Disney announced two days ago that their new plans, having previously purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion, aren't just to make a new trilogy of Star Wars episodes, nor even to make a few spin-off films set in the same universe. No, they are planning to make one Star Wars movie every single year, with off-shoot films alternating with official new 'episodes'. How much Star Wars is too much Star Wars? The idea of a new trilogy of Star Wars films, set to debut ten years after the finale of the prequel trilogy, is perhaps also exciting, even as J.J. Abrams replacing George Lucas as the proverbial leader of this specific universe calls for cautious optimism (Is Star Wars without any real input from George Lucas really Star Wars? Discuss...). But how long will the casual fans remain excited about the prospect of new Star Wars films when they appear as frequently as Thanksgiving dinner for years and years on end?
Of all the existing franchises, save whatever becomes of the DC Comics universe, Star Wars is arguably the only one that can sustain a Marvel Studios type model, as technically any random character with a blaster or a light saber can be a Star Wars character (one could argue the same for Star Trek except the success or failure would depend on the quality of the characters more than the technical aspects). I would argue from an artistic point of view that over-saturating the market with Star Wars films is a mistake, especially if every other entry will be an official Episode, as that's obviously not the comic book model discussed above. And double that 'especially' if the offshoots are mostly going to be of the 'Young Yoda' or 'Baby Boba Fett' variety as previously announced rather than the Zack Snyder-helmed Seven Samurai-ish adventure that was rumored and then debunked in record time a few months ago. I won't pretend that I'm terribly optimistic for what's coming, both from a standpoint of this apparent shoveling of nonstop new films and the apparent lack of imagination on display in terms of how to expand the universe. And this is from someone who likes the prequel trilogy more than most.
But, to end on a somewhat positive note, Disney is trying something a little different. They are taking one of the most vibrant and resilient franchises of all time and attempting to create a variation on the genuinely groundbreaking Marvel Universe film franchise. Maybe it will work for long enough to justify the expense, making the Star Wars series into a newfangled James Bond-type series where we just get another fantastic adventure every time out. Or maybe the thrill will dissipate all too quickly due to over-saturation and Disney will turn Star Wars into the fantasy franchise equivalent of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?. I don't know how this will all work out, but I think we'll learn very soon if there is such a thing as too much Star Wars.