5 Simple Reasons We Need a Sky High Disney+ Series & Expanded Universe
With the recent announcement that Percy Jackson would be getting a live-action series on Disney+, I was inspired to think about other potential shows I would like to see on the streaming platform. Before there was the MCU and the DCEU, existed a superhero universe that was Disney’s 2005 film, Sky High.
For those unfamiliar with Sky High, it is a coming-of-age superhero movie about a school in the sky where teens learn how to become superheroes. The protagonist, Will Stronghold, is the son of two of the greatest superheroes in the world: The Commander and Jetstream. But when it comes time for him to start school, he doesn’t have his powers. As the story unravels, you learn that he ultimately does have powers and that’s what he’ll need to save the day.
If you ask me, Sky High was years ahead of its time when it comes to the superhero genre. Look at the movie as a whole; it gave our protagonist a great origin story, built a world that felt well-established and believable, while still never forgetting about the core group of interesting characters. If I had to give Sky High a grade when it comes to being a potential franchise starter, it would easily get an A+ (something my grades were not familiar with in high school).
Like any good superhero story, you want to see the adventure continue and the characters grow. There were rumors about a potential sequel, but nothing has gotten off the ground (for now). The movie is currently streaming on Disney+ in some countries, but won’t hit everywhere until December 2020, which would be the perfect time to announce a live-action series based on the film.
Here are five reasons why we need a Sky High Disney+ Series:
1. No Need For a Reboot
The interesting thing about a Sky High series is that the movie did such an amazing job of building a believable superhero world, from the villains to the legacies of older heroes, you could introduce a brand new group of underdogs and misfits that can grow to become superheroes or villains in their own right. All you would need to do is give a brief overview of the pilot episode of everything that took place in the movie.
The show gave us a pretty good introduction to the lives of a superhero, but it didn’t get to really explore the personal side of things unless it revolved around Will’s character. Showing a story that not only puts a lens on superheroes but also high school and beyond would be a great thing to explore for families.
2. The Potential Cast
Something that is still pretty common in a lot of the superhero-based stories are the ages of the main cast. The few outliers are Marvel’s Runways and Cloak and Dagger (which are both streaming on Hulu and deserve a watch). What was so refreshing about the addition of Tom Holland’s Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man in the MCU was that we actually got to visit Peter’s high school, and it was full of actual kids living their lives amongst all the superhero shenanigans.
If done correctly the series can introduce a new Breakfast Club type group that mirrors the original Sky High cast with an updated spin. It could essentially be a clean version of Misfits.
3. The Potential Disney+ Superhero Universe / Spin-Offs
Although Disney+ will be the location for all the upcoming Marvel shows that connect to the movies, it would benefit them to have their own original established superhero universe now that the MCU is coming into Phase 5. With rival services like Netflix adapting multiple comic books and graphic novels—not to mention a live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender adaption on the way—Disney will need similar genre-specific content to build their own world and fill the gaps when the bigger shows are not in their new seasons.
They could even keep the same episode format comprised of 8 to 10 episodes, with special 1.5-hour movies like the original film itself. If certain characters have interesting stories that can span over a few episodes, they could do mini-arcs like Marvel did with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot, a mini-series focused around Natalia Cordova-Buckley’s Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (which has it’s seventh and final season starting May 27).
If successful, they could even do a slightly older, focused version of the show like Sky High: University on Hulu. What happens to adults like Ron Wilson who get their powers later in life after passing the Sky High age range? Not all those people will get the power to become the size of a skyscraper and suddenly be able to fight crime.
It would also make sense for a Sky High: University program to be introduced to make sure the heroes and sidekicks will use their powers for good. A Community-esque superhero college series with a diverse ensemble that has more adult comedy, heart and action would make for a great series. What more could you ask for?
It would also be cool if they rebooted/reintroduced the cast and characters from the 2000 Disney Channel original movie Up, Up and Away, and had them take place within the same universe. Bring me into the writers’ room.
Also there is definitely potential to expand it into an animated series and movie like every other superhero. For example, Netflix making Altered Carbon: Resleeved after Altered Carbon. Although an animated version of Sky High would probably get compared to My Hero Academia, I think with the right group of writers and directors, you can make it unique.
4. The Original Cast
As a kid watching, I didn’t realize how stacked this cast was, but now that I’m older I can appreciate the talent. The original Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) as Principal Powers, Ash (Bruce Campbell) as Coach Boomer, Ego (Kurt Russell) as Steve Stronghold, Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker) as Layla, Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as Gwen, and more.
Something I appreciated about High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, was that they brought back some fan favorites from the movies and we can expect to see more pop-up in the future seasons. This would be a good way for a Sky High series to set up a real connection to the movie. With cast members like Panabaker and Winstead both stating interest in returning to their roles, it could make for some very cool stories.
Although it’s only been 15 years since the movie, they could easily set up a time jump so that the older characters are around the age where if they had kids, they’d be freshmen. If they were able to bring back a bulk of the original cast we could see a cool Marvel’s Runaways-esque type of arc established. One of the best things about Marvel’s Runaways was their ability to juggle a big ensemble that ranged from young adults to older parents, while still making them all fully fleshed out.
What is Will up to right now? In a perfect world, he would be at the peak of his superhero career with his family. Maybe his career didn’t work out, and now he’s a teacher at Sky High. What if Will had a son who actually didn’t have any powers?
What happened to Layla after she graduated? Did she and Warren Peace end up together after all? Her mother was able to talk to animals and she was able to talk to plants. If her and Peace had a kid, maybe the child would get both of their powers and deal with being incredibly strong, all while having Peace’s grandfather be a main antagonist trying to recruit her.
Have you seen I Am Number Four? If so, imagine if Zack’s kid had the ability to focus that glowing energy into his or her palms and eyes and shoot out glaring bioluminescent light that could blind / burn enemies.
Other honorable cast mentions are Tom Kenny a.k.a. SpongeBob and Jim Rash who plays Dean Pelton on Community.
5. The Powers
After revisiting the movie 15 years later, I’ve got to say the visual effects still hold up well enough and that is something that can truly be expanded on. With the budgets for the upcoming Disney+ Marvel shows supposedly being on par with their movie budgets, imagine them putting that kind of funding behind their own original superhero series?
The movie showed that you can literally have any power. From inheriting powers to falling in a barrel of acid, there are a wide range of abilities that they displayed – like somebody turning into a kickball or having the ability to melt into popsicle-like goo, the possibilities are endless. Also, imagine multiple high-budget versions of the “Heroes vs Villains” game they played in the movie? The possibilities would be endless.
I would like the show to be a drama/comedy series, and not a mockumentary (not saying that’s a bad thing). With that being said, there is a way to playfully acknowledge the campiness of this whole thing. “The kids who get bit by radioactive insects or fall into a vat of toxic waste, their powers usually show up the next day.” – is definitely a fun salute to Spider-Man. Without it being overdone, I think this series could definitely dive into all the different ways kids get their powers.
*Sidenote: Their names are a fun little play on their powers. Warren Peace – “War & Peace” being a hot head, but also the voice of reason; the Strongholds being strong; Speed having super speed; Layla being named after the Layla plant. They definitely have the on-the-nose world building down.
Would you like to see a Sky High Series? Let your voice be heard in the comment section below!