While everyone currently finds themselves gearing up for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to hit theaters on December 18, the folks in charge are thinking long term towards the future of the franchise. Seemingly going against the established cinematic universe tradition, Disney and Lucasfilm have made the decision that these Anthology films don’t have to plant the seeds for long term franchises.
The Force Awakens will most certainly propel the main continuity of the saga forward, but there are also the future Anthology films to consider, such as the Han Solo prequel. Speaking with Slash Film, Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy explained that the Star Wars Anthology films have a very definitive structure in mind. Specifically, Kennedy laid said structure out as follows:
...[these movies] are not being designed to necessarily build new franchises...[they will] very definitely have a beginning, middle, and end.
Of course, this does not mean there are no set plans in place for a rich Star Wars cinematic universe. Rather, it merely means that the Lucasfilm seems to be more focused on proper episodic storytelling than committing an unnecessary amount of time to any one character or plotline. Considering the depth of the Star Wars galaxy, it could be argued that this model could work even better than something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the other jewel in Disney's live action crown has thus far only created a handful of standalone franchises, the Star Wars galaxy's enormous catalogue leaves a lot of universe to be explored.
Kathleen Kennedy also elaborated later in the interview that they do not feel beholden to creating a universe that moves forward in a linear fashion. What this essentially means is that standalone films produced for the Star Wars universe could be prequels, sequels, or take place concurrently with the main series of films. Ultimately, it all depends on what allows for the best means of storytelling.
One inherent advantages this affords the franchise is that the creative forces behind the films would not have to constantly cook up cheap resurrection plotlines to keep certain characters established within the universe. Based on this model we could even see an adaptation of Knights of the Old Republic, which takes place literally thousands of years before the rise of the Empire, as well as Boba Fett blasting his way out of the Sarlacc pit. Perhaps they have learned from the lukewarm performance of the last prequel trilogy not to stick to any one storyline or time period for too long and instead use a method that would allow them to change course at any time, without being too slavishly bound to one story's framework.
A pessimist would argue Kathleen Kennedy with the hypothesis that this model means their favorite characters won’t receive thorough exploration across multiple movies. On the other hand, an optimist would speculate that this allows the Star Wars franchise to take a wider view of its universe faster than any other franchise. Quite frankly we’re opting to take the latter opinion on this matter, which could either be emboldened or revised after Rogue One: A Star Wars Story lands in theaters next December.
What are your thoughts on the future of the Star Wars franchise? Let us know in the comments below!