When Disney bought LucasFilm and announced more Star Wars movies were on the way, we paid the most attention to the fact that we’ll finally be getting the long-discussed Episodes VII, VIII, and IX over the next few years. But every other year in between those releases, Disney plans on putting out a spin-off Star Wars movie set in the same galaxy far, far away. Now we have a better idea about what to expect from those efforts.
The Walt Disney Company’s Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo spoke at an investor conference yesterday (via Variety) and gave the crowd some interesting insights about the future of the franchise. He confirmed the release strategy, saying that either one trilogy film or “origin story film” would hit theaters each year starting with Episode VII in 2015. That answers a big question about those spin-off movies: now we know for sure that they’ll be origin stories. In other words, Star Wars is heading back to the prequel well. Great.
Months ago, rumors began swirling that these spin-off movies would involve Han Solo, Yoda, and Boba Fett, and since we now have confirmation that this is the strategy they’re going with, we can surmise that we’ll likely find out what caused the falling out between Han Solo and Lando Calrissian and why Han owes Jabba all that money. The initial questions that pops up in many of our minds – “do we really need to know what happens to these guys before we first met them?” – apparently doesn’t matter to Disney execs, who have dollar signs in their eyes thinking about the merchandising possibilities for recognizable characters in the Star Wars universe. So strap in, folks: we’re in for probably at least a decade’s worth of new Star Wars, whether we want it or not.
The silver lining here – aside from the fact that Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan is writing and producing one of these “origin stories” – is that at yesterday’s conference, Rasulo also specifically said, “This is not a new franchise for kids.” Could he have been blowing smoke? Of course – he knows better than anyone how much money there is to be made with Star Wars toys, so there’s definitely going to be a child-friendly element to these new movies. But by flat-out stating that these movies won’t be for kids, it gives me a bit of hope that we at least won’t have to sit through the level of stupidity of Episodes I, II, and III. One of the prequels’ biggest criticisms is that they felt far more like children’s stories than the original trilogy, so hopefully there’s a shift in tone back to what some of us loved about Star Wars before Jar Jar Binks came along.
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