Welcome to Deja News, the every Monday article where I talk about the news you already know about, and if you don’t know about it, you’re welcome.
Here We Go Again, and Again, and Again…
Disney and Rian Johnson, the director of The Last Jedi, dropped some pretty big news regarding the Star Wars universe. Now that Johnson is finished with Episode 8, he’ll be moving on to help create a new trilogy featuring characters we’ve never seen before. This news somehow manages to raise hype levels for the next already highly anticipated Star Wars film, since some fans were worried that it was J.J. Abrams that was asked to replace director Colin Trevorrow on Episode 9 and not Johnson. With the announcement that Johnson would not only not be leaving the Star Wars universe but in fact staying to make his own trilogy, Abrams stepping in to direct Episode 9 now makes sense.
Now, before I continue on, I think it’s important that I mention that Rian Johnson is one of my favorite directors. His first two films, Brick and Looper are two of my favorite movies, Brick especially. So why exactly am I worried? Well, since Disney acquired the Star Wars license they have technically fired more Star Wars directors than they have made movies and out of the two Star Wars films that they’ve released, one was really great, Force Awakens, and the other, Rogue One…. let’s just say it wasn’t my type of movie.
Obviously, no two movies are created equal, but the part that has me worried is the fact that some of my biggest complaints about Rogue One were the additional re-shoots that Disney thought the film needed. The two that I’m most aware of is more and more Darth Vader and an added unnecessary opening scene showing up the film’s main character as a little girl. There were also rumors of the film being much darker and the studio wanting to lighten the mood up a bit, though there are conflicting sources on that. The point is, Disney is willing to step in and make drastic changes instead of allowing their writer(s) and director to make the film they want.
Of course, this happens on the Marvel side of things all the time, but as I’ve stated in a previous Deja News, the people making the decisions for the MCU and the people making the decisions for the Star Wars Cinematic Universe, aren’t the same people. But even if it’s Marvel or Stars the executives over-seeing these projects really need to step back and let their artists… art.
On top of Disney execs willing to step in, my other concern is the over saturation of Star Wars. Yes, we all love Stars Wars. We all get excited and get goosebumps whenever we hear that John Williams score, but as hard as it might be to believe, too much cake is still too much cake. Star Wars fans can currently expect Episode 8 in December, the Han Solo film in 2018, Episode 9 in 2019, then after that there’s the rumors of an Obi-Wan movie, a Yoda movie, Boba Fett, and now these 3 Rian Johnson films. And on top of all that there’s the recently announced live-action Star Wars TV show that Disney plans on making. I repeat, too much cake is too much.
And I know what you’re thinking, how can I say this about Star Wars but be okay with what’s going on with Marvel. They’re releasing two sometimes three movies a year, while Star Wars is, for now at least, only releasing one per year. Well, that’s simple, Star Wars, has remained Star Wars. We haven’t seen any shift of the story formula, a change of the visuals, nothing. Meanwhile every Marvel movie is different. One Marvel movie might be a spy movie where the government is basically run be undercover Nazis, and another is a buddy comedy film in space that requires our main heroes to fly a spaceship through a wormhole called “The Devil’s Anus.” Yes, Star Wars is only two films in with Disney and I’m in no way saying they’ll refuse to change things up, but until that happens, I think it’s perfectly okay for some fans to be skeptical of the future of their favorite film franchise.
Time to Get Your Broken Wands?
It seems like only yesterday that PokemonGo was sweeping the nation one buggy log-in at a time. The city I live in literally had to enforce laws keeping kids away from specific “PokeStops” until city officials were able to have them removed from the game. Thankfully though, Niantic, the studio behind PokemonGo spent hours upon hours of man hours to make the popular mobile game bug free… oh wait, NOPE, that’s not true at all. A recent Pokemon Go event in Chicago where 1000’s of fans gathered to catch legendary pocket monsters turned into a disaster as the event was unable to handle the number of players trying to play the game.
Obviously though, with so many missteps, Niantic is doing the logical thing of focusing on fixing PokemonGo so that any future users will be greeted by a game that actually works… I know what you’re thinking, “wait, are you bein’ sarcastic again,” and the answer to that is, YEP! While I’m sure Niantic will publicly tell you that they’re focused on making PokemonGo the best mobile experience possible, news has come in the way of a little boy with a scar on his face that suggests otherwise. What am I talking about?
Niantic is making a PokemonGo style Harry Potter game. Much like everyone in their mid to late twenties, I once loved Harry Potter. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a pot-head or whatever the fans call themselves, but I loved it enough to know that I’m team Hufflepuff and that EA once made the best sports game of all time with Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup.
So with Harry Potter… Go(?), based off of the blog post from Niantic, players will be doing the exact same thing they did with PokemonGo: traveling to real-world neighborhoods to learn spells and fight monsters. Personally, this move feels like an attempt at catching lightning in a bottle twice and I just don’t know if that is going to happen. Maybe I’m underestimating the popularity of Harry Potter and this will become a huge success, but with the combination of Harry Potter not having a simple “catch-em-all” theme like Pokemon and all of the technical issues that come with the name Niantic, only time will tell if this game will be the game who lived or the mobile game version of Cedric Diggory.
Disney Prepares It’s Guns for The Streaming War
With news of Disney negotiating with FOX to buy 21st Century Fox (confusing but just follow me), everyone started talking about how this would finally get the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic universe. Me personally, while I would love to finally get a great X-Men movie, the part of this story that has me most interested is what it means in the larger picture. Especially when it pertains to Netflix and the other streaming services.
Back in August, Disney announced that it would be pulling it’s titles from Netflix as they prepare to launch their own streaming service in 2019. This service would include Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar as well as all of Disney’s classic films and tv shows, but that isn’t enough to compete. That’s why when the news came out that Disney was planning a live action Star Wars show for the streaming service, as well as the FOX negotiations, I realized that Disney was ready for war. Let’s look at what Disney would be getting if this deal ends up being made:
- Fox’s entire line of classic film franchises like X-Men, Avatar, and Dude, Where’s My Car.
- Fox’s catalogue of TV shows like Family Guy, 24, and X-Files.
- It’s also reported that Disney would be getting some of Fox’s TV networks like FX (It’s Always Sunny) and National Geographic (monkeys and tigers).
Suddenly, a new affordable streaming service that features Jedi, Avengers, X-Men, Family Guy, and Big Momma’s House 2 immediately becomes a must get, and not only does it become a must get, but it also becomes a competitor to HULU and Netflix. Amazon, don’t worry, you’re fine. With so many online monthly services already in existence and only so much money to go around, consumers are eventually going to have to decide which service is most important, and with Disney potentially having so much to offer, they seem to be the front runner for the next wave of streaming services.
This doesn’t mean current power houses like Netflix are going to go down without a fight. Due to current contracts with Disney they’ll still have all of the Disney products until the end of 2018. By then, Netflix should have their new shows and deals either out or in production as Disney prepares to shift over to their streaming service. With this story, the only thing that’s for sure, is that the streaming service war will be an interesting one and if it causes everyone to raise their game and put out a great product, then ultimately we all are the winners.
EA’s Purchase of Respawn and What it All Means
EA, the company that manages to keep it’s name on the front page of websites all across the internets but for all the wrong reasons, has done it yet again. Last week EA announced that they would be purchasing Respawn, the studio responsible for the Titanfall series, for over 400 million dollars. By itself, this isn’t really a story worth mentioning UNTIL you include EA’s recent actions like shutting down Visceral Games Studio, while they were in the middle of working on an upcoming Star Wars game.
With the help of Jason Schreier’s fantatic reporting (and when I say with the help I mean I took all of his hard work and just quoted what he said like everyone else does when Schreier breaks a story) I was able to write up what happened with Visceral, but long story short, there were problems with the studio and their Star Wars game and it was costing EA money that they couldn’t defend spending. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and BAM, a studio is shut down and a lot of talented people are saddly out of work.
With Visceral being shut down, there was discussion that asked if maybe EA wasn’t bringing in the kind of revenue they were hoping for and perhaps that’s why they shut down the studio, but from all accounts, it seems that Visceral was unfortunately shut down so that EA could then have the cash to purchase Respawn. Using my own journalistic skills I went over Jason Schreier’s twitter and screen capped this.
HA! You’re not the only investigative journalist out there Schreier.
There’s also another tweet from Jonathan Cooper that shines even more light on the reasoning for the shutdown of Visceral and the purchase of Respawn.
Ultimately, though harsh, I think it’s important that we remember that sometimes the moves made by these large companies is purely business based, and while it’s heartbreaking to see so many people lose their jobs so that a company can lock down ownership of another studio, it ultimately makes sense. As I’ve said before, I really enjoyed Visceral’s work and was really looking forward to the Star Wars game but their previous title was Battlefield Hardline, a game that currently sits at a 73 on metacritic. And while that’s a solid score, it wasn’t enough to interest players. Meanwhile, Respawn’s last game was Titanfall 2, which was widely acclaimed and has a metacritic score of an 89. With a better track record in recent years, their Star Wars game that, by all accounts, was costing less money to make and looking like the better game, and an already established franchise (Titanfall) attached to the studio, this move seems like a no brainer.
This doesn’t mean I’m declaring everything to be perfect though. As I stated, EA cares about the bottom dollar. If Titanfall 3, which EA said was in development, failed to deliver what fans loved about Titanfall 2 and their Star Wars game also failed to impress, Respawn could easily end up in the grave yard behind the EA building. Either way, while it’s unfortunate that Visceral was shut down, there is a bright spot to be looked at. A talented studio like Respawn has the confidence of EA behind it to help deliver some great games… that will probably be filled with dirty loot boxes, but that’ll be a story for a different day.
*Also, I’m aware EA and their social media team is currently on fire over statements made about Star Wars Battlefront 2, but the beauty of Deja News is that when I get to talk about that story next week, it will have hopefully played out to it’s fullest and I’ll be able to present all of the information of what happened right here on Deja News.
I’ve told you what I think, now it’s time for you to tell me what you think. Are you excited for yearly Star Wars or are you worried that the brand is heading for oversaturation. What about Harry PotterGo? Am I completely missing the mark by thinking this won’t be as popular as PokemonGo? How about Disney attemting to buy 21st Century Fox? Are you ready for yet another streaming service to choose from? And finally, EA buying Respawn. Are you fan of Respawns work? Are you nervous for their future. Pick a topic, any topic and let me know down below what you’re thoughts are on this week’s DEJA NEWS.