Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Shared Cinematic Universe appears to be coming together nicely; J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains on course for arrival in December 2015, while Gareth Edwards’ Anthology (read: spinoff) movie, Star Wars: Rogue One, is currently in production to make a December 2016 deadline. In addition, Rian Johnson is developing Episode VIII for a May 2017 theatrical debut, even as Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have gotten started on their Han Solo Anthology film, due by May 2018.
Episode IX doesn’t officially have a director yet (Abrams says it won’t be him), but judging by the current trend for Star Wars movie release dates, it seems the film might arrive in May 2019. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has now indicate that there’s a Star Wars movie all but set for arrival in 2020, too – and it’s one that, for a hot moment, looked like it might’ve been canceled.
The Star Wars film in question is the untitled Star Wars Anthology movie that director Josh Trank and screenwriter Simon Kinberg (who also co-created the Star Wars Rebels animated series) were putting together, before Trank officially stepped down. EW is reporting the film will probably reach theaters in 2020, as Kennedy has offered her assurances that the project is her studio will see through to the end:
“It’s still one of the stories that we absolutely want to tell. There is a lot of innovative technology in and around what it is we’re doing with that story, so for a lot of reasons, we were comfortable postponing that. But we’re definitely still developing it.”
It’s not clear what will come next for Trank following the fiasco that is 20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four movie reboot (which Trank directed and Kinberg co-wrote), though at this point it’s all the more fair to assume that Trank’s behavior during the F4 production was, in fact, to some degree responsible for him losing the Star Wars directing job. Nonetheless, it seems he and Kinberg apparently did a good deal of prep work before Trank left, enough so that a teaser reel for the movie was nearly shown for the 2015 Star Wars Celebration (resembling the Rogue One conceptual teaser shown at the event), according to EW‘s sources.
Multiple sources (including EW) have now reported that Kinberg’s Star Wars Anthology script is for a movie anchored by Boba Fett; one that either further explore his origins (even further than Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and the Star Wars: Clone Wars animated series did) and/or features him as the protagonist in a story about the bounty hunter underworld (think John Wick set in the Star Wars universe). Kennedy did confirm as recently as May 2015 that Boba Fett remains a “high priority” character for Lucasfilm, so for the time being the signs point to the 2020 Anthology film being one that includes the Mandalorian armored mercenary in some fashion.
Fortunately, the Star Wars Anthology films are more flexible not just in terms of their release dates – since, unlike ‘Episodes’, they won’t take place in chronological order – but also the stylistic approaches they use; for example, Rogue One is expected to visually resemble a contemporary military thriller set in the Star Wars universe. As such, there should be room (and certainly plenty of time) for another director to take over the former Trank project and put their own unique spin on the story (whatever it ultimately ends up being).
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.