Some five months ago, after the bomb dropped that Disney has acquired Lucasfilm and plans to release Star Wars: Episode VII sometime in 2015, the newly-appointed Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed the studio's intention to release 2-3 new movies every year (beginning with the seventh cinematic Star Wars installment).
Today, Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm jointly announced at the ongoing 2013 CinemaCon in Las Vegas that, in fact, a new Star Wars movie will be arriving every summer beginning with Episode VII in 2015. That includes both Episodes VII-IX and the standalone and/or spinoff films, which the studios have confirmed as being part of the overall plan to usher in a new era for George Lucas' cash cow.
Screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) - in addition to consulting on Episode VII alongside director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Michael Arndt - are scripting additional Star Wars films, which Disney CEO Bob Iger describes as being "derived from great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga."
The intention is for the standalone films to flesh out and develop the cinematic Star Wars mythos, while filling in the space (no pun intended) between Episodes. It's an approach similar to that which is already being used by Disney and Marvel on the Marvel Cinematic Universe; here, the Star Wars "Episodes" are tantamount to The Avengers movies in the MCU, while the standalone films are like the superhero solo vehicles for Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America.
There have been rumors about the standalone features revolving around familiar characters, such as Boba Fett, Jedi Master Yoda and a young version of Han Solo, with Harrison Ford returning to play the older incarnation beginning in Episode VII. Indeed, it would make sense for Disney and Lucasfilm to first test the waters, so to speak, by developing standalone movies revolving around certain beloved Star Wars characters in their youth (or when they were still alive, in Yoda's case); then, if those do well, shift the focus to the new generation of heroes and villains in a galaxy far, far away.
Disney and Marvel will continue to do just that over the next few years, once they release the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man movies, seeing how both are meant to build on the foundation laid by previous installments featuring better-known superheroes; not to mention, bridge the gap between Avengers movies. If it works for Marvel, then it should work for Star Wars - at least, that seems to be the logic here.
What do you think? Is having a new Star Wars movie (be it Episode or standalone) release every summer too much, the right amount - or maybe even not enough?
Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters in Summer 2015.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm [via Coming Soon]