Three months into 2022, Star Wars is thriving. Though there hasn’t been a theatrical release since 2019, the launch of Disney+ has allowed fans to enjoy more Star Wars in the span of two years than ever before. The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch, The Book of Boba Fett – all these shows have introduced the fandom to new characters, places, and ideas. More than it’s eleven live-action movies have in just over 40 years. Perhaps this is a sign that Star Wars TV really is the future of the franchise.
Star Wars can, and should, still make theatrical films. There’s a certain kind of magic to seeing “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” appear on the big screen before a story begins to unfold before viewers’ eyes. However, the added pressure of constructing a cohesive trilogy shouldn’t distract filmmakers from creating the best stories possible. A mix of individual films supplemented with a variety of live-action and animated shows isn’t just the best way to move the franchise forward: It might, instead, be the only way on-screen Star Wars can logistically survive.
Something for everyone
The more Star Wars continues to grow, the less it’s going to be able to appease every fan of its content. Rather than trying to cater to every individual’s preferences, however, Lucasfilm has the resources and the space to create a variety of content for its fanbase. Movies for the film lovers. Animated shows for both younger audiences and anyone who can’t turn down a decent Star Wars cartoon. Live-action shows that run multiple seasons for those who prefer extended storytelling, and limited shows that tell smaller stories over just a handful of episodes. There are so many ways to love Star Wars, and even if an animated series isn’t your thing, there could still be so much more that you do like and can focus your energy and attention on.
Star Wars TV shows in particular have the benefit of playing the long game when it comes to storytelling. It doesn’t have to rush through plot points to quickly develop its characters. It doesn’t have to tell a full story in just a few hours. More importantly, TV opens the door for more creatives to get involved behind the scenes. While a movie typically has one director, one or several screenwriters, and the same crew working on the project from start to finish, shows can invite a diverse group of directors, writers, and others to contribute to smaller parts of a much larger story.
While Star Wars has become much more inclusive both in its characters and those it appoints to tell those characters’ stories, its Disney+ playground is the place where further strides can and ideally will continue. The films set in a galaxy far, far away are part of a much larger industry that’s taking its time to “get with the times,” as they say. Star Wars TV has the opportunity to continue leading the charge and inspire change in the larger projects it’s promoted alongside.
Theatrical releases are part of Star Wars’ long and rich history, and they will likely remain an important component of its future. But the benefits of making TV the franchise’s primary focus are simply too great to ignore.
As always, thanks for reading.