While speaking at Variety’s Business Managers Breakfast on Wednesday, Walt Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn revealed that he would consider reconstituting The Mandalorian into a theatrical film in light of the overwhelmingly positive response to the series’ first episode on the Disney+ streaming service.
“The Mandalorian is already proving to be a big thing, so if that series proves to be so compelling that we reverse engineer it into a theatrical release, a two-hour film or whatever, O.K.,” Horn said.
Horn’s potential knee-jerk reaction to The Mandalorian somewhat butts up against the forecast predicted by Disney chairman Bob Iger earlier this year, when he said that the Star Wars franchise would go on a hiatus following the release of The Rise of Skywalker.
“We will take a pause, some time, and reset,” Iger said. “because the Skywalker saga comes to an end with this ninth movie. There will be other Star Wars movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus."
The intention with the break for Star Wars was to ensure that Disney devoted its attention to its upcoming TV projects. However, you can’t blame Horn or Iger for wanting to strike while the iron’s hot, and turn a profit.
While no one at Disney would ever admit it, the company may be wary of investing such a large sum of money into another Star Wars film that the public isn’t all that enthusiastic about. According to Box Office Pro, The Rise of Skywalker is tracking to have the lowest opening weekend in the latest trilogy.
While a projection of somewhere between $185 and $225 million for Skywalker is nothing to scoff at, that total still counts as a loss financially for Disney.
Since the financial investment behind The Mandalorian was solely intended for Disney+, the company probably sees a theatrical release of a reverse engineered version of the series as a win-win situation.