Rian Johnson and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss are working closely together as they plot the course for their respective Star Wars movie projects. This December, Lucasfilm will release The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth and final episode in the classic Skywalker saga that's defined the franchise since 1977. However, that will hardly be the last Star Wars film to grace the big screen. The studio's already announced plans for separate series spearheaded by Johnson and Benioff & Weiss, both of which are said to be disconnected from the generations-spanning Skywalker story.
Of course, details about these films are hard to come by, other than speculation Benioff & Weiss' series will be set during the Old Republic era. It will likely be some time before anything's officially announced, but the various parties are hard at work behind-the-scenes, figuring out where they want these new narratives to go. And even though the projects are presumably independent of one another, Johnson is working alongside the Game of Thrones showrunners during these earliest days of development.
In an interview with EW at Celebration Chicago, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy provided an update on the next slate of Star Wars movies. She revealed that Benioff & Weiss are more or less collaborating with Johnson at this point:
“As they finish Game of Thrones, they’re going to segue into Star Wars. They’re working very closely with Rian.”
Kennedy's comments should not be taken to mean the Johnson and Benioff & Weiss series are one and the same or will be intricately connected. Right now, it's more plausible the three are having conversations simply to see what they all have in mind and make sure there aren't any blatant similarities between the two projects. It would be a shame if the first installments of each covered nearly-identical territory, since the idea here is to illustrate how vast the Star Wars galaxy is for storytelling possibilities. It's smart for the creative teams to be bouncing ideas off each other, particularly since their films will all fall under the same canon. Perhaps they could work in organic references to each other's movies if an opportunity presents itself.
The $1 million question, of course, is when fans will see these films come into fruition. Smartly, Star Wars is taking a break on the movie side of things following The Rise of Skywalker as Lucasfilm coordinates a slate for their next phase. Not only is it a good idea to take as much time as needed to figure everything out, it'll also help combat any feelings of franchise fatigue by starving the marketplace of new movies. In the interim, the studio will be banking on Disney+ series such as The Mandalorian to fill the void, but in a few years, they'll be unveiling a big comeback plan for Star Wars on film.
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019