When The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm back in October 2012, it was quick to announce not one, but two series of Star Wars films: The expected sequel trilogy, consisting of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and two follow-ups, and the unexpected “anthology” films, of which this month’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first. That means audiences will be getting one new movie a year up until 2020.
Or, at least, it would’ve meant that, if director Josh Trank hadn’t been fired and his proposed spinoff, a Boba Fett anthology story, hadn’t been shelved. Both Disney and Lucasfilm have been quiet ever since about what would replace 2020’s entry, or even if they would attempt a move on the project so soon in the development cycle – until now.
Variety caught up with Disney CEO Bob Iger on the red carpet at the premiere of Rogue One and asked him to quickly run down what’s next on the Star Wars slate. Here’s what he had to say:
We’ve made Star Wars VIII, shot Star Wars VIII. The title will be announced at some point. That comes out in 2017. And then we have another standalone film, which is the origin story of Han Solo, that will come out in 2018. 2019 will be Star Wars IX, with director Colin Trevorrow. That’s being written. We have another standalone Star Wars story that’s in development, and we don’t have any other specifics to share with the world right now, but I can guarantee there will be more Star Wars films.
While it is well short of an announced title or, even, subject matter, it is nonetheless confirmation that a third “anthology” movie is actively in the works (which may not be that surprising in retrospect, as Iger has already confirmed that the film has a writer playing around with a script). And it also opens up a whole new guessing game for rabid fans who will need something with which to while the time away once Rogue One has hit theaters and the year countdown begins for Episode VIII.
So let us start right now. We already know that Ewan McGregor is willing to reprise Obi-Wan Kenobi in a future spinoff; Alden Ehrenreich, who has been cast as the young Han Solo for the second anthology entry, has signed a contract for three films, making for yet another potential trilogy set within the larger movie series. And there’s always the possibility of resurrecting none other than SW creator George Lucas’s own proposed spinoff story, following a group of youngling Jedi during the Clone Wars.
But all of these never-straying-far-from-the-main-movies ideas are just the tip of the narrative iceberg. Why not jump back one thousand years in the past to tell the canon story of how the Sith Wars went down? Or why not skip a few centuries into the future and see what the legacy of the Skywalker family has morphed into – and how it could potentially be used as the justification for the next round of interstellar wars? We have a whole list of more experimental subjects, and we’re hoping that Iger will be bold enough to greenlight at least some of them.