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Disney’s Bob Iger talks about bringing in new Marvel characters from Fox and a slowdown for Star Wars films


Disney has been doing great things with the various properties they bought, mainly with Marvel Studios, but on occasion, they either get things wrong or are in the press for the wrong reasons.

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger, who is probably the most powerful person in entertainment at the moment, only adding to his empire with $71 billion of 21st Century Fox assets. Starting with Pixar in 2006, he has overseen various purchases that have seen the company become bigger and bigger – Marvel Studios, Star Wars and then this June there was the $71.3 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox.

Iger had a long chat with THR about many different things including a slowdown for Star Wars films, the purchase of 21st Century Fox, and their plans to go head to head with other streaming services.

With regards to their planned streaming service:

It’s a direct relationship with customers: the ability to provide more customized, personalized experiences; new ways to monetize; a proximity to a customer that doesn’t have intermediaries. You’re going to see growth in direct-to-consumer businesses. You’re probably going to see less channel watching; we’re already seeing that. You’re probably going to see less bundling of channels and more selling of specific brands, programs, etc.

I’m impressed with what has been accomplished at Netflix and Amazon. But none of them is either Disney or Marvel. Or Pixar. Or Star Wars or National Geographic or FX or Searchlight or Avatar — I could go on. So we enter the business that they’re in, in many respects, with an advantage from a content perspective that will enable us to focus on quality rather than just volume.

He was asked about the various Marvel properties from Fox coming home to Marvel Studios under the watch of Kevin Feige.

I think it only makes sense. I want to be careful here because of what’s been communicated to the Fox folks, but I think they know. It only makes sense for Marvel to be supervised by one entity. There shouldn’t be two Marvels.

Kevin’s got a lot of ideas.

Then there was talk of Star Wars. Since they bought the LucasFilms, there has been a Star Wars film each year, with more planned and a live-action TV show in development. It seems that, after Solo: A Star Wars Story not performing as well as the other films and Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi splitting the fans, they will be slowing things down

I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make films. J.J. Abrams is busy making Episode IX. We have creative entities, including Game of Thrones creators David] Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven’t been specific about. And we are just at the point where we’re going to start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.

I do think they should have stuck to the December release schedule with Solo: A Star Wars Story. It was a little too close to The Last Jedi so it may have done a little better with 11 or 12 months between the two films.

It is interesting that he does not mention Rian Johnson’s planned trilogy, but that may not mean anything. I feel it is probably for the best that they take things slow with Star Wars. It felt like things were rushing along and so much of the magic seemed to be getting stripped away.

Star Wars: Episode IX is due out on 20th December 2019.

How do you feel about a slowdown for Star Wars?

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