Published on September 16, 2021, at 10:24 a.m.
by Tory Elliott.
“A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away,” cinema changed forever when “Star Wars” hit theaters. Fans of science fiction were eager to witness the new film about Luke Skywalker’s path to becoming a Jedi, and it did not disappoint. This film was only the beginning of a franchise that has fostered a fanbase that spans many generations.
When “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace” flopped with fans in 1999, the franchise was on the verge of becoming officially irrelevant to future generations. In 2012, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm, the studio that originally brought “Star Wars” to life. “Star Wars” needed a new hope, and Disney was the Master Jedi the franchise needed. Disney’s ability to rebrand is unmatched, and it did that and more with this billion-dollar franchise.
Whether it be through famed space battles or quirky sidekicks, fans wanted Disney to keep the tradition of the franchise alive. The trilogy featuring a new protagonist, Rey, had a similar backstory to the original Luke Skywalker. What really brought the movies to the light side was the rebranding of the famed sidekick, R2-D2. BB-8, a droid that uses his cuteness and personality to awe both the audience and the dark side, provided Disney with the much-needed comeback. Everyone appreciates the on-screen comedic relief, and BB-8 did that without having to say a word (or beep).
Today, we have multiple trilogies explaining the rise and fall of the protagonists, and many spinoff series highlighting the characters we love to see. “The Mandalorian,” a television series about a bounty hunter who travels the galaxy with his cute sidekick Baby Yoda, put Disney in a position to rebrand “Star Wars” as more than movies that only veteran fans could enjoy — it created a whole new universe that everyone can explore. The series introduced new concepts and characters that strayed away from the traditional storyline and dove deeper into characters we have seen before, like the sand people and Yoda’s species. “The Mandalorian” also launched the “Star Wars” franchise onto Disney+, paving the way for future content to be developed for the streaming platform.
Like all things Disney, there must be a theme park involved, and what do we know, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge had its grand opening in 2019. A rebrand is nothing without its products, and Galaxy’s Edge has everything a “Star Wars” consumer could want. From building your own droid to dining at Oga’s Cantina or flying the Millennium Falcon, Walt Disney Imagineers created an environment that brings the universe together.
Disney took a failing franchise and relaunched it with a plethora of multimedia content, new merchandise, and an immersive experience to keep the fans guessing who shot first. The ability to cultivate the relationship between the original trilogy and the new material, as new concepts emerge from this ever-growing franchise, is what makes this rebrand so endearing. The force is strong with Disney rebrands.