It's hard to believe that there was a time when fans thought they wouldn't see any more Star Wars films at all, given the long, dry years of the saga between the release of Return of the Jedi in 1983 and the beginning of the prequel trilogy with Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 1999. Unfortunately, Star Wars creator George Lucas left audiences with a little to be desired with his origins of Darth Vader arc, leaving another 10-year void in the wake of 2005's Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.
Times have definitely changed since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, and fans' faith in the franchise was instantly restored with not only the announcement of the long-desired Episodes VII, VIII and IX, but the hiring of fan favorite filmmaker J.J. Abrams to kick things off with the first episode, The Force Awakens. After the blockbuster successes of that film and the first anthology film Rogue One (and frenzied anticipation of The Last Jedi and the Untitled Star Wars Anthology Han Solo Film), Disney clearly has the confidence in a long-term commitment to the Star Wars saga, as indicated by a major announcement by the Mouse House's CEO, Bob Iger this week.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Iger at a USC's Scale: The Future of Tech and Entertainment conference Thursday revealed that there's a lot more in store for the saga:
"We're starting talk about what could happen after Episode IX. About what could be another decade-and-a-half of Star Wars stories."
What those films will entail beyond the wrap-up of Episode IX is a question yet to be answered. But with a monster vote of confidence by the fans and critics in their reception to Rogue One, more Star Wars anthology stories will likely be included. A huge test of the long-term viability of those stories, of course, will come with co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller's young Han Solo Film – which Iger said at the tech conference will take place over 6 years in the life of the space scoundrel, between ages 18-24.
Other challenges include how Episode IX will deal with the death of Carrie Fisher, who completed her work on The Last Jedi before her untimely passing in December. Iger at least assured Thursday that director Rian Johnson's film will not be altered in any way due to Fisher's death. Right now, the pressure lies squarely on the shoulders of Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow, since Disney has ruled out bringing her character back in CGI form.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017