker find his connection to the force. Kenobi’s past has been a mystery since his hooded introduction in George Lucas’s A New Hope. Disney announced Hayden Christensen will reprise his role as Darth Vader in this new series. To catch up before Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi airs, watch Star Wars, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.
Who is Ahsoka Tano?
Ahsoka Tano is a young padawan (in Star Wars parlance, a trainee) under the tutelage of Anakin Skywalker. Her journey to understanding the Force and the way of the Jedi questions the ideals of that order. She is an uncompromising, fierce fighter who doesn’t return after The Clone Wars. The new developing series will track Ahsoka’s solo journey after leaving the ways of the Jedi behind. To find out more about her story before the release of Star Wars: Ahsoka, you’ll need to watch the animated series The Clone Wars, Rebels, and the live-action series The Mandalorian, season two episode five. You’ll need to do a little work to get caught up before release, but Ahsoka’s worth it.
What is the Rogue Squadron?
Named after the Star Wars rebel forces’ Rogue battalion, a fighter pilot team named the Rogue Squadron was tasked with destroying the Empire’s weapon and space station, the Death Star. Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of the original Star Wars trilogy, was paramount in the success of that mission bringing the Empire to its knees. The Rogue Squadron series will expand on this band of fighter pilots who risked their lives to free the galaxy. Watch the Star Wars trilogy A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and the prequel Rogue One to learn all you need to know about the rebels and their fight against the evil Empire.
Who are the Bad Batch?
The Bad Batch refers to a series of defective clones created for battle during The Clone Wars. The Bad Batch soldiers have gone rogue (no pun intended) and are now defending the universe where they can. The discarded clones first show up in the animated series working begrudgingly alongside the Jedi; you can familiarise yourself with these unlikely heroes by watching the animated series The Clone Wars and Rebels.
Who is Cassian Andor?
Focusing on the character of Cassian Andor, a pilot and intelligence officer, this story expands on the Star Wars prequel Rogue One. Andor is a fearless rebel dedicated to bringing down the regime that destroyed his life. His stoic demeanour and resourcefulness made him a beloved character in the film, and Andor is well-deserving of his own spinoff. Watch Rogue One to get to know Cassian Andor before Andor premieres.
Who are Wanda and Vision?
Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) was introduced in the Marvel cinematic universe alongside her speed-powered brother, Quicksilver. Wanda possesses the ability to manipulate matter and reality, but what the films don’t tell you is that Wanda and Quicksilver are both the children of anti-hero, Magneto. Since Disney acquired Fox, this fact may be altered once the X-Men enter the Marvel films.
Wanda’s co-star and love interest, Vision, is an artificial intelligence being brought to life during the fight against the android villain, Ultron. You’ll want to watch Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. It’s a lot of viewing to catch up on these characters, but it’s well worth it. Wanda Vision promises to be a mind-blowing experience.
Who is Loki?
The trickster and loveable villain Loki gets his own Disney Plus adventure series launching in May of 2021. Loki is the adopted (more like stolen) son of Asgardian King Odin, and the brother to Thor. In this alternate timeline, Loki has escaped capture with the tesseract, a crystalline cube containing a powerful stone that can manipulate space. Loki is a whimsical jerk you love to hate, and his adventures will no doubt be a delight to watch. Watch the first Thor film, first Avengers film, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame to get a grasp on Loki’s adventures.
Who are Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
Sam Wilson is an American soldier skilled with mechanical wings and weapons, giving him the nickname “Falcon.” Wilson builds a special connection with Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, after meeting on a morning run. They quickly hit it off and become a dynamic friend duo and superhero team.
Years later, Cap’s original best friend, James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, resurfaces and threatens Sam and Steve’s bromance. Falcon and Winter Soldier is a six-part miniseries starring the odd couple Falcon and Bucky as they take over for Captain American. To get a sense of the intertwined relationship, watch Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, and Avengers: Infinity War.
Who is Ms. Marvel?
A new character to the fold, Kamala Khan — known as Ms. Marvel — is the first Pakistani hero to appear in Marvel Comics. Khan is a young superhero with the power to stretch her body, along with a witty personality that rivals your neighbourhood Spider-Man. Kamala Khan is finally receiving a live-action series to explore her beginnings and groundbreaking intro to the Marvel family. Get to know Ms. Marvel when the show airs in late 2021, but if you want a short introduction, you can watch Marvel Rising on Disney Plus.
Who is Hawkeye?
Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, is the sharpshooting archer of the Avengers team. This series tracks Clint and Kate Bishop — a woman who eventually takes on the Hawkeye name in the comics. Audiences know very little about the character Hawkeye, as the marksmen’s background has never been fully explored in the cinematic universe, so this series will give viewers a chance to better understand the hero and possibly who will be next to take on the role. Watch Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame to understand the character’s trajectory in the MCU.
Who is She-Hulk?
Jennifer Walters is a skilled attorney who received an emergency blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, after a terrible accident. Banner’s gamma-infused blood infected Jennifer, giving her super strength and green skin. In later versions of the comic books, Jennifer does not change between Jennifer and She-Hulk, but stays the mighty green hero at all times. This is the first live-action appearance of She-Hulk, but you can get familiar with her cousin in The Incredible Hulk film starring Edward Norton, plus Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame.
Who is Moon Knight?
Never seen before in the MCU, Disney Plus introduces Moon Knight — an archaeological hero for Indiana Jones fans to enjoy. Moon Knight is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder and is an expert in Egyptology. Each of his distinct personalities has their own expertise and work together to attain historic artifacts. No need to prep for this one, but Moon Knight does appear in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode The Moon Knight Before Christmas.
What is Secret Invasion?
Nick Fury is the former Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the highly calculated leader who created the ‘Avengers Initiative’ in the Marvel films. In Secret Invasion, Nick Fury is joined by the witty and hilarious Skrull leader named Talos as they uncover a deep-seated infiltration of the earth by shapeshifting invaders. Talos and Nick first share the screen in Captain Marvel’s origin story film. Watch Captain Marvel ahead of Secret Invasion to be up to speed on the Kree and Skrull history and our main characters’ first meeting.
Who is Ironheart?
Riri Williams is a young girl genius from Chicago who creates her own suit of armour to rival that of Tony Stark’s Iron Man. A Black girl magic story, Riri has become a fan favourite as an introvert who channels her anxiety into science and mechanics. Riri makes her live-action debut on Disney Plus in late 2022 or early 2023. To prepare, you can watch the first Iron Man, but it’s not a prerequisite. In the meantime, I suggest reading Eve Ewing’s Ironheart number one to get acquainted with the character.
What is Armor Wars?
Stark Industries’ Iron Man tech falls into the wrong hands in this action series, and rival companies begin manufacturing their own suits of armour. Jim Rhodes, known as Rhodey, is an active Air Force officer and Tony Start’s best friend who receives his own armour in Iron Man. The series will focus on Rhodey’s fight against these dangerous companies and their army of iron suits. Watch Iron Man 2 and Captain America: Civil War to follow actor Don Cheadle’s portrayal of Rhodey. You can watch the first Iron Man movie for some background on the character too, but Rhodey may look a bit different, as the airman was initially played by Terrence Howard.
Who is Groot?
Groot is an ancient tree creature and the only one of his kind we’ve seen in the MCU. His tree branch limbs can stretch and grow at will, helping in battle and reaching high shelves. Groot’s “I am Groot” banter has made him a fan favourite, and after his temporary death and subsequent rebirth as “baby Groot,” he became an adorable obsession for fans across the world. Groot is an integral member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, partnered with Rocket Racoon. His series, “I am Groot Shorts,” should be fun viewing. Watch Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Avengers: Infinity War before streaming the Groot shorts.