If Disney and Lucasfilm continue developing more Star Wars movies, will they start releasing two movies per year going forward? When the Mouse House acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, they announced plans to release one Star Wars movie per year; alternating between core saga episodes and anthology films, which also meant that the mainline Star Wars installments would release every two years. For those that don’t know, all three installments in George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy released three years apart, with each chapter in the filmmaker’s prequel trilogy also releasing three years apart.
The idea of having a Star Wars movie release every year was warmly welcomed by fans but it also presented several obstacles for the studio. In doing so, they risked oversaturating the market as well as cannibalizing their own films. That’s why Lucasfilm opted not to release the first teaser trailer for Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story until after J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens finished its theatrical run and released on home video. Otherwise, casual moviegoers could have confused Rogue One with The Force Awakens if the studio chose to market the film alongside Abrams’ film. And Lucasfilm did the same thing with Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi.
Lucasfilm announced plans to develop a brand new Star Wars trilogy with Johnson that will explore uncharted territories in the Star Wars galaxy and move beyond the Skywalker saga, which may also mean that Johnson plans on taking the franchise away from the Galactic Civil War and the First Order/Resistance. If that’s the direction they plan on taking, they could theoretically release more than one Star Wars movie per year without taking market share from their other films.
At the moment, Lucasfilm has announced Star Wars movies through 2019, with the currently-untitled 2020 anthology film seemingly hanging in limbo. Whereas most of the movies released and will release in December of their respective years, Ron Howard’s Han Solo: A Star Wars Story is releasing in May 2018, only a few months after The Last Jedi. If the studio’s marketing campaign and the film are proven successful, Lucasfilm may consider putting out more than one Star Wars movie a year: one in the summer and one in the winter. The problem, however, lies in Disney’s overall distribution strategy.
It may seem like Disney is only focused on making more Star Wars movies, but they actually have quite a lot of projects on their plate. In addition to releasing one Star Wars movie per year, they’ve upped their distribution of Marvel Studios’ films from two movies per year to three, not to mention their lineup of animated films from Disney Animation and Pixar Animation as well as their live-action and CGI remakes and re-imaginings of classic fantasy stories. The Mouse House may not only be concerned with cannibalizing other Star Wars movies but also affecting distribution for their other properties as well. Still, if Disney and Lucasfilm could pull it off, Star Wars fans would undoubtedly welcome two movies per year.
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