Bob Iger on Star Wars: “Too much, too fast”

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.

On the streaming service, Iger says the company is “weaning ourselves off licensing revenue from third parties” with the departure from Netflix, although the Star Wars broadcast deal is staying in place.

Disney’s streaming service is (not) called “Disney Play”

In Variety’s cover story on Hollywood, Netflix and the other direct-to-consumer platforms being developed, Disney CEO Bob Iger reveals that the company’s streaming service will be called “Disney Play.” THR has since gone back and changed the quote to be “a Disney play” – so it’s likely not the service’s name after all. Back to Disneyflix!

Iger says the service is the company’s “biggest priority” for 2019, and the article explores the costs, stakes and other business concerns for not just Disney, but all the other companies in the game.

One estimate says Disney would need 40 million subscribers to break even if they went with a price of $6 a month. (No pricing has been officially announced yet, but Iger has previously said that the Disney service will be cheaper than Netflix, which runs $8-14.)

The Disney service, expected to launch in 2019, will be home to a new chunk of The Clone Wars and at least one brand-new live-action Star Wars show from Jon Favreau. Older episodes of TCW (currently on Netflix) are probably a good bet, and I have no doubt that Rebels (which has never streamed outside the Disney ecosystem) and the upcoming Resistance will be found there as well. One thing the new service won’t have is the older Star Wars films – and it might only get new ones like Episode IX for a limited time (ala Rogue One and The Last Jedi on Netflix), as there’s a broadcast deal with Turner that runs through 2024.

Don’t expect pre-IX Star Wars movies on Disney’s streaming service

The older Star Wars movies aren’t coming to Disney’s streaming service, Bob Iger said during the company’s earning call Tuesday. “The marketing will make clear that it’s not going to be on there,” said Iger. “But ‘Star Wars’ movies that come out in 2019 and later, you’ll find them there.” Guess Turner wanted too much after all? The TBS/TNT deal runs through 2024.

The service will likely cost less than Netflix, though. And it won’t be totally void of Star Wars – in addition to Episode IX, there’s Jon Favreau’s live-action series, and given they’re getting new The Clone Wars episodes, we can expect the rest of the series as well – plus Star Wars Rebels, which has yet to stream at any non-Disney outlets.

There is more than one new Star Wars TV series in the pipeline

Disney’s Bob Iger tells investors that the company is currently developing multiple Star Wars TV series.

“We are developing not just one, but a few Star Wars series specifically for the Disney direct to consumer app. We’ve mentioned that and we are close to being able to reveal at least one of the interties that is developing that for us. Because the deal isn’t completely closed, we can’t be specific about that,” he said per The Hollywood Reporter. “I think you’ll find the level of talent … on the television front will be rather significant as well.”

The show(s) are expected to debut on Disney’s direct-to-consumer digital platform, which is itself not expected until 2019.

Still, I’m exhausted just hearing this, and using the exact same The Last Jedi still THR did because, yeah. Same, Luke.

Bob Iger: Han Solo film to span six years (and about that name thing…)

Disney CEO Bob Iger dropped a couple of things about the two Star Wars films in production – and those beyond. (The ever-vague “starting talks.”)

He was most detailed on the Han Solo film. It will span 6 years – Alden Ehrenreich’s Han from the ages of 18 to 24 – and deal with him meeting Chewbacca and “finding” the Millennium Falcon. WSJ reporter Ben Fritz tweeted about Han “finding his name,” which a lot of folks are jumping on. I’m a little more hesitant – it’s not designated as a direct quote, and the meaning could easily be making his name. So don’t place any flags in your theories yet!

For The Last Jedi, he said they won’t change the film due to Carrie Fisher’s death. “Her performance remains as it is in VIII. In Rogue One, we had some digital character. We are not doing that with Carrie.” He also promised that Mark Hamill will do “a lot of talking.”

Earlier, Iger announced he would remain as Disney’s CEO through at least July 2019.

Josh Gad enlists Judi Dench in quest to pester Daisy Ridley on The Last Jedi

Josh Gad followed up with Daisy Ridley on his The Last Jedi “sneak attack.” With another sneak attack. But the real kicker here is the third video, which features Dame Judi Dench asking “What’s the deal with Reylo?” If only we knew, Dame Judi. (Okay, I kid: It’s a pretty typical ship, even if it does give some of us the willies.)

Remember that rumor that Dench would be playing Mon Mothma in The Force Awakens? And then remember how Genevieve O’Reilly actually showed up in a Rogue One trailer with none of us even hearing a hint of it beforehand? Gotta wonder if some major wire crossing happened in the rumor streams. Ahh, memories.

Also in The Last Jedi news…

→ In yesterday’s Disney earning call (which also gave us the Star Wars land dates) CEO Bob Iger admitted to seeing a cut of The Last Jedi. “It’s a great next chapter in the Skywalker family saga,” he said. (Of course.)

→ A pre-title reveal interview with Rian Johnson, and a post-reveal one with Mark Hamill.

Today(ish) in Rogue One: Embargos, aliens and clips

Yes, I’m a bit behind on this one, but sometimes 10 inches of snow happens and you have to shovel it. Twice. And then, uh, go to a thing in-between. Which brings us to the real reason for this item: To remind you that reviews for Rogue One come off embargo at noon EST (9 a.m. PST) tomorrow. Consider yourself warned!

→ Entertainment Weekly has a gallery of the new aliens and droids we’ll see in Rogue One. That’s Beezer Fortuna on the right, and as Pablo points out, he seems to be inspired by an old Bib Fortuna maquette.

Bob Iger does the CEO thing and plays it safe re: that one boycott. “Frankly, this is a film that the world should enjoy. It is not a film that is, in any way, a political film. There are no political statements in it, at all.” This film? Maybe. The franchise? Well…

→ The cast was on Jimmy Kimmel on Friday. Watch all the videos at Jedi News or just skip straight to the clip.

→ Another new clip, plus featurettes on Scarif and the Maldives and Alan Tudyk and K-2SO from the red carpet livestream. (You can watch the red carpet interviews and other features individually thanks to Disney’and Experience.)

→ Of course there’s an Uber tie-in.

Bob Iger doesn’t expect Rogue One to do TFA numbers; Third standalone has a writer

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Disney CEO Bob Iger doesn’t expect Rogue One to do quite as well at the box office as The Force Awakens, but he says the audience interest they’ve seen has been just as high for the new film. (Did anyone expect that? You don’t get a $2B film every year.) “We love what we’ve seen,” he told investors of the Rogue One rough cut.

He also revealed that they have a writer for the third Star Wars standalone due in 2020, and he recently met with Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy to plot out beyond that as well.

We’ve known since the Disney purchase that Lucasfilm plans to take the saga films beyond 2019’s Episode IX, but it remains to be seen if they’ll keep to the current schedule to leave only a year between the current and next trilogy.

Disney’s Bob Iger on Rogue One, the future of Indiana Jones

thr-igerIn a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Disney’s Bob Iger talks about the futures of Star Wars and Indiana Jones, as well as the challenges of running Disney.

On Rogue One:

I’ve seen Rogue One. I’ve seen not only an edited picture but I’ve seen significantly more footage than was even in that picture. That’s actually going to be a fine film.

Iger doesn’t expect Indiana Jones to become as extensive a franchise as Star Wars, but he does say that Indy 5 won’t be a one-off. “We’re focused on a reboot, or a continuum and then a reboot of some sort.” On Harrison Ford:

Well, we’ll bring him back, then we have to figure out what comes next. That’s what I mean. It’s not really a reboot, it’s a boot — a reboot. I don’t know.

That’s… Intriguing? But anything after Indy 5 all seems a way off at this point.

The interview also goes into the ever-present parks and ESPN business.

Chewbacca will be part of the young Han Solo movie

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Disney CEO Bob Iger today referred to Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s 2018 standalone as “an origin story about Han and Chewie,” our first official word that the Wookiee will be part of the film. Is this what Peter Mayhew’s script bonanza on Twitter been leading up to?

In the old Legends universe, the two met while Han was serving in the Imperial military and Chewbacca was a slave. Han’s refusal to kill the Wookiee led to their eventual partnership and Chewbacca’s life debt – elements that may or may not be incorporated into the film. (I’d bet on not, but stranger things have happened.) In the current canon, there’s nothing on record about Chewbacca’s life between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. – or Han’s before ANH, though he was in consideration for ROTS.

So, the next question: Young Lando?