After the news that Disney would be commissioning a number of 'Star Wars' spin-offs, we've been eager to find out exactly what this means for the 'Star Wars' universe. Will we finally see how Boba Fett survived the Sarlacc pit? Did Han Solo really make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs? But as we continue to speculate about which characters will receive the spin-off treatment, it seems that the powers that be have been sorting out an even bigger issue… just how quickly their new films are going to be made.
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Opening with a big announcement at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn has made a remarkable revelation - that they plan to release a new 'Star Wars' film every summer from 2015 onwards.
This means that from the release of 'Episode VII' we should expect a brand-new 'Star Wars' film every single year… but they won't all be sequels. It's currently planned that the sequel trilogy episodes (that's VII, VIII and IX) will be released every two years - with a spin-off film released in the "off-years".
But is that really such a good thing?
Don't get me wrong, the thought of a new 'Star Wars' film every year is certainly something to celebrate… but can they really make those films the very best they could be in such a short timeframe? As much as I hope the might of Disney can deliver, I'm not so sure that they can.
After all, the Hollywood Reporter claims that "Episode VII is set for release in 2015, but sources say Abrams has not committed to that release date, meaning the date could be changed if the development process requires it." Obviously, Abrams is a bit cagey when it comes to a short turn-around for a project as big as 'Episode VII'… but will this mean that the big-name director will be reluctant to commit to further sequels, given their two-year timeframes?
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While it would be a shame to lose such a devoted fan at the helm, it's not unusual for directors to come and go. Just look at the original trilogy - first directed by George Lucas himself, it eventually changed hands to both Irvin Kershner and Richard Marquand. But the trouble is in the timing. With Disney eager to shake things up at Lucasfilm, we've already seen the loss of 'The Clone Wars' and the closure of LucasArts… so what the fans really need right now is a bit of stability. Thankfully, it's reported that the spin-off movies will be focussed on already established characters… at least, to begin with.
Of course, whether or not this model will continue into the future is unclear… after 'Episode IX' is released, will they simply commission another trilogy? Or will they shift their focus to a series of independent stories? For now, we'll have to wait and see… but the future is definitely looking uncertain for the 'Star Wars' franchise.
Would you like to see a new 'Star Wars' film every year? Which spin-offs should they produce first?