Will Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker end with a time jump? The question is more than hypothetical thanks to the currently-ongoing D23 Expo, which The Walt Disney Company bills as the “ultimate Disney fan event.” Held biennially, this year’s showing was particularly anticipated due to the Mouse House more fully lifting the curtain on its upcoming Disney+ streaming service, including its lineup of first-day titles on November 12 and its future slate of projects in the years to come.
Before Lucasfilm president (and Star Wars shepherd) Kathleen Kennedy got around to the possible Star Wars 9 spoiler, she already helped deliver the goods on the streaming front, debuting the first-ever trailer for The Mandalorian, confirming a February 2020 release date for the final season of The Clone Wars, and making official Ewan McGregor’s return as Ben Kenobi in his own limited series.
Given that barrage of news developments (plus bringing out the stars of the still-unnamed Cassian Andor/K-2SO show to talk some more about that still-filming project), audiences can be forgiven for letting the item in question slip right past them – but it’s worth pausing on it a bit more:
This is the (new) official timeline of the Star Wars saga, starting in year one with The Phantom Menace and showing where all of the subsequent spinoff films, TV series, and, even, theme-park lands are located in the decades that follow. And although the sequel trilogy hits exactly where we would expect it to, with The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi both occurring in year 66, and The Rise of Skywalker following in 67, the timeline conspicuously goes on longer – another 13 years longer, in fact.
It's possible that Disney has already internally slotted further movies or television entries beyond the end of the “Skywalker Saga” (possibly, even, the new trilogy being helmed by the Game of Thrones showrunners), but there is the question of either Disney or Lucasfilm wanting to acknowledge any post-Skywalker installments this early in the game – especially given the two companies’ interest in not saturating the market with future Star Wars releases. (Which isn’t even to mention another, even bigger question: would Kennedy and Lucasfilm Story Group allow any future stories to take place after the final installment of the mainline film series?)
That leaves The Rise of Skywalker ending with a time jump as the other major explanation – a theory which actually has some basis in Star Wars’ development history. Not only had creator George Lucas at one point played around with doing a fourth trilogy, he had also – or so the legend goes – come up with a very specific ending long ago, whether it would come in at the climax of Episode IX or Episode XII: the stalwart droids R2-D2 and C-3PO (the only characters to appear in every single movie) would be sitting around the proverbial campfire at some distant point in the future, regaling an audience with the exploits of Anakin Skywalker and his long-running lineage (thus explaining the “long time ago” part of Star Wars’s setting). Given director J.J. Abrams’s willingness to go back to Lucas’ well in the form of incorporating Emperor Palpatine into Rise of Skywalker’s proceedings, he may similarly lift the supposed original ending, slotting it in as an epilogue that takes place 13 years down the road. Since The Last Jedi has opened the door to flashbacks and other forms of time jumps, this wouldn’t be out of place.
If true, this would mean that the “Skywalker Saga,” once told from beginning to end, would cover a mammoth 80-year stretch – enough time to sufficiently play out the cycles of peace and war that give the franchise its name.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019