Disney has always been a powerhouse when it comes to creating beloved film and TV content for its fans. Most recently, the Mouse House has achieved unparalleled levels of success thanks to its revitalization of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, which it plans to continue with even past the films planned between now and 2020.
The news comes from Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger, who recently spoke to the BBC’s Newsbeat about the future of the two franchises. “Star Wars” for example, just debuted “The Force Awakens” and plans to produce two more films that follow the storyline that was established. In addition, between each film, Disney and Lucasfilm will produce a standalone “anthology” story, starting with “Rogue One.” After those five movies are complete, the Disney executive confirmed that it will produce more “Star Wars” after that, he just didn’t know how many or when it will arrive.
In addition, he spoke about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which has already spawned eleven films and five TV shows. The franchise has plans for more content extending into 2020, but Iger says that it could literally go on indefinitely.
“Marvel, you’re dealing with thousands and thousands of characters — that will go on forever,” he said.
While it may sound like Disney has every bit of confidence in the longevity of its most popular franchises, the fact of the matter is that all of the plans Iger was talking about take place more than four years from now. That equates to a lot of time for something to go wrong or the audience to jump ship. Although “Star Wars” and “Marvel” have enjoyed decades of popularity, the logistics of keeping these big-budget properties alive might not extend past their currently scheduled plans.
In Marvel’s case, a lot of the actors that have made the films so popular — such a Robert Downey Jr. in the role of Tony Stark or Chris Evans as Steve Rogers — might not continue to play the characters for as long as the studio wants to tell their stories. According to ScreenCrush, each of the actors in the franchise only has a limited number of movies to go before their initial contracts with Marvel Studios are up. While Iger’s comments seem to indicate that there are a bevy of other characters that might be able to breathe new life into the franchise, there’s a real danger that the fans will drop off once the generation of characters that made the films so popular drop off.
“Star Wars,” on the other hand, may very well extend beyond 2020, given that it’s already got films planned between now and then and the franchise has somehow found a way to stay relevant with fans throughout the years. After its most recent installment absolutely shattered records at the box office and its main cast of characters relatively young, it may just live up to Iger and Disney’s expectations. Fans will just have to wait until “Rogue One” hits theaters on Dec. 16 to see if the franchise continues to impress.