With the streaming bubble seemingly having popped, streamers across the industry are undergoing content purges, and Disney+ is no exception.
The streaming home of the MCU is in the midst of axing content exclusive to the platform as write-offs in an effort to reduce costs in the increasingly difficult financial climate the entertainment industry finds itself in.
Disney+ Changes Plan for Black Panther 2 Special
UPDATE (5/22/2023): Deadline reported that, despite Marvel’s Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda being earmarked for removal from Disney+ as part of the streamer's content purge, it will remain on the service.
ORIGINAL: As a part of Disney+'s first round of content cuts, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever special Marvel’s Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever is being removed from the service.
Voices Rising, originally announced back in January, was a three-episode series looking behind the scenes at the music and overall audio soundscape of the hit 2022 film.
As described by Wakanda Forever director Ryan Coogler, the docu-series was meant to show audiences that "soundtracks like this just don't happen" and put a face to the many people that make the Black Panther audio experience what it is:
"Soundtracks like this just don't happen anymore. With the high percentage of these songs that are embedded in the movie, and to this level of cultural specificity."
Voices Rising is currently available exclusively on Disney+, with no physical release or streaming contingency in place for when it leaves the service.
The Danger of Content Pulling
It is not an original point to say these types of content purges set a dangerous precedent, but it's an important one nonetheless.
Sure, removing Voices Rising (along with a number of others) will save Disney some money; however, it means that the work of a lot of creatives is now gone, locked away along with Disney's other tax write-offs.
Once this Black Panther 2 special is off Disney+, it is gone. There is no (legal) way to stream, purchase, rent, or download the Wakandan docu-series. And that is dangerous.
That means that while Disney (and the other studios) try to deter consumers from pirating content - something they had actually started to succeed at with the introduction of these streaming services - the studio is also actively making pirating the only way to enjoy some of this content.
This whole strategy feels like a great way to burn bridges with creatives in Hollywood on Disney's part.
Voices Rising was clearly a passion project from Black Panther director Ryan Coogler and composer Ludwig Göransson. And if/when Marvel Studios wants to do a Black Panther 3, this could be a point against coming back for a threequel for Coogler and Göransson.
For now, Marvel’s Voices Rising: The Music of Wakanda Forever is streaming on Disney+, with the docu-series being removed on Friday, May 26.