Worlds Collide

Star Wars leak reveals an unfortunate side-effect of Disney’s dominance

Two huge franchises are starting to collide.

Samuel L. Jackson. Natalie Portman. Lupita Nyong’o. Jon Favreau. Taika Waititi. These are all huge fan favorite actors and directors, but they share one rare characteristic: Each has worked in both a galaxy far far away and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Star Wars and Marvel are two of the biggest movie franchises in the world, each with its own distinct voice and style. But could we see all that change through a blurring of boundaries? A recent Star Wars rumor suggests just that.

MCU Spider-Man trilogy director Jon Watts is being considered for an upcoming Star Wars series, according to a leak reported by DiscussingFilm. If this is true, this is just the latest in a long line of Marvel directors making the jump into hyperspace to work on Star Wars.

Jon Favreau, director of Iron Man, became co-showrunner of The Mandalorian. Taika Waititi, who wowed Marvel fans with Thor: Ragnarok, later directed the Season 1 finale of The Mandalorian and was given his own standalone Star Wars film to develop.

Then, there’s the head honcho of Marvel Studios itself, Kevin Feige, who’s taking the time out of his busy schedule to produce a Star Wars project, and is apparently eyeing Loki writer Michael Waldron and Eternals director Chloé Zhao to bring the story to life.

Jon Watts and his young stars at the premiere of Spider-Man: No Way Home.Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The series, which is being produced under the code name Grammar Rodeo, has been described in previous leaks as “Stranger Things in space,” which would mesh with Watts’ teen-focused Marvel projects. As the most youth-oriented Marvel director, it makes sense for him to work on a youthful Star Wars live action series.

But could this move have an unfortunate side effect? Transferring directors (and actors) from one franchise to another is a great way to bring in new fans. But while making each franchise more appealing to the other franchise’s fanbase maximizes the appeal, it could also strip the world of the stylization that sets them apart.

Taika Waititi and Jon Favreau, both Marvel alumni, on the set of The Mandalorian.Lucasfilm

Marvel and Star Wars both deal with space, both (basically) deal with superheroes, and both have passionate and dedicated fanbases that stretch back decades. Ostensibly, they could use the same playbook and find success.

But while Marvel and Star Wars are both Disney products, they each work with completely different tools. Star Wars is a sweeping space opera set in a completely different world, while Marvel is an interconnected superhero saga set in an approximation of our own world. Star Wars is built on the classic mythical hero’s journey, while Marvel Studios created its own subgenre of rip-roaring action built on a foundation of imperfect demi-gods.

At this point, it doesn’t look like the Marvel invasion of Star Wars is going to stop any time, which makes sense when you consider that Marvel appears to be bulletproof to both critics and fans while Star Wars continues to stumble. Will Disney discard what makes Star Wars special for the sake of its bottom line? It’s a definite possibility.

At this point, the best we might hope for is that Star Wars can incorporate some of Marvel’s style while forging a distinct new identity that takes the best of both franchises and brings them together.