The future of the Star Wars franchise has been in limbo as of late, with projects being moved around and shelved – or in some cases being downright cancelled, like the latest EA-developed open world Star Wars video game being scrapped completely.
Now, we get news that director J.D. Dillard (Sleight) and Luke Cage writer Matt Owens have been given the task to develop a new project, but whether its a theatrical release or Disney+ one, only time will tell.
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The Flagging Star Wars Franchise
Disney and Lucasfilm seem to be trying hard to develop and boost Disney+’s staying power. Having to compete amongst the proverbial evil empires that are Netflix and Hulu is tough, and Disney chairman Bob Iger went on record earlier this month saying that Star Wars‘ foreseeable future was in television, with theatrical movies going on a hiatus.
The next theatrical film remains on the release calendar for December 16, 2022. Other entries remain planned for December 2024 and December 2026, although those dates could be pushed back even further if you consider that the subject and writers of the new trilogy are no longer in place.
The returns on the last two theatrical releases have been lackluster by Disney standards – Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker ‘only’ grossed $1.07 billion globally since its December launch and the 2018 spinoff film Solo only took in a dismal $392.9 million.
This trend has been going ever consistently downhill since Disney’s first offering, when 2015’s The Force Awakens brought in $2.07 billion. This has led Iger to concede last September in a New York Times article that “we might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast.” With that being said, they seem to be taking a page out of Disney’s other successful playbook and having Marvel CEO Kevin Feige help to clean up the inconsistencies within the Lucasfilm camp.
A New Hope
But there is hope on the horizon. Since its November 12 launch, The Mandalorian series created by Jon Favreau has been credited with helping to drive Disney+ to 28.6 million subscribers. A second season of the hit show will thus arrive in October.
On a February 4 call with investors, Iger described the show as “a bona fide hit and a cultural phenomenon” and said the studio has “a few Star Wars series in varying stages of production and development.”
Iger added that, “the priority forStar Wars in the short term is going to be, I’ll call it television for Disney+, and then we will have more to say about development of theatrical soon after that.”
Dillard’s last movie was Sweetheart, a horror thriller that starred Kiersey Clemons, and he recently directed an episode of the Gillian Flynn-created series Utopia over on Amazon. Owens is currently co-writing One Piece, an ambitious live-action adaptation of the eponymous manga for Netflix, as well as having Luke Cage under his belt.
The duo looks to be a good pair to take on a new Lucasfilm IP, which could include various Disney+ Star Wars spinoffs such as the one centering on Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi or Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor from Rogue One. These are merely the series that we already know are in the works, but several other shows are slated to be released as well. For now, we can only speculate for what’s next for the galaxy far, far away.
Do you think J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens are the right fit to take Star Wars into its next phase, or would you like a different duo? Let us know in the comments below.