In a recent interview, Disney CEO Bob Iger opened up about a variety of issues at the company including the state of Star Wars and ESPN, the upcoming Disney streaming service and the James Gunn debacle.
When asked about the lackluster box office of Solo – A Star Wars Story, Iger stated that mistakes have been in regards to the Star Wars franchise and that the company is re-evaluating how it handles it going forward.
I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made — I take the blame — was a little too much, too fast. You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make films. J.J. [Abrams] is busy making [Episode] IX. We have creative entities, including [Game of Thrones creators David] Benioff and [D.B.] Weiss, who are developing sagas of their own, which we haven’t been specific about. And we are just at the point where we’re going to start making decisions about what comes next after J.J.’s. But I think we’re going to be a little bit more careful about volume and timing. And the buck stops here on that.
It’s interesting to note that Iger did not mention either Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy or The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, as both have come under fire from a disgruntled portion of Star Wars fandom.
Many Star Wars fans argue on social media that the franchise has become too politicized since the Disney acquisition, and that classic characters such as Luke Skywalker have been mis-characterized by Disney and Lucasfilm.
Speaking of politics, Iger also addressed another division of the company which has come under fire for being too political as of late — ESPN.
I have nothing but praise for the job Jimmy Pitaro has done at ESPN. There’s been a big debate about whether ESPN should be focused more on what happens on the field of sport than what happens in terms of where sports is societally or politically. And Jimmy felt that the pendulum may have swung a little bit too far away from the field. And I happen to believe he was right. And it’s something, by the way, that I think John Skipper had come to recognize as well. But Jimmy coming in fresh has had the ability to address it, I think, far more aggressively and effectively. He has brought back some balance.
The whole article is worth a read, as Iger addresses a lot of other controversial issues that have been surrounding The Walt Disney Company this year, such as the firing of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn. (According to Iger, he wholeheartedly supported — and still supports — the termination of Gunn.)
Iger also outlines some of the plans for the Disney streaming service, and talks about how the entertainment landscape will change in the very near future.
With Disney’s game-changing streaming service launching in 2019, it’ll be interesting to see how it will impact the way Disney does business going forward.
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