While there’s no doubt that Disney‘s $4 billion investment in Lucasfilm will be paid back and then some, Disney CEO Bob Iger is more involved than most studio heads would be in the day-to-day business of “Star Wars.” In a recent Vanity Fair profile of Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, she revealed that during the filming of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Iger watched footage from very early on.
“My phone would ring in London, and he’d be giving me his notes on the dailies he just looked at,” she said.
“My involvement in [‘The Force Awakens’] is unusual, but it’s unusual for a very obvious reason,” Iger noted. Of course, he’s doing his job of making sure that Disney is spending their money wisely, and that the final product is shaped to be both creatively and financially successful. But he’s also a fan, too. And it’s a safe bet he’ll be just as hands-on as the upcoming sequels get underway.
Iger announced today that work on “Star Wars: Episosde VIII” and “Star Wars: Episode IX” has started.
“There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products,” he said during an earnings call (via EW). “Filming of ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII,’ the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of ‘Episode IX,’ a 2019 release, has also begun.”
That latter tidbit is rather surprising. My guess is that perhaps early pre-production has started on Colin Trevorrow‘s movie, rather than actual filming, but perhaps just as Rian Johnson got to peek at ‘The Force Awakens’ and share ideas with J.J. Abrams as he set up ‘Episode VIII,’ Trevorrow is doing the same with Johnson as he prepares ‘Episode IX.’
Meanwhile, Iger has also confirmed the Young Han Solo spinoff for May 2018, which is interesting considering that every other “Star Wars” movie to date has a December release at the moment. We’ll see if that changes.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is still playing at theater near you.