Two articles claiming to know what’s behind the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Star Wars exit came out yesterday, both pinpointing different reasons.
The first, from Variety, says the pair wanted to tackle the origins of the Jedi – and ultimately disagreed with Lucasfilm on the direction that should take.
Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter leans on multiple commitments and the concept of “toxic fandom,” always a handy scapegoat.
I’m not sure I’d take either explanation at face value, particularly give all the padding in both articles about past issues and “concerns”, but overall, the idea of creative differences seems pretty likely – and probably for the best.
→ Another fruitless few days of official Episode IX stuff (though Rey and Kylo are getting Galaxy of Adventures figures) but at least Making Star Wars has a something something, this time about costumes. And a brief on what role Billy Dee Williams’ Lando plays in the film. But, more importantly – what is he wearing? What will Rey really do with her hair? What… Threepio is wearing? And some more Black Park pictures.
Bob Iger talks a great deal about the development of Disney+ and the business in-and-outs of the service in an interview with Barron’s. For our purposes, the relevant bit here is that they’re not going to make a Star Wars movie for it:
Almost every movie the studio makes is a $100 million-plus movie, and we’re not looking to make movies at that level for the service. We’re looking to invest significantly in television series on a per-episode business, and we’re looking to make movies that are higher budget, but nothing like that. We wouldn’t make a Star Wars movie for this platform.
This is pretty much a no duh kind of thing – and yes, io9 did that headline first, damn them – but it may have been on people’s minds after Solo. Still, given the rumors we’ve heard about the standalone movies that were in play, they might be better suited for TV anyway. On that note, Iger on the thinking behind doing Star Wars TV for streaming:
I guess we could have made the Star Wars series for ABC if we wanted. But the budget and what we’re spending on it and the nature of the material suggested it would be a perfect anchor for the new service. Because it’s a priority for the company, that needs to be reflected in the trafficking or the direction of where a lot of content goes. There have to be some subjective decisions made on where stuff goes because we have to feed this new beast.
Barron’s being a business-oriented publication, there’s a lot of nitty gritty in the article, but it might shed some light on Disney’s recent decisions.
He also says that the Galaxy’s Edge section at Disneyland will open in June, which is a bit more specific than the previous “summer.”
Kathleen Kennedy has signed on to remain president of Lucasfilm for another three years, per The Hollywood Reporter. Kennedy, who was hand-picked by George Lucas to lead his namesake company before the sale to Disney, has overseen Lucasfilm since 2012. The four Star Wars films released under her tenure – The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi and Solo – have grossed nearly $4.5 billion worldwide.
The Hollywood Reporter has an extensive interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger where he addresses Star Wars timing, the streaming service and more.
On Star Wars, he acknowledges that the schedule so far may have been “a little too much, too fast.”
I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not gonna make films. J.J. [Abrams] is busy making [Episode] IX. We have creative entities, including [Game of Thrones creators David] Benioff and [D.B.] 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 gonna start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re gonna be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.
If Solo’s underwhelming box office means we’re not stepping up to two films a year anytime soon, I will consider that a worthy sacrifice. And I don’t mind going back to an even bigger gap, although I doubt we’ll see the three years of the OT and PT eras again. But look at what Disney is (reportedly) planning for Marvel on streaming, and something similar for Star Wars could be an interesting alternative to standalone spin-off films.
Another Celebration is in the books, and that means another attendance record. Celebration Orlando attendance was more than 70,000 people, StarWars.com says. That’s up from Anaheim’s 65K in 2015, and double our last Orlando outing in 2012. No wonder things got a bit… Messy. Attendees, look out for the surveys and be sure to fill them out.
We learned before the con that the next Celebration won’t be until 2019 – probably skipping the overseas outings that we had in 2014 and 2016. The leading speculation seems to be that we’ll be headed back to Anaheim, but since we didn’t get a location on Sunday we’ll be left hanging for a while longer. On the plus side, Pablo made a cannon canon.
In the meantime, here are a few other things we learned that I never got around to writing up, because cons are crazy.