Finally, the Force is with the Movie Theatre (Someday)

For the first time in what feels like several years, a news article about the future of a Star Wars movie was reporting in the positive direction. It has been revealed the movie that Damon Lindelof has been writing now has a director in Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. Almost nothing about the plot is known other than it is likely set after the events of The Rise of Skywalker, but will not be about the Skywalker family this time. We also haven't been given a release date, which likely means the movie is still several years away, considering how far out studios like to slot their movies now. 

Since the movie isn't likely to be released before Everett become a teenager, why am I so thrilled? Lindelof has been hit or miss with me as a writer, but you can at least argue he doesn't make dull fantasy and sci-fi works with his credits including Prometheus, Lost, Tomorrowland, The Leftovers, and The Watchmen series. Obaid-Chinoy is not only exciting because it is much needed diversity behind the camera for a Star Wars picture, but she also helmed two episodes of what has been one of the best MCU series in Ms. Marvel. But to be honest, it could have been announced the script was penned by the five-year-old down the street and being helmed by an ostrich, and I'd be equally excited.

Because it means there is actually going to be Star Wars back on the big screen. The last few years any movie announcement has been about a project being shelved, postponed indefinitely or cancelled. I have been disappointed after several major announcements at conventions has not even hinted at a future movie in the plans.

When Disney bought Star Wars, the plan was for there to be a movie every single year. One year would be part of the main saga, and then the next year would be a spin-off picture, and that was the planned rotation. Then Solo and The Rise of Skywalker were major disappointments and garnered some extensive fan backlash (of course, The Last Jedi also felt the wrath of certain fans, despite mostly getting critical acclaim and many fans loving it). After those two movie were deemed failures, Lucasfilm put focus on The Mandalorian series that was going to be one of the major exclusives for the new streaming service, Disney Plus.

The series was a massive hit, and credited for being a big part of the influx of subscribers to the service. It suddenly meant that Lucasfilm was now all in on Star Wars series and the plans for many movies had been abandoned. The last two movie not meeting expectations and The Mandalorian proving to be a massive hit created the plan for the universe of Star Wars focusing on Disney Plus series exclusively.

So, I have not been without Star Wars entertainment the last few years. It looks like there will something set in a galaxy far, far away every single year for the foreseeable future. Even though I do love The Mandalorian, and I have enjoyed the other series as well to a certain degree, but what I've been craving has been a big budget, sweeping, epic event film. But I am still thrilled a much more tangible movies is on the horizon even without a release date announced, any casting being officially made, and a shooting date somewhere floating in the future. 

I am guaranteed to get a Star Wars for the next few years on the small screen, but there are a few major reasons why what I really want a bug budget feature, thus happy it looks to be closer to happening (if close means in the next five years or so).

The first is that as much as the Disney Plus series can often look cinematic, and there have been some impressive special effects, sets, and creature designs for the different series, but it still isn't at the scale of a hundred million plus dollar motion picture production. We don't get the massive scope of exploring various planets, big stage space battles, and innovative special effects sequences that really are only possible in the realm of a major movie event. The biggest budget series still can't pull off what a tentpole movie can do, because they simply can't afford to do it, since there is a limit on what a Disney Plus series can make compared to a movie released globally in cinemas that at least has chance of making back several hundred million or even approaching a billion in grosses. A series just doesn't have resources to reach to the visual and technical heights of a movie, and so, it will always be smaller scale.

There is another reason tied to my first, Let's say that the Star Wars movie for some reason is not a big budget production, but closer to being allotted the same budget as The Mandalorian. I'd still rather watch it on the biggest screen possible, with the best sound, and surrounded by several other excited Star Wars fans. I like my big screen TV, and it is nice seeing movies at home, but nothing compares to the energy and atmosphere you get in a theatre with an excited crowd. Star Wars has always meant to be seen at the theatre.

The biggest reason has to do with the reality of most of the Star Wars and MCU series. I have read and heard some argue that they are happy with Star Wars in the series format because it allows for more time to tell the stories and to delve into the characters. It is true that in theory a six or so episode series should allow for deeper and more complex storytelling, and should give the viewer a deeper connection with the characters, because we are spending more time in the world than just a two hour plus movie. 

I do confess there has been a few really great Disney Plus series. I loved The Mandalorian, and was deeply invest in Din Djarin and Grogu's relationship, and the many adventures that grew their bond and formed their characters. I also was a big fan of MCU's WandaVision and Ms. Marvel, where I felt the series format really allowed the characters to get fleshed out and go in some directions that a two-hour movies would not allow.

Most of the others like The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi and with the MCU series like Hawkeye, Captain America and the Winter Soldier, and Loki that they were decent series that would have been much better as tighter and more focused two-hour movies. The format often meant the stories meandered and dragged in the middle episodes, and the extended runtime did not really dig into a massive character arc that could not been achieved with two hours plus of strong and focused storytelling and filmmaking. 

Both The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi has story elements that could have made for terrific movies if they had been tightened up rather than okay series that lost focus at times. The Book of Boba Fett suffered from such lack of focus and not enough story that it squeezed n two episodes of The Mandalorian and forgot about its central character for a stretch.

I feel like for many of the series it has had less to do with there being so much story and character development that they need a series to tell it, but rather they can justify a smaller budget and less risk if they stretch this movie into multiple episode. It has made many often feel less like an actual series, and more like an overlong movie cut into parts. Almost every series has suffered from the middle portions of the series dragging, because they are trying to stretch out the story to make six or so episodes rather than having so much story it needs them.

The Disney Plus series aren't going anywhere, because the platform needs original entertainment on there to attract and keep subscribers. I don't have a problem with that. But must have stories that require the format rather than forcing a story that was better suited as a movie being stretched into a series that have great episodes but some clunkers too.

It is worth rejoicing that Disney and Lucasfilm has not completely abandoned Star Wars movies. The fantasy world still is best told as a movie, and it is still one of the very best mediums to tell big-scale stories. 

My hope is that the new movie finally takes advantage of this expansive galaxy by delving into planets, characters, and stories that we've never seen from Star Wars. I'm all for another trilogy to a series following beloved characters, but the best strategy is to craft a standalone picture with fresh characters, and see what that may open up. If it becomes a hit then go in that direction. I'd love to see several movies that explore different worlds, and we can really see how expansive it truly has the potential to be. The limit is the imagination, and it should be as layered and robust as the MCU, but a filmmaker just needs to take a chance on telling something different.

I am excited to see what Lindelof and Obaid-Chinoy have in store. Especially Obaid-Chinoy who adds much needed diversity and a different perspective to the universe, and has the ability to really take Star Wars somewhere new and exciting. But I am most excited that there is now a strong chance there will be an actual Star Wars movie again in my lifetime.