'Star Wars' Multimedia Shared Universe Is Coming

'Star Wars' Insiders claim that the new universe will extend a shared universe story across multiple platforms like movies, TV, books and video games.

Star Wars Universe Episodes Spinoffs

Right now, outside of hardcore movie fan circles, the rumblings are still quiet. Star Wars Episode VII was announced, the cast was announced, and those announcements captured the attention of the world for a moment, while a steady stream of Star Wars rumors have kept the hardcore fans occupied in between each official piece of information.

However, with so many other things taking up attention at the cineplex (read: Superheroes), the mainstream populace probably has yet to realize just how MUCH Star Wars is headed their way. But it's going to be big, if you didn't already know.

Devin Faraci from Badass Digest has been dropping breadcrumbs of Star Wars Episode VII info for awhile now. He's been the source of pretty much THE current working prediction for what Episode VII is going to be [Info on that HERE], but now he's talking beyond Ep7 and addressing the larger plan that Disney/LucasFilm has in the works.

Bottom line: Star Wars is fully embracing the new industry model and going with a full multimedia shared universe. If you didn't already know.


Total Shared Universe

Star Wars Universe Plans

We've been saying for some time through both site and podcast that Marvel Studios changed the game. It is no longer sufficient to build film franchises linearly (sequels, prequels); now you have to build laterally as well (spinoffs, tie-ins, team-ups, interquels, etc.). It's happening all over the place: in the movies, on TV - heck, even DC/Warner Bros. animation has adopted a shared universe model. The old paradigm of entertainment is not enough; people crave major blockbuster events, and for the companies who own these intellectual properties, the goose who lays the golden eggs has always been multimedia synergy.

The thing is, for all of the attempts to create a multimedia shared universe, few have ultimately been as captivating or engrossing (or lucrative) as hoped for. Even Marvel Studios has just begun stitching a story across movies and TV; other than that, the two most successful examples of multimedia marketing are probably the Star Trek and Star Wars franchises. But this new Star Wars universe is going to be something else altogether. Disney/Lucas wants every single golden egg out of that goose in their basket - and they want all those eggs to form one complete omelet.

According to Badass's source inside LucasFilm, they company is “...going to redefine longform storytelling." Here is a quick breakdown of some specific points made:

  • Things are being planned out in advanced. No making it up as they go along.
  • There will one big Star Wars saga woven through the movies, TV shows, books, games and comics.
  • You will not be required to view/read everything, but the experience will be much richer if you get all the side-story.
  • LucasFilm actually cares about this franchise and is trying to make sure its ducks are in a row.
  • For Episode VII, J.J. Abrams is leaning toward emulating Lucas' style before the franchise skewed toward childish-themed things like Ewoks.
Star Wars Comic Con 2014

In the end, this is really not that big of news to anyone who has been closely following the development of the Star Wars franchise under Disney/LucasFilm's ownership. Here are just some of the things we've learned in the last years or so.

  1. Episodes VIII and IX are already planned out. Episode VIII is already in development, with Looper director Rian Johnson writing and directing it.
  2. An official Star Wars universe story group was established to manage and maintain a shared universe storyline across multiple mediums (TV, film, books, etc.).
  3. A decision was made that, out of all the old material, only Episodes I - VI and the Clone Wars animated series are official canon. Any Expanded Universe materials (books, games, etc.) no longer count officially, but can still be enoyed under the Star Wars "Legends" banner, which will be the label for all non-canon material going forward.
  4. The official, canonized, Star Wars saga continues with the novel A New Dawn (it releases on 9/2), which serves as a prequel to the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series - a show set in the years between Episodes III and IV.
  5. There are multiple Star Wars spinoff films planned for release between official Episodes. Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) is directing one (it could be Boba Fett); Chronicle director Josh Trank is directing another (could be Han Solo).
  6. The Star Wars shared universe will extended to more novels, games, and spinoffs; basically, there will be some kind of  Star Wars saga presence in your life at pretty much all times during the forthcoming years.

Star Wars a New Dawn Book Cover
The New Beginning

Those six points above are all pieces of info which, in summation, make the Badass Digest report less of a scoop than an enthusiastic celebration of the game plan that Disney/LucasFilm is going with. But it's not all gravy (yet).

There are risks in this approach. Planning the saga out so far in advanced is a gamble; what if certain elements of a film/show work and other don't? Are we committed to a pre-planned path - even if it doesn't favor what the fans like the most?

So far, with the sort of talent being assembled both in front of and behind the camera; the planning and strategy at work; and the general care for the material being shown?.... It's easy to be more optimistic than cynical. Right now, it's looking like a good time to be a Star Wars fan.

Star Wars: Episode 7 - Official Cast
The 'Episode VII' Cast with J.J. Abrams

Star Wars: A New Dawn hits bookshelves and digital download on September 2nd.

Star Wars Rebels begins with the one-hour special “Star Wars: Spark of Rebellion” airing on Disney XD on October 3rd, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, followed by the regular series getting underway on Monday, October 13th (also at 9 p.m. ET/PT).

Star Wars Episode VII will be in theaters on December 18, 2015.

Source: Badass Digest

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