With the release of The Rise of Skywalker, the Star Wars era that began with 2015’s The Force Awakens finally comes to a close, but according to Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, the franchise still has a busy future ahead of it.
Speaking on The Star Wars Show, the executive reflected on all that Lucasfilm has delivered since it was bought by Disney back in 2012, while suggesting that the Mouse House is only just getting started:
“It’s been an incredibly fulfilling and a very exciting journey, but actually, I think, in many respects we’re just getting started. We’ve accomplished a lot — obviously with the saga films, the Skywalker Saga — and the opening of Galaxy’s Edge here in California and in Florida, and of course, a few other films along the way and TV series. But it feels like we’re just starting to mine the full potential of what Star Wars is and what Star Wars can be.”
Iger went on to say that the team has a long-term vision for the Star Wars brand that could see the franchise expanding even further:
“And I think it took some time as Lucasfilm became part of Disney and we started thinking long term — not just about fulfilling the interest of the fans short-term, but long-term what could happen — and I get a sense that the future is far more vast than we expected it to be, and so there’s just a lot that lies ahead.”
While Lucasfilm has found much commercial and critical success under Disney, these last couple of years have also brought their share of setbacks. In 2018, for example, the Star Wars franchise had its first box office bomb in Solo: A Star Wars Story, leading Iger himself to admit in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that releasing the movie so close to 2017’s The Last Jedi was a “mistake.”
More recently, the Galaxy’s Edge theme park expansion hasn’t performed as well as expected, and while the new Rise of Skywalker isn’t exactly a Solo-sized flop, its box office figures so far mark a definite decline from The Last Jedi’s numbers.
Nonetheless, it’s clear that a lot of interest and good will is still out there for the Star Wars brand. The new Disney Plus show The Mandalorian, for instance, is currently faring well with fans and critics, suggesting that Lucasfilm has every reason to push forward with their plans for further small screen adventures. And while the release of The Rise of Skywalker marks the start of a big screen hiatus for the franchise, a new movie is already scheduled to hit theaters in 2022.