If there’s one thing that Disney has proven itself capable of doing, it’s handling a large-scale franchise. The Marvel Cinematic Universe was the first true shared universe we ever saw to this scale, and there’s about a century’s worth of movies under the Mickey Mouse umbrella that tells us Disney studio knows what it’s doing with recurring characters. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion, initial trepidation was calmed by the fact that Star Wars would be falling into steady, skilled hands. And the success of The Force Awakens tells us this assumption was true. So why are we still worried?
The answer comes in the form of a Wired feature, positing an unsettling theory: “You won’t live to see the final Star Wars movie.” It’s simple in its message, but ambitious in its intent, and it could very well send a once-proud franchise down a road it has no business traveling. The strategy? Disney “intends to put out a new Star Wars movie every year for as long as people will buy tickets.” Based on the fact that even the much-maligned prequels made no less than half a billion dollars each, we wouldn’t be surprised if Wired was right: “It’s the forever franchise.”
What does an “infinite series” as Wired calls it look like? For now, it means a new trilogy and three additional “Anthology” movies hitting theaters in the off-years for the trilogy releases. After Disney makes $1 billion plus per movie, you can bet they’ll be game-planning the next steps. Perhaps another trilogy will get green-lit, giving us Episodes X, XI, and XII. Or a prequel to the prequels that focuses on the Old Republic we’ve only seen in video games. Maybe we’ll get a whole mess of Anthology installments that digs into the back-story of every major character in the franchise. Whatever the plan is, there’s no denying the fact that eventually, the Star Wars bubble is going to pop.