Last night, we reported on the shocking announcement from Lucasfilm: that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would not be creating a new trilogy of Star Wars films, making an already-questionable future for the franchise that much more questionable. It already seemed as though Rian Johnson’s own trilogy of films was in jeopardy, and with many fans being not-so-keen on him, there is a giant gaping question mark on the horizon, past Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Sure, we have the Cassian Andor series, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, but that’s all on Disney+. What of the film franchise? What should Lucasfilm do next? We thought we’d have a discussion here among the LRM Online staff.
Cam (Staff News Writer): So I don’t think anyone is going to be surprised by my view here. I’ve been harping on about this since Avengers: Endgame came out. Kevin Feige to produce a trilogy helmed by the Russos and written by Markus and McFeeley.
In my head there’s a game being played where they need to pretend like all is well for the sake of The Rise of Skywalker. After that I think Kennedy ‘retires’ and they give Feige a shot, even if just on a temporary basis. The talent, well that speaks for itself really, need I say more?
I do think they need to delay the release date of the next Star Wars movie. It would be a bad idea to rush to meet a release date once again. They need to get this right and have an outline at least for where the story goes in 2 and 3.
James Burns (Interviewer/Resident Disney Expert): Indiana Jones.
Cam: You call him Dr. Jones!
Joseph Jammer Medina (Editor-in-Chief): So, basically what I’m hearing from James there is that they should stop working on Star Wars movies for now and shift their entire focus on Indiana Jones?
I mean, I can see the benefit there. Artificially deprive audiences of Star Wars so they realize how much they actually want it, and in the meantime focus on another dormant franchise they have the rights to. That being said, the problem there is that I don’t see any Indy film being anywhere near as profitable as any Star Wars movie — Solo notwithstanding.
James: Regarding your Indy comments: Star Wars needs a break. Indy might not be as profitable, but hasn’t proven to be profitable in the past (even Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Solo box-office failure was due to behind the scenes drama and lack of advertising. That said, why not utilize a multi-billion dollar franchise?
Jammer: While I see your point — and I could be wrong — I just don’t see the hunger out there for Indy. Yeah, people love it, but do we really want to see a geriatric Harrison Ford running around with a whip?
And addressing Cam’s strategy…it feels like an obvious one for the studio, but given all that Feige still has on his plate shepherding the MCU and now the entirety of Marvel I think his time will be limited. I can see him producing a few movies — maybe even a new trilogy — but I can’t see him taking over for Kathleen Kennedy. It makes sense for Disney, but not as much for him. I like the idea of the Russos and their writers doing a Star Wars movie, but it would have to be a while away. At least five years. If you want to go another seven years without a Star Wars movie, I think that’s the way to go.
That being said, there is another way. What if they give Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau a shot at this? We know they both are steeped in the world, and the former filmmaker has already gotten his feet wet in the live-action world. What’s more, we know that Favreau is the safe option (and I mean that in the best way possible) to kickstart things in a new direction. He has a good sense of what audiences like to see, and can perhaps direct the first film and produce the rest. Filoni can direct the second. That only leaves the third.
Either way, I think Kathleen Kennedy should exit once her contract is up. As much as I have personally loved the movies under her watch, it’s hard to ignore the sheer number of talented creatives who have had to part ways with her. We’ve had Phil Lord & Chris Miller, Colin Trevorrow, Josh Trank, D&D — and that’s not even including the shadow directing that had to be done by Tony Gilroy.
James: I think, done well, an Indy movie would do gangbusters. I’m interested to see Disney tackle the character. Bob Iger has mentioned him multiple times, so I do think we will see something regarding the character soon. I’m hoping to, at least.
Jammer: It doesn’t help that Harrison Ford keeps insisting on being involved and that he’s the only Indy. They’re going to have to screw him over if they want to continue these films in any meaningful way beyond one more one-off. But do you actually want to see Indy return in any capacity beyond a one-off? Does it have the latitude to actually become a fully-fledged modern franchise? I don’t think so.
Cam: I love Indy, I wish they had made more films years ago when Ford was growing older. But he’s an old man and I simply don’t know if he has it in him to be in a great Indy movie again?
WRT Filoni and Favreau, let’s wait and see how good Mando is before we start that. Trailers are trailers, and don’t necessarily tell you the quality of the final product. They should wait 5 years for the Russo’s what’s the rush? Rushing is what led them here in the first place.
I see Sam Jackson walking in to see Feige dressed as Mace Windu.
“Sam, how’s it going?”
“Listen up motherf**ker, I’m putting a team together, I want to talk to you about the Star Wars initiative.”
Jammer: Ha! You keep on dreamin’ the dream, Cam! I will say, as far as Mandalorian goes, the trailers haven’t done much for my excitement, but I do like the visuals and concept. Couple that with my love for Spaghetti Westerns, and you have me there on day one.
James: I’ve seen 27 minutes of footage from the Mandalorian and it’s made me beyond excited. Although I think Indy is next, I believe Disney+ is the future of Star Wars. I also think Lucasfilm needs more original franchises to stay alive.
Jammer: Okay, let’s follow that thread. Perhaps their next step isn’t to push Star Wars or Indy down our throats. Maybe their next step is to develop new franchises in the interim. Maybe they get some great minds to help develop some high-concept ORIGINAL ideas. Build it on the backs of the Lucasfilm brand, that good ol’ Disney money, and well-known filmmakers. This can be their breathing period to help invest in the longevity of Lucasfilm, not just Star Wars.
James: But what separates them from say Fox? They only deal in a specific genre? What makes them a unique production house beyond Star Wars and Indy? In other words— Marvel is superheroes, Fox is live-action films, what is Lucasfilm if not the Wars?
Jammer: I can see your point. What would differentiate Lucasfilm from Fox and Disney live-action movies in terms of branding? Perhaps that’s what happens next for them. They strive to make an identity beyond those two brands. As far as Fox goes. Fox has no identity. At least not to the mainstream public. To them, Fox is just a studio. But Disney has been great in creating studios with identity. Disney Animation, Pixar, Marvel Studios, etc. Maybe Lucasfilm can do well to expand it. Basically make their identity as archetypal, character-driven stories that feel like fun, theme park attractions. Martin Scorsese, eat your heart out.
The long and short of it is that Lucasfilm has plenty of options at their disposal, but we seem to agree that at least some sort of hiatus for Star Wars on the big screen may be best for the franchise, even if it is just a few years.
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