Disney CEO Bob Iger Says Less Is More When It Comes to Star Wars

author img
BY November 5, 2019

Since writing his memoir, Disney CEO Bob Iger spends a lot of time doing press. His most recent interview comes from BBC radio, where he talks for about an hour about his tenure at Disney. During the conversation, presenter Amol Rajan asked him if he felt he “squeezed” the Marvel and Disney properties too hard over the past few years. With respect to Marvel, Iger dismissed the criticism out-of-hand. As his fellow Disney executive Alan Horn said, superhero movie fatigue is not something they worry about. However, when it comes to Star Wars, Bob Iger took a different tone saying that less is more.

As he told BBC (at about the 43-minute mark):

“I have said publicly that I think we made and released too many films over a short period of time. I have not said that they were disappointing in any way. I’ve not said that I’m disappointed in their performance. I just think that there’s something so special about a Star Wars film, and less is more.”

Yet, when Iger said this publicly after the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, it was because the film failed to reach the box office heights of its predecessors. Yet, even a Star Wars “flop” is a hit. It grossed nearly $400 million, is Ron Howard’s third highest grossing film, and is generally well-received by fans. Though, one report suggested that the film lost Disney around $50 million though they assume the budget is twice what Disney said it was.

So, is Bob Iger right that less is more when it comes to Star Wars, or does the galaxy far, far away have just as much potential to dominate the box office as Marvel films? The answer is complicated.

Bob Iger is Right That Less Is More When It Comes to Star Wars

Bob Iger Star Wars Less Is More Solo A Story Image via Lucasfilm

As evidenced by the failure of Solo to hit the $750 million mark, Iger has a point at least commercially. While Marvel films have only really been around for about 20 years, Star Wars existed for twice that long. Fans did not get much new content from Lucasfilm after Return of the Jedi, outside of a pair of cartoons and two made-for-TV Ewok movies. Those who didn’t dive into the expanded universe of books and comics only had three films to watch over and over again. Yet, they did. And not only that, they loved the movies even more upon repeat viewings. Star Wars fans like to live with the films for a time to really establish them as classics.

Look at the previously maligned prequel trilogy. Adult Star Wars fans mostly felt disappointed in the new movies we got. This made them love the originals all the more. George Lucas, with the help of The Mandalorian producer Dave Filoni, expanded the prequel stories with the animated Clone Wars series. Kids for whom the prequels were “their” Star Wars movies grew up, and even adult fans found their opinions of the films changing over time. Not looking forward to two or three Star Wars movies per year forces fans to revisit and appreciate the films we’ve gotten. Trust me, in ten years, there will be plenty of young adults who cite Solo as their favorite Star Wars movie.

Bob Iger Is Wrong That Less Is More With Star Wars

Bob Iger Star Wars Less Is More Rogue One Image via Lucasfilm

Just like the Marvel Universe, Star Wars contains a whole galaxy of stories. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently left their Star Wars trilogy unceremoniously. Their purported trilogy would have focused on the Jedi Order. Regardless of how you feel about how those two broke all of Game of Thrones best characters, it makes sense that such a sensitive part of Star Wars lore should only be trusted to storytellers who are all-in on this universe. Yet, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t dozens of stories, characters, and settings that moviegoing audiences would want to see. Things like the Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off series and The Mandalorian are different sorts of Star Wars tales that will likely resonate strongly with audiences. The real trick is doing what Marvel Studios did with characters like Ant-Man or the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Star Wars has to take chances and disconnect itself from the Skywalker saga. One of the main reasons Solo failed to land as it should had more to do with timing. The film came too soon after the contentious response to The Last Jedi. Disney sandwiched the movie between highly anticipated Marvel releases. Also, fans weren’t that keen to see a new Han Solo this quickly. The film told a good story, but it was not a story fans were hungry to see unfold. Once the Skywalker saga comes to an end, Star Wars has to branch out. We need movies set in new places, new eras, and with new characters. Bob Iger is wrong that less is more with Star Wars. More is more, but it also has to be different.

The State of Star Wars Leading Into The Rise of Skywalker

Bob Iger Star Wars Less Is More Rise of Skywalker Team Image via screengrab

There is no question that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will be a hit. We get one last film with Lando, Leia, and a Force Ghost Luke Skywalker. We also get one “last” film with the new characters, Rey, Poe, and Finn. Now, no one with a brain believes that this is the last we’ll see of these characters. However, the Star Wars galaxy needs to leave the Skywalkers behind if it really wants to branch out into the kind of story factory that Marvel Studios is. The Mandalorian is a step in the right direction. The Obi-Wan series is not, though the fan demand for it (and one more season of Clone Wars) is enough that it makes sense to do it. But what Rian Johnson and any other Star Wars storytellers need to do is simply take a (that’s not a) moon shot on something completely different.

In fairness to Bob Iger, less is more when it comes to Star Wars, at least right now. Remember, Marvel Studios made three films in their first two years. They slowly built up to Avengers, and the successive sequels. If the MCU came out of the gate with four movies per year, their story would play out very differently. Star Wars has the potential to be a significant part of pop culture for as long as such a thing exists. Lucasfilm and Disney have to simply be patient and willing to take risks in order to build up the excitement from fans hungry for these stories.

What do you think? Do you agree with Bob Iger that less is more with Star Wars? Tell us how you’d handle the franchise if you were in charge in the comments below.

Featured image via Lucasfilm

MoviesPop Culture

Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

Leave a comment

Related

MarvelMovies
Spider-Ham Prequel Short From ‘Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’ Finally Released

One of the best characters from Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Spider-Hamm gets his own animated prequel short. Check it out today!

BY Shah Shahid September 22, 2019
Pop CultureTV Shows
The Hulu Wu-Tang Series Debuts Highlighting Gritty Origins of Iconic Rap Group

After recently celebrating the 25th anniversary of their first album, one of the most iconic groups in hip-hop gets the biopic treatment. Of course, for a group like this a single movie just wouldn’t do them justice. Hence the premiere of the Hulu Wu-Tang series highlighting the origin stories of these musical superheroes. Wu-Tang: An […]

BY Joshua M. Patton September 5, 2019
Movies
The Joker Success and How a Horrific Villain Leads One of DC’s Best Movies

Comic book readers, movie fanatics, and casual cinema-goers alike have all heard about Joker by now. You don’t have to be a superhero fan to feel like it’s a “must-see”. (And Joker really is). Included in all of the chatter about the film is, of course, some words about its multiple controversies. Many fear that the violent […]

BY Meghan Hale October 9, 2019
Google Stadia Launch is Missing Key, Promised Features

So here’s the thing; it’s easy to get excited about an idea. Something like 4K game streaming, top titles and developers on board, and a new way to play sounds great. The Google Stadia launch is fast approaching, and a recent Reddit AMA about the console raises major concerns about the state in which this […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 14, 2019
Best Exclusive Sony Series of All Time

It goes without saying that Sony wins this round of the Console Wars. While some people hate to think of gaming, as a war, it sort of is. Most gamers are going to buy one console, meaning each major company does what it can to influence consumers to buy their brand. With insane exclusives and […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 13, 2019
Pokemon Hashtag Goes Viral – #ThankYouGameFreak

It’s been a tumultuous built up to Pokemon Sword and Shield. Because of the game’s limited Pokemon roster, hundreds of characters won’t be playable in the new games. Fans are fairly upset, and in a way, they have a right to be. It’s the first time that you won’t be able to transfer Pokemon from […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 11, 2019
EA Renews Skate Trademark, But No New Game Likely

People got really deflated and then somewhat excited about a trademark this morning. One of EA’s most dedicated fan-bases are obsessed with the Skate games. There hasn’t been a new game for 10 years, but it’s not something we can rule out. When you read that EA renews Skate trademark, it’s easy to get excited, […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 8, 2019

Trending

Google Stadia Launch is Missing Key, Promised Features

So here’s the thing; it’s easy to get excited about an idea. Something like 4K game streaming, top titles and developers on board, and a new way to play sounds great. The Google Stadia launch is fast approaching, and a recent Reddit AMA about the console raises major concerns about the state in which this […]

BY Taylor Bauer November 14, 2019
The Top 10 Fantasy Series Published In The Past Decade

The end of the decade is rapidly approaching. The 2010’s were good for sci-fi & fantasy fans as shows like Game of Thrones, and huge movie franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought genre into the mainstream. The decade was great for books as well, with several huge epics finally reaching their conclusions (Wheel of Time). […]

BY Emily O'Donnell November 14, 2019
Netflix Orders A Second Season for The Witcher Ahead Of Premiere

One month until the premiere of The Witcher series on Netflix, and a second season has already been ordered. Showrunner Lauren Hissrich announced the news today via Twitter.  I’m so thrilled to announce: Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri will be back for more adventures… in Season Two. I could not be more proud of what the […]

BY Emily O'Donnell November 14, 2019
Netflix and Nickelodeon To Collaborate With Multi-Year Deal

Hot off the trails of Disney+’s massive release, Netflix has added an exciting announcement for its subscribers. Netflix will be collaborating with Nickelodeon on a multi-year deal, working to produce original animated content. This will include films and television series, featuring old, beloved Nickelodeon characters, as well as completely new content. What This Nickelodeon Deal […]

BY Meghan Hale November 14, 2019