Later this month, Disney is launching Star — a new branch of its streaming lineup for certain countries. The new hub will not be available in the U.S., and it will take different forms in foreign countries. The simplified reason is that the content that will be available on Star is already available to those in the U.S. on other platforms.
Star launches on Feb. 23, 2021, as a "general entertainment" or "mature" section of Disney+, free from the family-friendly constraints of the streaming service itself. It will include content from other Disney-owned brands such as Hulu, FX, Freeform, ABC Signature, 20th Television, 20th Century Studios, Searchlight Pictures and Touchstone Pictures. In most cases, Americans have access to this content through another streaming service, though not in the same convenient packaging that it will now be delivered to international audiences in.
The Star hub will be available to Disney+ customers in Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore next week. According to a report by The Dis Insider, existing customers will pay no additional fees for the addition, though new subscribers might. Meanwhile, in Central and South America Star+ will be launched as a separate streaming service. The service is expected to go out to more markets later this year.
A whole host of existing content will suddenly be available in international markets where it was not available before. The ABC original series Big Sky, Epix original series Godfather of Harlem, and the Hulu original series Helstrom, Love, Victor, High Fidelity and Solar Opposites will all become "Star Originals" in those markets, for example. Meanwhile, a deep bench of older movies and TV shows will join the ranks as well.
Upcoming Hulu originals and other productions from Disney-owned brands have already been confirmed as future Star Originals overseas as well. That includes Reservation Dogs, Shōgun, and Y: The Last Man.
Looking at the list, some Americans are already feeling bitter, believing that customers in other countries are getting a wider range of content for one single subscription than is available here. However, there is no telling where the planned expansions of Star and Star+ might go, or if Disney intends to offer simpler bundles to U.S. customers in the months to come. Disney+'s Star launches in several new markets around the world on Tuesday, Feb. 23.