By the time Star Wars: Episode VII opens next December, I feel like I’ll know everything about it. That’s not to criticize the film itself; that’s just the nature of the online reporting, especially when you cover every trailer, TV spot, Vine, Instagram, Twitpic, and social media technology yet to be invented. However, with where the Star Wars universe is headed, there may be too much to cover. The entire expanded universe canon has been “scrapped” (I don’t know if you can say something was discarded when it was never seriously considered by its originator), and Star Wars is starting afresh. But the sequels may be more than a way of launching new tie-ins. Lucasfilm might be trying to legitimately make these tie-ins a rewarding part of the Star Wars experience.
Hit the jump for more on the plans for the Star Wars sequels, spin-offs, and more.
According to Badass Digest, a Lucasfilm employee says they’re “going to redefine longform storytelling.” In addition to the new trilogy being planned from start to finish rather than having one filmmaker try to piece together a sequel based on the previous movie, all the tie-in material will help flesh out the world and legitimately be part of the world as opposed to five novels about the adventures of Bossk.
“It’s all going to matter,” reports Badass, and while people won’t have to read the book and comics or watch the animated series (I assume he’s referring to Star Wars Rebels, although who knows what other material is coming down the line), they will be rewarded for doing so. We’ve already heard one rumor regarding a possible relationship between Rebels and Episode VII. Trying to bundle everything together though expanded media could be daunting, infuriating, and exciting depending on how you look at it. Let’s go with “exciting”. Exciting is fun.
Badass also stresses that the people at Lucasfilm actually care, and while it’s a smart way to expand the IP and therefore make more money, there is a devotion to creating something that’s worthwhile storytelling even if it’s going to actively move away from fan-service. That’s a tricky balance—respecting what made fans fall in love with the story while also breaking it apart to potentially make it better.
There will be some folks who never go for it. They want more of the same, and any deviations will make them invoke the tired “raping my childhood” line. To be fair, Devin states there’s “some spoiler stuff that, if true, will rock the fanbase to its core,” but I think this is a franchise that needs to be rocked.
It’s an increasingly competitive marketplace for franchises, and while Star Wars: Episode VII is guaranteed to make a ridiculous amount of money not only from ticket sales and merchandise, it could also be the start of something amazing. If this bet on longform storytelling pays off, then perhaps the obscene amount of coverage will be worth it.