Love ’em or hate ’em (and just admit that you love ’em already), you have to admit that Disney knows how to run a company. They’re like the Google of the entertainment industry, which is odd to say out loud since they were around long before Google. Founded in the 1920’s, they’ve done nothing but dominate and grow in the fields of film, television, publishing, music, theme parks and more. When Robert Iger took over the helm in 2005, the company took even bigger steps to cement its place as a leader in entertainment by purchasing companies like Pixar ($7.4 billion in 2006), Marvel ($4.24 billion in 2007), and of course Lucasfilm ($4.06 billion in 2012).
So it’s no coincidence that after the purchase of Marvel, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was formed. Iron Man kicked it all off in 2008 and after a couple of missteps with The Incredible Hulk (2008)and Iron Man 2 (2010 – though not considered a misstep by some), they’ve been consistently delivering the goods with at least two films a year and show no signs of slowing down. The aggressive schedule, coupled with a growing list of TV shows, has kept fans in a frenzy and reminded many people about the things they loved about comic books and their characters. New generations of kids and fans eat it up daily and the news about new films or shows can’t come fast enough. For comic and movie/TV lovers it’s a kind of nerd utopia, the likes we’ve never seen. It’s a beautiful thing and it works.
So my question to all the Star Wars fans out there (and I’m assuming you’re a fan if you’re here reading this) is – are you ready for the Marvelization of Star Wars? For those who aren’t, well you don’t have a choice in the matter so get ready. For those who are, buckle up and get ready for a Marvel-like Star Wars Universe.
It looks like Disney is going to try and reproduce the ongoing success it’s had with the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the Star Wars Universe, and who can blame them? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Star Wars fans like myself are going to have to adjust to getting a new film a year (or perhaps even two, down the road). This is something so uncommon to Star Wars fans. I mean, we’re as patient as patient can be. We only have six (proper) films on record since 1977. Marvel released six successful films in the past three years alone, including heavy-hitting stars like Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. They’ve kept them all tied together while somehow maintaining continuity with TV shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter, with much more coming to Netflix. No one can argue that they’ve done a superior job with missteps few and far-between. So yes, Star Wars fans are used to waiting. We had to wait freaking 22 years between trilogies, for Pete’s sake. No more, says Disney, and fans couldn’t be happier. This is going to be a new era and a chance to right all the wrongs of Jar Jar Binks. In fact, when Disney decided to throw out most of the Star Wars Expanded Universe canon (books, comics, etc.), they should have just taken that extra step and thrown Jar Jar (and the rest of those Gungans) out the window too.
While the well-oiled Marvel machine likes to release big production schedules far in advance, Disney is understandably taking a little time to get its Star Wars machinery moving. That doesn’t mean they’re wasting time, though. Not only did The Force Awakens (unofficially referred to as Episode VII, though Disney & Lucasfilm are wisely dropping the episodic subtitling) go almost immediately into pre-production after the Lucasfilm buyout, but word started to travel about the other two films in this new trilogy, plus even more stand-alone films. Let’s take a look at what’s coming:
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – December 2015
- Star Wars: Rogue One (stand-alone film) – December 2016
- Episode VIII (tentative title) – May 2017
- Unnamed Stand-Alone film – 2018
- Episode IX (tentative title) – 2019
Do you see the pattern? Trilogy film, then stand-alone, then trilogy film, then stand-alone, and so on. It’s looking a lot like the Marvel formula, which is good news for the fans. I mean, how can there be a downside to getting more Star Wars films in a shorter time period? More TV shows (aside from Star Wars: Rebels) are bound to start appearing as time goes by. Perhaps one day, we’ll even see a Star Wars show on Netflix, and wouldn’t that be great for us bingers?
So rejoice, fans. Things are looking up. Starting in 2015, Disney is going to give us a film a year, probably for the foreseeable future. If things go well, they might even up that to two a year, or one film and one new TV show. Who knows? By 2020, I’m guessing that they’ll surpass the total amount of film content that George Lucas gave us and continue going for a long time.
Even hardest skeptics of the galaxy can agree that the Marvelization of Star Wars is ultimately a good thing, as long as they avoid those damn Gungans.
Are you ready?