As one of the most dominating juggernauts in entertainment, Disney has a lot riding on its upcoming streaming service Disney+, which is set to deliver various new entries in the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, among others. Obviously, marquee shows like The Mandalorian and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier require bigger budgets than those that the average broadcast or cable network would be able to command, but according to a new report, Disney's Marvel and Star Wars spending is mind-bogglingly astronomical.
To start with the outer space warfare of Star Wars's The Mandalorian, it's been reported that creator Jon Favreau and his highly talented creative team spent around an average of $15 million for each of its highly unique eight episodes. That means the final budget for the first live-action Star Wars TV show is around $120 million, which likely doesn't account for marketing and promotions.
Any level-headed person would probably scoff at the thought of $120 million being spent on less than ten episodes of a project on a service that isn't even out yet. Of course, a new Star Wars project with Disney-friendly Jon Favreau and Game of Thrones vet Pedro Pascal is one of the best ways to justify such a budget. Favreau has been working with amazing digital effects teams for films like The Jungle Book and this year's The Lion King, and he's already hinted at the TV show's CGI special effects being more impressive than George Lucas' prequel trilogy.
Jurassic World franchise star Bryce Dallas Howard served as a director for The Mandalorian, and she'd recently told CinemaBlend that that Jon Favreau and executive producer Dave Filoni (of Clone Wars and Rebels fame) were very open to allowing episode helmers to make their own creative choices. It wouldn't be difficult to imagine scenarios where one or more directors' audacious production plans could send the budget soaring, and it's also not hard to imagine the still-untitled Rogue One prequel hitting similarly high marks with its own budget.
Beyond the Star Wars universe, Marvel's media-crossing plans are in some ways even more astounding. According to THR, it's been rumored that WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Hawkeye are all planning to spend something around $25 million for each of their MCU-furthering episodes. Unlike The Mandalorian, which is aiming to continue with a Season 2 and likely more, Marvel's Disney+ series are all being planned as limited series, presumably meant to fully close out the stories for all the characters involved.
So, without a slew of episodes available to woo viewers in the long-term, Disney and Marvel are apparently reaching deep into their pockets to make sure that each and every MCU-related installment will be crafted to look as good if not better than the big screen blockbusters. Remember when Lost spent $10 million on its first episode, and it was the most talked-about pilot for years afterward? It's more than possible that either The Falcon and the Winter Soldier or Hawkeye will be able to fully takeover the "most impressive pilot" conversations in the future.
While ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't quite have the sheen of near- perfection that Marvel movies utilize, the series has seemingly had its own budget boosted in some respects. But it's a whole different ballgame when it comes to bringing the MCU's A-listers to small-screen streaming. There can be no compromising of quality where the Avengers characters are concerned, even if it means $25 million per episode becoming the norm.
Will that kind of spending influence all the other original series being put into production at Disney+, or had the execs already planned on allocating more funding to Marvel and Star Wars series from the beginning? It's not quite clear just yet, but it's safe to assume these were always expected to be expensive as shit.
With a solid lineup of new original and familiar classics getting released at launch, Disney+ will drop some new Star Wars into everyone's lives on Tuesday, November 11. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more about where Disney+'s money-throwing efforts are taking the company next.