The future of Star Wars is the series, not the cinema

The future of Star Wars is the series, not the cinema

The future of Star Wars is the series

A rich presence of Star Wars could not be missing at D23 Expo, the annual event in which Disney unveils plans and previews on the future adventures of its main IPs. During the panel dedicated to the galaxy far, far away there was a certain transport talk of the future productions of the franchise, passing from the third season of The Mandalorian, to today the most successful series of Star Wars, to animated productions such as Tales of the Jedi or the second season of The Bad Batch. The hype for all these announcements, however, must not let us overlook a particularly interesting aspect: there has been no mention of new films. Almost all the productions related to Star Wars, in fact, seem to be destined for Disney +, the streaming service of the entertainment giant, a detail that prompts us to wonder if the future of Star Wars is not precisely the series.

Click here to subscribe to Disney + for € 1.99 for one month. Only until 09/19 The last film on the big screen of the saga is The Rise of Skywalker, the final chapter of the Sequel Trilogy started with The Awakening of the Force. While I understand how LucasFilm is quite lukewarm at the idea of ​​returning to the cinema after the not-so-exciting reception of the Sequel Trilogy, the lack of news regarding new films in the saga presents itself as an important signal. Considering also the poor performance of products like Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett, are we sure that seriality should be the Way to the future of Star Wars?

From the announcements of the D23 Expo, a question emerges: is the future of Star Wars in the series?

The era of film Star Wars TV series: from minor entertainment to a new frontier of entertainment Disney +: is seriality the new Way for Star Wars?

The era of cinematic Star Wars

When George Lucas revolutionized science fiction with Star Wars in 1977, the world of entertainment was profoundly different. At the end of the 1970s, the New Hollywood of Scorsese, de Palma, Spielberg and Lucas was showing a new way of understanding cinema, different from what had been seen previously both in terms of narrative styles and techniques. If cult like The Shark or Apocalypse Now aimed mainly at a narrative conception of rupture on the level of the story, with A New Hope Lucas did much more. | ); }
Previously productions such as Star Trek had shown that it was possible to tell another science fiction, far from the fears that in previous decades had led to the creation of dark tones and with the constant presence of an alien threat , metaphor of the real enemy of the States. Lucas decided, after the experiment with THX-1138, to abandon this oppressive vision, relying on a story based on the characters, capable of showing irony and hope, also capturing aspects of traditional epic, borrowed from the works that had contributed to the formation of the Californian director, such as The Hidden Fortress of Kurosawa. To this, Lucas had combined the presence of a new way of understanding the visual story, making the technology of special effects progress not a little, which were one of the most impactful traits for Star Wars.

The release before other chapters (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and a Prequel Trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith) continued to solidify the feeling between Star Wars and the big screen. But fans, in the long years of absence from the cinema of the saga, had continued to follow the evolution of this universe on other media, from novels to comics, without forgetting the gaming sector. This had helped to root the belief in the fandom that there could be so much more than the Skywalker family in Star Wars, other stories, other adventures.

And suddenly, movies might not be enough.

TV series: from minor entertainment to a new frontier of entertainment

Well before Disney's arrival in the galaxy far, far away, it was attempted to approach the younger audience with two animation experiments, Droids and the more famous Clone Wars. Far from the modern serial vision of the saga, these two animated series had nevertheless sown the seed of a cross-media narrative that would help expand the Star Wars galaxy, going well beyond the confines of the movie theater.

Subsequent theatrical releases. of the saga, especially in the post-Disney period born with The Awakening of the Force, seem to have shown a limit of the films of the saga. Uninspired writings and, above all, a different taste in the use of their favorite sagas by the public have proved to be weak points in the evolution of the saga, which trying to repair in some cases with derivative works such as comics and novels, however, has risked losing part of its cinematic audience, which was partially excluded from the thirty-year time gap created between Return of the Jedi and The Awakening of the Force.

What seemed to be a problem, has instead revealed a greedy opportunity with the spread of streaming, supported by the public's new passion for seriality. Well before the advent of streaming, the very concept of seriality had changed, becoming more and more a valid alternative to the big screen. In the sci-fi sector, series such as The X-Files, Star Trek: The Next Generation or Battlestar Galactica, flanked by beloved titles of another genre such as Twin Peaks or crime stories of the caliber of Law & Order, had shown how serial narration, thanks to its more generous times, it could prove to be perfect not only to give full breath to a continuity, but also to show an economic possibility compared to previous decades. And more budget means better special effects and a quality production that can rival the cinema. At the peak of this progressive evolution of the concept of serial narration, finally comes streaming, which further changes the perception of the use of serial content.

If traditional seriality often required a wait of a week for a new episode , and the strictly domestic take on our favorite series, streaming was the next evolutionary step. Services like Netflix have made binge watching, that is the river vision of entire seasons, their distinctive trait, moreover no longer bound to domestic use, but also mobile, via smartphone or other mobile devices, which has further brought seriality closer to our dimension. daily. In Disney, this evolution of seriality has led to the creation of its own streaming service, Disney Plus, which in addition to boasting a catalog of IPs already available, has required the creation of new ad hoc content, a need that has pushed the top of the Mickey Mouse's house to look at one of their most popular IPs: Star Wars.

Disney +: is seriality the new Way to Star Wars?

The availability of a proprietary streaming platform if on the one hand it allows Disney to be able to treat its IPs independently, on the other it requires a continuous production of content that satisfies the requests of subscribers. The availability of franchises dear to the public, such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars itself, has provided a wealth of material that, thanks also to the dimension of the serial narrative, can find a fascinating identity, which is well suited to the need to expand. narrative contexts far beyond the big screen.

It is no coincidence that Disney + 's first flagship product was The Mandalorian, a Star Wars live action series that set a precedent: Star Wars is not just cinema. If the most loyal fans of the franchise were already used to this dogma, as users of the rich cross-media production of the saga, this transition to the small screen represented both an invitation to more casual fans, and an ideal entry point for a new type of spectators. Seriality, on the other hand, has become a mode of entertainment strongly rooted in contemporary culture, like cinema, as demonstrated by titles such as Stranger Things, Lost, Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad, just to name the most famous of recent years. . A growth resulting from a more consistent writing than in the past, accompanied by increasingly generous budgets that have made it possible to bring to the small screen real breathtaking shows in terms of implementation. In such a framework, a saga like Star Wars could not be missing, which has always represented a forerunner in the evolution of the visual story.

Seriality in the future of Star Wars is also made more central to the future of Star Wars. generosity of narrative times compared to a simple film. In fact, in a television season, you have the right time to develop the characters, to create a plot that is not hyper-accelerated to remain within the confines of cinematic times, but that knows how to involve the viewer more. In this respect, The Mandalorian, although supported by an undeniable fan base support, has shown how a fertile narrative context such as Star Wars can find a new Way precisely in seriality, to paraphrase the motto of the Mandalorians.

Let's also assume that the unconvincing exploits of the Sequel Trilogy have created a certain distrust in the public, and it is easily understandable how a serial production, inserted within a service that includes other appreciated franchises, is a sort of win-win, for the viewer as much as for the major. If for Disney, shifting the attention of fans from the big screen to its streaming service means monetizing more in subscriptions, for the viewer this transition is almost painless, considering how the perception of TV series is now considered an everyday aspect, usable practically everywhere. However, this new culture of seriality has also led to a new awareness on the part of the average viewer, who today has a very specific demand in terms of quality.

They also understood this in Disney , where the enthusiasm for the results of The Mandalorian was diminished by the lukewarm reception for The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Especially the latter, dealing with one of the most beloved characters in the saga, underwent a meticulous scrutiny, where narration and production techniques were ruthlessly scrutinized and deemed unconvincing. Not a setback for the serial future of Star Wars, of course, but a point to think about for subsequent products, given that the next few years, as happened for Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, seem to want to give us more and more Stars Wars on the small screen and less in the cinema.

After the announcements of San Diego Comic-Con and D23 Expo, it seems evident that LucasFilm has found the future of Star Wars in seriality. Meritorious choice, which leads to hope for an enhancement of the potential of the medium, primarily narrative times, which would allow not only to cover moments never faced before the saga, but also to give life to chapters of the saga that consolidate what is already known, giving further consistency to the Canon born with The Awakening of the Force. A hope that will be put to the test immediately at the end of September with Andor, but that in the coming months will have the opportunity to show its validity both in the animation (Tales of the Jedi, The Bad Batch) and in the live action ( Ahsoka, The Acolyte, Skeleton Crew). Star Wars was born and achieved fame on the big screen, but it now seems evident that its evolution is in seriality, waiting to be able to return to the cinema again with a chapter that fully honors the spirit of the franchise.

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