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What is "Star Wars" Fatigue?

Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) - Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo), Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson), Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke), Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich)
"Star Wars Fatigue" is the idea that people are tired of the movies and don't want any more.

After the box office failure of the latest "Star Wars" movie - "Solo: A Star Wars Story" - there's been a lot of debate if the "Star Wars" franchise is in trouble. One of the many reasons cited is so-called "Star Wars Fatigue". Actually, the term existed before "Star Wars". In the industry, it's known as "franchise fatigue".

What is a Franchise?

Wikipedia defines franchise as "A media franchise is a collection of related media in which several derivative works have been produced from an original creative work, such as a film, a work of literature, a television program or a video game. The intellectual property from the work can be licensed to other parties or partners for further derivative works and commercial exploitation across a range of media and by a variety of industries for merchandising purposes."

Basically, it's when a movie spawns a whole bunch of other movies either by sequels, prequels or spin-offs. The first movie is usually called a "tentpole" movie. Think of movies like James Bond and Spider-Man. All franchises start with a jumping off point.

In the case of "Star Wars," it all started with George Lucas' first movie now known as "Star Wars IV: A New Hope" in 1977.  For over forty years it's led to four sequels, two prequels, three spin-offs, several animated tv series, dozens of books and video games.

Studios love them because they are guaranteed moneymakers. At least they're supposed to be.

What is Franchise Fatigue?

The idea is that after a bunch of movies are released in a franchise audiences get tired of it. While audiences flock to the first movie they lose interest in the other films before abandoning them altogether.

A good example is Michael Bay's "Transformers" movies. The first two were blockbuster hits but the two sequels sputtered. Audiences became less and less interested in the follow-up films till "Transformers: The Last Knight" (2017) effectively ended the current franchise. "Bumblebee" is the studio's hope to revive the franchise and set up a new series of movies.

Of the nine live-action "Star Wars" movies, four have made over a billion dollars (five if you adjust Star Wars 1977 for inflation). That's a lot of dough and it was supposed to be guaranteed. But "Solo: A Star Wars Story" inexplicably failed to catch on. The low opening weekend numbers sent the message that audiences aren't interested in the film.

Is that true? Do audiences not want "Star Wars" movies anymore?

Why Does Franchise Fatigue Happen?

There are many guesses why franchise fatigue happens and I'll break them down in a post tomorrow. I'll also explain how "Star Wars" can rise again.


Is the Star Wars franchise dead?

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