The Skywalker Saga has come to a close and while we know that, without a doubt, we'll be getting more Star Wars on the big screen, we know just short of nothing about what that means. Initial plans to release one Star Wars movie a year have apparently been entirely killed, as we're now waiting until 2022 before a new schedule that will place films every other year gets underway. We'd known even before these new films were officially announced that Star Wars was taking a "hiatus," Disney CEO Bob Iger had made that clear. However, he recently made another statement which explains this decision a bit more clearly.
Yesterday The Walt Disney Company held it's quarterly earnings all for investors, and while most of the information was dry financial stuff that's only going to be interesting to the biggest nerds (hi), the call usually reveals a few interesting details about what the company has planned on the content side. A lot of the call was spent touting the success of Disney+ as a whole, and The Mandalorian specifically, and Iger also said that The Mandalorian and the other Star Wars projects currently planned for Disney+ are part of the reason that we won't see a big screen Star Wars for a while, Lucasfilm's attention is simply being placed somewhere else. In Iger's words...
The priority [for the franchise] in the next few years is television.
While we won't be getting Star Wars on the big screen for a while, we will be getting a decent amount of new Star Wars on the small one. Bob Iger confirmed during the call that Season 2 of The Mandalorian would start in October, and that future seasons and even spinoffs of the show were possible. In addition, the Rogue One prequel series starring Diego Luna was also mentioned, and while the Obi-Wan series is apparently going through some stuff, it seems that everybody is confident the show is still happening.
Even with a company the size of Disney, there are only so many resources to go around, and so you can't do everything at once and do it well. That's certainly something Disney has learned the hard way. Bob Iger has fallen on his sword and taken the blame for the franchise moving too quickly, which is clearly another reason why Star Wars is slowing down.
But it's obviously not the only reason, and it's not just Star Wars. The reason that the focus for Star Wars isn't the big screen right now is that, for the most part, nobody within Disney is focusing on the big screen. All eyes are on Disney+. The launch of the streaming service is the biggest new initiative in the company since Disney built a new Disneyland in Shanghai. This thing has to work, so even if there had been no hiccups in Star Wars on the big screen, we likely would have found ourselves in exactly this same place.
All the rumors were that that a project being developed for Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi was going to be a movie, but now it's a Disney+ series. Part of that reason may truly be that it was decided the project was a better fit for a longer format, but there's no way that part of the consideration wasn't also that such a popular character would draw eyeballs to Disney+.
In a few years, we will almost certainly have new Star Wars movies and Disney+ series all hitting together, but Disney wants to be sure that the live-action series get off to a good start, and that means taking all the best available talent and getting them to focus on that goal.