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What Does Bob Iger's Return To Disney Mean For Star Wars?

In a shocking turn of events last night, Disney elected to replace CEO Bob Chapek with former head executive Bob Iger. Chapek has worked under the Disney banner since 1993 but moved into the CEO role after Iger's departure in 2020. Now, Iger is returning to replace his once successor. The surprise move has many fans excited about the future of the company.

Iger's previous tenure as Disney CEO built the company into the media giant fans have grown familiar with, overseeing the purchases of Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel during this time. He served as chief executive from 2005 to 2020, leading the company into one of the largest media organizations in the world. In 2020, Iger decided to retire, naming Bob Chapek, head of Walt Disney Parks, as his successor.

Chapek's time as Disney CEO was short and controversial. He inherited the company at its height, and the decisions he made didn't do much to propel the company forward. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Chapek chose to shift the company's focus towards streaming, specifically with Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu. The decision saw minimal profit gains, with Fortune reporting the company's meager 9% increase and the streaming services seeing a net loss of over a billion dollars. His less-than-ideal money-making tactics, plus his controversial political actions, resulted in a feud between Chapek and the rest of Disney. Now that Iger has returned, many are excited to see what the company's future holds.

Let's break down what Iger's return could mean for Disney's beloved "Star Wars" franchise.

More meaningful Star Wars projects could be on the way

Disney CEO Bob Iger oversaw the development of massive "Star Wars" projects, including the sequel trilogy, "Rogue One," "Solo," and "The Mandalorian." Before his initial retirement, after the release of "The Rise of Skywalker," he stated that the future of "Star Wars" lies on TV (via IndieWire). Bob Chapek must have taken those words to heart because after Iger's step down in 2020, Lucasfilm and Disney have developed numerous TV shows set in a galaxy far, far away, including "The Book of Boba Fett," "Andor," "The Bad Batch," and "Tales of the Jedi." However, many, if not all, of these projects began development while Iger held the CEO title.

Iger recognized, and even took the blame, for the "Star Wars" fatigue that plagued the box office a few years ago. From 2015 to 2019, Lucasfilm released five films, three continuing the Skywalker story and two spinoffs. After "Solo: A Star Wars Story" had a subpar performance at the box office, Iger recognized his mistake that led to "Star Wars" fatigue. Since the conclusion of the sequel trilogy, Lucasfilm has yet to release another feature-length film in the "Star Wars" series, choosing to expand the galaxy on Disney+ instead.

Before he departed from Disney, Iger set plans in motion for future "Star Wars" movies from filmmakers Rian Johnson, Kevin Feige, and Patty Jenkins. Fast forward to the end of 2022, and the only significant update on any of those plans is that Disney removed Jenkins' "Rogue Squadron" from its schedule.

Moving forward, "Star Wars" fans can expect Disney to continue developing the universe on Disney+. Hopefully, the return of Iger signifies Lucasfilm taking meaningful steps toward the next theatrical trilogy that the CEO promised all those years ago.