The first Star Wars land opened this week in California. Galaxy’s Edge in Disneyland only has one ride running, but that didn’t seem to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm. (Though at least one review did mention it. More reviews: StarWars.com, EW, /Film, Polygon and Hypable.)
But maybe the neatest was seeing the reaction of some of the first fans allowed into the land:
As we suspected, the post-hiatus Star Wars films will be kicked off with something from Game of Thrones‘ David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Bob Iger confirmed today. So now we know they’re handling at least the 2022 film, and… That’s about it. “…the next movie we release will be theirs,” the Disney CEO said at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit. “We’re not saying anything more about that.”
As for TV, Iger also said that there’s likely to be at least one more Star Wars series for Disney+, in addition to Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian (out in November) and Stephen Schiff’s Cassian Andor/K-2SO series (expected for 2020).
“My guess is there probably will be at least one more live-action series that we produce for Disney+, a Star Wars series, before we release the next film,” Iger said. “So we’re not doing nothing. I believe these TV series will be extremely popular for Star Wars fans and very very valuable to Disney+ while we gear up for the next set of films. We haven’t said anything more beyond what we’ve announced on the next film.”
As for the three-year hiatus following The Rise of Skywalker, it is in part to “figure out what’s next.”
“We’re hard at work doing that already,” he said. “Three years was the proper amount of time to not only take a breather and reset, but really gear up for the next film’s release.”
Maybe get some fresher voices in there? While I remain mildly intrigued with the concept of the Cassian show, The Mandalorian looks straight out of Dark Horse’s ’90s comic offerings, and the final season of Game of Thrones is not exactly out there covering itself in glory. I realize there’s a lot of gaps here (Rian Johnson, buddy?) and it’s still early, but I am not particularly optimistic about the state of on-screen Star Wars right now.
Composer John Williams has seen an early cut of The Rise of Skywalker, likes it “very much” and has written about 25 minutes of the score, he tells The Times. The original article is behind a paywall, but head to /Film for the relevant quote.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.)