Disney Hints at a Star Wars "Slowdown": Should This Worry Investors?

Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) stock was down 0.75% in late morning trading on September 21. Shares have climbed 3.8% in 2018 so far.

On October 30, 2012 Disney announced a deal to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. Disney’s Star Wars properties got off to a fantastic start with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which raked in over $2 billion worldwide.

Star Wars: Rogue One and Star Wars: The Last Jedi also managed to break the $1 billion barrier, but the latter was shrouded in controversy due to creative decisions. Solo: A Star Wars Story was released this spring and failed to break the $500 million mark.

There are concerns that the franchise may already be running out of steam and could have spent out some of its goodwill among the Star Wars fanbase. In a recent interview Disney chairman and CEO Bog Iger hinted that Disney may temper its ambitions going forward.

"I made the timing decision, and as I look back, I think the mistake that I made was a little too much, too fast," he said. "You can expect some slowdown, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to make films."

This likely means that Disney may back off releasing standalone projects in between its trilogy releases, especially considering the financial disappointment that was Solo. Rian Johnson, who wrote and directed Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was in line to receive creative control on his own set of films. However, there are rumours that this has been shelved.

The next Star Wars film is not due for release until December 2019. The future of the franchise may hinge on its performance next year.