By Travis Johnson

Not a rumour – this comes direct from StarWars.com:

“David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are going from Winterfell to a galaxy far, far away.

“It was announced today that Benioff and Weiss, creators of the smash-hit, Emmy Award-winning television series Game of Thrones, will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films.

“These new films will be separate from both the episodic Skywalker saga and the recently-announced trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson, writer-director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

“’David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today,’ said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. ‘Their command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting.’

“‘In the summer of 1977 we traveled to a galaxy far, far away, and we’ve been dreaming of it ever since,’ Benioff and Weiss said in a joint statement. ‘We are honored by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of Game of Thrones is complete.’

“No release dates have been set for the new films, and there have (thankfully) been no sightings of White Walkers around Lucasfilm.”

Interesting! So, what does it all mean?

Well, for one thing, Star Wars ain’t going no where, idiots bitching about The Last Jedi killing the franchise notwithstanding. Between Episode IX, Johnson’s trilogy, Solo, the live action series, the last season of Rebels, and the mooted additions to the A Star Wars Story umbrella (Obi-Wan, Boba Fett, etc etc), we are not gonna be seeing the end of the ol’ galaxy for a long, long time. Frankly, this even puts the notion of a Star Wars flick every year behind us – this move feels like a power up to Marvel levels of brand ubiquity.

Now, pure conjecture here, but it also feels like a step towards a more mature (for a tits ‘n’ Krayt Dragons level of mature) kind of Star Wars story. Not that Benioff and Weiss are just Game of Thrones, and not that we’re going to be seeing GoT levels of sex and violence in Star Wars any time soon, but they are certainly known for more adult-oriented content, and some of the more extreme reactions to TLJ indicate that the Star Wars audience is a bit fragmented, although not actually split. It’s not hard to imagine an overarching game plan that positions different Star Wars films to appeal to different demographics, rather than trying to capture the whole audience every time out.

What’s interesting about that approach is that if flies in the face of not just Star Wars marketing in general, but the whole ethos of modern blockbuster marketing altogether, where the general idea is to make your films as broadly accessible to as many people as possible, across national and cultural boundaries to boot. Still, it’s a gambit that could pay off in terms of total market dominance – not to mention cultural dominance – and might be a concession to the idea that the era of the massively expensive tentpole can’t last forever – all it will take is a few big bombs to make the industry contract, and pundits have been warning of that happening for years. If B&W do bring a different and less broadly marketable sensibility to the Star Wars brand,  it’ll be interesting to see what kind of budget they get to play with – smaller but still impressive would be our guess. say $100M compared to TLJ’s $200M.

Still, total conjecture. Absolutely just spit-balling here.

Also, note that it’s being framed as a new series of films, not a new trilogy. What could that mean?

Hmm, indeed.

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