Disney can successfully rephrase “Star Wars” with new young actors in streaming

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recently said the studio believes it can’t rephrase the original characters from the Star Wars trilogy without upsetting fans and losing revenue. But with a host of new streaming projects and a positive reception from critics and audiences, I think the Star Wars the franchise is quite popular around the world and has enough top-tier talent keeping everything running at optimum levels to successfully “reboot” with a new cast taking on classic roles. If it sounds like heresy, the details could convert you.

Kennedy was talking about the fallout from the 2018 film Solo: a Star Wars story, who cast Alden Ehrenreich in the iconic role of Han Solo originally played by Harrison Ford. That film’s $ 393 million box office tally is lowest ever for live-action Star Wars theatrical release and not even enough to cover production and marketing costs.

There is no argument that Solo suffered from the low attendance in theaters and the backlash, even if the film was particularly liked by critics and part of the public’s lack of interest was certainly due to the opening just five months later Star Wars: The Last Jedi (which in turn has suffered some backlash and a significant drop at the box office compared to its predecessor, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), as well as many negative or mixed coverages during development and initial commercialization.

These external factors matter, as does the fact that 2018 was a year full of must-see releases and the average viewer only manages four or five multiplex visits a year, but in the end there were clearly mixed reactions to the film and that’s what matters more. So Kennedy has reason to worry about how the public feels about the recast.

Fortunately, there is further evidence to consider, showing that fans and audiences will actually accept the recast of the iconic roles from Episodes IV through VI, it’s just a question of how it’s done and in what context.

The entire prequel trilogy – Episodes I through III – required the recast of Obi-Wan, Darth Vader, the Emperor, Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker’s Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, Mon Mothma, and others. Likewise, Chewbacca was recast starting with Episode VIII and continued with subsequent films. R2-D2 has been recast a few times. And Grand Moff Tarkin was not only recast, but CGI too Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

It is important to recognize how much the current revival of the franchise is due to the success of the prequel films that have reformulated several important roles. The prequels earned over $ 4 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars ($ 2.5 billion from 1999 to 2005 in contemporary dollars) and, despite controversy and mixed reactions, most of the reactions from critics and audience was positive.

Those films created a new generation of fans who also watched the animated series The wars of the clones and grew as attached to their generations’ Star Wars stories like fans of the original trilogy are for movies from the 70s and 80s and now they share their love of the franchise with their children. Star Wars has a future indeed because of the initial recast in the prequels.

Multiple streaming Star Wars the series on Disney + continued to recast and used digital versions of not only the characters’ faces but their voices as well. And I suspect that as we have more of these shows, we will see further recast when needed.

So there is actually ample evidence that the public and the fandom accept the recast in the Star Wars universe, including beloved characters and core team members such as Chewy, Obi-Wan, and R2.

But does this mean that the audience is ready for the recast of the three protagonists: Luke, Leia and Han? Well, I remind you that Luke was already “recast” when Mark Hamill appeared Boba Fett’s book it included a stunt double with a “rejuvenated” version of Hamill’s CGI face on his body and a digital version of Hamill’s voice dubbed.

Every franchise and fandom at some point has or will have to face the prospect of rephrasing beloved characters. Recasting is common, even mid-stream in film franchises and ongoing TV series. I do not believe Star Wars it is unique among franchises in film history as the only series where it simply isn’t possible or acceptable. Self Star Trek can rephrase Kirk and Spock, I promise fans will learn to live with a new Luke and Leia.

It’s been 45 years and the franchise has grown and expanded. So if Star Wars he will continue to go back in time to tell stories and make the expansion of the brand conditional on the connective tissue of the original trilogy, so at some point he will have to contend with the rule of “never rephrase these three people”. And the best place to do that is on Disney +, where you stream Star Wars series can be recast without the same level of financial and investment risk as a feature film.

Disney was already set to change the film and streaming industry with a shift towards heavy investment in major IP series and high-budget movies for their new Disney + streaming service, which I have discussed it in great detail at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020.

While we are still in the early stages of change and the full strength and results of the initial investment have not yet been felt, we have reached the end of the early stages of development and are about to experience the first big wave of new series dropping one after the other.

My thought is: if they’re filling the backstories with entirely new shows and stories, why not fill in the gaps between the films in the original trilogy?

Imagine for a moment if there was a series of incredible stories set during those missing periods, already scripted and scripted. Well, you don’t have to imagine, because you can already see them by reading the reboot Star Wars Marvel comics, published after Disney bought Lucasfilm. They’re great stories, thrilling and fun, and with the perfect tone and approach to coexist with the original film trilogy, and it wouldn’t be hard to adapt them to live-action. If you haven’t read them, I highly recommend it, even if you don’t normally read comics – the quality of the original year or so of the stories in particular is astounding and on par with the movies themselves.

We’ve already seen Luke fundamentally reformulated and digitized, and the technology we’ve seen is already underpinning what they can accomplish today. But honestly, I’d just rephrase the actors without many / a few digital changes – if (just for a few hypothetical examples) Anthony Ingruber or Tye Sheridan were playing Han Solo, for example, and Graham Hamilton (Hamill’s double body in Boba Fett’s book) played Luke, and perhaps Phoebe Fox played the role of Leia, so it would only work well with makeup and wigs.

I liked Alden Ehrenreich in the role of Han Solo, and in fact for a few years before he took on the role I had written here to Forbes that Ehrenreich would be a great choice to play Han and Leia’s son (this was in the beginning after the plans for a new trilogy had been announced and we all suspected or knew it would include the son, but the casting had not yet taken place). But I also admit in retrospect that while the public can and did accept the recast Star Wars roles, the three main characters are so popular that it would be helpful to have actors who resemble them, to reduce dissonance for viewers with greater attachment to the original cast.

A new Star Wars Series that adapt Marvel comic stories to live action, or with a different set of stories set between the original movies, can definitely work on Disney +. With such exceptional writing quality, the right cast and someone like Jon Favreau or Deborah Chow in the director’s chair, I think a Star Wars the continuation series of the original trilogy would end up being a smash hit.

This isn’t just for the biggest fans. Young fans would have these shows as a new entry point for older stories, as well as having new ones to enjoy. It’s a good way to get new fans to invest more in older characters, which was part of the problem Solo as well as fans who loved the prequels and the Clone Warsand / or who love the new film trilogy, they simply haven’t been very involved in Han Solo, recast or not, outside of the new film trilogy where he dies quickly and the baton is passed down to a new, younger generation of characters .

But a new streaming show that brings back the original characters with a new cast and features plenty of links to the larger universe would go a long way to interest younger fans in them, helping to make the original trilogy more relevant to that audience.

Self Star Wars chooses to move forward with mostly new characters and stories that mostly forgo the use of characters from the original trilogy, will have a lot of territory and potential to do so successfully. But I think there is a huge gain in popularity and potential to be found in the seemingly taboo suggestion to rephrase and tell stories about what happened between Episodes IV, V, and VI. And with that being the entertainment and film industry, I’d bet money that a recast or even a complete reboot of the original trilogy stories is inevitable, it’s just a matter of when.

So I say, if Lucasfilm will do so many more stories set in the past and fill those empty pages with Star Wars story, the timing seems right to consider a recast and fill in some blanks which, in turn, will open the door to even greater expansion of the series and new stories with the characters.

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