When Disney Chief Bob Iger gets on a quarterly business call with his shareholders, the CEO tends to drop some juicy info to keep them excited in their investments. Today he dropped at least two bombs and the call is ongoing. The first, as you’ve likely read just minutes ago, Rian Johnson is going to develop and direct a new “Star Wars” trilogy set outside the Luke Skywalker trilogy. It will feature all new characters and is expected to arrive sometime after 2020. But that’s not all.
There’s been a lot of talk of Disney setting up its own streaming service to challenge Netflix, and are in the process of pulling all their intellectual property from the streaming giant, as a means to sway away consumers and build up their brand. The second detonation Iger set off today was the announcement of a “Star Wars” live-action series, a new Marvel show and series based on “Monsters Inc.” and “High School Musical.” Details are somewhat sparse, but presumably all these new shows will exist exclusively on the new streaming series they are cooking up for 2019.
Where to start with all this madness? “Star Wars” and Marvel are the biggies. Obviously, the Lucasfilm powers that be have been trying to make a “Star Wars” live-action series for some time. It almost happened under George Lucas’ reign, before he sold off the company to Disney. “Star Wars: Underworld” was the working title of the proposed live-action television series that would’ve been set between “Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith” and “Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.” Lucas himself first announced the series at 2005’s “Star Wars” Celebration III. The show never came to pass, but apparently over 50 scripts were written and the shows were well into pre-production. There are conflicting reports that Lucasfilm actually shot some episodes, but they were shelved, but that doesn’t seem to be accurate.
In December 2015, Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy said she had been looking at both the ‘Underworld’ material and the canceled video game “Star Wars: 1313,” hinting that those concepts or characters could be used some day. In December of last year, Kennedy said Lucasfilm was having conversations with ABC about a live-action “Star Wars” TV show, but clearly the Disney streaming service is taking precedence.
As for the Marvel show with no details known, this sends a big message to Reed Hastings and the Netflix family. Perhaps when the deals for the current Marvel/Neflix shows are done, Disney, moving forward, will start placing all their new Marvel shows on the unnamed channel (note, Netflix co-owns the Marvel shows so it’s very unlikely they’d ever be pulled or live on Disney only). No other details have been made available, but one thing’s for sure, with Disney already having had talks about buying 20th Century Fox, the media juggernaut is only looking to spread its dominance even further.
Disney creating new "Star Wars" live action series, one based on "Monsters Inc.," "High School Musical" TV series and Marvel series for its streaming service launching in 2019, says Iger
— Ben Fritz (@benfritz) November 9, 2017