Renowned screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Force Awakens with director J.J. Abrams, has announced his retirement from the Star Wars franchise. After finishing production on the upcoming Han Solo project, Kasdan’s pen will fall silent in the galaxy far, far away.
After four forays in to the Star Wars Universe, including scripting one of the franchise’s most beloved stories, The Empire Strikes Back, Kasdan’s departure comes at a pivotal juncture between the past and future of Star Wars, where new generations are poised to rediscover the epic series. However, Kasdan’s decision not to write any more films may not end his involvement in the Star Wars Universe altogether.
The initial report comes from a translated interview with Kasdan in the weekend edition of German Newspaper Bild. In it, the venerated screenwriter says that he’s finished scripting for the series. “I did four Star Wars movies. That’s more than enough.” He also mentions a general lack of interest in writing for the upcoming films, even in penning his fourth entry in the series:
"This is my last film for this saga…I did not even want to do this last one anymore, but my family loved the idea.”
Kasdan’s announcement doesn’t necessarily mean his departure from the Star Wars universe entirely. After co-writing the Han Solo stand-alone with his son, Jon Kasdan, the 66-year-old writer, producer, and director may set his eye on other roles. In the interview, Kasdan also mentions that he wants “to work as director again,” leaving a ray of hope that he’s not finished with the saga yet.
Although uncertain whether his desire to return to the director’s chair includes or precludes the Star Wars saga, hopefully Kasdan will stick around a little while longer. His work on Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi elevated them from sci-fi set pieces into masterpieces of plot and story, which blurred the boundaries between villainy and heroism ever-so-slightly. Kasdan’s many years of experience working in the saga also makes him an excellent mentor for newer writers and directors entering into the multifaceted series.
If Kasdan does leave the franchise behind, it will be sad to see a master storyteller depart the galaxy he helped to create. However, his vision for the series will live on in the work of other talented writers and directors who step in to fill the void and bring new visions of their own to the saga.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.