Word came from Disney today on two upcoming sequel films for two popular franchises, “Star Wars” and “Frozen.”
Star Wars: Episode VIII, Rogue One
A press release earlier today reported that “Star Wars” Episode VIII—the next film after “The Force Awakens” this December—will be released on May 26, 2017. That’s 40 years to the day after the release of the very first “Star Wars” film in 1977. No title yet for this film. Yes, it’s been that long ago since the original “Star Wars” was released…
It’s also reported that along with the new trilogy, there’ll be a trio of stand-alone films set in the “Star Wars” universe. The first is “Rogue One,” starring actress Felicity Jones. The film presumably focuses on the famed fighter squadron from the “Star Wars” universe.
It’s nice that Disney’s pushing for a more diverse starring lineup in their “Star Wars” films, including what I assume is Jones as a pilot in “Rogue One.”
Today’s other big Disney news is that we’re getting a sequel to “Frozen,” the 2014 mega-hit that’s grossed a truckload of cash ($1.2 billion worldwide) for Disney.
While I can see why Disney would want to cash in on “Frozen” even more than they have, this seems a slightly unusual move. Back in the 90s and 2000s, Disney would churn out various direct-to-video sequels (or “cheapquels” as its distractors called them) to their classic films, usually of variable quality. (The Lion King and Aladdin films were good, but did we really need a sequel to “Lady and the Tramp”?) However, Disney’s since ended that program in favor of finding other ways to use its traditional animated properties, such as the various live-action films (“Maleficent,” etc.), including this weekend’s debut of “Cinderella.”
While there have been theatrically released sequels to Disney films, those tend to be infrequent; the sequels to date include: “Winnie the Pooh”, “Rescuers Down Under,” “The Three Caballeros,” and “Fantasia 2000.” However, Disney’s Pixar studio has been releasing a lot of sequels to its classics lately. Perhaps that’s prompted Disney to not shy away from a theatrical sequel to a recent hit Disney Studios film?