The GeeksverseStar Wars Sequels and Spin Offs

Star Wars Sequels and Spin Offs
Published on Monday, December 3, 2012 by

Disney buying Star Wars was a geek splitting headline. Apparently, after spending a few billion on the property the House of Mouse plans on putting plans together quickly. If the new Star Wars movies, episodes VII, VII, and IX can pull in Avengers sized crowds then conservative estimates expect that Disney has brokered a good deal. Cashing in on related merchandise guarantees that even weak well marketed films can remake the money. Is that enough? No.

Now, The Hollywood Reporter  is confirming The Empire Strikes Back” screenplay writer Lawrence Kasdan and “Sherlock Holmes” writer Simon Kinberg have been hired to work on future Star Wars projects. The two writers are not working on the roman numeral inducing sequel episodes. Instead, the rumor is that Disney will go full on Avengers and add related films to the world of Star Wars as well as the movies with direct plot interactions.

What does this mean? It means that we may have to start specifying what the term sequel means. Richard Roundtree’s appearance in Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft already made film goers question if the newer John Singleton film was a remake or a sequel, and how the new 2000 movie fit with the popular 70s franchise of films and unsuccessful short lived, forgotten, TV show. Singleton went on record that if Bond could be revived for every generation then why couldn’t a central hero like Shaft.

Well, if Avengers can pull together a cast of heroes into a cast of box office success films, then why shouldn’t Star Wars? Disney broke apart the stories of each key Avenger separately before combining them together to make one super film. That combined success has led to more than $1.5 billion in worldwide box office sales to date. This success also points to the operational question of, is Captain America a sequel to Iron Man? While not in the traditional sense, Captain America doe follow two Iron Man films, with character and plot cross over to expand the world. Even academics aside, the average popcorn popper understood that something in Captain America was tied to Iron Man and needed to buy a ticket to both before Avengers. Even when those connections were nearly limited to the after-credit scene, the gimmick sold tickets. The true test of the “Avengers Model” is how the average movie goer will respond to Guardians of the Galaxy next year.

If it works for Avengers then why not Star Wars? In fact, it has already worked for Star Wars, so why not do it again? In the planning and editing for the next three film set, why not branch out plot points and characters into separate films. This would allow fans to follow characters, like Bobba Fett, that appear only momentarily in the original film yet still garner cult status as a cool character.  This “Avengers model” helps flesh out the Star Wars universe into a more plausible reality.  Following Tolkien’s lead, the Secondary Creation may be more important than the individual film works.

When discussing Star Wars films, I am always quick to point out that I am a traditionalist. I reject most of the new trilogy and the convoluted renumbering that the prequels require. I stick with the original films.

The original films:

  • Star Wars (1977) dir. George Lucas
  • The Empire Strikes Back (1980) dir. George Lucas
  • Return of the Ewok (1982)dir. David Tomberlin
  • Return of the Jedi (1983) dir. George Lucas
  • Ewoks: Battle for Endor (1985) dir. Jim Wheat

Those films developed enough of a world building secondary creation that my Cultural Geography professor required us to write an in-depth analysis of the Ewok culture. Even before Cameron’s Avatar, movies created entire new species, worlds, and cultures in movies.

It would not be surprising to see more than just three films added to the original series. Under the helm of George Lucas three prequel films and a series of Clone Wars cartoons were added to the original five movies. It would also not be surprising to learn that Disney wanted to bring a mix of movie and television projects to market out of Star Wars since the franchise has a 30 year history doing so.

This would also fall in line with Disney CEO Bob Iger’s plans to release a new film every two to three years.   Continued marketing and merchandising needs product. Keeping movies in the theaters or on DVD helps keep the t-shirts, mugs, and pet sweaters moving. Star Wars is no stranger to product marketing. The two trilogies alone define good product shilling.

Ultimately, Hollywood Reporters’ rumors do not mean that script writers Kasdan or Kinberg are working on a film either, or any particular film. Although the Disney acquisition went from wild speculation to news headline faster than the Disney Buys Hasbro rumor took to be debunked.

Personally, as a casual Star Wars fan and not a rabid enthusiast, I find the Business Insider rumor of a Casablanca sequel much more disturbing.

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