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.”
Now that the streaming service has a name, the marketing for Disney+ has really begun… Along with some inklings of how it will work.
Per Vulture’s Josef Adalian, Star Wars will be one of the “five central content hubs” for the service (along with classic Disney, Marvel, Pixar and National Geographic) so there won’t be much need for Netflix-style scrolling.
We also know that they’re aiming for the monthly price to be less than Netflix (cheapest plan: $7.99). Disney’s ESPN+ streaming service, which launched earlier this year, currently charges $4.99 a month. So I suspect we’ll be looking at something that’ll run fans $5-7 a month. (And maybe even some savings if bundled with an ESPN+ or Hulu subscription?)
But! The content. What’s coming for Star Wars? Here’s what we know for sure, some speculation about what else may be in play, and what we definitely won’t see.
The series, which will go into production next year, follows the adventures of rebel spy Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion and prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Diego Luna will reprise the role of Andor. “Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me,” said Luna. “I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey. We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply.”
The “rousing spy thriller” doesn’t have a release date yet – just like The Mandalorian. Disney+ is expected to launch next year. A website for the service is now live, where fans can sign up to receive updates.
In Jon Favreau’s latest snaps from the set of The Mandalorian, he shares two props that might look familiar. The first is an ice cream machine, which you may remember from The Empire Stikes Back, or perhaps the traditional Running of the Hoods. The other is a tad more obscure (well, as obscure as anything Star Wars really gets – it’s an Amban phase-pulse blaster (or something inspired by it) that originates with the first appearance of Boba Fett in the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Who wields these objects – if they even end up as anything beyond scenery – is yet to be seen, but neither Willrow Hood nor Boba Fett are entirely out of the question.
We know who The Mandalorian directors are, but Making Star Wars has learned what episodes they’ll be actual directing. The official release only specified that Dave Filoni was doing the first, but MSW has him, Deborah Chow, and Rick Famuyiwa each directing two episodes, with Bryce Dallas Howard on the fourth and Taika Waititi taking on the (season?) finale. The eight-episode number comes from MSW’s earlier reporting; an earlier report has it at 10, but shortening the load is one way to get the most out of a rumored $100M budget.
MSW has been killing it on this show – in addition to all their recent scoops, they were the first to report that Mandalorians were involved back in August. We don’t have much reason to doubt them when it comes to the show.
We get our first official look at Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian, plus a director list. The first episode will be directed by Dave Filoni, and other directors will include Deborah Chow (Jessica Jones), Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), Bryce Dallas Howard (Solemates), and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok).
The series is being written and executive produced by Favreau. Filoni, Kathleen Kennedy, Colin Wilson and Karen Gilchrist are also producing.
Still nothing official on the cast (who’s in the armor, Lucasfilm?), but Making Star Wars has some evidence (though probably not for the armor-wearer, though who knows) as they continue their set reporting.
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.