Disney owns two of the most prolific studios in Hollywood, Marvel Studios and LucasFilm. Both studios have projects in film and television. Both claim that both mediums are connected to one another. But as time goes on, only LucasFilm is proving to hold true to that promise. When LucasFilm was bought by Disney, they claimed that a majority of all previous Star Wars related material was non canon and that everything going forward would be canon. When Marvel Studios first branched out into television, they also claimed that everything would be canon. But a few years later, Marvel Studios has proven that this is something of a fallacy while LucasFilm has done the opposite despite many worrying that it wouldn’t be.
When Agents of SHIELD first premiered, it was heavily advertised as being connected to the movies. This was solidified by appearances from movie characters such as Agent Maria Hill and Nick Fury with their film actors reprising their roles. This continued without fail as the first season went on heavily tying into the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But the cracks started to show with the start of the second season and with the Netflix shows such as Daredevil. It became especially glaring when the second season had a worldwide catastrophe that enabled people to become Inhumans. So when movies came out after the events and there were no references to the events. This especially became notable in Captain America: Civil War where a major plot point revolved around the growing incidents throughout the world that revolved around people with powers. There was nowhere a mention of anything that had gone on in the television series.
It became abundantly clear that continuity was a one way street. That things in the movies would be referenced in the shows but not vice versa. This may have something to do with internal politics more than anything. There was recently a split in Marvel Studios where Kevin Feige, who runs the film division, split from Marvel Studios proper. While they are all still one studio, Feige reports directly to the head of Disney and not the head of Marvel. Jeph Loeb who runs the television department still reports to the head of Marvel. So it’s clear that office politics has affected the brand more than anything. So while there have been no negative consequences in the brand, the whole “everything is connected” is turning out to be a flat out lie at this point.
Lucasfilm on the other hand has embraced its history. In the upcoming Rogue One, Forest Whitaker will be playing Sw Gerrera. Saw Gerrera was a character who originated in the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series. Though the show was popular, it was certainly not one of those things that reached the mass audience as that of the movies. Saw Gerrera has played an important part in the growing new history of Star Wars. He is a character mentioned in the animated series Star Wars Rebels and mentioned in the novel, Bloodlines. He is an important character who has a history but a simple one where you can put a character such as his in a movie without expecting much from audiences who may not keep with the novels and animated series.
LucasFilm has the story group that includes people such as Pablo Hidalgo and Dave Filoni. Everything ranging from the comic books to video games to animated series go through the story group. That way they make sure that no creator is stepping on another creator’s toes when it comes too their projects. Also a way of keeping a cohesive universe where they can lend ideas and help out creators as well. So far the story group has been praised with the tight ship that they run. Making sure to help branch out the Star Wars universe in a myriad of ways.
Marvel used to have something like this before the shakeup in the offices of Marvel Studios. So as of right now, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a river that only goes one way. Will this change in the future? It’s hard to say. Whenever the question is brought up to creators, they give a diplomatic answer that is basically saying no without saying the word. Maybe one day it will change. With the growing popularity of the Netflix shows and more and more television projects being developed, it would seem that audiences will eventually force their hand in the matter. LucasFilm has done a great job in expanding the Star Wars universe through all media. Not only can Marvel Studios learn from their book but also other studios who are intent on making universes.