UPDATE: April Fools! Though a Seven Jedi film would be cool, right?
It didn't take long after Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opened in theaters for some media pundits and moviegoers to demand that director Zack Snyder be replaced for Justice League - a film which starts shooting in a matter of days. While no one can doubt his technical skills and industry-pushing visual style, some take issue with Snyder's abilities as a storyteller based on the criticisms of the Man of Steel followup.
For that reason, and given the divisive responses to Snyder's last few projects, it's a very strange time for Disney and Lucasfilm to be sharing news that Snyder will indeed be taking on a Star Wars movie as part of the studio's six-movie launch salvo to annualize the live-action Star Wars feature film brand as an ongoing concern. As it turns out, the early reports of Snyder crafting a Seven Samurai style standalone movie set in the Star Wars universe were true.
In 2013 Vulture reported that director Zack Snyder had flown to Marin County to meet with Lucasfilm execs about a standalone Star Wars movie he wanted to develop and direct. This was before the Anthology Star Wars stories became an official thing but were widely being talked about by Disney execs, before J.J. Abrams landed the job helming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and at a time when Snyder was in post-production on Man of Steel. Here's that report's highlight:
"He is in fact developing a Star Wars project for Lucasfilm that is set within the series’ galaxy, though parallel to the next trilogy. It will be an as-yet-untitled Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, with the ronin and katana being replaced by the Force-wielding knights and their iconic lightsabers."
THR immediately reached out to Snyder's publicist at the time who denied such claims but Vulture responded in an update standing by their story from their trusted inside source. Here we are three years later and during that time Abrams and Snyder both teased each other back and forth over social media while making Star Wars 7 and Batman V Superman, respectively. Snyder took photos with Stormtroopers being apprehended by Gotham City police officers for stealing the Batmobile and shared them online alongside other photos of Batman with R2-D2 and Henry Cavill sporting a lightsaber.
A few days later Abrams shared a video from the set of The Force Awakens revealing that there's a toy Tumbler Batmobile attached to the actual Millenium Falcon. This fun connection, just like Vulture's 2013 scoop, were not just a coincidence. Snyder is very much joining the Star Wars saga and after shooting Justice League parts one and two back to back beginning on April 11th (according to EW), his next feature film will be an untitled Star Wars story.
It's unclear at this point what this means for the Anthology film Josh Trank was supposed to direct which was put on the backburner after he was pushed off the project during the development hell of his failed Fantastic Four reboot, but so far we have Gareth Edwards' Rogue One coming this December, Rian Johnson's Episode VIII next December, and the Han Solo film from Chris Miller and Phil Lord coming in 2018. Colin Trevorrow's Episode IX comes sometime in 2019 and the next anthology (Zack Snyder's) will release in 2020. Given that Justice League: Part Two debuts in 2019 but will be shot mostly this year, the director will be deep into post on finishing the Justice League story by the time shooting begins on his Star Wars story.
While story details have yet to be confirmed, there's evidence from previous reports and rumors to suggest that since Snyder's Anthology will heavily feature Jedi characters and force powers - something the first to "Star Wars Stories" do not - it'll be the feature where we see a younger Yoda proving himself as an elite warrior, years before he becomes the master we know him as in the Star Wars prequels. It's being touted as a truly standalone film about the history of the Jedi Order and what they do to protect the galaxy.
If you're keeping track, that means fans will get to see origin tales for the Rebel Alliance, Han Solo and Chewbacca, and then for Yoda. Trank's movie was widely rumored to focus on Boba Fett, but while the fan-favorite bounty hunter may appear in the Han Solo movie in a supporting role, his own time in the spotlight isn't currently in development.
There is no official release set Star Wars: Episode IX or Snyder's Anthology picture but it's confirmed for a 2020 release. We’ll keep you up to date as we hear more about the saga but, in the meantime, you can read the official press release for yourself here.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15th, 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 Snyder's Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.