Disney Chairman Alan Horn Discusses the Future of Star Wars
Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn recently had a lot to say about the future of the company after they complete their acquisition of Fox. By extension, that also means the future of Star Wars, ranging from comments about J.J. Abrams’s Episode IX, The Mandalorian, and referencing internal discussions are in place on what the next Star Wars movie will be.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Horn talked a lot about Disney+, and the subject inevitably shifted over to what Lucasfilm was going to bring to the table. As it turns out, the first live-action Disney+ series that the company is going to bring to the table is Star Wars: The Mandalorian. Horn says that the idea for the show came from Lucasfilm and not Disney:
“Kathy Kennedy and Lucasfilm came up with the idea — it wasn’t mine — of an episodic Star Wars series called The Mandalorian, done by Jon Favreau.”
As of right now, we also know that the project’s development also halted development of a major film project with Boba Fett as the lead – which is interesting, considering how he had some of the most appearances in the Legends continuity out of any character, and he’s largely been absent from the canon timeline. It almost feels like Lucasfilm was holding him back until after they released that project, but since it never happened, fans have had to make do with other characters wearing Mandalorian armor.
Of course, when it comes to discussing this franchise on a corporate level, the elephant in the room is Solo, the sole movie in the series to not be a gangbusters hit upon arrival and one that arguably faced the most trouble out of any Star Wars production ever, which is saying a lot considering the history of the franchise behind the scenes. But internally, Horn does not consider the movie a failure:
“It’s always a challenge because — and I say this with love and respect for media — the thing about these big movies is they get a lot of attention, whether positive or negative. So when they don’t work, like Solo, the media says it’s a failure. I think it was a pretty good movie. It didn’t resonate as much as we’d hoped it would, but the press writes it up in a more negative way than I would. These are very high-profile movies.”
So of course, the pressure’s on to make sure that Star Wars: Episode IX tops it, which likely won’t be that difficult considering that Solo made less than $400M (which the new movie should probably top in its global opening weekend, give or take a day). Horn is very pleased with what he’s seen so far:
“I went to the set, and was with J.J. [Abrams], Kathy and the cast. I watched a couple of scenes being shot and then we all had dinner. I have not seen a cut of it yet, but I watch dailies every weekend and send J.J. and Kathy a note every weekend. It’s a big deal, and it’s going to be terrific.”
“It’s all in discussion.”
Editorializing a bit here, but my guess: David Benioff and D. B. Weiss’ first installment of their series of films ought to arrive first, followed by the first entry in Rian Johnson’s trilogy. This speculation would line up with what we’ve heard regarding Johnson’s projects, which he recently confirmed once again, is still happening.
This approach of silence about Lucasfilm’s future slate makes perfect sense. Star Wars is not, and will never be, Marvel. There is never going to be an Avengers-like film where Enfys Nest teams up with Captain Phasma, Qui-Gon Jinn, Max Rebo, and a few others to fight the ghost of Darth Bane, and that’s perfectly alright. Right now, all eyes need to be on Star Wars: Episode IX to position that film as the biggest event in the franchise’s short history with Disney since The Force Awakens, and keeping quiet for now is way smarter for their bottom line than creating the sort of “Another Star Wars movie already?” mindset that some argue contributed to Solo‘s disappointing performance. For now, James Cameron’s Avatar sequels will likely help Disney hold the fort on the “big December sci-fi tentpole” side of things until the next Star Wars movie arrives.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.