Good news for geeks this week! Superhero and Star Wars movies are going to be a permanent fixture on the film landscape, according to studio giant [Disney](tag:2273206).
Comic book adaptations have dominated the box office for the past decade, with more and more films announced each year. Both DC and Marvel have launched interconnected film universes (and TV-verses, although the two comic powerhouses have taken different approaches to linking those to the films), and have plans stretching years in the future.
This sudden rise in superhero popularity has sparked debate in the film community, though. Some believe that this is a new genre, and one that will continue to produce great movies for years to come. Others, however, have compared comic book adaptations to Westerns, predicting the death of the sub-genre in only a few years.
Disney, which produces the majority of Marvel movies (Sony and Fox own some rights to Marvel characters as well), has now taken a clear side on the debate. Unsurprisingly, they are betting on the continuing popularity of superheroes, with no plans to wind down that side of their movie-making plans.
The Future Of Marvel
Speaking to BBC Newsbeat, Disney chairman Bob Iger confirmed that the studio will keep making Marvel movies, drawing on the huge character base to expand the MCU in future.
"Marvel, you're dealing with thousands and thousands of characters -- that will go on forever."
He's got a point. Marvel has been around since the 1930s, and has created countless characters and storylines that could be brought to the big screen. As it stands, Disney has made the most of the Avengers, with multiple team-up and solo movies based around the team. However, now that we are moving into Phase Three of the Marvel/Disney plan, fans are starting to see more obscure characters getting their own films.
Next up on the slate is Captain America: Civil War, followed by solo films for Doctor Strange, Thor, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. They are also expanding their ensemble films with a sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War, and an Inhumans movie. These plans take us up to 2020, and still only begin to scratch the surface of the Marvelverse.
Star Wars Franchise Also Potentially Endless
Iger also spoke about another geeky franchise that has recently returned to the big screen: Star Wars.
"There are five Star Wars films - four more with Episode VII: The Force Awakens - that are in varying stages of development and production. There will be more after that, I don't know how many, I don't know how often."
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens set to surpass the $2 billion mark any day now, it's no surprise that Disney will be producing more films for the franchise. The four films that Iger references here are: Episode VIII, Episode IX, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and a stand alone Han Solo film. These four will bring us up to 2020 for this franchise as well, and a Boba Fett film has also been rumored to be in the works.
A Good Or A Bad Thing For Fans?
While this seems like fantastic news at first glance, some fans are sure to wonder whether this is a decision Disney is making for artistic reasons... or just because they want to make money. Obviously the studio does want to make a profit (it's a business, after all!), but it seems unlikely that this would be the sole motivation for everyone involved. So many of the people involved in these projects are huge fans themselves, and have the same desire to see their childhood heroes brought to life as the fans do.
The plans to continue these huge franchises indefinitely also increases the chances of fans seeing their favorite minor characters and more out-there story arcs. Disney is expanding these universes in all directions, not just producing sequel after sequel. There may be films or series that miss the mark, but the more that are made, the better chances are of every fan finding a movie that they absolutely love.
All of which sounds like great news to me. I'm happy to see two of my favorite franchises grow and develop for decades to come.