By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
Let’s be honest: ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story was the prequel Star Wars fans always wanted. As the first in a promised series of Story (anthology) films from a galaxy far, far away, it hit the ground running for Disney’s new spinoff series of movies that take place outside the Saga films. But then, Kathleen Kennedy fired Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the next chapter, Solo, and then a few months later gave Episode XI director Colin Trevorrow the ax. Suddenly, Star Wars’ future seems to be on uneven ground.
Now we’re not going to worry about Episode IX, as The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams was quickly named to return. So that film is on track get started soon after The Last Jedi enters theaters for the Holidays. But it’s the future of the anthology series is in doubt. Even with Ron Howard rescuing Solo: A Star Wars Story, fans are left to wonder if there’s life after it for Disney’s Star Wars anthology series.
“I’ve been very open to say I’d be happy to do it, if they want to do it. I think they are set going into the 2030s with their movies, but it would be fun to do, of course I’d be happy to do it.” Ewan McGregor, interview with Business Insider
The next movie in the series was believed to be either a Boba Fett film, or an origin story for everyone’s favorite little green man, Yoda. But then Obi-Wan Kenobi actor Ewan McGregor shook things up by saying in an interview that he’d love to reprise his role as the crazy old hermit in Tatooine. But Disney has said that an Obi-Wan film wouldn’t happen for a while. So are we back to a Boba Fett or Yoda spinoff film?
Well, maybe not. Disney CEO Bob Iger announced last year that a third ‘Story’ film would be coming by 2020. However, if you look at the recently announced slate, you’ll find that there isn’t a Star Wars Story film on the docket through 2021. The slate looks like this:
- UNTITLED 5th INDIANA JONES MOVIE – 2020
- UNTITLED MARVEL – July 7, 2020
- UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION – April 3, 2020
- UNTITLED DISNEY ANIMATION – November 24, 2021
- UNTITLED DISNEY LIVE ACTION – March 12, 2021
- UNTITLED PIXAR ANIMATION – June 18, 2021
What this may point to is a rumor about a planned pause in Star Wars films, as the Mouse House allows the series cinematic field to “lay fallow” so as not to burn out fans with a non-stop annual Star Wars film for the next decade. This could also allow McGregor to age a little more naturally, putting Obi-Wan Kenobi as the next spinoff series (perhaps even a trilogy), as it could take place during Kenobi’s time on Tatooine.
It could also mean Disney wants to focus on a planned live action Star Wars TV series to launch its own Star Wars streaming service. This would give fans their Force fix while the next round of films is planned.
But it could also be that Disney is making room for Rian Johnson’s recently announced new trilogy, which could have moved into the new position. The Johnson trilogy promises a Star Wars saga that has never been explored on the silver screen, leaving many to wonder if fans will be treated to a Knights of the Old Republic saga. Or perhaps something completely new that takes place after Episode IX.
Another thought is that Star Wars films exist on their own, and may have their own independent slate. But if that were the case, I would argue that Marvel films do, as well, and as you can see above, Disney’s film slate includes them.
And Kathleen Kennedy has said that there’s enough story material in Lucasfilm’s archives and story group sessions to make Star Wars films for the next 100 years, so I rather doubt that the franchise’s future is in doubt, especially since Disney expect to make $25 billion within the next few years.
That is a cash cow that Disney is not going to walk away from. But they may take a breath.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15, 2017, Solo: A Star Wars Story opens May 24, 2018, and Star Wars: Episode IX opens December 20, 2019.
Source: Digital Spy