Life support

Why is the ‘Star Wars’ movie franchise on life support?

Reports of the death of the theatrical experience are greatly exaggerated.

We’ve seen several blockbusters in recent months, from “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” to “The Batman,” following the pandemic shutdowns. In between, non-franchised adventures like “The Lost City” and “Uncharted” made a lot of money on their own.

Still, the galaxy’s biggest franchise has no immediate plans to throw the party.

This week “Star Wars” Extravaganza announced a new series tied to George Lucas’ vision along with updates on existing projects.

But where are the movies?

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, excoriated by many fans for crushing the space saga, sounded like a politician when asked the question.

Spoiler alert: you won’t be seeing a new “Star Wars” movie anytime soon.

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The small screen will give us “Obi-Wan Kenobi”, “Andor” and a new project with Jude Law called “Skeleton Crew”. And, of course, “The Mandalorian” season three is set to drop early next year.

That’s all well and good, and it should boost Disney+ in its battle with Netflix. And the movies? The “Star Wars” saga has dominated theaters for decades. Audiences once camped out in front of cinemas to ensure they watched early screenings in the analog era.

A “Star Wars” movie, good or bad, was a cultural event.

Now? We hear about various “Star Wars” movie projects, but they either remain out of reach or delayed indefinitely.

  • Ryan Johnson’s new “Star Wars” trilogy? He’s busy with the “Knives Out” franchise.
  • “Rogue Squad?” by Patty Jenkins Back to the drawing board
  • Taika Waititi’s take on “Star Wars?” Soon (but not soon-soon)

Is it difficult to make movies in the “Star Wars” universe? Here is a scary prospect.

“The Rise of Skywalker” hit theaters three years ago, earning $412 million less than 2015’s “The Force Awakens.”

“Solo: A Star Wars Story” flopped, by blockbuster standards, with a haul of $213 million, in the United States.

Additionally, “The Last Jedi” proved to be a smash hit, but it angered much of the fan base with its awakening lectures and earth-shattering beats.

These warning signs clearly spooked the Kennedy team. Lucasfilm is also out of the Skywalker business, at least on the big screen, which reduces the number of beloved characters to lean on.

Television provides a safer landing spot for new “Star Wars” fare.

Theatrical releases require a huge level of marketing and hype, and they inevitably get compared to the best “Star Wars” movies along the way.

The stakes are lower on the small screen. People watch them at home, without the pressure of finding a babysitter or overpaying for popcorn and drinks.

The Disney team has literally all the resources in the world to create the best “Star Wars” films possible. Yet the film franchise remains in dry dock.

Disney has recovered the “Star Wars” saga in 2012 for $4 billion, clearly hoping to make movies for the foreseeable future. A decade later, “Star Wars” is a small-screen affair.


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