Star Wars fans were blown away when Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced during Disney’s Investor Day a litany of Star Wars projects currently in development. While most projects focused solely on premiering on the Disney+ platform, the true surprise came when Kennedy announced that Star Wars: Rogue Squadron would be the next movie in the Star Wars theatrical adventures. And to boot, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins would helm the project.
But things have exploded like the Death Star with this film and it looks like it won’t be happening anytime soon, and likely not at all.
STAR WARS ROGUE SQUADRON HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THE FRANCHISE LINEUP OF MOVIES
Fans were dealt a pretty brutal blow when it was announced that Rogue Squadron wouldn’t be coming in the near future, or maybe at all, in the Star Wars universe. The movie had been delayed a bit when it appeared that Patty Jenkins’ schedule wasn’t going to coincide with a production timeline.
But then, somewhat quietly, it looked like Rogue Squadron wasn’t going to happen at all. In fact, Disney has removed the movie completely from its planned lineup of Star Wars movies and projects going forward. Patty Jenkins being busy with Wonder Woman and Cleopatra (both with Gal Gadot) were part of the reason, but it could have also meant a general shift for the Star Wars franchise.
ROGUE SQUADRON WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE FIRST STAR WARS FILM WITH A FEMALE DIRECTOR
Kennedy’s original announcement was notable for a couple of reasons. First, this would be the very first Star Wars movie employing a female director. We say movie because Disney and Lucasfilms already enjoyed creating more opportunities for women. Victoria Mahoney served as the second unit director on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Deborah Chow directed an episode of the highly regarded Disney+ series The Mandalorian.
Plus we also saw Chow take charge in the limited series Obi-Wan, and Bryce Dallas-Howard directed two extremely well-received episodes of The Mandalorian.
Secondly, it was just a shock to many that Disney was jumping back into the Star Wars feature film business so soon after the horror that was their final Star Wars trilogy. In fact, they had even said at the time of the divisive final three films that taking a break from future Star Wars films would be the best move.
Producers, and even Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, called it Star Wars fatigue. “I’m not gonna tell them how to run their business, but is there a possibility of ‘Star Wars fatigue’? Yeah, I think there is. I’ve experienced it, to a certain degree. But they never listen to my ideas anyway, so who needs ‘em?” Hamill said this on The Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast.
It happens when you produce crappy movies that have no semblance of The Force.
PATTY JENKINS SEEMED LIKE THE PERFECT DIRECTOR FOR THIS PROJECT
As for Patty Jenkins, she decided to share her announcement of Rogue Squadron as any director would. Through film. She posted her announcement on her Twitter page, giving all the reasons why taking on Rogue Squadron was deeply personal to her.
“It’s been a lifelong dream as a filmmaker to one day make a great fighter pilot film,” Jenkins said on Twitter. “As the daughter of a great fighter pilot myself, some of the best memories of my life are of seeing my father’s squadron take off in their F4s every morning, and hearing and feeling the awe-inspiring power and grace. When he passed away in service to this country it ignited a burning desire to one day channel all of those emotions into one great film.”
She continued, “When the perfect story arrived in combination with another true love of mine, the incomparable world of Star Wars, I knew I’d finally found my next film. I’m extremely honored and excited to take it on, and grateful to Lucasfilm, Disney, and the fans for extending that thrill to me.” You can see the entire video below.
Patty Jenkins has said that while Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is to be an original entry for the franchise, it will pull from source material in the books and the video games.
MATTHEW ROBINSON HAD BEEN TAPPED TO WRITE THE SCRIPT
Matthew Robinson had been tapped to write the script. He’s known for his work writing The Invention of Lying and Love and Monsters. As of July 2021, Patty Jenkins has said the script is coming along great and she feels excited about where the story is going.
VERY LITTLE WAS KNOWN ABOUT THE PLANS FOR ROGUE SQUADRON
Not much was known about Star Wars: Rogue Squadron other than the little teases Jenkins has tossed around. “We’re doing something original with great influence from the games and the books,” Jenkins said to IGN.
“There’s a lot of things being acknowledged and understood about the greatness of all of those things, but yes, it’s an original story and I’m so psyched to do it.” So, now we know the new movie won’t be an adaptation of the video games. We now also know the script is currently being written, though Jenkins wouldn’t share by whom at this particular moment.
She told Collider, “I want him to have his own proper announcement, so I’m going to wait until that comes out.” She also explained where the writer is at in the process of the script. “We’re very far into the — we’re finishing the treatment basically, which is pretty big. So it ends up being like where you’re fairly close to a well-along screenplay by the time I’m done with the treatment in my process. So yeah, we’ve been working on it for awhile. It’s going great. I’m super excited about it. I’m super excited about the story.”
Obviously, if Jenkins or Kennedy weren’t giving away who has been working on the script, then they definitely weren’t giving away which actors or actresses were being considered for the movie.
ROGUE SQUADRON WAS GOING TO INTRODUCE ALL NEW CHARACTERS TO THE FRANCHISE
As for the history of Rogue Squadron, there is plenty, though when Kennedy announced the future film, she made it a point to tell all at Investors Day that the movie will be introducing “a new generation of star fighters” and that it “will move us into a future era of the galaxy.”
However, Star Wars aficionados know the name. Dark Horse Comics was the first to invoke it when they published Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron back in 1995 when they created the series. A year later would see Rogue Squadron move over to novelization, with Michael A. Stackpole penning both.
Stackpole’s Squadron centered around Wedge Antilles and who, if you recall, was a background character in the original Star Wars trilogy. The comics and novels dealt with Antilles and the X-Wing Squadron he commanded.
The popularity of the comics and novels led developers to release the video game Star Wars: Rogue Squadron in 1998. Its eventual success earned the title two sequels, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader and Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike. Fans loved these games and praised them for the attention to detail given to the X-Wing, A-Wing, and Y-Wing spaceships as well as their arcade-style of gameplay and action.
THE ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE WAS DECEMBER 22, 2023
Originally, the plan was to have Star Wars: Rogue Squadron ready for a December 22, 2023 release. This is going to make Patty Jenkins one busy lady. She had been out promoting Wonder Woman 1984, which saw a simultaneous release in both movie theaters and HBO Max. After that Jenkins has a Cleopatra project she has been working on with her Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot. Then she has Rouge Squadron.
With a full plate, Jenkins told Collider that taking time on her projects is key but developing others as she moves along is definitely possible. “You can never do it in one year. You could never do a good ‘Star Wars’ movie in one year or a good ‘Cleopatra’ in one year. I think each of those movies takes two years probably. But I do think, as I even learned on the two ‘Wonder Woman’ [films], I already had sold a limited TV series [I Am the Night] that I was in love with when they decided to move the ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ release date up. So suddenly it was happening on top of each other. And I was actually able to write a huge treatment and have a bunch of creative meetings and go off and do my show while pre-production was happening for ‘Wonder Woman 1984.’ So there is a lot of ways.
She continued, “Certainly, until I’m on set shooting ‘Star Wars,’ I could be developing all sorts of other things and pushing them forward. It’s actually possible. So, I think that’s apparently how people do multiple things at one time, which I’m usually pretty singularly focused, but I’m getting better at this all the time.”
Due to the ongoing pandemic and the lack of updates, no one was sure if Star Wars: Rogue Squadron would meet its December 22, 2023 release date.
And there was a hope that Jenkins could strike the right balance with her projects. After what J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson did to the legacy of Luke Skywalker and company in the last trilogy, nothing but Jenkins’ best is what long-suffering Star Wars fans deserve. May the Force be with her.
RUMORS HAD PATTY JENKINS AND KATHLEEN KENNEDY AT ODDS
While not a ton of official word had come out about Star Wars: Rogue Squadron lately, no news was thought to be bad news. There was increasing speculation that the film could be facing a delay in production. Some of that was reportedly due to Patty Jenkins’ busy schedule and the difficulty in lining up solid timelines around filming, etc.
Additionally, there have been rumors flying around that Jenkins was feuding with Star Wars/Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy around the creative direction for the film.
This might have led to Jenkins deciding to put more effort into Wonder Woman 3 with Warner Bros. where she has considerably more creative freedom. Again, this is speculation, but the decided lack of news for a movie that is supposed to release next year should be at least a little concerning.
ROGUE SQUADRON IS NO LONGER PART OF THE STAR WARS ROAD MAP
In other words, it has been grounded. The rumors began to fly late last year that perhaps there was a rift developing between Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Rogue Squadron’s announced director, Patty Jenkins. There hasn’t been anything to shoot down those rumors, though there also hasn’t been anything to clarify them either.
What is known is that Jenkins, the director of the hit DC Film Wonder Woman and its sequel, Wonder Woman 1984, had been working on the script for Rogue Squadron for a year with scribe Matthew Robinson and production on the film was slated to have already begun. The film had an initial release date of December 22, 2023. That date will no longer be hit, as the film has been taken completely off the Lucasfilm calendar.
It was then said that the reason for the delay and eventual removal of Rogue Squadron from the Star Wars schedule was because of the crazy busy shooting schedule Jenkins had with the upcoming Wonder Woman 3 as well as another film she was working on with Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot, the Cleopatra feature Jenkins will be filming for Paramount. Word on the Cleopatra set says that Jenkins has removed herself from the director’s chair, though she still is on board as the film’s producer.
Although Jenkins hasn’t said much about the benching of Rogue Squadron, Kennedy has since come out to explain Lucasfilm’s position. “We have a road map [for Star Wars feature films],” Kennedy told Vanity Fair. “I would say that Taika [Waititi’s] story fits more specifically into that. Rogue Squadron…we kind of pushed off to the side for the moment. Patty is developing the script further. Then we will talk about how that connects to the central spine that we’re working on.”
Rogue Squadron was set to be the first film in the Star Wars franchise since the horribly received trilogy conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. Now, it is not even known if the film will follow Waititi’s Star Wars film. Kennedy and Lucasfilm say they have a map as to how they are moving forward but it is very apparent that this map was drawn with a dry-erase marker.
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Disney and Lucasfilm have announced the newest Star Wars film, Rogue Squadron, which will be directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins.