Disney Doubles Down on Star Wars “Hiatus”
On a shareholder earnings call this Tuesday (4th February) Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that, following The Rise of Skywalker, the Star Wars film series is officially on “hiatus”.
He added that “the priority in the next few years is television.”
This goes to show the mixed reactions between the Sequel Trilogy and The Mandalorian. Iger teased that as well as a second series for Jon Favreau’s lone bounty hunter there would be more coming, “including the possibility of infusing it with more characters and the possibility of taking those characters in their own directions in terms of series.”
Of the characters we know, the most likely would be Gina Carano’s Cara Dune, but we will have to wait and see. From Iger’s wording, it sounds more like they will be placing characters into The Mandalorian with the intention of spinning them off – which would be a risky idea anyway, not least given Disney’s track record so far.
Disney is also developing a series around Cassian Andor, the Rebel soldier played by Diego Luna in “Rogue One,” and one about Obi-Wan Kenobi starring Ewan McGregor. The Kenobi series, to be directed by Deborah Chow, was also recently put on hiatus to allow for a total re-write.
There are also rumours of a show featuring new-EU protagonist Doctor Aphra.
With the success of The Mandalorian, it makes sense for Disney to focus on what works. After all, given Lucasfilm’s three most recent films Rogue One looks increasingly like a fluke.
The box office drop-off for The Last Jedi followed by the under-performance of both Solo and The Rise of Skywalker shows how Johnson’s misinterpretation of Star Wars, along with the lack of a plan for the Sequel Trilogy, hurt the franchise. With this in mind, it’s notable that Iger declined to mention the films that have been prospectively scheduled for December 2022, 2024 and 2026. As yet no writers or directors are attached to either project.
Hopefully, this hiatus is enough time to clear the current leadership team out from Lucasfilm, bring in (or promote) real fans to lead the brand and set a plan for the next 5, 10, even 20 years.
We all knew Star Wars had potential when Disney bought it back in 2012. Now that they’ve squandered the biggest opportunity they had with the Sequel Trilogy, the only way is up.
They can, and should, take as long as they need to get it right.