Disney and Lucasfilm are keeping the hits coming with the release of the first trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story and today's announcement that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will be joining the Star Wars universe. The duo will be writing and producing a series of Star Wars films once they wrap up the final season of Game of Thrones.
This series of films stands separate from previously-announced projects, including J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX coming in 2019 and the planned trilogy of films coming from Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer and director Rian Johnson. Despite the fact that Benioff and Weiss are known as prestige television directors, they won't be involved in the additional television projects planned for Disney's streaming service.
"Their interest was in creating a series of films that are Star Wars-based and we've actually been talking to them for a long time," said Disney CEO Robert Iger in an investors call today, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "To my knowledge they didn't express interest in creating a series. They have an idea for number of films and at some later date I'm sure we'll disclose to all of you just what those are. They are focused on a point in time in the Star Wars mythology and taking it from there."
"We are developing not just one, but a few Star Wars series specifically for the Disney direct to consumer app. We've mentioned that and we are close to being able to reveal at least one of the entities that is developing that for us. Because the deal isn't completely closed, we can't be specific about that. I think you'll find the level of talent ... on the television front will be rather significant as well," added Iger.
Which is to say, a lot of Star Wars live-action projects are headed our way in the future. Nothing less was expected when Disney purchased Lucasfilm in $4 billion in 2012, but the machine is only beginning to truly spin up.
Currently, Electronic Arts has the sole license to develop and publish Star Wars games on consoles, but Disney and Lucasfilm could spread the love around, as they're doing on the film and television side of things. I don't necessarily have a problem with Electronic Arts; I had fun with Star Wars: Battlefront and Battlefront II before I bounced off of them. I was looking forward to Project Ragtag until EA took the project away from Visceral Games and killed the studio. Hell, I'm intrigued to see what Respawn Entertainment is crafting.
The Star Wars universe is big though. There's a whole wide universe that's been touched upon in the films, cartoons, and books that deserves some more action. Some of my favorite books in the Expanded Universe were wildly different from my concept of Star Wars, like Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover, Allegiance by Timothy Zahn, or the Darth Bane Trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn. (The latter being a former Bioware writer.) Even beyond that, there are some interesting voices and developers within the game industry that should get a shot at making their stamp on Star Wars like Johnson, Benioff, and Weiss are able to.
Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima is a huge fan of films in general and Star Wars in specific. He even penned a lengthy essay on Star Wars: The Last Jedi for Rolling Stone. Give that a read and tell me that you wouldn't want to see Hideo Kojima's Star Wars video game? I'm not even a huge fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, but I'd like to see what he could get up to.
What about the go-to developer for action games, Platinum Games? What if you gave them a crack at their own section of the Star Wars universe? Maybe their Western counterpart Ninja Theory could pull off something as interesting as Hellblade in a galaxy far, far away. The last time Obsidian Entertainment touched Star Wars was back in 2004 with Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. What could the Obsidian Entertainment of 2018 pull off given the brand and resources? Arc System Works just killed with Dragon Ball FighterZ, so I'd be all about seeing what they'd do with a fighting game full of Jedi, droids, and bounty hunters.
You don't even have to stick with AAA publishing. What indies would you like to see get a shot at Star Wars? What does a Star Wars project from Derek Yu, Supergiant Games, Playdead, Night School Studio, Drinkbox Studios, Zeboyd Games, Q-Games, or Vlambeer look like? I don't even know and I assume most of the developers wouldn't want to-they have their own stuff to work on-but I'd like to see it.
"But Mike," you ask, "what if the games turn out bad?" Who cares? We've had bad Star Wars games back when Lucasfilm had control of everything and Star Wars survived just fine. We survived Rebel Assault, Star Wars: Masters of Teras Kasi, Kinect Star Wars, Shadows of the Empire, and The Force Unleashed II. We survived The Crystal Star, Darksaber, Red Harvest, the Clone Wars movie, the Ewok Adventure, the Star Wars Holiday Special, Battle for Endor, and Attack of the Clones. (Yeah, folks, Star Wars did some very, very bad things back in the day.) And yet, Star Wars keeps on ticking.
If you have to, shuffle these projects off into their own line, like Disney did with the old Expanded Universe. "Star Wars Legends" could be projects based on the Star Wars universe that don't have to worry about canon and continuity. Something like The Star Wars, a comic series based on George Lucas' original draft of the first film. Let creators have fun with familiar concepts. Worst case scenario, you never talk about it again. Best case, you get new ideas to infuse into the main universe.
I love long-running shows and brands like Gundam, Kamen Rider, and Super Sentai because I like seeing how different creators approach the same ideas and concepts. You end up with wildly different works. Some are bad, but some are legitimately great. I think that kind of creativity is what the Star Wars universe needs, especially when it comes to gaming. Let Star Wars free and let folks have some fun with it, Disney and Lucasfilm. It'll probably pay off in the end.