In news that will either excite or strike fear in the hearts of fans of Star Wars, Disney have announced plans to release a new film from the franchise every year, starting with JJ Abrams’ Episode VII in 2015.
The Star Trek Into Darkness director’s upcoming addition to the much-loved film series was confirmed for release in two summers’ time by Walt Disney Co chairman Alan Horn, who was speaking at the annual CinemaCon event currently taking place in Las Vegas. His movie will then be followed by Episodes VIII and IX in 2017 and 2019, with the standalone films readied for release in 2016 and 2018.
Previous reports have speculated on the subjects of the standalone editions, with Yoda, Han Solo and Boba Fett strongly rumoured to feature, although a formal announcement is yet to be made. Devoted fans are still awaiting plot and casting details for Episode VII which will be written by Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt and executive produced by Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk (Star Trek Into Darkness).
While the the latest Star Wars news means fans have a wealth of new material to look forward to, it is likely to have devotees of the franchise questioning the integrity of the volume of material Disney are intending to create, with some fans taking to Twitter to express their fears:
Hmmm disney releasing Star Wars movies every year from 2015, don't like the sound of that, seems like they are rushing it to make money! 🙁
— Dode (@Dodeaitken) April 18, 2013
@griffster77 Too much of a good thing! It will end up killing the legend of Star Wars! What next? A spin off just on Jar Jar Bings? 🙁
— Vincent Sorel (@vinces) April 18, 2013
With five films confirmed for release before 2020, Disney are taking full advantage of their £2.5bn cash cow, but at what cost?