“Rogue One” is only days away now. The Hollywood premiere was only days ago, and by all accounts and the Twitter comments by attendees, and influential stars, directors, and industry types, it’s going to be another home-run for Disney. You can bemoan their bastardization of merchandise, and their slapping of character images on anything and everything they can, Disney has however taken our beloved brand and pumped so much reinvigorated excitement into it that you cannot criticize their efforts. Much like they have done with their $4 billion dollar acquisition of Marvel a decade ago, they are now doing with their $4 billion investment of Lucasfilm.
“The Force Awakens,” to date, has grossed $2.06 billion, and current box office guru prognosticators, anticipate a $350 million dollar opening weekend domestic, and international combined for “Rogue One”. It is entirely possible, especially based on positive reviews and repeated viewings, that “Rogue One” could reach $1 billion. An astounding feat perhaps, but it speaks to the enduring interest in Star Wars, a fact not lost on Disney. They should also be credited for smart casting choices and careful decisions regarding directors and writers. They are engaged in the filmmaking process, and I think, they have made a wise, concerted effort to appease the fan base. They know if they botch it, these fans will turn fast, bear their fangs, and erupt into geek rage. Taking all of this into account, and moving past “Rogue One,” this now bears asking, where do they go from here?
Kathleen Kennedy says, they are waiting to see how “Rogue One” performs at the box office before they start moving forward on other films besides the previously announced, Han Solo film and the forthcoming Episode VIII. Yes, we’ve heard rumors a Star Wars story film revolving around Yoda and his early career as a Jedi. Obviously, it’s speculated, and I wrote a previous and blog on the prospect of a Boba Fett standalone film. But, beyond these safe bets, and likely, profitable excursions into the Star Wars ‘secondary market’ of characters, where else does Disney go? What other stories do they mine? I’m sure they have a short list of potential characters they could use or possible timeframes. I think there’s still a wealth of storylines that could be pursued post “Return of the Jedi” and before “The Force Awakens.” That’s easily a two decade stretch they could fill.
I know after seeing “Antman” and what they did with regressive special effects with Michael Douglas, that there might be some future Luke Skywalker films. Sebastian Stan, who played the Winter Soldier in the Marvel movies, actually has an eerily close resemblance to Mark Hamill. I wouldn’t mind seeing Stan stepping in as Luke to pursue and seek out new Jedi, or training the young Ben Solo. It also seems to me that there’s backstory that needs to be filled in on Snoke and how the First Order came into being. I would imagine that after the defeat of the Emperor that there were many factions of generals, Moffs, and random Imperials fighting for control of the remnants of the military. I suppose, with a strong enough story, some sort of Imperial Civil War film, could help set up future films that fill, the 20-year gap.
I know many fans would love to see a Knights of the Old Republic film, but is that ‘mainstream’ enough? I know from a gamer standpoint, it has its following, but is it strong enough to support a feature length film? The last few years have not seen many successful video games to film efforts. I also think getting outside of the Skywalkers is both highly promising, but also dangerous. It’s what many fans grew up with and everyone certainly felt the nostalgia seeing Han, Leia, and Luke in “The Force Awakens.” But at the same time, you cannot anchor future films around this trio (especially with Han’s demise), and my expectation is that Leia will be next. But will Rey, Poe, and Finn have the same chemistry to carry a future trilogy of films on their own? This has yet to be determined, but we’ll see what Episode VIII brings. I don’t necessarily think Disney hasn’t taken a risk yet. The young Han film is still a ‘known quantity,’ and will also have Lando, and presumably Chewbacca, so it’s still going to feel very familiar.
Disney hasn’t stumbled yet with their acquisition of Lucasfilm and it doesn’t look like “Rogue One” is going to trip them up either.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!
I’m a jack of many traits, but a master of none. But I love Star Wars, drawing, writing, photography, and dabble in novice Cosplay. I’m a proud dad to two scifi, fantasy loving kids and have a wife who puts up with my shenanigans. Besides my monthly blogs for the Cantina Cast, I also review movies weekly in my column ‘Film Unfiltered’ for the Valley Breeze in RI. You can find me on Facebook at teburke3, Twitter and Instagram @thomasburke3rd. MTFBWY