With a world of planned sequels and movies set in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars is one of Disney’s most treasured properties, and the company puts a lot of movie and love in the franchise. And the latest project, the first-ever live-action Star Wars television series, has now landed its head writer and producer: The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau.
“Jon brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe,” said Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm President, on a statement to the press. “This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”
Although there have been two major Star Wars animated series, Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, this will be the franchise’s first foray into small screen live action. It’s scheduled to be released on Disney’s still-unnamed streaming service, which is expected to launch in 2019.
For Disney, Favreau has turned into the safe choice when it comes to building new things. He famously directed the first two Iron Man movies, effectively kickstarting the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His Jungle Book live-action adaptation was also a huge box office hit, leading to his current work directing a new version of The Lion King. In all, the actor-writer-director is a lucky charm for the media giant, and making them a lot of money and receiving critical acclaim.
However, the decision was met with some criticism. The announcement was made on a particularly difficult political climate during International Women’s Day, and some pointed out that the timing was pretty poor. Still, with Lucasfilm head talking about a “diverse group of writers and directors,” it’ll be interesting to see any follow-up announcements, particularly if this (currently small) controversy really catches on.
Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm for over $4 billion in 2012, Mickey Mouse’s company has been milking the franchise for all its worth, to mostly great results. In the time since, we’ve released two films from a new trilogy, animated series Star Wars Rebels, one-off Rogue One, and the Han Solo standalone movie scheduled for a May release. Lucasfilm also has plans for a Rian Johnson trilogy with no relation to the Skywalker family.