Expanded Empires

With “Rogue One,” Disney rises while others sink

Recently, the “Star Wars: Rogue One” trailer was revealed, with the release date slated for later in 2016. The film is intriguing in that it offers a first for “Star Wars” movies: a canonical spin-off of the original series. The film takes place in between episodes III and IV and centers on the rebellion squadron that stole the Death Star plans from under the Empire’s nose. The general observer may see this as a placeholder until episode VII rolls around, but Disney has bigger plans than that. Not only is Disney going forward with “Rogue One,” but they also have two other spin-off movies involving fan favorite characters, including Han Solo and Boba Fett.

Illustrator: Helen Teague

Illustrator: Helen Teague

As for whether or not Disney can pull this off… well, that’s out of the question. For the past eight years, Disney has managed their other biggest franchise, Marvel, with utmost care and careful construction. We have gotten about two to three Marvel movies every year, and yet, all of them have been hyped beyond belief, sold unbelievably well, and received decent to excellent reviews. How do they do it? How can Marvel pull of this massive act of franchising while other studios, like Warner Brothers, try to pull this off with “Batman vs. Superman,” only for it to blow up in their face?

Well, money and resources seems to be the safe answer. The Marvel movies have an ensemble of directors and producers, from Joss Whedon to James Gunn, each working on movies that have subtle differences from one another to make them stand out. Star Wars is treading similar waters. “Rogue One” is being directed by Gareth Edwards, the director of the 2014 “Godzilla” movie. Other directors planned for the Star Wars movies include Rian Johnson, who is known for “Looper,” and Colin Trevorrow of “Jurassic World” fame. With several directors and producers creating the movies in tandem, the movies can come out one at a time without feeling rushed. However, Warner Brothers doesn’t seem to have as stable footing as Disney with its multitasking (as well as not having as much money). Disney proves it can do well with its franchising and with millions seeing their movies, they aren’t stopping anytime soon.