These days it's not just enough to gross billions of dollars at the box office. Studios are constantly looking for ways to expand their brands by branching out to other mediums, such as TV. Marvel Studios has displayed the benefits of this strategy, with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC and an entire slate of Defenders series on Netflix - which began this year with the successful Daredevil.
It shouldn't come as any surprise, then, that Disney is looking to take their other mega franchise, Star Wars, down a similar route. Months ago, it was reported that the Mouse House was interested in developing a live-action television show set in a galaxy far, far away. Those plans have now been altered a bit, with Netflix seemingly set to become very strong with the Force.
Cinelinx is reporting that the current idea is for Disney to partner with Netflix once more and develop three different live-action Star Wars shows, exclusively for the streaming service. For Lucasfilm, this would make a great deal of sense, since they allegedly wish to preserve the cinematic qualities of the films in any television programs that get produced. That's nothing against the production values of a network show, but given certain examples like House of Cards, Bloodline, and, yes, even Marco Polo, creating a television counterpart to Star Wars might be a feat easier to achieve on Netflix than on ABC.
In fact, Netflix and Star Wars already have a working relationship, as the final season of the Clone Wars cartoon series was released on the platform. And since Netflix is set to overtake network TV in terms of original programming in the not too distant future, it's all the more logical to pursue the options that avenue presents. That said, it's vital to keep in mind this is a rumor for now, yet one that seems more plausible than others.
If this report proves true, Star Wars fans will spend months debating what the storylines of each show should be. Perhaps the Netflix series would provide a great opportunity to dive deep into the larger Star Wars universe and tell stories that are not overtly connected to the films. With the standalone "Anthology" theatrical projects showcasing elements more familiar to viewers (e.g., Death Star plans, Han Solo, etc.), the shows could give creators a chance to expand the world with fresh and interesting twists on the existing mythology. Much like how Marvel is going "darker" with their Netflix brands, Star Wars could follow a similar pattern, in terms of developing an overarching theme that could be shared by the shows.
Mum's also the word on a production schedule for these hypothetical series. Cinelinx estimates that the first might be introduced in 2017, but that's just guesswork. It's likely that movement on these projects wouldn't really get going until The Force Awakens opens in December. Anticipation is high now, but Lucasfilm probably wants to be 100 percent sure the saga's seventh episode is going to be a hit (and not just at the box office), before investing money in additional projects outside of the movies. Right now, it looks like that won't be a problem, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of this. Star Wars has long tried to get into live-action TV; even George Lucas couldn't pull it off after Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005. This may be the best chance fans get to seeing such a series come into fruition, but don't get too excited just yet.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue Oneon December 16, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars anthology film on May 25, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX has not received an official release date.