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The Big Mistake Disney Has Confessed To Making With Star Wars

The Star Wars film series is one of the most commercially and critically successful franchises in history. Having yielded over $9.5 billion worldwide to date and having earned a glistening Rotten Tomatoes description that applauds its ability to "excite and inspire audiences everywhere," the space-faring saga has proven itself worthy of cold hard cash, high acclaim, and the enthusiastic fanbase it has amassed in the 44 years since it launched the installment that started it all.

Of course, this isn't to say that the Star Wars franchise is completely perfect. If given the task, fans could pick apart the movies and find dozens of slip-ups that slipped right past them and make a laundry list of less-than-awesome moments that slightly mar the overall pictures. 

But those would be small potatoes in comparison to the mistake Disney admitted to making with the Star Wars franchise — one that the studio is trying to remedy as we speak. 

Chatting with The Hollywood Reporter's Matthew Belloni in a recent interview, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger addressed the fact that, after acquiring Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012, Disney has churned out one Star Wars movie every year since 2015. (For those who need a refresher, J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens came in 2015, the off-shoot film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story launched in 2016, the Rian Johnson-directed (and extremely divisiveThe Last Jedi was released in 2017, and the young Han Solo movie Solo: A Star Wars Story premiered earlier this year in May.)

When Belloni mentioned that "many believe Disney should pump the brakes and not put out a Star Wars movie each year," Iger agreed. He admitted that it was a total mistake and even shouldered accountability for the misstep. 

"As I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast," said Iger. 

Looking ahead, Disney will no longer be producing Star Wars movies at a whip-quick pace. Iger detailed that fans "can expect some slowdown," although the shouldn't anticipate the House of Mouse bringing things to a screeching halt.

As Iger explained, Abrams is still knee-deep in work on writing and directing Episode IX, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are actively developing their own Star Wars sagas, and, presumably, Johnson is tinkering away at his upcoming trilogy. The TL;DR of this point of Iger's remarks is that the Star Wars franchise is slowing down but not stopping. 

"We are just at the point where we're going to start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.'s [movie]," Iger stated. "But I think we're going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that."

The suggestion that Disney should decelerate the Star Wars film series, shifting the Millennium Falcon into a different gear to let it cruise along at a more comfortable pace, isn't some new-fangled proposal that materialized out of the blue. People have been talking about the potential consequences of Disney launching one Star Wars movie each year for months now. 

Variety published a story back in December of 2017 exploring whether Disney's "hyperdrive Star Wars release slate" would endanger the franchise as a whole, and The Ringer postulated that same month that Disney cranking out Star Wars movies at such an exceptionally fast rate would "sink" the series. After the franchise took a hit when Solo: A Star Wars Story sputtered at the box office in May of 2018, it seemed like everyone was pointing at the underwhelming Alden Ehrenreich-starrer as evidence that Disney's plans for Star Wars, which were modeled in the vein of its subsidiary Marvel Studios, were going awry and that its ambitions were backfiring in a big way. 

Some fans ultimately turned talk into action, with one in particular creating a petition calling for Disney to "stop making Star Wars movies on an annual basis" — a request motivated by the fear that "Star Wars will lose the magic we have revered for so long" if the franchise kept up its current momentum. 

Though it's refreshing to hear Iger admit that Disney dropped the ball when crafting plans for the Star Wars franchise, will that concession and the promise of a "slowdown" be enough to give the film series new energy and strength? We can't offer a solid answer right now, but some feel that Disney has more work to do here than simply pumping the brakes. Following Iger's admission, THR's Graeme McMillan questioned whether "volume and timing are really to blame," and suggested that perhaps "the audience doesn't want these particular Star Wars movies every year." 

Still, it seems that Disney is already doing some serious reflection and reevaluating its decisions in order to make the Star Wars franchise the very best it can be — even if that means only taking a trip to the galaxy far, far away once every few years.