What Star Wars can learn from Marvel’s horror movie

Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.
Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) in Lucasfilm's OBI-WAN KENOBI, exclusively on Disney+. © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved. /

Star Wars’ most recent TV series ‘Andor’ has diversified the franchise with its departure from its usual space opera format, leaning more heavily into the political thriller genre. Our very own Hope Mullinax has written about Star Wars’ need to play with more genres and one genre sticks out above the rest: horror.

Corey Cummings recently discussed how now is the right time for a Star Wars horror movie and Mike Flanagan, acclaimed director of ‘Doctor Sleep’ and Netflix’s ‘The Haunting’ series’, has expressed an interest in directing a horror project in the Star Wars universe.

With a Star Wars horror movie or series looking more likely than ever, the franchise should take a leaf out of, fellow Disney-owned studio, Marvel’s book on how to make a Disney-friendly horror project.

This month, the TV special ‘Werewolf by Night’ released on Disney+ and has received positive reception from fans and critics alike. Director Michael Giacchino leant heavily into one sub-genre of horror movies; monster movies.

From the special being released in black and white (bar the red glow of the bloodstone) to the use of practical effects to create the titular werewolf, Giacchino embraced the monster movie sub-genre completely. He was able to incorporate these tropes whilst keeping the special appropriate for Disney+, even using its release in black and white to avoid showing too much blood.

Star Wars should approach any horror projects in the same way, embracing any sub-genres or individual movies which may have inspired them. Imagine a monster movie based on Hoth with the Wampa stalking its prey, a slasher movie featuring a force-wielder hunting down their victims, or a witchcraft movie focused on the witches of Dathomir and their magick. After all, we have already seen a zombie-inspired ‘Clone Wars’ episode with Geonosian brain worms controlling hosts, including dead ones.

Star Wars should also learn from Giacchino’s creative approach when creating their own horror movie. Whilst the franchise has approached darker themes more often than Marvel, they are still Disney owned so may need to be creative to keep their owners happy. For example, using a lightsaber wielding character would mean there would be no need to worry about blood as any wound would be cauterised automatically.

Marvel have shown that a successful horror project is very much possible in a larger franchise and with the success of movies like Smile, Black Phone and Nope in 2022, it is time for Star Wars to follow suit and enter the world of horror.