George Lucas sold the rights to Star Wars to Disney in 2012, and boy, has Disney put their purchase to WORK.
It seems like everywhere we turn there’s new Star Wars content popping out left and right. There are hundreds of merch items, TV shows, films, and an entire theme park land on EACH COAST — seriously, what haven’t they done? Honestly, though, it can sometimes seem like a bit much. Which got us wondering…has Disney “jumped the shark” with Star Wars? Let’s take a look.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wasn’t as well-received as the previous films.
The third trilogy in the Skywalker Saga just wrapped up with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last December. Now you might expect such a HUGE finale to be a big “win” for the Star Wars brand, but it turned out that Rise of Skywalker was pretty significant evidence that Disney might be stretching a little too thin with the brand.
The box office performance was super irregular for a Star Wars film. Rise of Skywalker saw a HUGE opening weekend raking in $175 million at the box office, according to Forbes. Shortly after, though, box office revenues took a big dip as the film garnered mixed reviews, per NBC. The Atlantic even called it “the most incoherent Star Wars film ever made.” Yikes.
Is Disney pushing the brand past its limits or did they just get unlucky with some “meh” aspects of the movie? Not every movie can be an Empire Strikes Back, right?! 🙂 It’s hard to tell from looking at the Rise of Skywalker situation on its own. So, let’s look at much, much more.
Disney slowed theatrical releases after the poor reception of Solo.
Rise of Skywalker wasn’t the only box office flop that Disney headlined under the Star Wars name. After the success of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, an anthology-style spin-off, Disney opted to bring a Han Solo prequel to theaters with Solo: A Star Wars Story.
You might have noticed there haven’t been any more films dubbed “A Star Wars Story” since Solo‘s release in 2018 — there’s a good reason for that. Solo was poorly received with people criticizing the lack of plot. Hey, we get it! It’s pretty hard to live up to Harrison Ford’s Han Solo! Still, this failure was enough to get Disney to switch gears.
The company themselves even said they believe that they’ve over-saturated the market with Star Wars content, according to The Guardian. In the wake of Solo, Disney opted to switch focus to TV shows rather than further theatrical releases.
Some Star Wars fans can definitely agree with the over-saturation. Folks who loved the OG films have started to feel like the original spirit is lost in the overload and, according to Esquire, big fans have expressed issues with the inconsistent world-building that Disney has done since their purchase.
There’s a LOT of Star Wars in Hollywood Studios — maybe too much.
Another way we get the feeling that Disney might have jumped the shark with Star Wars is by just taking one step into Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios could easily be renamed “That Star Wars Park…with Slinky Dog Dash and Tower of Terror.”
True, we love Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (and we’ll tell you why in a minute!) but does the park really need THREE dedicated Star Wars sections?
Star Wars fans might be thrilled that you can head to Galaxy’s Edge, or Star Tours: The Adventure Continues (which is still inexplicably STEPS from Galaxy’s Edge!), or Star Wars Launch Bay. They might have loved the (now-extinct) Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away stage show and accompanying “parade.” Maybe their only hope is to catch the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show or to see their little one in the Jedi Training Academy. Still, doesn’t that seem like a LOT for a park originally designed to reflect all aspects of Hollywood?
Lest we remind you that Hollywood Studios is NOT a Star Wars-themed park. The over-saturation of the brand in the park kind of makes it feel like Disney got their hands on ONE big Hollywood franchise and ran with it (and just…kept…running). We love the Skywalkers and all, but we’re not sure how we feel about their unofficial takeover of Hollywood Studios real estate.
BUT, we don’t want to say it’s all bad in Disney’s foray into the world of Sarlacc beasts, Wampas, and Sandcrawlers. Some (REALLY) GOOD has come of it.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Rise of the Resistance are EXTREMELY popular in Disney World and Disneyland.
It’s not all crazy overshoots with the brand. Disney has done some pretty AWESOME stuff with Star Wars and it definitely has us debating whether they’ve jumped the shark — or if they’re still far from doing so.
Just look at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge on both costs, especially the opening of Rise of the Resistance. It’s been SO popular in Hollywood Studios that the park spent most of early 2020 with extended morning hours.
Thousands of guests flooded the park prior to opening each morning for a coveted spot in the high-demand virtual queue. Sometimes, physical wait times even shot above an hour even WITH the use of the virtual queue! The ride is awesome but it is also POPULAR.
Why do people love this ride so much? Because it is SO immersive, technologically advanced, and all-around amazing. We love riding it AND we love talking about it. We’d fight for another spot in a virtual queue right now if we could! (Seriously…it’s awesome!)
But people also like that they get to be a PART of the action in Star Wars. That’s why Galaxy’s Edge and Rise have such a following. You feel like you’re in the films alongside your favorite characters. This shows that people still have a huge love for the Star Wars universe, even if it does seem like a little much sometimes.
Galactic Starcruiser in Disney World is highly anticipated.
And Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge isn’t the only project that has people excited about Star Wars. Galactic Starcruiser, an immersive Star Wars hotel experience, is set to open soon in Disney World and it’s pretty highly-anticipated.
Disney has billed the Starcruiser to be an experience like no other and many are already hoping to get a spot in the early days of its opening. With work forging ahead and hiring already in the works for certain positions “on board” prior to the closures, we’re pumped for when reservations open later this year. …If they open later this year.
Galactic Starcruiser definitely stands as another example of people wanting to be a part of the Star Wars story themselves.
The Mandalorian was extremely well-received and is already on track for a second and third season.
It turned out to be a pretty great move when Disney decided to focus more on TV shows than theatrical releases for Star Wars. Just look at the Disney+ hit, The Mandalorian. We LOVE The Mandalorian, and so do audiences. According to Business Insider, it quickly became the top-streamed show in the U.S. after its release last year.
Beyond that, the Baby Yoda craze was practically a phenomenon. People went insane when merch wasn’t available with the release of the show and Disney is STILL cranking out that good, good “The Child” merch.
The Mandalorian did so well that Season 2 is set to premiere this October and Season 3 is already in the works! We just can’t get enough of Mando and his tiny green quasi-son (we’re talking about The Child if that wasn’t clear). The Mandalorian is a quintessential Star Wars show and people still want more.
So Has Disney Jumped The Shark With Star Wars?
Well, despite the over-saturation and a few specific flops, it seems like the Star Wars brand still has plenty of life left in it. People still go hard for that John Williams score and all the lightsaber sound effects. They pay hundreds of dollars to build their own droids at Droid Depot and lightsabers at Savi’s Workshop. And yes! They’re streaming and talking about new Star Wars content all the time.
People still love Star Wars, they just have a problem with movies that aren’t as good. It’s all in the execution, and if Disney can continue to do Star Wars well, they’re likely in no danger of jumping the shark anytime soon. They do have a whole “galaxy far, far away” to play with, after all. 🙂
Join the DFB Newsletter to get all the breaking news right in your inbox! Click here to Subscribe!
What do you think? Is Disney doing WAY too much when it comes to Star Wars? Tell us in the comments!