Talking with The Hollywood Reporter, Disney boss Alan Horn discussed a variety of subjects regarding the forthcoming merger between Disney and fox, and naturally the topic of Star Wars rose its head.
How does Disney’s push into streaming, with Disney+ coming this year, change your job?
The service will accommodate both film and television product, so each of the entities that is under my umbrella is charged with the challenge or responsibility of coming up with programming that can go directly to the service. I say to Sean Bailey, “I have good news. You can now make a McFarland, U.S.A. again.” That was an example of a wonderful movie that lost money. But this is the perfect vehicle for that kind of movie. Kathy Kennedy and Lucasfilm came up with the idea — it wasn’t mine — of an episodic Star Wars series called The Mandalorian, done by Jon Favreau. And the people at Disney Animation and Pixar are saying, “What can we do?” Everyone wears an additional hat now. Bob has said the service is now his No. 1 priority. Netflix and companies like Amazon represent the great disruption in our business and a seismic shift in consumer offerings and viewing patterns. The interesting thing, which is not resolved yet, is how big is the consumer appetite for these incremental services? I like our chances.
Will Episode IX get Star Wars back on track?
I just got back from the United Kingdom, which is not so united. (Laughs.) I went to the set, and was with J.J. [Abrams], Kathy and the cast. I watched a couple of scenes being shot and then we all had dinner. I have not seen a cut of it yet, but I watch dailies every weekend and send J.J. and Kathy a note every weekend. It’s a big deal, and it’s going to be terrific.
What will the next Star Wars movie be after Episode IX?
It’s all in discussion.
The full interview makes for a fascinating read and can be found here.