Disney has announced its movie slate all the way up to 2022, with almost a dozen movies coming a year from the Mouse House across their various brands – Pixar, Marvel, and of course their live-action remakes. However, one big franchise is missing: Star Wars.
We have a lot of piecemeal information on the future of Star Wars, but very little of it is concrete. After this May’s Solo: A Star Wars Story and next December’s Episode IX, no films have been officially dated. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is working on a new trilogy of films (he’ll be producing all three and writing/directing the first) and Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are developing a new series as writer-producers, while rumors of an Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff remain strong. And yet the timelines for all of these are very much up in the air; the only Lucasfilm project we know about post-Star Wars 9 is Indiana Jones 5 in 2020.
This makes it conspicuous that Star Wars isn’t listed in the new Disney slate. Other subsidiaries are, so it’s not a case of Disney only focusing on its own-named brands – they aren’t dating Star Wars movies. Where is Lucasfilm?
The obvious suggestion is that there aren’t any dates yet, or the studio isn’t ready to share anything firm at least. Indeed, if they’re just finalizing plans at this point, it’s possible the dates for Johnson or D&D’s first movies aren’t set internally and so can’t be announced. There’s also the ever-present threat of speculation and expectation; nothing is discussed as fervently as Star Wars, and Lucasfilm will want to keep that focused on the movies hitting this decade. But that treats the entire company as an arthouse project, rather than a corporate entity behind the biggest franchise around. Deadlines can – and will – exist.
So, presuming the Disney dates are hiding Star Wars dates tentatively, what could they be? Working from the current logic that the films will release in either May or December – that’s true of all live-action entries in the franchise thus far – we have a few potential dates: May 29, 2020, December 23, 2020, May 28, 2021, December 22, 2021, May 27, 2022, and December 16, 2022 are all claimed by an “Untitled Disney Live Action film” that fit those broad rules. Although many have problems. The May 2020 date has shifted from April 3, meaning it probably isn’t Star Wars, and the December 2020 and 2021 weekends are actually a week after the franchise’s typical pre-Christmas release. The May 2021 and 2022 dates could fit, but that then means a proper shift by Star Wars into May, which we’re not clear is happening.
That leaves the most Star Wars-looking date as December 2022 – it’s the right week – which is nearly three years after the current last-planned release. Now, again, this could be all a result of tentative placement, but it’s possible we’re seeing the first signs of a Star Wars gap. It’s previously been rumored Disney wanted to “artificially starve” the market of Star Wars, and while three years isn’t long, it’s an eternity in the modern film landscape. It further fits what we know of Lucasfilm: if 2020 is for Indiana Jones 5, all they have to do is sit one year out. This would allow the excitement of the sequel trilogy (and, depending on how it ends, the Skywalker Saga) to truly die down and give whatever film’s next – Rian Johnson’s is most likely – a clear run at success.
With Lucasfilm, it’s impossible to know where there plans lie – the only thing they’re renowned for more than their secrecy is how meticulously they plan ahead – but what seems likely is that there are currently no suitable dates between Star Wars 9 and December 2022 currently claimed for new movies. But, then again, always in motion is the future.
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