Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has revealed the next Star Wars film to release after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has not been decided yet. When Disney and Lucasfilm revitalized the franchise in 2015, they had high expectations that included numerous spin-off films and new trilogies. However, things took a turn following the fan backlash stemming from The Last Jedi and the disappointing box office return for Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the future of the franchise is now in flux.
Lucasfilm had planned new trilogies helmed by Rian Johnson (director of The Last Jedi) and Game of Thrones duo David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. However, news broke in October that Benioff and Weiss had stepped away from Star Wars in order to focus on their Netflix deal. Johnson is still set to create a new trilogy, and Marvel head Kevin Feige will produce a movie for the franchise. Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed the Star Wars films would take a hiatus following The Rise of Skywalker while the franchise grows through television (meaning Disney+, which already has the live-action series The Mandalorian).
During an interview with Rolling Stone, Kennedy was asked about what will come next following The Rise of Skywalker, and she confessed she does not know. She explained:
We’ve got various things we’re looking at and various ways in which we can begin or not. As you can imagine. You know, do you go back? Do you go forward? All those questions are being asked. Do we stay in this galaxy? Do we go to another? The universe is never-ending. [Laughs.] The good news and the bad news. They have endless possibilities. It’s liberating, it’s exciting, and it creates a lot of pressure and anxiety as well.
This stemmed from the interviewer asking about the challenges in moving away from the Skywalker Saga. The Rise of Skywalker will bring the Saga to a close, completing the story that has spanned decades. J.J. Abrams has returned to direct, and Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Adam Driver will again star. Rise of Skywalker also marks Carrie Fisher's last film following her passing in 2016. With this Saga coming to an end, there are many options open for the franchise. There have been some reports about what the trilogy from Benioff and Weiss could have focused on, potentially indicating which direction Lucasfilm is considering. There are a few release dates already set for the franchise - in 2022, 2024, and 2026 - though they could change if no decisions are made soon.
With a universe as massive as Star Wars', it's not surprising that executives are struggling with finding a direction. There are so many options to choose from, and with such a vocal fandom, Disney and Lucasfilm want to make the right decision. Moving away from the Skywalker Saga can open up the franchise to new stories that wouldn't have been possible before. This could be seen as a major risk to take, and The Last Jedi's fan response is proof that audiences aren't always receptive to risk-taking. However, if any franchise can withstand a few more original, potentially shocking changes, it's Star Wars. As shown with The Mandalorian, there will always be an audience for the galaxy far, far away.
Source: Rolling Stone