Make the most of Star Wars Episode 9. After The Rise of Skywalker has exploded into cinemas in December 2019, there won’t be another new Star Wars movie until 2022.
Now that Disney has completed its multi-billion-dollar deal to buy 20th Century Fox, the galaxy-sized studio has revealed a new-look schedule that confirms new Star Wars movies will be released on December 16, 2022, December 20, 2024 and December 18, 2026 – a big slow-down compared to the ‘one movie a year’ strategy we’ve enjoyed since Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
As for what’s coming after the Skywalker saga is wrapped up in Episode 9, Lucasfilm and Disney are being typically tight-lipped, but we do have some clues to go on. “We are looking at the next saga,” Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told The Hollywood Reporter in April 2019. “We are not just looking at another trilogy, we're really looking at the next 10 years or more.
“[The Rise of Skywalker] is the culmination of the Skywalker Saga; it’s by no means the culmination of Star Wars. I’m sitting down now with [Game of Thrones creators] Dan Weiss and David Benioff... and [The Last Jedi director] Rian Johnson. We’re all sitting down to talk about, where do we go next?"
What these new Star Wars movies will be about remains a mystery, but we do know that Benioff and Weiss’s will be first out of the blocks in 2022. “We did a deal with David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who are famous for Game of Thrones, and the next movie that we release will be theirs,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in a presentation at the MoffetNathanson Media & Communications summit. “And we're not saying anything more about that.”
Could this mean a Knights of the Old Republic movie is coming? Will there be more “Star Wars Story” standalone films like Rogue One and Solo? Will the new Star Wars: The Mandalorian TV show be enough to scratch our Star Wars itch until 2022? Read on to find out more about the new Star Wars movies that could be heading your way...
- The most anticipated upcoming movies of 2019 and beyond
- The best Star Wars movies, ranked from A New Hope to Solo
- How to watch every Star Wars movie right now
Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker
Release date: December 19, 2019 (UK)/December 20, 2019 (US)
The only new Star Wars movie we can talk about with much certainty, Star Wars Episode 9: The Rise of Skywalker will conclude the story started in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and continued with Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Following the departure of Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow, Episode 7 director JJ Abrams was free to return to finish what he started. This makes him one of only two people – the other obviously being George Lucas – who will have directed more than one Star Wars movie. Abrams said he originally had no plans to return, "but when the opportunity presented itself to finish a story that we had begun with these new characters..." he couldn't resist.
In terms of the story, we don't know much beyond what's in the Star Wars 9 trailer, and the fact that the cast will include Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Naomi Ackie, Richard E. Grant, and Keri Russell. Fisher will appear as Leia using previously unreleased footage shot for The Force Awakens, but there's no word yet on how Luke – who appeared to die in The Last Jedi – will return. The smart money is on him coming back as an Obi-Wan Kenobi-style Force ghost.
Read more: The big Star Wars 9 theories that could change everything (some for the better... some not so much)
Benioff/Weiss’s new Star Wars movie series
Release date: Unknown
Ask anyone what the biggest movie and TV franchises are right now and you'll get the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars and Game of Thrones, so it should come as no surprise that Disney are looking to smash two of those mega money-making phenomena together to create a new series of Star Wars films – if they went the whole hog and created a Star Wars/Marvel/GoT crossover, the results would be so massive they'd probably engulf the entire universe.
That's probably why Game of Thrones creators/showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been confirmed to taking control of the first new Star Wars movie of the post-Skywalker era. The duo are due to start work now that Game of Thrones season 8 has finished.
To be clear, this will be a series of new Star Wars movies (not a TV series), but we've no idea how many we're getting right now. Three? Five? 10?! As to what the films will be about, all Disney has said is that "these new films will be separate from both the episodic Skywalker saga and the recently announced trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson".
So, a spin-off exploring a new part of the galaxy, then? A darker, more adult, gore-and-sex treatment? A movie set in the era of BioWare's popular Knights of the Old Republic games, centuries before the events of the Star Wars movies? Kathleen Kennedy told MTV at Star Wars Celebration that, “We talk about [Old Republic] all the time. Yes, we are developing something to look at. Right now, I have no idea where things might fall, but we have to be careful that there is a cadence to Star Wars that doesn’t start to feel like too much.” A political drama set in the Star Wars galaxy's ancient past, helmed by the creators of Game of Thrones? Sign us up now!
Rian Johnson’s new Star Wars movie trilogy
Release date: Unknown
The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson must have impressed someone at Lucasfilm and Disney because just before Star Wars 8 hit cinemas it was announced that he would be heading up a brand new Star Wars movie trilogy featuring "new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored." And even though The Last Jedi was, shall we say, divisive among the Star Wars faithful, it looks like Johnson's still on board, taking to Twitter back in February to respond to rumours the project had been abandoned.
No it isn’t true, I’m still working on the trilogy. With all due respect to the movie bros, who I’m sure are lovely kind bros with good fraternal intentions.February 14, 2019
Obviously, we don't know very much about this new Star Wars movie trilogy at this point, but Johnson will definitely write and direct the first entry and he recently talked about the pitch that got him the job. Just to warn you, there's not much to it: "One story told over three movies. Go new places, meet new folks, come up with a new story to tell in the Star Wars universe. The sky’s the limit…" Based on that short and sweet pitch, Disney gave him responsibility for three new Star Wars movies, and it sounds like it will feature characters never seen before in the Star Wars universe, which is pretty exciting.
Star Wars Story movies
Release date: Unknown
The original plan for Star Wars releases after the Disney buyout was to alternate between new "Saga” Episodes and standalone “Anthology” movies. That meant the two-year gaps between The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker were punctuated by Rogue One and Solo – and at one point it looked like there'd be a third Star Wars Story after Episode 9. Then the relatively disappointing box office performance of Solo reportedly prompted Disney to rethink the strategy and put the spin-offs on hold.
Solo’s conclusion was also clearly setting the film up for a sequel, while a standalone new Star Wars movie centred on Boba Fett was in the works for a while, first with Fantastic Four director Josh Trank at the helm, and later (according to reports that were never confirmed by Disney or Lucasfilm) Logan's James Mangold.
The other frontrunner for a standalone slot was a new Star Wars movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi. Indeed, there were various (similarly unconfirmed) reports over the last couple of years (one apparently leaking the synopsis) that Disney/Lucasfilm had an Obi-Wan project in the works with Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry. Ewan McGregor, who played Kenobi in the Star Wars prequels, told The View in 2018: "I would totally do it, of course. There's no plans, as such, to do it as far as I know."
Given the fact that new Star Wars movies are going on hiatus until late-2022 (with subsequent releases in 2024 and 2026), our guess would be that these Star Wars Stories may be left on carbonite permanently. Boba Fett, Solo sequels and an Obi-Wan Ke-movie would all need to be set in the increasingly crowded period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, limiting storytelling opportunities for filmmakers. But more importantly, when even the excellent Rogue One made significantly less money than Episode 7 and Episode 8, Disney and Lucasfilm may have simply decided that ongoing series have a greater chance of success.