When it was first announced that Disney was planning to release Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015, and that it was going to be the launching point of a new trilogy, it was clear that the House of Mouse had big plans for their newly acquired franchise. As it turns out, those plans are even bigger than we suspected. Hang on to your restraining bolts, people, because Disney is planning to release two or three Star Wars movies per year.
Now before any of us start having a rage-stroke and screaming about Disney diluting the franchise, let’s all calm down and figure out what that “2 to 3 per year” claim actually means. Screen Crush reports that those ambitious plans were attributed to new Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, during the new Star Wars-focused issue of Entertainment Weekly. Unfortunately the interview hasn’t been posted online yet, but here’s the relevant bit:
Lucasfilm’s co-chairman and soon-to-be president, Kathleen Kennedy, has told employees she wants the company to produce two or three films a year (it’s averaged fewer than four per decade), and first up is Star Wars: Episode VII for 2015.
As you can see, that isn’t a direct “2 to 3” mandate straight from Kennedy’s lips, but rather the scuttlebutt among Disney employees. But what exactly do those numbers mean?
Obviously, this doesn’t mean we’ll be getting Episodes VII, VII, and IX all in the same year. Instead, it most likely means that Star Wars is going to expand on the big screen in the same way it has in books, games, comics, and other media. Consider they way Marvel Films has worked since the buyout. They’ve created a coherent, unified universe that has allowed second-tier characters such as Thor and Iron Man to become blockbuster successes, and finally to realize that enormous potential in the form of Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. We can probably expect to see Disney treat the Star Wars franchise in much the same way.
So we’ll get the new trilogy we’re all hyped about. But we might get more than that. Maybe a movie focusing on Boba Fett or the other bounty hunters. Maybe movies set in the Old Republic era. Hell, we might even get to see some of the more popular Star Wars Expanded Universe books adapted into films. The bottom line is, we’re going to get new Star Wars, and lots of it.
It’s easy to freak out about this deluge, simply because there’s a lot happening and we haven’t seen what a Disney Star Wars movie will look like, so they’re an unproven commodity at this point. However, taking into account the monstrous success of Disney’s Pixar and Marvel properties, I think the Mouse has more than earned the benefit of the doubt. By and large, their strategy has been to find people who know and are passionate about the material, then get out of their way and let them play. The result? The Avengers has earned $1.51 billion worldwide.
Worst case scenario, there are some ambitious missteps along the way, but let’s be honest: they can’t be any worse than Episode I. But if these bold plans do go forward, and do succeed, we could see the cross-media shared Star Wars universe bloom to a degree that rivals or dwarfs the cinematic Marvel universe. And that’s pretty damned exciting to consider.