Disney has no intention of bringing the Star Wars saga to a close once its new trilogy of films reaches its denouement, the studio’s chairman has revealed.
Bob Iger told the BBC that plans to continue delivering space opera instalments were in place for beyond 2019, when Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX is due to hit cinemas.
“There are five Star Wars films – four more with Episode VII: The Force Awakens – that are in varying stages of development and production,” he told Newsbeat. “There will be more after that. I don’t know how many; I don’t know how often.”
Iger’s comments confirm the suggestion made in a Wired magazine article from November – prior to the release of The Force Awakens – which drew on interviews with Star Wars insiders and indicated the saga could continue indefinitely.
“The company intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets,” wrote journalist Adam Rogers. “Let me put it another way: if everything works out for Disney, and if you are (like me) old enough to have been conscious for the first Star Wars film, you will probably not live to see the last one. It’s the for ever franchise.”
Iger also said Disney’s other big fantasy franchise, the Marvel “cinematic universe” is likely to run and run.
“Marvel, you’re dealing with thousands and thousands of characters [from the comic books] – that will go on forever,” he said, refuting suggestions that fans might eventually get bored with superhero movies.
“No, I don’t think they’re getting weary,” Iger added. “But I think we keep raising the bar in terms of telling stories that bring them back, that excite them, that make it feel new, and that is what we do for a living.”
The next Star Wars film in cinemas will be Rogue One, about a group of rebels who steal the plans to the first Death Star, on 16 December. JoBlo reported this week that the longstanding rumour that Darth Vader will appear in the movie is correct.
In other Star Wars news, Den of Geek reports that Harrison Ford’s triumphant return as Han Solo in The Force Awakens was almost ruined by creator George Lucas 10 years previously. According to an art book for 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, Solo would have appeared in cameo as a 10-year-old boy who is raised on the planet Kashyyyk as the adoptive son of Chewbacca, later his co-pilot on the Millennium Falcon.
As a radical shift in Star Wars lore, such a change might have had the potential to make Han failing to shoot first in the “special edition” of 1977’s Star Wars look relatively inconsequential. The website also reports that young Han was originally due to meet Yoda, who was on Kashyyyk in search of lightsaber-wielding cyborg General Grievous, and utter the immortal line: “I found part of a transmitter droid near the east bay. I think it’s still sending and receiving signals.”
Lucas is said to have cut the scene during the production process. A younger version of Solo will instead return in a new spin-off, tipped to appear in 2018, with Dave Franco, Logan Lerman and Scott Eastwood reportedly among the frontrunners to play the sardonic space scoundrel.