The Star Wars movie scheduled for December 2022 is not expected to be the one Kevin Feige is producing. On the film side of things, Lucasfilm's top priority is overseeing the release of this winter's The Rise of Skywalker, but they've also been busy plotting the franchise's future. Earlier this year, Disney set aside release dates for untitled Star Wars movies in December 2022, 2024, and 2026. Bob Iger said the first installment of David Benioff & D.B. Weiss' planned Star Wars trilogy would take the 2022 slot, but that series has since been cancelled, meaning once again, Lucasfilm's plans must change.
In September, the entertainment world was surprised to learn Feige, architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, would jump over to the galaxy far, far away and develop a new Star Wars movie with Kathleen Kennedy. Since these developments happened within close proximity of each other (and Feige already has an actor in mind for his Star Wars film), it'd be reasonable to assume the Feige movie could slide into that 2022 window. However, that apparently isn't going to be the case.
In THR's coverage of the fallout from Benioff & Weiss leaving Star Wars, the outlet says "it's unlikely" Feige's Star Wars film takes the December 2022 date. No further information was available, but considering Feige's full plate, this isn't the most shocking development. He was recently named Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, meaning he's in charge of the company's TV and comic divisions now, in addition to spearheading the MCU's Phase 4. He may not have time for Star Wars for a while.
If Disney decides to keep that 2022 date for a Star Wars movie, the question obviously becomes what will it be. For now, Rian Johnson is still working on a new Star Wars trilogy. His recent comments on the matter made it seem like it wasn't as sure of a thing anymore, but despite a plethora of rumors, Johnson's trilogy has not been cancelled. If he's far enough along in development, Lucasfilm could forge ahead with that project. It's true The Last Jedi was one of the most polarizing films of the decade and angered a vocal corner of the fan base, but it's important to keep in mind Last Jedi is literally the only Star Wars movie of the Disney era to have a smooth, drama-free production. Against all odds, Johnson fit very well into Lucasfilm's system, which is key moving forward. It's almost comical how many creatives Kathleen Kennedy has lost in the last handful of years, so riding with someone she has a strong history with could help stabilize Star Wars behind-the-scenes.
In the meantime, Lucasfilm appears to have a solid foundation on the small screen with three Star Wars series for Disney+ in the pipeline. Crown jewel The Mandalorian premieres in a couple of weeks, is garnering heavy praise, and already has a second season in development. Lucasfilm is also working on a Rogue One prequel and the much-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi miniseries. With the Star Wars movies going on hiatus after The Rise of Skywalker, these shows are going to be the main attraction for the franchise as they look to get things settled on the films. Hopefully by the time Celebration Anaheim rolls around next August, they have an idea where the movies are headed.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019