From park to cineplex, Star Wars has new plans for taking the world by Stormtrooper.
As spotlighted over the weekend at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, Calif., everything about Star Wars industries is on track for getting even bigger. Where else but in the Mouse House could news of theme-park expansions rival even the highly anticipated reveals about on-screen content?
Sure, we learned Saturday that Colin Trevorrow, having successfully steered his first tentpole (“Jurassic World”) to record-breaking success, is now growing his cinematic circus with a second franchise: He was officially announced as the director of “Star Wars: Episode IX.” Let Trevorrowland begin.
And we glimpsed the first cast shot for next year’s “Star Wars: Rogue One” – welcome to the fleet, Ben Mendelsohn, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, Donnie Yen and friends — as the producers teased a Death Star plot.
But also rippling from the Anaheim epicenter was news from Disney honcho Bob Iger that Disneyland and Disney World will add massive Star Wars theme parks. The 14-acre sites will be Disney’s largest-ever for single-themed parks.
On each coast, it’s not such a small world, after all.
“We are creating a jaw-dropping new world,” Iger told a fleet of fans as Disney painted a vision of immersive experiences, from a character-packed cantina to Falcons for this millennium. “Guests will truly become part of a Star Wars story,” Iger told the roaring auditorium of about 8,000 people.
Yes, Disney, these are the nerds you’re looking for.
For three years now, Disney has been building to this — ever since the entertainment company bought Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion in the fall of 2012, at a time when Star Wars films had globally grossed just north of that figure.
The Star Wars cinematic franchise looks to grow that box-office take considerably come year’s end, when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” debuts, well-poised to become the fourth film of 2015 to gross more than $1 billion worldwide. (At D23, a commemorative “Force Awakens” poster by famed Star Wars artist Drew Struzan was revealed.)
The sense of anticipation has been on display across the country. This weekend, more than 100 Star Wars enthusiasts flocked to New York’s Washington Square Park for an annual lightsaber battle.
Nearly 40 years after Star Wars first previewed its production art at San Diego Comic-Con, in 1976, the Force of fandom only grows — launched by the imagination of George Lucas, and now powered by the minds and machine of Disney.