EDITORIAL: With Another Trilogy Planned, Is Disney Turning STAR WARS Into Marvel?
With yet another spin-off Star Wars trilogy being announced, it looks like studio heads are taking some inspiration from Marvel. But will Lucasfilm be able to successfully emulate the Marvel Studios brand?
The Star Wars universe is expanding at an alarming rate. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm back in 2012, we knew that they were planning on making not just more films in the Skywalker saga, but also a number of spin-off movies focused on different characters.
Earlier this week we were reminded of the scale of these plans when it was announced that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films and that several Star Wars television shows will be available on Disney’s streaming platform.
With these two new projects, in addition to the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story, Episode IX, Rian Johnson’s trilogy, and the all but confirmed Obi-Wan film, there will be no shortage of Star Wars content in the coming years.
This ever-growing slate of films is a bit similar to the way another enormous Disney-owned studio does business. This year, Marvel Studios will have released 20 films over the last decade, with each movie existing in the same universe. It has become standard for the studio to release at least two movies per year, and at the rate Lucasfilm is going, this could soon be the case for Star Wars.
And really, who could blame them? All three Star Wars films under the new Lucasfilm regime have been tremendously successful at the box office, so from a purely financial perspective, it seems like a no-brainer to churn out as many of these films as possible.
It's a bit strange to see the granddaddy of film franchises take inspiration from another series, but Marvel Studios has become the gold standard of this method, producing multiple interconnected films each year. What makes this feat so incredible is the quality of their films. At their worst, Marvel movies are usually at least serviceable, popcorn fun, and that’s impressive considering the fact that we’re 17 films into this series.
Keeping a certain standard of quality is one of the things that keep the Marvel brand successful. When audiences walk into an MCU film, they more or less know what they’re in for. Can Star Wars emulate this kind of brand? With all of Disney’s resources, there is no good reason why they can't.
The old expanded universe contains plenty of interesting characters and worlds that could be turned into movies, and there are countless original ideas for Star Wars films as well. The universe is big enough that different genres of films could be released under the Star Wars name.
Superhero movies have stayed relevant by mixing up the formula. Today we’re seeing R-rated action comedies, horror movies, thrillers, war movies, and spy movies all falling under the superhero umbrella. Star Wars absolutely has the potential to do this as well, hopefully finding the right blend of freshness and familiarity.
However, when exploring the universe-building potential of the Star Wars franchise, it’s less about what Lucasfilm could do than it is about what they should do. For most of its existence, Star Wars has been an event film, and changing this could have detrimental effects on the franchise. Check back on Friday for my take on why this might be the case.
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