Disney CEO Bob Iger knows the company released too many Star Wars movies too quickly, but isn't worried about the future of the franchise. When the Mouse House announced its plans to release a new Star Wars film every year following its purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012, the news got a pretty mixed response. As much as audiences love the galaxy far, far away, the first two Star Wars trilogies were released over nearly forty years. In fact, before 2015, the shortest amount of time between live-action movie releases was three years.
At first, though, there didn't seem to be a problem. Star Wars: The Force Awakens brought the franchise roaring back to life in December 2015, and the success of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a year later suggested there was a market for spinoffs after all. However, debates over 2017's The Last Jedi were still raging on by the time Solo: A Star Wars Story arrived less than six months after. Coupled with its expensive reshoots and shortened campaign marketing, this resulted in Solo becoming the first Star Wars film to actually lose money, even though the movie earned mostly positive reviews. Iger, for his part, feels it was ultimately a problem of too much, too fast.
In an extensive interview with The New York Times, Iger admitted that it when it comes to the Star Wars movies, “I just think that we might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast”. He went on to clarify that, despite this, he isn't concerned about the property's future:
“I think the storytelling capabilities of the company are endless because of the talent we have at the company, and the talent we have at the company is better than it’s ever been, in part because of the influx of people from Fox."
Smartly, Disney has already taken steps to address this. The studio plans to take a three-year break after the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December, and has sold the film as being the conclusion to the Skywalker Saga that began with The Phantom Menace (chronologically speaking). Star Wars 9 will arrive more than eighteen months after Solo hit theaters, which has given fans extra time to cool off from The Last Jedi debates and get excited for J.J. Abrams' ending to the trilogy he kicked off four years ago. And so far, this seems to have done the trick; The Rise of Skywalker trailers have largely gone over well, revealing little to nothing about the movie's plot while still doing their job and hyping people. Even the surprise reveal that Palpatine will return in the film has succeeded in piquing everyone's interest.
As indicated earlier, quality hasn't really been the issue with Disney's Star Wars movies. All four films to date have been well-received critically (some more than others, admittedly), and The Rise of Skywalker is expected to follow suit in that respect. However, when there are Star Wars movies coming out every year, they simply no longer feel like the events they used to be, and Solo proves that audiences won't necessarily turn out in huge numbers for anything branded Star Wars. Because of this, Disney will be more cautious in the future and only release the next trilogy (spearheaded by Game of Thrones' David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) over four years, beginning in 2022. Of course, for fans who want all the Star Wars they can get, there will be plenty of Disney+ shows coming over the next few years to help fill the void.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019