Since the release of the first film in the summer of 1977, Star Wars has been a staple for the generations that followed. Throughout a 6 year period, there were three Star Wars films released. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983). The original trilogy has made nearly $230 million. That is also not accounting for toy and Blu-ray/DVD sales.
Shortly after the release of the first film, Kenner, a toy crafting company, partnered with writer and director George Lucas. Lucas had taken $500,000 less during filming to push to own the rights to the films entirely through his company, Lucasfilm. In the 1980s, Kenner made the action figures for the franchise. Hasbro, since the 1990s, has the rights to craft toys from the films. Star Wars was also one of the first properties to be introduced as Lego’s.
In 1999, Lucas sought to bring the franchise back by introducing a “prequel” trilogy of films. The films were set around 20-30 years before the events of the original trilogy. The first of that series was Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which wasn’t received well by fans. But, the film didn’t necessarily underperform at the box office. The second installment into the series was Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, which was also not popular among fans and critics alike, but it’s Star Wars so people bought movie tickets. During this time, there was also an animated series titled, “The Clone Wars,” on television. Then, in 2005, Lucas wanted to finish out his highly controversial prequel trilogy with the insertion of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. This was a more of a return to form for some fans, but still a weak entry in the end. The films altogether grossed over $335 million at the box office, also not including toy sales.
Of course it didn’t stop after the completion of those films. Lucasfilm went on to produce a few more animated features going back to the title, The Clone Wars. A full-length film was released in 2008 and a show began shortly after in the same year. Do you think the franchise has made enough money yet? Apparently not, because in 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion. Giving them the full rights to the franchise.
So, as if Star Wars hadn’t been shoved down our throats enough since, what seems to be the beginning of time, the Lucasfilm/Disney duo announced that they would produce another trilogy of films. In 2014, Lucasfilm animation began a new TV series titled, Star Wars Rebels. In December 2015, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens was released. The film caused fans to divide due to a strong resemblance to the 1977 film. But, The Force Awakens was essentially critically-acclaimed. After also announcing that the company would release a film each year, December 2016 brought us Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It was the first in the franchise to branch out from the usual story. I felt that this film was quite different from the normal that we were used to. In saying that, I didn’t dislike the film entirely, but it wasn’t the most enjoyable. This past year, in 2017, we were treated to yet another release, Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi. Definitely a good entry into the franchise, but many felt that the decisions in the story didn’t quite make sense.
With these films under Disney’s belt, how about we keep this franchise going? A Han Solo backstory set before the events of A New Hope titled, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is primed for a May 2018 release. The trailer was released this past Monday morning and I am uninterested to say the least. Listen, I am one of the biggest Star Wars fans that could possibly be found. In saying that, I also want to add that there has been one too many Star Wars films/TV shows in the last few years. We’ve also been bombarded by canonical books and fan theories.
The sad thing is is that Disney is not going to stop releasing the films and creating new franchises within the universe. Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, has announced that he will write a new unknown trilogy that will begin filming this summer. Am I excited yet? Not really, because just yesterday (Feb. 6), it was announced that the creator’s of the show, Game of Thrones David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are preparing to also write a new trilogy of Star Wars films. This is big news for Disney when it comes to revenue, and also for die-hard fans, but we already hear about Star Wars nearly every day already. So, with two new trilogies coming out over the next 10 years with TV ads, toys, and video games in our face every day, are you tired of this franchise yet?