Disney+’s Togo, starring Willem Dafoe, released a first look image today, as covered by PEOPLE. The streaming service, which launches November 12, figures to be a formidable competitor of Netflix’s. Having already announced the magnitude of their content, this period family adventure is among the ten original films that will be available to stream within the service’s first year.
Togo was a sled dog who, in 1925, helped prevent a diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska by delivering an antitoxin serum through the punishing elements. Nome is a sparsely populated coastal town in northwestern Alaska whose average low winter temperatures hover at about -2 Fahrenheit. In 1925, temperatures dipped to -50 with whiteouts and gale force winds. The work of another Siberian Husky, Balto, brought the town into public consciousness that year. He led his dog team on the final run of that same mission. Universal Pictures released a 1995 animated film, called Balto, commemorating the courageous canine. That film featured the voice talents of Kevin Bacon and Bridget Fonda.
But Disney is here to remind us that Balto wasn’t the only dog who played savior in that terrible winter nearly a century ago. In Togo, Dafoe plays Leonhard Seppala, a veteran dogsled trainer and musher (and 1932 Olympian), who chooses Togo to lead the run, in spite of the dog’s old age and small size. “It’s a beautiful story of an underdog (no pun intended) and how we can learn from adversity,” Dafoe told PEOPLE.
Dafoe can currently be seen in a decidedly not beautiful performance in Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse, playing a grizzled, flatulent lighthouse keeper tormenting Robert Pattinson.
You can check out the first look image from Togo below. The film also stars Julianne Nicholson (August: Osage County), Michael Gaston (The Leftovers), and Christopher Heyerdahl (Damnation). It was directed by cinematographer-turned-director Ericson Core, who previously warmed hearts in Disney’s sports drama, Invincible, starring Mark Wahlberg. It was written by Tom Flynn (Gifted).
Togo premieres exclusively on Disney+ December 13.