This Is How Disney Could Ruin Star Wars

Disney found record-breaking success with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, both critically and financially. Now, the pressure is on for the studio to deliver the goods in the upcoming sequels and spin-offs, which means they could totally ruin the great work set forth by director J.J. Abrams and crew. Here's why we have a bad feeling about this...

They'll make too many Star Wars movies

As much as the Star Wars franchise is a respected one, let's be real: it came back at a time when sequels are all the rage. These days, a movie studio will milk a franchise until it can get every last penny out of it. Look no further than Marvel, which has released what has felt like 50 movies since Iron Man first dominated the box office in 2008. Then there's the Fast and the Furious franchise, which will see its eighth (yes, eighth) movie speed into theaters in 2017. To be fair: the Star Wars franchise is a bit more delicate, and the last thing the studio will want to do is piss off its millions of fans. Still, don't be surprised when Episode XVII: It's Still a Trap flies into the multiplex in 2030.

They'll control the scripts

Speaking to producer Brian Grazer during a panel for Vanity Fair in October 2015, J.J. Abrams spoke very highly of Disney's laissez-faire attitude over creative control of The Force Awakens. "They let me make the movie; they let us make the movie we wanted to make..." Abrams revealed during the chat, adding he actually got final cut of the movie. Of course, that was before The Force Awakens became the highest-grossing movie in United States history. If Disney is the smart studio it seems to be, it's probably going to be focused on making sure Episode VIII makes as much, if not more money than The Force Awakens. That means more studio eyes will likely fall on the script to ensure it stays on a path to success—i.e., someone doesn't magically bring Han Solo back to life. Adding a new writer-director may also make things a bit more sensitive this time around. Lest we forget: Disney already had an established relationship with Abrams, thanks to Alias, Lost and a slew of other projects. Rian Johnson, who has directed smaller movies like The Brothers Bloom and Looper, still has a few hands to shake.

Or they'll just let go altogether

This option is much less likely than the previous, but there is a chance that Disney could trust Johnson enough to simply let him do his thing. Remember, Johnson was hired to write the scripts for not only Episode VIII, but Episode IX as well. Even Force Awakens screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan hinted that, under Johnson's vision, Episode VIII will be a departure from Kasdan's collaboration with J.J. Abrams. "Rian Johnson is a friend of mine—he's going to make some weird thing," Kasdan told The LA Times in December 2015. "If you've seen Rian's work, you know it's not going be like anything that's ever been in Star Wars. You couldn't have three more different people than J.J., Rian and [Episode IX director] Colin [Trevorrow]. Those movies will have the Star Wars saga as their basis, but everything else will be different." On the one hand, exciting; on the other, completely and utterly terrifying.

Fans will get to call the shots

Of all the movie franchises out there, Star Wars has fans that are arguably the largest and most passionate. Without them, The Force Awakens wouldn't have come close to shattering box-office records previously set by Avatar, Jurassic World, and more. That means, on some level, Disney has to appease its audience. But that doesn't mean it should let fans have any input in the creative process. Indeed, arguably the most common criticism of The Force Awakens is that the movie feels like a rehash of previous Star Wars movies; in other words, it was an attempt to make fans happy. Star Wars creator George Lucas said as much as that in a 2015 interview, telling Charlie Rose, "[Disney] said, 'We want to make something for the fans.'" Now that they've gotten that out of the way, it would be wise for them to take a risk or two in the next few movies.

They'll try too hard to appeal to every audience

Today's movie market is a lot larger than it used to be. Star Wars happens to be one of those rare franchises lucky enough to appeal to most markets and demographics. Indeed, kids, parents and grandparents all went to see The Force Awakens. That means Disney and Star Wars creators will have to keep coming up ways to appeal to just about everyone. Among the potential risks, exchanging plot and creativity for more CGI, explosions, and easy-to-follow action sequences, which would certainly appeal to the very profitable foreign markets, among others. On the bright side: Disney has long been known for making movies that are as smart as they are family-friendly. Look no further than the hits that Pixar has created. Plus, The Force Awakens did an incredible job of expanding the Star Wars universe to women and minorities simply by casting a diverse group of actors. Let's hope these smart decisions continue in the sequels.

They'll give the reins back to George Lucas

Yeah, this probably won't happen. After Lucas sold his franchise to Disney for $4 billion-plus in 2012, the studio has made it pretty clear that they're not really interested in collaborating with him. Lucas himself confirmed this in his aforementioned interview with Charlie Rose, revealing that Disney actually turned down his story ideas for The Force Awakens and its sequels. But, hey, you never know. If somehow, some way, the franchise goes to hell in the next few movies, Disney could panic and come crawling back to the original creator himself. Of course, by now, Disney's more likely to lean on J.J. Abrams than anyone else, given the success of The Force Awakens. Plus, c'mon: they had to have seen the prequels by now.