Premier of Disney+ & “The Mandalorian” Not Correlating to Increased Interest in “Star Wars”

With the Disney+ streaming service in operation as of Nov. 12, 2019, the amount of interest for “Disney” on Google spiked considerably, showing that there is broad interest in the new service. However, even with the premiere of the much touted #StarWars Internet show #TheMandalorian on the new service, the show’s premier and the launch of the service itself has not correlated to an increase in overall interest for “Star Wars” raising the possibility again that “Star Wars” is in trouble, as we previously posted. While “Star Wars” fans are giving “The Mandalorian” overall positive reviews, the public at large doesn’t seem to be interested.

In the weeks leading up to the releases of “Star Wars VII: #TheForceAwakens” in 2015, “#RogueOne: A Star Wars Story” in 2016 and “Star Wars VIII: #TheLastJedi” in 2017, interest in “Star Wars” would always begin to increase about 4-6 weeks before the actual movie release date. Now, with the release of the ninth movie (“Star Wars IX: #TheRiseOfSkywalker”) just over 5 weeks away, no similar increase in overall interest for “Star Wars” is occurring according to “Google Trends”. (There was also a very small increase in interest for “#Solo: A Star Wars Story” in May, 2018, but it was very small as compared to the peaks that occurred for the previous movies.)

Google Trends for "Star Wars"

Google Trends for “Star Wars” over Past 5 Years as of Nov. 14, 2019

Now, if we include the search trends for “Disney” with “Star Wars”, you can see that historically, when interest in “Star Wars” was peaking, there were similar small increases in interest for “Disney”. However, with interest now spiking rapidly for “Disney” due to the premiere of the Disney+ streaming service on Nov. 12, 2019, there is no corresponding increase in interest for “Star Wars” even though “The Mandalorian” is getting a lot of attention on social media.

Google Trends of "Star Wars" and "Disney"

Google Trends of “Star Wars” and “Disney” for the Past 5 Years as of Nov. 14, 2019

What these trends also show is that on average, interest in Disney averages much higher than for “Star Wars” overall; but while an increase in interest for “Star Wars” appears to correlate with a small increase in interest for Disney, that correlation is not two-way. Disney may own “Star Wars”, but that ownership alone has not lead to an overall increase in interest in the brand, except during movie releases and only until shortly after the release of “The Last Jedi”. This suggests that “The Last Jedi” may have damaged overall interest in the “Star Wars” brand, which is not what Rian Johnson probably intended when, in “The Last Jedi”, he wanted to “destroy the past”.

Additional evidence that the “Star Wars” franchise may be in trouble due to lost interest is demonstrated by recently taken video showing hundreds, if not thousands, of boxes containing unsold “Star Wars” toys being put into an industrial shredder to be trashed, as shown at the end of the following video.

 

Only time will tell when interest for “The Rise of Skywalker” begins to reveal itself.

References

DC Universe Cancels “Swamp Thing” After 1 Episode

After the new series #SwampThing premiered on May 31, 2019, streaming service #DCUniverse promptly canceled the show. While the remainder of the show’s first (and now only) season will be aired as planned, no subsequent seasons will follow.

According to “Geeks Worldwide”, the decision to cancel was due to…

WarnerMedia/AT&T executives not liking the direction of the show, not budget or performance on DC Universe (which we hear is solid). One source even says an executive wanted it to be more like the CW shows.

However, other reports are emerging that the cancellation may due to a failure to obtain millions of dollars in tax rebates from the state of North Carolina, which was where the show was being filmed.

References

Disney CEO Bob Iger: Star Wars Movies on Hiatus after Ep. IX; Disney+ Streaming Service

#Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that #StarWars movies will go on #hiatus after the release of Episode IX on December 20, 2019 during an interview with Bloomberg TV, even though he also said that he’s not at all concerned that consumers may be overexposed to the Star Wars brand. “We have not announced any specific plans for movies thereafter,” Iger said during the interview on Thursday. “There are movies in development, but we have not announced them.”

As to whether or not consumers are overexposed or oversaturated with Star Wars, toy sales have been sluggish since the release of “Star Wars XIII: #TheLastJedi” in December, 2017. The subsequent film, “Solo: A Star Wars Story”, which was released in May, 2018, also had very poor box office receipts.

Bob Iger also said that the #DisneyPlus (Disney+) streaming service will begin on Nov. 12, 2019 and that the monthly subscription will cost $6.99 per month.

Disney CEO Bob Iger

Bloomberg TV Interview with Disney CEO Bob Iger

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“Star Wars: The Clone Wars” Leaving Netflix in April

The animated TV series “#StarWars: #TheCloneWars” will be leaving #Netflix as of Sunday, April 7, 2019. The series, whose five full seasons were originally aired on the “Cartoon Network” from 2008-2013, was picked up by Netflix in 2014 and included a previously unaired partial 6th season that Netflix had exclusive rights to.

With Disney preparing to get its own streaming service up & running soon, the removal of “The Clone Wars” from Netflix isn’t surprising.

References

“Star Wars Resistance”: Is it Too Lighthearted, Comedic and Juvenile?

With “Star Wars Resistance” now on a holiday hiatus, let’s take a look at how well this new #StarWars animated series is doing as compared with its highly successful and well-loved predecessors: #TheCloneWars and #Rebels. For many, #Resistance is a departure from what many longtime franchise fans expected. For comparison, let’s recap its animated predecessors.

  • “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” (which aired from 2008-2013 on the Cartoon Network, then had a shortened sixth season on Netflix) was created by George Lucas with supervising director Dave Filoni. The series focused on primarily upon Anakin Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, Anakin’s padawan Ahsoka Tano, various clone troopers, other Jedi, Separatists, etc. during the Clone War between movies II and III. The series featured many battles and encounters between the Jedi and various Sith and other dark Force users.
  • “Star Wars Rebels” (which aired from 2014-2018 on the DisneyXD network) was co-created by Dave Filoni, who was also an executive producer until season 3 when he was promoted to a higher position within LucasFilm Animation. This series began 15 years after the end of the Clone War and start of the Galactic Empire and featured a brand new set of characters to the “Star Wars” franchise: Ezra Bridger, Kanan Jarrus (a former Jedi), Hera Syndulla, Sabine Wren (a Mandalorian), Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios and their older droid known as Chopper. The group begins to fight the Empire and helps to create the Rebel Alliance.

While the animation styles for “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” were different, both used high-quality animation. Both series also featured a lot of elements common to the “Star Wars” franchise: fighting with light sabers, space battles, fighting the Sith, the more scummy elements, etc. Thus, both series attracted both children and adults viewers alike.

Both “The Clone Wars and “Rebels” have high ratings from viewers:

  • “The Clone Wars”: 8.1 out of 10 (over 38,000 votes) on IMDb; 94% Tomatometer with 89% audience score on RottenTomatoes.
  • “Rebels”: 8.0 out of 10 (over 21,000 votes) on IMDb; 100% TomatoMeter with 83% audience score on RottenTomatoes.

Now let’s look at “Star Wars Resistance” and what makes it so different:

  • “Star Wars Resistance” (which began airing in 2018 on the DisneyXD network) was created solely by Dave Filoni. The series takes place decades after the events of “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi” and 6 months before the events of “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens” occur. Thus, there is no current war. Part of the galaxy is governed by the New Republic, and part of it under the control of the First Order. Cameron Poe (who is not a regular character) assigns a young pilot named Kazuda Xiono to spy on possible First Order sympathizers. on the independent refueling station named Colossus on the outer rim planet of Castilon. Kazuda is young (maybe early 20’s), but acts more like a teenager. He spends much of his time with mechanics & pilots working on their own ships.

Given that this animated series is supposed to occur only 6 months before the events of “Star Wars VII”, its overall lightheartedness and tendency towards comic relief is inconsistent with the seriousness and grave threat that is present at the beginning of “Star Wars VII”. This lightheartedness & overuse of comic relief has given the impression that the series is geared towards a very young audience. It’s use of Japanese-style animation supports this impression. Additionally, the apparent lack of adults discussing this series on social media (unlike when its predecessors were airing) also suggests that the series has low appeal to adults who are long-time fans of the franchise.

Taking a look at the show’s ratings may give more clues:

  • “Resistance”: 4.7 out of 10 (over 1400 votes) on IMDb; 92% TomatoMeter and 77% audience score on RottenTomatoes.

While the scores on RottenTomatoes are not significantly lower for “Resistance” as compared with “The Clones Wars” and “Rebels”, its IMDb rating is and the total number of voters is also significantly low. This low number of voters on IMDb implies fewer adults watching the series than its predecessors.

This reduced viewership by adults can be demonstrated by the average number of viewers watching the first season episodes of “Resistance”: approximately 400,000 viewers per episode. By comparison, “Rebels” had an average number of 825,000 viewers per episode for its first season, and “The Clone Wars” had an average number of 2.75 million viewers per episode for its first season. Thus, the first season of “Resistance” has 48.5% of the viewers that “Rebels” had and only 14.5% of the viewers that “The Clone Wars” had.

Thus, it does seem that the more lighthearted, comedic and juvenile approach that has been applied to “Star Wars Resistance” as compared with its predecessors has not benefitted the series. Had the series applied the same seriousness as its predecessors, it would probably have more viewers and a higher rating on IMDb. Only time will tell how long this series will last.

Star Wars Rebels

References

New “Star Trek” Series Featuring Sir Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard Coming in 2019

A new #StarTrek series will debut in late 2019 on #CBS’ #AllAccess streaming service. The new show will feature the return of veteran “Star Trek” #TNG actor Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Jean-Luc Picard.

This new series will join “Star Trek: Discovery” and an upcoming animated “Star Trek” series that will titled “Lower Decks”. This will give the CBS All Access streaming service 3 “Star Trek” series.

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