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Disney Confirms Unimaginative, Boring Plan To Make ‘Star Wars’ Spinoffs “Origin Story Films”

Disney Confirms Unimaginative, Boring Plan To Make 'Star Wars' Spinoffs “Origin Story Films”

When news emerged earlier this year that “Star Wars” spinoff movies were being eyed alongside the new trilogy, with Han Solo, Boba Fett and Yoda reportedly getting standalone films, there was definitely a spark of interest and potential, even from longtime fans who felt burned by the prequels. Maybe this would be the area where Disney and Lucasfilm would exercise some real creative freedom. How awesome would a dark and gritty Han Solo movie be? What about a ’70s vibe genre flick for Boba Fett? Well, keep dreaming because Disney has some pretty dull plans for these characters.

Disney chief financial officer Jay Rasulo spoke today during the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference and reassured the room full of moneymen worried about their stock portfolios that, “of all our worries, ‘Star Wars’ is not one of them.” And it’s a very telling statement considering he re-confirmed “Star Wars” release plans, which will see a sequel and spinoff released in alternating years, with the latter to be an “origin story film.” Sigh. And from a totally cynical, depressing point of view, it makes complete sense.

Why was a “Cars” sequel and a “Planes” spinoff made? For the simple reason that the licensing from that franchise rakes it in more than any other Pixar title. And when it comes to Lucasfilm, which Disney bought, what will be the easiest, most boring way to cash in on that $4 billion investment? Keep printing the money that fans are already spending on all manner of products featuring the iconic characters. It’s just simple math at the end of the day, and the safest course of action for Disney execs and shareholders (joke is on you if you think this is about what the fans want). And especially coming off two expensive, risky megaflops—”John Carter” and “The Lone Ranger“—Disney is not going to be taking any more chances and something that isn’t a certainty or that can’t predictably rack up ancillary bucks.

Oh, but wait, J.J. Abrams is at the head of the ship, and he surely will do something bold and original to set the stage for the rest of the films. Um, did you see “Star Trek Into The Darkness“? Talk about one of the most crass blockbusters this summer, devoid of anything fresh. More crucially, it resurrected a classic ‘Trek’ villain, and we’d be willing to bet heavy dollars that somewhere in these origin story prequels, Darth Vader’s shadow will be looming.

And if you want to know just how corporate this whole “Star Wars” re-launch is, well, here’s an excerpt from Variety‘s article, which basically drives the point home:

Rasulo said Disney’s in-house licensing and consumer products group would devote the next year on brokering deals around the world to expand the reach of the “Star Wars” brand.

Given its much smaller size, Lucasfilm had focused primarily on U.S.-based licensing programs and then on toys and a few other categories. But Disney plans to expand broaden it into housewares and other merchandise categories the way it’s increased the vast variety of products that feature Marvel’s superheroes.

“We will lay the groundwork for that … and when the film comes out in 2015, we’ll be ready to blow it out,” Rasulo said.

The good news? You’ll be able to buy that Yoda dishware set you’ve been dreaming of.

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I fully expect to see a HAN SOLO movie within the next 8-10 years that stars a 20-year-old playing a teen Han Solo, showing his first adventures in the smuggling trade. No doubt about it. And it could possibly be a massive train wreck.


That's a pretty depressing analysis of the situation. Thankfully, I disagree with just about all of it.

An 'Origin Story' doesn't mean that it will be about Han, Boba, or Yoda. It is safe to say that the new trilogy will feature any number of new and interesting characters of its own. Any of these might be candidates for an 'Origin Story' and surely the realm of possibilities there is endless.


I'm not predicting they will be "flops" by any stretch, but I share the author's sadness that they could not find it in themselves to branch out and tell us NEW stories, one's only hinted at in the larger SW universe.

An Old Republic trilogy, for example, about Jedi Grand Master Satile Shan and the rise of Darth Malgus would have more room to maneuver in terms of story and character than more Han/Luke/Leia/Londo/etc films.


There it is, in the middle of this hardline editorial so crusty that the author must have chomped a cigar to write it: um. That great linguistic equalizer that has come to make the entire world using it sound like nine year old girls. Why, the pure schizophrenic nature of its appearance in this tough-as-nails piece made the author himself flub the eviscerated title the cutesy term prefaced unless Star Trek Into The Darkness was a Bollywood knockoff unknown to many of us.


The only thing that would make any of this bad is if the films themselves are bad. It's a good point to bring up that the originals were surrounded with a flood of marketing, and that didn't hurt their quality – – for the first 2 pictures. But Return of the Jedi is an absolute failure as a film, a sequel, and as simple entertainment, and this is directly because the marketing department started steering the ship. It's remarkable to me that companies seem to think that licenses create revenue sui generis — when easily the greatest guarantee of making money on a product is to continue making it well.

Hopefully Disney looks at the .5 billion that Phantom Menace made as the disaster that it was: that is everyone going to see the film ONCE. There is no long term money in that. Make it well, and they will see it a thousand times, and buy all the Yoda crap you want to hawk at them. I know I did.


If people dont like the films, they wont see the films;
if people dont see the films, then they wont buy the merchandise;
if people dont buy the merchandise then Disney wont make the money……..

Fear leads to anger
anger leads to hate
and hate leads to the dark side…………

John M

I agree with Dustin, plus you're reporting on the CFO of Disney's conference with banks and investors. News flash, the conversation in that context will be talking about money. Disney is a business and they need to generate a profit off these films to continue making them. This by no means dooms these films to be flops. The key to having a successful film is creating something your target audience will enjoy and like. Please point out where Disney has ruined the Marvel Cinematic Universe for example. They haven't and they won't interfere with Star Wars. They want these films to be more like the original trilogy.

Star Wars is also heavily merchandised anyway, in case you failed to realize that.

Dustin Philipson

News f***ing flash: The original trilogy was the VERY template for this kind of merchandising tie-in approach this horned-rim glasses wearing schmo is lamenting.

Please spare me this "corporate-take-over-of-a-beloved-franchise" crap; it exposes you as the NON-Star Wars fan you most likely are (but apparently you love your Karl Marx Cliff's Notes, and most likely think Middle-America is a wast land of idiocy and consumer of lowest-common-denominator pop-culture trash blah-blah-regurgitated-sh*t-my-college-profs-burned-into-my-brain-blah-blah-blah).

I don't know what you were taking interest in as a kid in your coastal cocoon in the 80's/early 90's, but my buddies & me in the midwest, we were covering up with Star Wars comforters, puttin' Star Wars posters on our walls, staging elaborate battles in our living rooms with our Star Wars action figures and accompanying playsets (which we kept in our official Star Wars carrying cases, shaped like character's busts from the movies).

Heck I think for breakfast we would even enjoy bowls of 'Kellogg's C-3PO's'. And we sure as hell made sure to be home in front of the TV when they aired those made-for-t.v. Ewok spin-off movies.

POINT: This franchise has from it's inception been heavily merchandised. Some children had their imaginations sparked by the official Star Wars products/ toys/ tie-in's etc. long before they were even old enough to watch the films.

So please spare us all your hipster "corporations-are-raping-my-child-hood" spiel.

– Dustin Philipson


I don't like this news much either. But guys, you really should stop with those judgemental headlines that are always so full of anger and hate. I mean, this is a great website, but the frequent vicious tone of your articles bothers me a lot. Maybe you should consider being a bit more neutral about things. Just my two cents.


I expected to see some improvements in my love life after I contacted Ekaka and asked him to send out a spell to the Universe for me, but I didn’t expect a life-changing experience, that’s for sure! Still, though, that’s what I got! I’m not only in love, I’m going to be moving to my soon-to-be-fiance’s state next month! We probably would never even have met if it weren’t for ekakaspelltemple@yahoocom and his wonderful powers of peace and love. I wish you all the peace and love you sent me, DR Ekaka.

Jar Jar Abrams

These films would be a bad idea even if you had good directors and writers. Boba Fett or Yoda can't carry a film, they're better as supporting characters. Yoda's dialogue gets really old if you listen to it for 2 hours, Boba Fett is just a henchman not a character.

Han Solo origin story would've been a good idea in the 90's if River Phoenix never took the speedball that killed him.


What did you expect to hear from Disney's chief moneyman talking to other moneymen?


Very much agreed. The Lucasfilm/Disney STAR WARS transaction was just that, a business deal where new movies also happen to be a component. If these releases fit within the Marvel Studios model, it could be interesting to see TV stalwarts like Alan Taylor, the Russo Bros., or Michelle MacLaren make the leap into studio filmmaking. STAR WARS, regardless of how people feel about each individual entry, did come from the specific vision of one filmmaker, though at its finest a slew of creatives were involved (Irvin Kershner, Gary Kurtz, Willard Hyuck/Gloria Katz, Lawrence Kasdan, etc…). It would be great for a new STAR WARS film to be able to take risks, be daring, and expand upon a rich universe, but with the type of economic demand behind it and news of these origin stories/prequels/direction by the "geek-approved" J.J. Abrams, I doubt it will take place.

Oh well.


Star Trek ID was 'crass'? It is elegant, both in visuals and narrative.

'Crass' is a word I'd use to define Now You See Me and Jack the giant Slayer. But a J.J. Abrams movie? Never. You're trying too hard to come off as a pessimist sourpuss.


wait, Disney bought star wars to cash in on a bunch of shit and MAKE MONEY? call the AP!!!! is nothing sacred? thanks kev!

Jeremy Hull

Personally, I think that Mr. Kevin Jagernauth is jumping to conclusions before he's even seen a single frame of a movie that's still under development. How about we wait to see what the final storyline is going to be? And is it any shocker that Disney is focusing on how they're going to continue to make money off of one of the most profitable franchises of all time? That's what corporate business leaders do; they focus on the profit while the creative minds sit around and go, "How the hell can we make this good for the fans?"

The story is in good hands with JJ Abrams at the helm. Sir, you may have found 'Star Trek: Into Darkness" a bit – as you put it – 'crass', but you cannot deny the fact that the creative mind behind "LOST" and "Super 8" is a perfect fit. I have high hopes and high expectations – admittedly a little to high – but I am willing to set those expectations aside for a good story and solid directorial approach, because I know that JJ Abrams will deliver a fantastic motion picture.

Frankly I think that Mr. Jagernauth is jumping on the 'lets hate Disney' wagon far to earlier. I'll tell you what? If you have such a huge problem with Disney expanding the 'Star Wars' universe, how about taking the time to create your own treatment and pitch it? Let me know what the opinionated fans think of your concept, and good luck convincing the businessmen the marketing angle is not important.


Ugh, Disney. Does anyone actually want these? No offense to Star Wars fans, but I wish Hollywood would just let this franchise die already.

On another note, though, as disappointing as some parts of STID were, I didn't find the overall movie nearly as bad as The Playlist seems to. Besides, if the new Star Wars movies are bad (and even as someone who likes J.J. Abrams a lot, I'm not really looking forward to them at all), it's going to be near-impossible to tell how much influence Abrams had on the final product.

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