Lucasfilm's Star Wars sequel trilogy will wrap up with J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX, but does that mean the entire Skywalker Saga will come to an end in 2019? Some fans seem certain the end is nigh, but we're not so sure.
When Walt Disney Studios acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, George Lucas stepped down as the studio's president and put Kathleen Kennedy in charge of shepherding the new era of Star Wars. That meant not only producing Star Wars: Episode VII, VIII, and IX, but also a slew of spinoff films that expand various parts of the Saga and flesh out characters' backstories. Rogue One started this new experiment in 2016 and Solo continues it this year, with outings for Boba Fett and Obi-Wan also in the works.
This has marked out a new and different future for Star Wars, one built on world rather than prior story. There's talk of Solo launching its own trilogy, and of course The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is starting his own, entirely disconnected Star Wars trilogy.
But while these non-episodic movies will certainly tide over Star Wars fans (and studio executives) for many years, eventually the mainline Star Wars Saga will return, whether the Skywalkers will be a part of them or not.
Why Fans Thinks Star Wars 9 Will End The Saga (This Page)
Why Star Wars 9 Is "The End"
The specifics are vague and contradictory, but it's generally accepted that George Lucas initially came up with the idea for a nine-part Star Wars Saga - in addition to his prime trilogy, there was a prequel trilogy focusing on Anakin's turn to the dark side, Palpatine's rise to power, and the Jedi's downfall, and a sequel trilogy passed the torch to a new generation - while he was developing the story for what would eventually become The Empire Strikes Back. However, that was Lucas' plan. It's clear that Lucasfilm isn't following Lucas' outline to a T, but rather forging their own path... for the most part.
The studio reportedly threw out Lucas' story treatments for Episode VII, VIII, and IX, and they started from scratch when Abrams boarded The Force Awakens. However, while Lucasfilm is going about developing their own story on their own terms - even going as far as to challenge what viewers think makes an ideal Star Wars movie - they are still roughly following Lucas' general premise to conclude the Skywalker Saga with Episode IX. That's evident by not only Han Solo's death, but also Luke Skywalker's demise and Ben Solo's (Kylo Ren) establishment as the First Order's new Supreme Leader (all broad Lucas concepts). Is the same true for ending at 9?
After all, Episode IX will be an end in some ways; it will likely see the end of the Skywalker lineage, with the death of Carrie Fisher seeing Leia written out and odds-on for Kylo Ren - the only member of the family in the new generation - to die. Since Star Wars has always been about the tug between the dark and the light centered on this clan, many expect this to mean a complete stop the Episode movies, allowing the aforementioned spinoffs to become the "new Star Wars". Indeed, before Colin Trevorrow exited Episode IX, he said that the film would provide an "emotionally resonant conclusion" to the story, thus indicating plans to end the Skywalker Saga in 2019. But is that too short-sighted?
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019