Editors' Choice

How Many Is Too Many “Star Wars” Movies?

Steve Porter / June 19, 2018

Now that Solo: A Star Wars Story has flopped at the box office, we have to wonder what’s next for Star Wars. The first new film set in a galaxy far, far away, The Force Awakens, was a complete success and rekindled mainstream public interest in Star Wars after ten years. However, each sequel thereafter has seen a distinct drop in audience interest and financial return. It might be time for Disney to ask itself: how many is too many Star Wars movies?

When the Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm in 2012 they seemed determined to turn Star Wars into another franchise juggernaut to match the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Over the following years they announced an ambitious slate of films, launching a new trilogy of movies (starting with The Force Awakens) and a series of unconnected “anthology films” (starting with Rogue One). But after the initial fervor for the first instalment faded away, it seems clear that Disney has pushed too far too fast.

The Last Jedi, while by no means a flop, suffered from a marked drop at the box office—pulling in $1.333 billion compared to $2.068 billion for The Force Awakens. Written and directed by neophyte Rian Johnson, The Last Jedi alienated hardcore fans and seemed to distract—but not excite—general audiences. Worse, Solo also underperformed at the box office and was released just five months after previous entry.

It will take a lot to get someone into the theater and watch a new Star Wars movie every six months. Not every story needs to be a “franchise” and not every franchise can sustain dozens of entries. Given the failure—if only in comparison—of other “franchises” like the DCEU, Universal’s Dark Universe, and complete nonstarters like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and John Carter of Mars, the MCU might be an exception, not a gameplan.

Disney’s planning two new standalone movies featuring Boba Fett and Obi Wan, a trilogy of movies penned by Rian Johnson, and another, separate, series of movies by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. That’s too many Star Wars movies. We really don’t want Disney to run Star Wars into the ground. Disney needs to pump the brakes and take a hard look at their roster of upcoming movies.