The release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been met with almost universal acclaim.
Disney's gamble to expand the #StarWars franchise in new and exciting ways appears to have paid off and with the success of #RogueOne it would be easy to believe future anthology movies about a galaxy far, far away will fare just as well.
However, Rogue One's success also means there are some very real challenges that Disney is going to face when making the next in the series, especially the long awaited Han Solo prequel set for release in 2018.
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Here are the three biggest obstacles for future Star Wars anthology films.
1: Expectations Will Be Higher After Rogue One
The downside of Rogue One's success is now the next Star Wars anthology movie has to be as good or better in terms of quality, atmosphere and how it ties in to the continuity of the Star Wars saga. Even though the next film centers on one of the most beloved Star Wars characters, a Han Solo film won't fly with fans if it's not good.
If it doesn't work, then it could be as damaging to Disney's plans as Batman v Superman was to the #DCEU. The idea of Anthology movies may survive, but confidence in them would be seriously shaken and some fans could completely lose interest in the franchise altogether.
2: Recasting Iconic Characters Is Risky
Replacing lesser-known characters like General Dodonna or Mon Mothma with a new actor isn't a big deal, but the next anthology movie one is replacing Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams who are inextricably part of the DNA of Star Wars. (Check out his audition tape from the original film in the video above.)
The Han Solo movie has already cast it's leads with the relatively unknown Alden Ehrenreich as Han and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, but will fans accept them as these iconic characters?
In the Star Wars saga there is some precedent for recasting major characters, however. Ewan McGregor is now nearly as iconic as Alec Guinness in the role of Obi Wan, but if fans don't immediately fall in love with Ehrenreich and Glover as Han and Lando then the idea of making prequels and origin stories for other Star Wars characters could be dead at Disney.
In an ideal world they would be able to use Ford and Williams as the leads in a Han Solo film and use CGI technology to de-age them, but as good as the tech currently is it isn't quite good enough yet. This makes the recasting inevitable and unavoidable but also the biggest risk they can possibly take.
Peter Cushing's digital return from the grave for his appearance in Rogue One is another route Disney could take when bringing iconic characters back to the big screen, but that has it's own set of problems as well.
3: How Long Before We Get 'Star Wars' Fatigue?
One of the reasons Star Wars is so popular right now is we've had to wait so long between movies. While it has always been around in some form, on TV or those blasted Ewok movies, a Star Wars movie has always been a major worldwide event that is a rare treat.
Making these movies annually will erode that special feeling and there is a danger that soon they will be seen as just another Star Wars movie.
However, it's important to note that Disney hasn't had a misstep yet as they've begun to expand the Star Wars Universe. It is possible the Han Solo movie, Episode VIII and future films will enjoy the same success as the studio's first two steps into a galaxy far, far away. But there's no doubt that's going to be even harder now.