Disney CEO Bob Iger has reportedly confirmed that Star Wars movies will go on hiatus after this year's release of The Rise of Skywalker. A slowdown for the franchise has been discussed for some time now after the underperformance of 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story and the polarizing reaction to Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
After Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the studio revealed ambitious plans for the Star Wars universe. In addition to adding three more films to the Skywalker Saga, Disney hoped to expand the franchise by releasing spin-off standalone films. The first, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was a success, but Solo's poor reception forced the creatives behind the franchise to consider a new approach. The Rise of Skywalker is expected to be a major box office smash, with pre-sales already breaking records.
Brent Lang, Executive Editor for Variety, shared a statement from Iger on Twitter confirming an upcoming hiatus for new feature Star Wars movies. Iger did not comment on how long the hiatus will last or what this means for the release dates already secured for future Star Wars films. He did, however, mention that there will be "lots of activity on TV front" through Disney+.
Disney CEO Bob Iger says #StarWars feature films will go on "into a hiatus" following #RiseofSkywalker. Says there will be lots of activity on TV front, mentions 3 series in the works for #DisneyPlus.— Brent Lang (@BrentALang) November 7, 2019
How long a hiatus Iger is intending isn't clear. Star Wars currently has three movies set to release in 2022, 2024 and 2026, alternating on Disney's release slate with the Avatar sequels. These were once expected to be a trilogy of films written by Game of Thrones' showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, but the pair recently left the project. At present, what the 2022 movie will be isn't known - but it likely won't be Kevin Feige's - but there's nothing to indicate the three-year gap between The Rise of Skywalker and the 2022 release isn't the hiatus Iger is referring to.
Regardless, in the short-term, the franchise's future is on TV. Next Tuesday, the first live-action Star Wars television series will be released. The Mandalorian will debut on the brand new Disney+ streaming service. Early reactions to the footage has been favorable, and a second season has already been ordered. The next series in development is a Rogue One prequel starring Diego Luna, who will return as Cassian Andor. Fans were also thrilled by the announcement that Ewan McGregor will be reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new series. Plus, the streamer will feature a new season of the animated show Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
This being said, Star Wars is still a highly profitable franchise, so Disney will almost certainly produce more movies at some point in the future. However, a slowdown may be a smart choice. Some fans are wary of Disney's approach toward the galaxy far far away, and the reactions to recent films suggest Disney needs to take a step back before rushing into another trilogy. When The Force Awakens was released, it was a momentous cultural event. In order to recapture and hold onto that magic, Star Wars films may need to remain infrequent.
Source: Brent Lang
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019