Disney president Bob Iger confirmed in the company’s quarterly earnings call yesterday that the immediate priority for Star Wars “in the next few years is television.” Based on reaction across the Internet, you’d think that this signals the end of Star Wars as we know it. Let’s all settle down and take a breath. First and foremost, we already knew that. Iger confirmed that back in December. And we’re only talking about a three year wait until the next feature film. So why all the Star Wars panic now?
Let’s look at this a little more practically. Remember the original trilogy? The one that launched the multi-billion dollar industry that is Star Wars? Those three films were released in 1977, 1980, and 1983. Notice anything there? That’s right; a three year span between films. The next theatrical release wouldn’t arrive until The Phantom Menace in 1999. (That’s a sixteen-year gap between films, for those not wanting to do the math.) And yet… no Star Wars panic then. The Force Awakens? That came a full decade following Revenge of the Sith.
Star Wars panic completely misplaced
The fact that Lucasfilm will focus on small screen endeavors for the next few years should be welcome news to fans. It should not be cause for Star Wars panic. Sure, the feature films are part of the allure of the franchise. Notwithstanding, they are only a part. There are books, comic books, audio books, animated series, and now (finally!) live-action television series. The Mandalorian returns for its second season in October of this year. An Obi-Wan Kenobi series is on the way, too. Likewise, Rogue One spy Cassian Andor and his sarcastic sidekick K-2SO are getting their own series as well.
The new television series like The Mandalorian are doing exactly what the books, comics and other features have done throughout the history of the franchise. (Expanded Universe, anyone?) Lucasfilm is simply providing great Star Wars content in between and outside of the feature films. Now, however, it is doing so with a different media than in the past. So stop all the Star Wars panic, people. This is a good thing, not the opposite.
Now who wants to lay odds on who the new characters to be infused into The Mandalorian will be? My money is still on Doctor Aphra. I supposed we’ll find out in just eight months’ time.