The Galaxy is Wide Open
Now that the force has awakened and we’ve found out who the last Jedi is and witnessed the rise of Skywalker, it’s time to wonder: Where does Star Wars go from here?
Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker culminated a 42-year, nine-film saga that is as famous for its fandom as it is for its story. Since 20th Century Fox released Star Wars in 1977, it has spawned numerous toys, tie-ins, novels, comics and TV shows. Now that Disney has the reins to the franchise, where will they take this vast galaxy far, far away?
Here are some options.
The Mandalorian and Disney+
Series creator Jon Favreau has already confirmed a season 2 is in the works, which will deliver us much more Baby Yoda. In addition to The Mandalorian, Disney+ currently has shows in development revolving around Obi-Wan Kenobi (with Ewan McGregor returning to the role) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna’s spy from 2016’s Rogue One), as well as a planned 12-episode conclusion of The Clone Wars TV show from Dave Filoni.
The Obi-Wan show will focus on the years obi-Wan watched over a young Luke Skywalker from afar on Tatooine, while the Cassian Andor show will focus on the spy’s life before he wrangled the plans to the Death Star.
Not to mention, everything Star Wars-related is on Disney+ (well, besides the Holiday Special. If you want to subject yourself to that, it’s on YouTube).
If the relationship between The Mandalorian and Rise of Skywalker is any indication, it would appear that the shows will inform the films in some way. A certain creature’s ability in Episode 7 of The Mandalorian is a key plot point in Skywalker, so a shared universe might become a way for Disney to wrangle all of the Star Wars intellectual property it now owns.
Rian Johnson and other directors
Say what you will about Rian Johnson and The Last Jedi. That film still made more than $1 billion worldwide, and as of this writing, Johnson still has the keys to at least one new film in the Star Wars universe (and maybe a new trilogy). We don’t know what those films will revolve around, or when they’ll be released (although Disney has slated release dates for Dec. 16, 2022, December 20, 2024 and December 18, 2026. Personally, I think a film examining what happened to the Force-sensitive kid at the end of Last Jedi would be right up Johnson’s alley.
Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy will announce a director for the 2022 film in Jan. 2020.
Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were also planning on making a trilogy, but the pair has since split with Lucasfilm. Any other additional spin-off films might be curtailed at the moment as well, since Rogue One and Solo were the lowest-grossing pair of Star Wars movies since Disney took over the franchise. But is it too much to ask for a Poe Dameron series?
This one was only a matter of time. Marvel czar Kevin Feige will helm a Star Wars film set to be released at an unnamed date. As of right now, we don’t know anything else about his film. But given his strength with crafting a shared universe and his box office clout with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it seems like a no-brainer to let him work on Star Wars. In interviews, Kennedy has said the future of Star Wars won’t continue directly from Rise of Skywalker, so it could be that with Feige they’re setting the ground work for a different type of shared universe with different Star Wars characters.
The Expanded Universe
When Disney first took over Star Wars in 2012, it said that only the films and the Clone Wars TV show were recognizable canon, effectively shutting themselves off from hundreds of books, radio plays, comics and episodes of other TV shows like Rebels, not to mention dozens of video games set in the Star Wars universe.
Later, Disney decided that certain books published after its purchase of Lucasfilm were fair game. If the company is looking for a number of fresh directions to take the series, it should look to the vast amount of material available to adapt for the big (or small) screen.
Whatever happens, the days of waiting for new Star Wars are over. Whether you watch The Mandalorian or read the books or play Jedi: Fallen Order, it’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan.