During today’s quarterly financial call for the Walt Disney Company, CEO Bob Iger announced that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will be helming his own Star Wars trilogy. But that isn’t all: Disney also plans to create a live-action Star Wars television show for its upcoming online streaming service.
There are no details on what this show might be about. But according to Variety, Iger also revealed that Disney is currently working on shows based on Monsters Inc., High School Musical, as well as a new series from Marvel. The streaming service is expected to launch in 2019.
Historically, Lucasfilm has used television as a way to expand the Star Wars universe with animated shows. The Clone Wars, which was set between Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, ran from 2008 through 2015, while the currently-running Star Wars Rebels first debuted in 2014 on Disney XD. There have also been consistent rumors that a third animated show was also in the works.
As streaming services like Netflix have taken off, various entertainment conglomerates have branched off to form their own independent online channels. Disney announced in August that it was cutting ties with Netflix to create its own service. While Disney has its own massive catalog of content to use for such a site, numerous streaming services have begun to create their own original content to help entice new subscribers to their platforms. CBS launched Star Trek: Discovery on its All Access platform this fall, while MGM is filming its own Stargate prequel show, Origins, for its Stargate Command platform. Disney creating its own ongoing content makes sense considering that it will be fighting for attention in an already-crowded field of streaming sources. New Star Wars content will almost certainly get that attention.
If Disney can pull off this project, it’ll accomplish something that has long eluded the franchise: a live-action show. Lucasfilm has developed various concepts for a standalone show in the Star Wars universe for years. In 2005, George Lucas announced a show at the Celebration III convention, saying it would be set in the underworld of the city planet Coruscant. Various writers and artists were brought on to flesh out the idea, but it was ultimately abandoned in 2010 due to concerns about the show’s budget.