The internet is abuzz with the big news that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is developing a new Star Wars movie with Disney. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news and now it’s up to the rest of us to make sense of what it means for the future of Disney, the Star Wars franchise, and even the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
What we know so far
A huge Star Wars fan, Feige reportedly met with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Walt Disney Studios co-chairmen Alan Horn and Alan Bergman in late summer to discuss possible involvement in the franchise.
As the Skywalker Saga wraps this December with the release of Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, Kennedy is looking to reinvigorate the Star Wars universe with new projects.
Walt Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer Horn told THR: “With the close of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Wars storytelling, and knowing what a die-hard fan Kevin is, it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together.”
According to THR, Feige has told an unnamed “major actor” that he has a specific role in mind for them when the movie gets made, but otherwise there aren’t any details.
What does it mean for the future of ‘Star Wars’?
It’s unclear if Feige’s involvement in Star Wars suggest he’ll be taking on a larger role within Lucasfilm. Kennedy, who has been president of Lucasfilm since 2012, is one of the very few women holding top executive jobs at Disney. THR cites a top Disney source saying that Kennedy remains in charge without any plans for an executive shakeup anytime soon. Kennedy’s contract takes her through 2021.
Though the four Star Wars films Kennedy and Lucasfilm have produced for Disney have grossed almost $4.5 billion, the creative process hasn’t been without its hiccups.
Director Tony Gilroy was brought in to shoot the third act of the troubled 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story after Disney expressed dissatisfaction with Gareth Edwards’s direction. In 2017, Kennedy axed directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller during production of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the prequel film, bringing in Ron Howard to finish the film. Later that year, director Colin Trevorrow was dropped as director of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker and replaced by J.J. Abrams, who also directed the 2015 film The Force Awakens.
Solo was the the lowest-grossing live-action film in Star Wars history, pulling in a relatively paltry $392 million at the box office.
Since becoming president of Marvel Studios in 2007, the films that Feig has produced have a combined worldwide box office gross of over $26.8 billion.
In 2019, he was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award for producing Black Panther, the first superhero film to ever receive the nod, as well as the first film in the MCU to win an Academy Award (it won three).
Meanwhile, Avengers: Endgame, which Feig produced, has broken countless box office records since its release in April, including highest grossing film ever (not adjusted for inflation).
Disney chairman Bob Iger recently told The New York Times that the studio had made mistakes with the Star Wars franchise. “I just think that we might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast,” he said.
What’s next for ‘Star Wars’?
It will be a while before we hear more details on Feige’s Star Wars projects. In the meantime, both Last Jedi director Rian Johnson and Game of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are working on feature projects set in the Star Wars universe.
Disney is also focused on its soon-to-launch streaming service Disney+ and it’s clear that Lucasfilm will be a key component of the platform. Jon Favreau’s live-action Star Wars space Western, The Mandalorian, is set to premiere Nov. 12 on Disney+. And other Star Wars projects are in the works, including a Rogue One prequel series and an Ewan McGregor-led Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Is Disney hoping that Feige will bring some of the success he’s had with the MCU over to the Star Wars universe? In a word, yes.
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