To some, it might sounds like a dream. In an article about the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Wired reports Disney intends “to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets.”
Disney, who bought both Star Wars curator Lucasfilm and Marvel for combined billions, intends to follow the comic book model of never-ending fights for truths and bank accounts. And, of course, other companies will attempt to use the quasi-serialized format as well.
Wired notes the method allows storytellers to avoid the third act. Sticking the landing is incredibly difficult and plenty of major modern movies are undone by unsatisfying resolutions. Now, just like the end of an event comic, all the third act has to do in the never-ending story model is resolve an immediate threat and set up the next feature.
And, thus far, it’s been successful. The Marvel model is working with each release — although, your opinion of each film may vary — seeing audiences return to discover what the brand will do next. Even a seemingly unsure thing like Ant-Man worked.
In the case of Star Wars, the model becomes open-ended with 20,000 years of stories to exploit. It features an already established notion of generations living and dying as the ebb and tides of galactic conflict create endless story possibilities in a cinematic reality audiences are intimately involved in. They can argue their favorites — even Anakin — as more characters, films and other merchandise flow out endlessly.
And I’ll admit, it sounds as grim as it does dreamlike. To some — let’s say a child of the late 70s or early 80s, the prospect of never-ending Star Wars sounds like a slice of Heaven brought home via data networks and Amazon’s eventual drone delivery system. But there is the worry: is it too much? Like the complaint that event comics parrot the same story beats and offer little but a preview of the next story, will all that Star Wars eventually stifle the minds of generations yet to come?
I inherited much of the original Star Wars toy line from an older uncle. The figures, with their neutral stances, suggested new galaxies to conquer and endless possibilities both within the narrative framework of Star Wars and by breaking those characters out into other realms. It is also possible that, like comics before it, all that Star Wars product could spark creativity as much as it does devotion to established characters.
Or is that assuming that brand devotion is an absolute? Novelty is powerfully compelling to the human mind and if we are entering an era of Star Wars every year, will it burn itself out before we get to the grim future? Also, there will eventually be something on the media landscape with the same impact as Star Wars. It will redefine the rules just as Star Wars did forty years ago and is seemingly poised to do again.
In the meantime, it is possible to just enjoy the parts of the brand that bring a sliver of enjoyment.