Star Wars Last Jedi Luke Skywalker

Slowing down from lightspeed? Disney will be 'more careful about volume and timing' of Star Wars films, says CEO

Contributed by
Sep 20, 2018

That galaxy far, far away has gotten awfully busy lately. Possibly too busy, some critics of the Star Wars franchise have claimed in recent months. And they aren't the only ones. In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger admits that the company's output of Lucasfilm content "was a little too much, too fast" and that the "volume and timing" of films beyond next year's Episode IX is being cautiously evaluated.

Following the disappointing box office performance (and critical reviews) of Solo: A Star Wars Story this past summer, Disney and Lucasfilm execs have been reportedly reevaluating their plans for future standalone films, including prequels for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett.

That's not to say that Star Wars content is going to be disappearing. J.J. Abrams' as-yet-untitled Episode IX of the so-called "Skywalker Saga" is still on track for a December 2019 release, and The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is working on his own new trilogy of Star Wars films. In addition, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are developing their own standalone series of movies.

Iger admits that as popular as Star Wars is, they might have reached a saturation point. "I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast," he told THR. "You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn't mean we're not going to make films. J.J. is busy making [Episode] IX. We have creative entities, including Benioff and Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven't been specific about. And we are just at the point where we're going to start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.'s. But I think we're going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that."

Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012 and has had great success with Episodes VII and VIII (aka The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi) as well as Rogue One, a self-contained prequel to Episode IV: A New Hope. It wasn't until Solo's underwhelming showing that people inside and outside of Disney wondered if there might be too much of a good thing with the franchise.

Though Iger was only specifically referring to the film business in the interview, it's worth noting that the Star Wars universe is also expanding in TV — though at a much more deliberate pace. Star Wars Resistance, an animated series set prior to The Force Awakens, is set to premiere on the Disney Channel in October, and beloved CG series Star Wars: The Clone Wars returns next year on Disney's upcoming streaming service. And then there's Iron Man director Jon Favreau's own live-action series, which is reportedly going to have a $100 million budget, also for the new streaming channel.

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