Can the Star Wars live-action series be more than just visual effects?


Disney is willing to spend a lot when it comes to its Star Wars live-action series, but will good visual work be enough to carry the series?

When a series is made by a company like Disney, there’s potential for a lot of money to throw around. That’s pretty much a truism at this point. (After all, the company just bought Fox like it was nothing to do so.) Put that together with Star Wars, and the money’s going to flow.

In a report from the New York Times, the first season of the Star Wars live-action series will cost approximately $100 million. Doing a little math, that averages out to about $10 million per episode, since it’ll be a 10-episode series. In terms of comparison, that’s about how much season 6 of Game of Thrones cost, per our sister site Winter is Coming, with reports having it that the upcoming season 8 will cost about $15 million per episode for just six episodes. To speak of the other famous space franchise, the first season of Star Trek: Discovery hovered around $8 to $8.5 million an episode, according to Variety.

A lot of that, presumably, will go towards the special effects of creating the galaxy of Star Wars. But does bigger always mean better? Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones cost $115 million, and it hasn’t aged well; Solo: A Star Wars Story, meanwhile, had trouble in other areas, cost $200 million at the very least, and looked fine if not inspired.

But with something like Game of Thrones, the visual effects add spice. They’re not always the main event (there are, of course, exceptions). In Attack of the Clones, by comparison, the visual effects were pretty much what you were there for, unless you really hate good dialogue for some reason.

So what will we get from Jon Favreau’s series? He knows how to work with effects; he’s behind The Jungle Book, but that too was a movie that particularly marketed itself on how well it turned famous actors into CGI animals.

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All in all, there’s reason to be very cautiously optimistic that the series will be serviceable enough. But money doesn’t fix everything in production. Here’s hoping that Favreau turns out a great limited series that isn’t just all about how cool it looks.