Disney has closed a deal with director Rian Johnson to develop a new “Star Wars” trilogy, and it is planning a live-action “Star Wars” TV series to air on its entertainment streaming service that is expected to launch by the end of 2019.
Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger announced the “Star Wars” news during the company’s quarterly earnings call. In addition to the “Star Wars” TV series, Disney is working on TV series adaptations of Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.,” the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” franchise and an original entry from Marvel.
Johnson helmed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is due out Dec. 15. He’s set to write and direct another trio of “Star Wars” theatrical pics with his longtime collaborator Ram Bergman.
“We all loved working with Rian on ‘The Last Jedi,’” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft ‘The Last Jedi’ from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”
The long-term pact with Johnson comes on the heels of Lucasfilm having some rocky relations with filmmakers on other “Star Wars” pics. There are no dates yet for the new pics.
“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on ‘The Last Jedi,’ ” Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. “ ‘Star Wars’ is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.”
Of the nascent entertainment-focused streaming service, Iger said Disney would produce four to five original movies a year for the service, in addition to the original TV series. Iger said it would not have traditional advertising in the form of commercials. Sponsorship opportunities may be available, however.
Iger also said he expects the Disney-branded streaming service to be priced “substantially below” Netflix’s $10.99 a month because the service will have less content overall. “The price will reflect that,” he said. “Our goal is to attract as many subs as possible starting out.”
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