Disney+ Siphons Apple TV+ Launch Buzz With Mandalorian Trailer

Enthusiasm for new Star Wars series outshines tepid reviews of Apple shows

A still from star wars mandelorian
The Mandalorian will premiere Nov. 12, the same day Disney+ launches. Disney+
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Apple had high hopes for Oct. 28, the kickoff of its final marketing push for the Apple TV+ streaming service debuting Friday, Nov. 1. With the embargo lifting on reviews for its first slate of original shows and a lavish premiere for tentpole series The Morning Show at New York’s Lincoln Center, the day should have served as a coronation for the streaming service.

Instead, November’s other major new streaming service Disney+ ended up winning the day. On the heels of mediocre reviews for nearly all the new Apple shows, Disney+ dropped a well-timed trailer for its own flagship series The Mandalorian, which is set in the Star Wars universe.

The new trailer debuted during ESPN’s Monday Night Football—the same spot where, a week ago, Disney unveiled the final trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker.

Packed with action and eye-popping visuals that would seem right at home in a Star Wars theatrical release, the trailer delves into the world of The Mandalorian. Starring Pedro Pascal as a bounty hunter, the series—created by Jon Favreau—is set between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

“Bounty hunting is a complicated profession,” says a villain played by Werner Herzog, the documentarian and director.

The Mandalorian trailer release was part of a major Disney+ marketing push that execs were calling “blitz day,” according to The New York Times. The series will be available the day Disney+ rolls out, on Nov. 12.

The internet’s enthusiasm for The Mandalorian’s “dazzling” new trailer stood in sharp contrast to the mediocre reviews for most new Apple TV+ series, including See and The Morning Show. Only the sci-fi limited series For All Mankind was praised out of the gate.

That’s not to say The Mandalorian is assured better reviews than the Apple TV+ shows. On Monday, Disney+ told journalists it would not be offering screeners of any episodes ahead of the Nov. 12 debut “in order to give audiences the opportunity to enjoy the show to the fullest and allow them to discover and surprises and plot twists”—even though members of the media frequently receive screeners packed with twists and somehow manage to avoid spoiling them ahead of time.

But for now, Disney+ seems to be winning the marketing battle among new streaming services.

@jasonlynch jason.lynch@adweek.com Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.