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Well now it’s official: Lucasfilm will alternate new trilogy Star Wars movies with what Walt Disney Co. CFO Jay Rasulo called “origin story” films each year, starting with 2015’s Star Wars Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams.
Rasulo confirmed the long-standing rumor during an investor conference call Thursday, prompting speculation that earlier rumors of a Yoda movie would also turn out to be true. (Other characters mentioned when the prequel rumor first appeared earlier this year were Han Solo and Boba Fett. Apparently no one has the foresight to demand the Young Lando Calrissian cinema so desperately needed.)
There are two immediate reactions to this particular confirmation:
- Obviously, Disney is very intent on making sure that the Lucasfilm purchase turns out to be as lucrative a business decision as possible, even if it ultimately harms the long-term value of the Star Wars franchise. (Seriously, can the franchise support an annual movie? Guess we’ll find out somewhere around 2017, when we’re three movies in.)
- Obviously, Disney didn’t realize that the math of Star Wars + Prequel tends to result in fear from the fanbase, thanks to Episodes I through III.
Over the next few years, Star Wars is going to go through a fascinating shift from fondly remembered mass-market movie series with smaller, more dedicated fandom to … well, something else that’s not entirely clear yet. Will it turn into a second Marvel (Surely Disney’s hope), a second Star Trek or somewhere in between?
At this point, who can tell. Bear in mind, we don’t know whom the “origin story” movies will focus on. They might be characters from the new continuity or even (gasp) brand-new ones. But if the “off-year” movies tend to look backward when it comes to character choices and stories they tell, then the main trilogy movies released during the “on-years” will have to be something really special to attract audiences other than the already faithful.
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Melvin Van Peebles