With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker released in theaters it seems worth asking: What is the next Star Wars movie? Disney has announced huge plans for Star Wars shows on their Disney+ platform, where The Mandalorian is already earning rave reviews. Meanwhile the company is promoting their new Star Wars theme park, Galaxy’s Edge, heavily. Yet you may not know what’s next for their Star Wars movie plans. What come after The Rise of Skywalker?
THE SKYWALKER SAGA IS FINISHED
Nine movies and 42 years been dedicated to the Skywalker Saga. With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker it’s over. Don’t expect to see anything else about Anakin, Luke, or any of the other through-lines which have propelled the two trilogies, as part of the next movie.
Skywalker Box Office
The final Skywalker Saga movie has pulled in huge numbers on its way out the door. On Christmas Day Rise of Skywalker was number one at the box office, bringing in $32 million on December 25th alone. The second place finisher, Jumanji: The Next Level wasn’t even close, managing only $12 million on the holiday.
Though that’s a good performance by Rise of Skywalker, it’s worth noting that holiday total is well behind Force Awakens‘ $49.3 million earned on Christmas Day 2015. Force Awakens holds the record for best Christmas box office of all time, and now Rise of Skywalker is the runner-up for that title.
So while Rise of Skywalker’s box office wasn’t record breaking, it’s really good and that’s probably enough to guarantee Disney will at some point make more Star Wars movies, even if they don’t involve the Rise of Skywalker storylines.
It’s also perhaps worth noting that Rise of Skywalker didn’t do well with critics. In fact, it’s the worst reviewed Star Wars movie of all time. As of this moment Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker holds a 52% rating on the review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes. That’s now lower than even Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace which holds a 53% rating.
So while Rise of Skywalker made enough money to make Disney want to create more Star Wars movies in general, it’s reception was mixed. That mixed reception probably means that when Disney does make the next Star Wars movie they’ll probably want to go in a completely different direction.
THE STAR WARS GALAXY AFTER RISE OF SKYWALKER
The Jon Favreau led hit, The Mandalorian, has brought wayward fans back into the Star Wars fold. Its crisp writing, sharp directing and Baby Yoda have fans talking about and anticipating each episode in a way they haven’t always talked about the new movies.
Along with announcing a second season to The Mandalorian, Disney+ has also announced a new series based on a character from Rogue One, Cassian Andor. Diego Luna is set to reprise his role as the title character with Alan Tudyk (Dodgeball, Rogue One) returning as the voice of K-2SO.
Also headed to your television is the Ewan McGregor-led Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
This is all small. Let’s talk bigger picture.
COMBATTING STAR WARS OVERLOAD
Figuring out where the Star Wars movies go next won’t be easy. The recent rocky path to Rise of Skywalker may have already set things in motion or to be more specific, slowed the course of action down. So, Disney has already told the world that Star Wars will slow down. Call it Star Wars overload.
Since Disney released Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, there has been one release per year. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in 2016, Star Wars: The Last Jedi in 2017, Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018, and Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker this year. That’s a lot of Star Wars. So, don’t blame Disney for telling fans that the next Star Wars movie won’t see the big screen until 2022.
Kathleen Kennedy, president of LucasFilm and leader of the Star Wars franchise, has offered a few tidbits on life after the Skywalkers. “What we’ve been focused on the last five or six years is finishing the family saga around the Skywalkers,” she told the LA Times. “Now is the time to start thinking about how to segue into something new and different.”
But what exactly is “different”? For starters, Disney may kick aside the “trilogy” aspect of future Star Wars movies. “I think it gives us a more open-ended view of storytelling and doesn’t lock us into this three-act structure,” Kennedy said. “We’re not going to have some finite number and fit it into a box. We’re really going to let the story dictate that.”
With that in mind, Disney has already announced release dates for its next iteration of Star Wars. Coincidently (or not), Disney has announced three release dates. December 20, 2022, December 18, 2024, and December 18, 2026.
Adam Driver On Returning To Star Wars
It’s always possible different might mean we’ll get a spinoff with one of the existing movie’s characters, even if we’re done with the trilogy structure. Or maybe some of those characters will just get a cameo.
The site We Got This Covered claims that Disney does plan to bring Kylo Ren back. Their sources say they intend to have him reappear as a Force ghost. It was noteworthy that he was not seen as a Force ghost watching over Rey at the end of The Rise of Skywalker. Only Luke and Leia’s Force ghosts showed up there. But apparently Lucasfilm has fans to have Kylo Ren haunt their movies in the future.
They may have a tough time getting Adam Driver back to play Kylo Ren though. When asked about whether he’d return to Star Wars he had this to say, “This is not at all on the agenda. This experience will forever remain one of the highlights of my career, but I aspire to other adventures.”
In fact, Driver sounds done being associated with Star Wars at all. He continued, “By 2020, I want to disappear. I want to be forgotten so that I can be offered other very different projects. I will try to be as discreet as possible during the Holiday Season because I hate drawing attention to myself. It may seem surprising to an actor, but I like to be incognito. One thing is certain: I will avoid the cinemas and especially the places where we project a ‘Star Wars'”
WHO’S FLYING THIS SHIP?
Currently Kathleen Kennedy is in charge of LucasFilm, the Disney division running Star Wars. Recently there has been some speculation as to Kennedy’s future with LucasFilm. Kennedy herself says she has no plan to leave the company any time soon, but who knows how Disney given that The Rise of Skywalker is the worst reviewed and also lowest performing of the current Star Wars trilogy.
There’s some indication that Disney may at least be considering replacing Kennedy. If so they may do it by taking talent from the Marvel side of their company. According to WGTC, Marvel head Kevin Feige is considering leaving Marvel to move over and work at LucasFilm full time.
It seems unlikely Feige would leave Marvel that to work under Kathleen Kennedy. Stepping down as the head of Disney’s most successful division to work as the second in command of a less successful division (Lucasfilm) would not be a logical career move.
At the same time, it’s unlikely Disney would allow the head of the uber-successful Marvel division to leave and move to a different part of the company, unless he was heading there to take over the entire thing.
Even if Feige doesn’t move over to LucasFilm full time, it’s already been announced that he’ll at least work on one Star Wars movie. More on that below…
Rumors of his taking over LucasFilm aside, we know for certain that Kevin Feige is at least making one Star Wars movie. Disney announced that the super producer and president of Marvel Studios, is developing his own Star Wars film. Also noted is that Feige told “a major actor” there is a specific part in this new film for them to play.
Alan Horn, Walt Disney Studios chairman and chief creative officer confirmed Feige’s involvement in Star Wars. He told The Hollywood Reporter, “We are excited about the projects Kathy and the Lucasfilm team are working on, not only in terms of Star Wars but also Indiana Jones and reaching into other parts of the company including Children of Blood and Bone with Emma Watts and Fox. With the close of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Wars storytelling, and knowing what a die-hard fan Kevin is, it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together.”
In addition to the Star Wars movie he’s supposed to be making, Kevin Feige’s Marvel may be involved in Star Wars on Disney+ as well. In 2015, Marvel Comics introduced a character called Doctor Aphra to the Star Wars universe. For those who don’t follow the Star Wars comics, the good Doc is a criminal archaeologist with questionable morals who just so happens to work for Darth Vader. Rumor has it not only will she make an appearance on Disney+ but that the series is already being filmed.
Feige being announced as involved with Star Wars doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. The franchise has a history of stops and starts. Ron Howard famously took over for directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller on Solo. Then Colin Trevorrow was dropped as the director of Rise of Skywalker to be replaced by JJ Abrams. So while it seems Feige has locked in to helm a Star Wars movie right now, always in motion is the future.
Taika Waititi was the director of Thor: Ragnarok which was probably the most Star Wars-like of all the Avengers movies. More recently he directed the Oscar nominated movie Jo Jo Rabbit. He’s also already been involved in Star Wars, directing an episode of The Mandalorian as well as voicing the droid IG-11. So it makes sense that Disney is in talks with him to have him develop the next Star Wars movie.
Shortly after the news broke Taika tweeted this message…
The news of his involvement in the next Star Wars movie comes from The Hollywood Reporter where they say this could be the movie already being worked on by Marvel’s Kevin Feige, or it could be something entirely different. Given his work on Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok Taika and Feige are probably used to working together, so it might make sense for Feige to want him involved in his project. On the other hand, Taika is an up and coming, much sought after director/writer. If he gets involved in Star Wars he’s probably going to want to come up with his own ideas and do it his own way.
The Last Jedi Returns
One of the earliest pieces of news to come out of the Star Wars camp and its future is that Rian Johnson, he of the extremely divisive The Last Jedi, was given reigns for a trilogy of his own. And while this rumor was gaining ground, the director himself came out to temporarily halt its spread as he told Variety, “Every single day there’s a new thing. Until it’s up on StarWars.com, don’t believe it.” To date, nothing has been posted on Starwars.com.
Star Wars Game Of Thrones
What does The Game Of Thrones have to do with Star Wars? GOT creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had been linked to a Star Wars trilogy of their own. HAD been. Kennedy even suggested that the pair would be collaborating with Johnson and the trio would plot out a ten-year course for Star Wars. That has since changed.
The Game of Thrones duo’s trilogy has been canceled for what was labeled a busy schedule for the pair as they have a new deal with Netflix. More details have been unearthed and these fall along the creative differences line. Apparently Benioff and Weiss wanted to explore the Jedi and their origins, while that was a direction Lucasfilm didn’t wish to go.
PLANNING THE NEXT STAR WARS MOVIE
There will be a Star Wars future after Rise of Skywalker. The identity of the next Star Wars movie, though, has yet to be confirmed. Right now it seems as though even Disney doesn’t have a clear plan.
Kathleen Kennedy explains: “We’re literally making this up from whole cloth and bringing in filmmakers to find what these stories might be. It can take a while before you find what direction you might want to go. We need the time to do that.”
They’ll have all the time they need. Kennedy started making key decisions on the direction of the Star Wars franchise shortly after Rise of Skywalker’s release.
Star Wars: The High Republic
Planning for the next Star Wars movie is in very early stages, but we may know what time period one of the films will be set in. According to the outlet Making Star Wars, the next Star Wars movie will be set 400 years before the beginning of the Skywalker saga, hundreds of years before even the prequels.
This is the time period of the Galactic Republic at its peak, before it became the Old Republic and was something more akin to the High Republic. The only Star Wars character we’ve seen on screen who would be around during this time is Yoda, and back then he would have been a middle-aged (remember Yoda is 900 years old in Return of the Jedi) Jedi Knight.
It was also during this period that a legendary dark Jedi named Darth Bane began reorganizing the Sith order and instituted the Sith rule of two… dark master and dark apprentice leading the way into the dark side of the Force.
According to various (as of yet unconfirmed) sources at least one of these Star Wars: The High Republic movies will center around a young Yoda trying to fight off the aforementioned Darth Bane. Bane will of course be the big bad of the movies. Can an all CGI character like Yoda carry an entire movie?
The same rumor which pinpoints this time period for the next Star Wars also says that Disney won’t do another trilogy. Instead, they’re planning a collection of different movies set during the High Republic era.
Who might star in it? What will these next Star Wars movies focus on? We don’t know yet, but a lot of fans are lobbying to get Keanu Reeves involved. One creative YouTuber even made a fan trailer showing off Keanu Reeves as a Jedi fighting in the world of the Old Republic video games. Watch…
Make it happen Disney!
Knights Of The Old Republic
In addition to the High Republic movies Disney is planning, various sources also have them working on Star Wars projects based around the legendary Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video games. While basing a Star Wars movie around a video game might seem crazy to anyone who hasn’t played it, Knights of the Old Republic is not just regarded as the best Star Wars game ever produced, but also one of the best Star Wars stories ever told.
Knights of the Old Republic is filled with plenty of great material for a movie or a television show. So Disney may be planning both. FandomWire claims they are working on a Knights of the Old Republic movie and a Knights TV series. Presumably the two would connect to each other, as a way to get people in theaters and subscribing to Disney Plus.
Knights of the Old Republic was set thousands of years before Star Wars: A New Hope and follows a Jedi character on a journey to choose between the light and dark sides of the Force.