In 2008, the ILM studio in Singapore helped Lucasfilm create and produce The Clone Wars movie and then followed that up with The Clone Wars animated series. This VFX studio has been at the forefront of animation and laid the footprint standard for the rest of what Star Wars animation would have to meet. Originally, there was a lack of appreciation for the quality of the work made by the studio, but that changed over time. This studio also helped Lucasfilm expand its footprint and move more into the Asian markets and cultivate Asian talents.
Disney recently announced the shutdown of the Singapore studio. How do you think Lucasfilm announced the shutdown of the ILM Studio that helped make The Clone Wars movie and tv series? Do you think it went something like this, “Happy 15th Anniversary! Oh, and by the way, we’re shutting this thing down.” 300 jobs were lost on what would have seemed like a time for celebration.
On the plus side, Lucasfilm has said that they will help the 300 employees find new jobs and will be hosting a job fair in the area to help those unable to relocate to one of the ILM growing studios find new work with another studio. In addition to what Lucasfilm will be doing, Singapore’s Economic Development Board has vowed to work alongside Lucasfilm to assist all 300 employees in finding sustainable employment.
So why is Lucasfilm shutting this down? According to a Lucasfilm spokesperson, as reported by Deadline, the reason for the shutdown is that Lucasfilm is “consolidating its global footprint and winding down its Singapore studio due to economic factors affecting the industry.” With losses announced recently, it’s not surprising that Disney and LucasFilm would be looking to trim the fat, so to speak.
To be clear and to dispel rumors lighting up like wildfire on the internet that Disney was shutting ALL animation studios down, Lucasfilm’s Joel Aaron, who is the Director of Cinematography Lighting & FX, took to Twitter, saying, “Lucasfilm Animation is not closing. FYI.” So, it’s only the Singapore branch, nothing more in the studio departments.
Will there be other changes coming to the streaming platform? It appears that Disney is readying itself for a content purge from Disney+. Rumor has it that 50 or titles will be removed from their signature streaming service and Hulu, also owned by Disney. Purging these titles will hopefully help remove some cost issues and allow room for content that people want to subscribe to.
It is extremely important for Disney to ensure they don’t continue to lose subscribers, as they have already reported a loss of their total subscribers by over 4 million subscriptions.
And why are they losing subs? CNN provided this clue, they said: “The more than 20% hike in prices means Disney+ will now cost twice the original price when the service debuted four years ago, and Hulu’s ad-free tier is now more expensive than the most popular Netflix plan”. Couple that with customer dissatisfaction with provided content, it’s unsurprising that Disney and Lucasfilm are looking to cut more costs.
Here’s to hoping the upcoming Ahsoka series is a mark in the win column. It seems that Disney could use one.