Franchise Fatigue

Darth Vader pitching Return of the Jedi
Darth Vader pitching Return of the Jedi

When I first heard that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm with the intent to release another Star Wars trilogy I was overcome with a horrible case of fan-fatigue. It’s not that I don’t like Star Wars but I’ve simply had my fill of it. The biggest blockbusters being released today are all franchise films. On one hand franchise films have allowed for some unique world building that simply can’t be achieved in a single feature as in the Marvel and Harry Potter franchises. But on the other hand franchise films have also created an audience of movie goers eager to forgo the new and exciting for the familiar and mundane.

Although the idea of a film franchise is nothing new the idea of a film franchise being the norm is. From a studio’s viewpoint franchises make a good deal of financial sense. If you can secure an audience for one film why not turn that film into seven and maintain a consistent audience. Considering the state of the film industry this also makes a good deal of sense. With more people feeling entitled to media or just considering downloading a movie a non-issue studios are doing their best to battle this audience apathy and create films that are events. When Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film was released it was advertised as “The EPIC conclusion to the Dark Knight trilogy!” Of course, we’re already due for another Batman film in a short couple of years when DC releases Justice League.

What makes me uncomfortable about franchise films is their ability to seemingly have no end. For instance the latest Spider Man film, The Amazing Spider-Man was made, in-part, so that Sony would not lose licensing rights on the character to Disney. So, The Amazing Spider-Man was made just so that Sony would be able to make another Spider-Man. This is what I fear for Star Wars, that it will just be an annual occurrence rather than an actual cinematic event. Because in the end that’s what all these franchise films are, regularly scheduled ouroboros.

Yet, despite how cynical this post may seem I don’t hate all franchise films. In fact, there are many that I’m a fan of. But I do think that we as an audience need to know when to stop supporting a franchise. Because, unfortunately, a film’s profit has the final say as to whether or not there will be a sequel, prequel, reboot, or reimagining. And since we don’t have the kind of decision making power that others have we  have to use our power of choosing what to support.

So what do you think? Are there any franchises that you follow? What do you think about the upcoming Star Wars films? Please leave some comments below so that we can continue our discussion on Star Wars, how Disney own everything, and ouroboros.

-Jet Fuel blogger, Lucas Sifuentes

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