Disney is Hollywood’s version of Thanos, an unstoppable titan in pursuit of the all-powerful Infinity Stones. In this instance, the Infinity Stones are intellectual property. Disney already owns decades worth of all-time classic movies. And just to remind you, they’ve been relaunching them as live-action films (The Lion King, Aladdin). So, let’s say they are already starting out with the Time Stone.
Disney eventually swallowed up Pixar, a company known for making some of cinema’s most heartwarming movies. That acquisition would be the Soul Stone. We all know how Disney’s Marvel purchase worked out. That one is the Power Stone, by the way. And Star Wars (the Space Stone) which they also own, is the only franchise that comes close to dethroning the MCU.
With the acquisition of Fox, the company now owns the Avatar (Reality Stone) and X-Men (Mind Stone) series. Right now, the house of mouse doesn’t even need an Infinity Gauntlet. Some top exec could snap a finger and turn half of Hollywood’s biggest franchises to dust. What’s more likely is that they’ll keep churning out variations of their most successful series until the well runs dry.
Yesterday, Disney put out a release schedule for their upcoming films. The slate includes titles they’ve acquired in the Fox merger. The biggest takeaway is that there is a lot more Star Wars and Avatar pictures heading to multiplexes.
After the Skywalker saga wraps up this December with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, a new, unnamed Star Wars trilogy will arrive in theatres every other Christmas season starting in 2022. Prepare to dust off that old Na’vi costume that’s been in your closet since 2010. We will also receive new Avatar films in the same Christmas slot every other year as of 2021.
Here’s an excerpt from Disney’s official press release:
With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker bringing the original Skywalker Saga to its conclusion, three new as-yet-untitled Star Wars films will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2022. Four forthcoming Avatar films, expanding the vibrant world of Pandora, will release on the pre-Christmas weekend every other year beginning in 2021. In the holiday corridor for 2020, Fox’s West Side Story adaptation, directed by Steven Spielberg, will debut Dec. 18 in the pre-Christmas slot, with Disney’s Cruella opening Wednesday, Dec. 23, for the long holiday weekend.
Details about the new Star Wars series are scarce, but it’s likely the same trilogy Disney handed over to Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. Johnson’s approach to tackling (some would say disregarding) the series’ revered mythology makes him a bold choice. Some of the best Star Wars stories come from noncanonical books and video games. And if Disney wants to expand the franchise’s scope beyond tales of Skywalkers, Jedi’s, and plucky rebellion fighters, Johnson makes sense.
Rogue One and Solo weren’t the hits that the studio hoped for. And their box office tallies and tepid reception from audiences forced Disney to can their upcoming Star Wars spinoffs. I’m curious to see which aspects of Star Wars mythos the new films pull from. Is Disney willing to go away from what they know works to expand their Star Wars content or will they keep recycling the same characters and themes à la JJ Abrams remaking Episode IV in The Force Awakens?
Here’s a look at Disney’s release calendar through 2020.
Tolkien (Fox Searchlight) – May 10
Aladdin (Dis) – May 24
Dark Phoenix (Fox) – June 7
Toy Story 4 (Dis)- June 21
Stuber (Fox) – July 12
The Lion King (Dis) – July 19
The Art of Racing in the Rain (Fox) – Aug 9
Ready or Not (Fox Searchlight) – Aug. 23
Ad Astra (Fox) – Sept. 20
The Woman in the Window (Fox) – Oct. 4
Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Dis) – Oct. 18
Ford v. Ferrari (Fox) – Nov. 15
Frozen 2 (Dis) – Nov. 22
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Dec. 20
Spies in Disguise (Fox) – Dec. 25
Underwater (Fox) – Jan. 10
Untitled Kingsman Movie (Fox) – Feb. 14
Call of the Wild (Fox) – Feb. 21
Onward (Dis) – March 6
Mulan (Dis) – March 27
The New Mutants (Fox) – April 3
Untitled Marvel (Dis)- May 1
Artemis Fowl (Dis) – May 29
Untitled Pixar (Dis) – June 19
Free Guy (Fox) – July 3
Bob’s Burgers (Fox) – July 17
Jungle Cruise (Dis) – July 24
The One and Only Ivan (Dis) – Aug. 14
Death on the Nile (Fox) – Oct. 9
Untitled Marvel (Dis) – Nov. 6
Ron’s Gone Wrong (Dis) – Nov. 6
Untitled Disney Animation – Nov. 25
West Side Story (Fox/Amblin) – Dec. 18
Cruella (Dis) – Dec. 23