Disney is now getting ready to move the sci-fi franchise Star Wars to TV in a new live action series. Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger confirmed the project on Thursday during a discussion with investors on a quarterly call.
This is the first live action Star Wars series; there have only been animated ones so far. The George Lucas’ franchise has created five animated series, the first one dating back to 1985’s Star Wars: Droids, which aired on ABC, as did the second series, Star Wars: Ewoks. The latest animated series is the Star Wars Rebels, which airs on Disney XD, the sister network of Disney Channel. The next upcoming one is Star Wars: Force of Destiny, which will show on YouTube.
The still untitled live action TV series is set to launch on Disney’s digital streaming service in 2019. Iger also revealed that a new High School Musical and Monsters Inc TV series will also debut on the streaming service as well.
Since the Star Wars franchise is expanding, a new trilogy separate from the continuing Skywalker saga will be created. The new trilogy will be directed by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. In an official announcement made by Lucasfilm, it was stated that “Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored. ” Johnson will write and direct the first film in the trilogy.
Lucasfilm, which is owned by Disney, already has several projects in the works like some upcoming new movies: Solo: A Star Wars Story which is due May 25, 2018, and director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode IX, which is set to come out Dec. 20, 2019. The Last Jedi debuts Dec. 15.
On the call between Iger and investors, he also discussed considering licensing programming from third parties. He also noted that ABC Studios might end up producing for the new service. ‘We’ve talked about that a bit,” he said.
Regarding pricing, the streaming service plan is offered at a price lower than Netflix, which currently costs $11 per month for its standard plan. Iger noted that he didn’t see Netflix as a competitor. The Disney streaming service is just “a viable player in the direct-to-consumer space, a space that we all know is a very compelling space to be in.”
Iger confirmed on Thursday that Disney will also have an ESPN service launching in spring 2018 and will be called ESPN Plus. The service though will exclude sports that already air on ESPN.
ABC Network president Channing Dungey shared her positive outlook on ABC airing a new Star Wars series at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour in 2016.
“As a fan, I would absolutely love to say ‘yes,'” she said, when she was asked if it was one of the goals of her tenure. “We have had conversations with Lucasfilm, and we continue to have them. I think it would be wonderful to extend that brand onto our programming.”
ABC is also under the same corporate umbrella as Marvel; the network has already launched two live-action Marvel series, Agents of SHIELD, and Inhumans. Netflix is also home to several Marvel series, such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, andThe Defenders. Netflix even has a new spinoff Daredevil centered on The Punisher and debuting on Friday.
Disney announced that it plans to launch its own streaming service in August. So that means all Marvel and Star Wars films will leave Netflix and move over to Disney’s streaming service when it begins in 2019.