Is Disney spending too much on the 'Star Wars' live action TV series?

Peter Turner

Star Wars. Not bored of it yet? That’s good, because there’s plenty more on the way. Following The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi and Solo all in the space of three years, we’re getting the first live action Star Wars TV series.

Now it’s all very clear that Disney has plenty of money to throw at these films. It bought Lucasfilm back in 2012 for a very cool $4 billion. Then it made bucket loads back on the likes of Force Awakens, Rogue One and The Last Jedi. In fact Disney has made back its original $4 billion on those three films alone and that’s just from box office dollars. Factor in all the other ways these films are pulling in money from merchandise to DVD sales and Disney is likely thinking that it got itself a bargain from Star Wars creator George Lucas.

Star Wars fatigue?

But then came Solo, the second of the Star Wars stand alone stories. It may be the 11th biggest film of 2018 so far, but its $391 million box office is a huge disappointment. Star Wars fatigue may be setting in ahead of the so-far untitled Episode IX.


Moving to TV

According to The New York Times, Disney is now spending roughly $100 million on 10 episodes of the first ever Star Wars live action TV series. So that’s probably around half of what Disney has spent on each of the last four films. But is it too much? An average of $10 million per episode might not sound risky considering the history of the Star Wars franchise. But given the lower than expectations performance of Solo, you could forgive Disney for being a little more cautious.

In comparison, the previous Star Wars animated TV shows had far lower budgets. The Clone Wars and Rebels are said to have cost closer to half a million to a million dollars per episode.

To be fair, TV is getting more expensive. HBO is flinging silly money at the final series of Game of Thrones, but then a) it’s the final season… and b) it’s Game of Thrones. The fans have earned this. Not to mention that HBO know how much is can reasonably spend on the episodes and still make huge profits. So $15 million per episode for the final six episodes seems fair.

But Star Wars is trying to strut straight out of the door with their $10 million episodes. Yes they have lots of fans in the bag. Yes they need to create a quality product that costs a lot to make. No doubt Disney will be forking out for top quality talent with Jon Favreau already on board as showrunner. But isn’t $10 million an episode a little ridiculous for a first season? What the hell will be the price tag for episodes if (and probably, when) they make it to season 10?

Do you think Disney is being over confident, or are they flashing the cash for good reason?

Read more

Why Jon Favreau makes perfect sense for Star Wars TV series
Star Wars TV: Why television should be the new home for the franchise after Episode IX