Disney announces new Star Wars films every two years after culling jobs
I was sitting on a story about Disney cutting jobs back, shutting down LucasArts and halting its active projects for when I had time to write it up properly but then the story arrived that Disney has promised three new Star Wars trilogy films every two years from 2015, and that made me wonder why they had been cutting back.
Of course when one organisation takes over another there are job cutbacks expected, after all the organisation purchasing the other already has the commonly shared departments, however Disney doesn't have something to rival LucasArts and considering what they've done, how well they've done it and how eager the audience is.
It's also surprising considering that LucasArts had active Star Wars projects in development namely Star Wars 1313 which had already been developed far enough to show it off at industry events.
The BBC had the story about LucasArts being shut down by Disney, a company that came with LucasFilm when Disney bought it over and had been producing the Star Wars Jedi Knight series of games which I've always enjoyed playing.
It seems the decision has been made because the company have struggled to produce a hit game which seems strange considering the fan base that is available to them and the quality and depth of some of the games they've developed.
An article in Reuters told us some more about the story and suggested that more cuts were on the way which, their source told them, would focus on the marketing, home video and animation areas. The article does go on to suggest that these are all redundancies that are “natural” and come from areas that have been duplicated through purchases and natural wastage or aging.
Strange then that they are committing to new Star Wars films adding to the existing trilogy from 2015, each within two years of one another as well as more films in the franchise which will focus on individual characters in the series. That's a lot of work and investment, something that seems a big commitment even for the biggest of studios.
Perhaps Disney are making these cuts in order to be able to concentrate their efforts on producing these Star Wars films, but that still raises concerns.
There's a question of quality. We see it quite often when directors pull out of projects because the development time they are being given is just too short for them to believe that they can deliver a strong film. It may not be comparable in your eyes but Justin Lin just announced that with the Fast and Furious franchise, and he's the man who built it up to where it is today.
You also have to think what the Disney production model is, although it may not be their intention, what they do is develop a new film idea and then fire sequel after sequel at it until the sequels have to start appearing direct to video because they aren't going to do well enough in the cinema anymore, and the said thing is that this usually happens after the third or even second film. If that happens with Star Wars it will be dead before 2017, or 2019.
The announcement for the Star Wars films was made by Disney chairman Alan Horn and comes through The Guardian and he stated that there would be a new Star Wars main franchise film in 2015, 2017 and 2019, marking the new promised trilogy.
He also said that they plan the spin off films from Star Wars and confirmed that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are the ones working on the first spin off films, although it isn't clear if they are co-writing or writing separate films, my money is on separate films.
There are many rumours about these spin off films but so far nothing has been confirmed. Some say they will focus on the characters from the original trilogy and see their stories develop along with the main story line already created and set to screen.
It already sounds like a lot of work for the studio and it could well be that their cutbacks are to allow them to develop these to their full potential. It could also mean that they are going to struggle to produce them to the quality we expect, and considering we're talking about Disney and the way they have produced series in the past we could be set to see Star Wars drift to direct to video.
After all with three films coming from 2015 to 2019 and the potential for two more spin off films to join that run there's not only audience fatigue to consider but also Disney's direct to home cinema form.