Bloomberg released an article earlier today that talks about a lof of the things that have been discussed in the fandom for quite a while now. One of the things the fandom has talkes about is the apparent lack of appeal of Star Wars to kids. The article cites declining toy sales and underwhelming theme park attendance as symptoms. They even call fans who are critical “dedicated fans”, this seems to be a new and different tune, especially from mainstream media outlets that usually paint fans who are critical of the sequels in a somewhat different light. Please click through for more details!
The author of the article flat out states that the new characters fail to inspire the same fervor among young people (as the OT/PT characters did for the parent generation). The article also doubts Disney’s narrative that it’s Star Wars fatigue which caused Disney to change plans, citing Marvel as the counter example, a franchise that can release three or more movies in a year with no sign of fatigue yet (but that may change after Endgame). The article also states that The Rise of Skywalker will have the future of the franchise riding on it, when it’s released in December.
An article on Forbes recently wondered how much TROS may actually make at the box office and if things go very wrong TROS may, according to that article, make even less than Lion King worldwide, less than $900 millon in a worst case scenario, best case scenario is $1.6 billion worldwide, which would be par for the course for the third part of a Star Wars trilogy.
I only mention the Bloomberg article here, because Star Wars Roll Out was announced on the same day the article on Bloomberg was released. It’s Disney’s latest attempt to win over kids. Forces of Destiny failed. Galaxy of Adventures has some episodes with close to a million views, but many episodes have fewer clicks than most Forces of Destiny episodes. It remains to be seen if the new Galaxy of Adventures toyline will win over kids.
And what do you think? Is the media realising that Star Wars has an actual problem that is not rooted in “toxic fans”, but is maybe rooted in the kind of content that is released and in the characters Lucasfilm created, and that especially kids don’t really want the toys anymore and don’t feel a connection to the new characters? Star Wars Roll Out seems to be yet another attempt to make kids care for the sequel trilogy characters. Will Disney and Lucasfilm succeed where all previous attempts apparently were not all that successful? What do you think? Do you believe the wind is changing concerning mainstream media and Star Wars? Because until recently the narrative was rather different.
But ultimately, box office bombs, tanking toy sales and even declining theme park attendance cannot be ignored. Customers (and yes, Star Wars fans are ultimately customers) speak with their wallets. And it’s all about the money, always.
Triple Force Friday and the release of The Rise of Skywalker, along with the new content on Disney+ (to a smaller degree) may decide the fate of Star Wars. If sales and box office are strong then we may all hope for a better future with more toys again, toys that sell. But if toy sales disappoint and TROS underwhelms… then all bets are off, in my opinion. Even the Hasbro license may be up for debate if Hasbro has yet another disappointing year.
This is NOT about everything being doom and gloom, but the symptoms of a struggling franchise cannot be ignored either, toy sales have tanked, and 2019, so far, is even worse than 2018 concerning toy sales, everything hinges on Triple Force Friday, the latest Star Wars movie has tanked at the box office and now even mainstream news outlets, not just some fansites, come to the conclusion that maybe Star Wars is not winning the hearts of kids.
These things need to be addressed if we want more toys again and more content. And the ultimate question is: what should Lucasfilm do to win the interest of kids? Is it the right choice to try it with the same sequel trilogy characters that, according to Bloomberg, fail to inspire kids?
Maybe it would be best to start all over again with new characters. But the next movie will not be released until 2022. It seems Disney has a two pronged approach here. Galaxy of Adventures is more focused on the original trilogy, Star Wars Roll Out seems to have a sequel focus, along with Resistance. You cannot say Lucasfilm isn’t trying.
But what if all these efforts don’t have the success Disney wants and the franchise needs? What if kids are not all that much interested in Star Wars, no matter what, in the age of superheroes? And this is where the new Star Wars movies so far disappointed… even though Jedi are, in a way, superheroes, very little was shown in the movies. Maybe TROS will change that, if rumors are true. And finally, will Disney support a franchise in the long run that is only supported by an aging demographic of adult fans? What can be done to make Star Wars more relevant for kids again?
Leave your constructive thoughts in the comments!
Please read the article on Bloomberg! It’s certainly some food for thought.
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