Kathleen Kennedy Says Lucasfilm Is "Stepping Back" to Assess The Future Of 'Star Wars'

The argument could be made that Star Wars is the most popular, influential film series of all time. Even popular series like The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter have not come quite as close to the cultural impact that Star Wars has. While Harry Potter changed the teen fiction genre, and there is not a single work of fantasy that does not owe something to Tolkien, in terms of cinema, Star Wars takes the cake.

For a long time, the only Star Wars we had was the original trilogy. Things capped off nicely with Return of the Jedi in 1983. Then in 1999, we got more entries into the universe with the 1999 release of The Phantom Menace. To say that it, and indeed the entire prequel trilogy, were controversial would be a gross understatement. By 2006, however, as far as the films were concerned, we were once again left only with those films and the original, with a smattering animated stuff here and there.

Then came Disney.

In 2012, Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars for four billion dollars, and it released its first film in 2015. Over the next five years, Disney would release a total of five movies. For reference, it took Lucas twenty-five years to make five movies. Disney's works include shows like the incredibly popular The Mandalorian. However, it was when the film Solo flopped hard at the box office that it appeared that the general movie going public was... Star Warsed out. While The Mandalorian received fifteen Emmy nominations, and there is excitement for the Obi-Wan series on Disney+, the brakes have been hit when it comes to the movies.

Kathleen Kennedy, the head of Star Wars for the moment, said in an interview with The Wrap:

"And now we’re stepping back. Stories have been told within this universe over the last 40-odd years, and there’s now the realization that this is a mythology that actually spans about 25,000 years, when you really start to look at all the different stories that have been told, whether it’s in books and games. We just need the time to step back and really absorb what George has created, and then start to think about where things might go."

This could mean a lot of different things, but it does raise some interesting questions, especially regarding the movies. For Disney+, things are rather laid out, with two more seasons of The Mandalorian scheduled, as well as the aforementioned Obi-Wan series, a Cassian Andor series, and The Bad Batch series. If there are successes in that arena, and given the hype of the Obi-Wan series, alongside the adoration for The Mandalorian, there is no indication that they will not be mega-hits. Disney could focus on those arenas even more, and the movies could be left by the wayside for a while longer. So far, the movie releases are on pause until at least 2023, if not longer.

A big question is where exactly the movies could even go. The Skywalker saga has ended, with the three major actors expressing that they would rather not return to the universe. Given the loud hatred from a set of the fans, it is not hard to see why that would be the case.

To draw in viewers, Disney would have to come up with a really creative idea to get people into seats (assuming movie theaters will still exist in 2023 and COVID has not shut them all down). The flop of Solo shows that not any story will do. Plus, the likely success of the Obi-Wan show will probably be an indication that anything backstory-related would be better served in TV show form on Disney+. Star Wars is a vast, expansive universe, and most of the stories that people would want told would be better served on Disney+. A good example would be stories from the Old Republic era, showcased in popular media such as the Knights of the Old Republic games.

Three years is a long time, especially considering the unknown of a post-COVID world. Taking a step back from the Star Wars films gives Disney plenty of time to explore their options. What stories would be better served on the big screen instead of the small? Which ones lend themselves more to TV? As we get more and more Star Wars, I suppose we will find out.

Source(s): The Direct