The rumor suggesting Star Wars: Episode IX will be split into two parts is not true. Additionally, that would be the wrong move for the film even if it had some semblance of truth. As difficult as this may be for some to believe, Lucasfilm is almost at the end of the sequel trilogy. Less than three years after The Force Awakens premiered in theaters, director J.J. Abrams has started production on the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. It will be released in theaters in December 2019, signaling the end of an era before the franchise pursues new horizons.
Of course, there's a great deal of interest in what the story will entail. Lucasfilm has been transparent on some topics, including Mark Hamill's return as Luke Skywalker and the plan for General Leia Organa, but there are still a number of elements that remain a secret. This means fans have to turn their attention to the ever-churning rumor mill to find information regarding the film. A dubious one is making the rounds now, and we can safely say it's false.
The theory of Episode IX becoming a two-parter seems to have originated in a YouTube video from Mike Zeroh, posted back in July 2018. The rumor itself gained more traction thanks to a MovieWeb article speculating on the Star Wars 9 runtime. Due to the sheer amount of storylines that need to be wrapped up, they hypothesized Lucasfilm could split it up if the movie is long. This practice, of course, is nothing new in Hollywood, mainly happening with final installments of young-adult adaptations, like Harry Potter and Twilight. Screen Rant reached out to Disney for comment.
Frankly, there's nothing substantial to validate the claims. Zeroh is a notorious Star Wars commentator, who often repurposes fan theories as scoops. In the case of the MovieWeb article, it's largely their own speculation based on what is known about Episode IX at this point in time (i.e. not much). It would be one thing if numerous sources close to the production or the studio were saying this was a possibility, but that hasn't happened yet. It would also be a decision very much against the grain for Star Wars, a franchise that prides itself on its poetic rhyming. There's a wonderful symmetry in the story of the Skywalkers being told as a trilogy of trilogies that spans three generations. In all likelihood, they're not going to spoil that at the very end to make an Episode 9.2. If this is the direction Lucasfilm wanted to go, they probably would have announced it by now. Things can change, but it looks like they're sticking to one movie.
And that's the way it should be. For starters, the business model of dividing a final chapter in two wore out its welcome very quickly. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay was by far the lowest-grossing installment of that franchise, and Ascendant (the planned finale for Divergent) never made it to theaters. And we live in a world where a Star Wars movie can be a box office failure, so Lucasfilm would be better served sticking with what works. At a time when the fandom is arguably at its most toxic, it would be a massive risk to shake things up further and tell people they have to pay twice to see the full story. Besides, dragging out the Skywalker saga even further wouldn't do anybody any favors. Confirming plans for Rian Johnson's new trilogy and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' series (which are separate from the saga) while remaining mum on the Obi-Wan spinoff illustrates Lucasfilm's desire to move on soon. Episode IX could be another 2.5-hour epic, but it's going to be a single film.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019