There is a lot planned for May 4, on Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You). For starters, Disney+ will stream JJ Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker two months ahead of its actual schedule. And what better way to celebrate Star Wars Day than watching the concluding episode to the Skywalker saga?
In December 2019, when The Rise of Skywalker came out, expectations hit the roof, thanks to the success of the Abrams-helmed The Force Awakens (2015). Nine films to tell the story of one family might seem a bit of an overkill, but The Rise of Skywalker is nowhere near the end of the story.
Etched in history
Quick recap; it all began with Star Wars: A New Hope (1977), the first movie is Episode IV in the saga. It introduced farm boy-turned-Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), feisty Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), and the piratical captain of the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo (Harrison Ford). The trio were fighting the evil empire led by Darth Vader. A New Hope was followed by The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). Then came the execrable prequel trilogy of The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005), which told the story of how Anakin Skywalker turned into the breathing-compromised Darth Vader.
In 2012, The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm and took charge of the sequel trilogy, which kicked off with Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Taking place 30 years after the battle of Endor, the movie was loved by critics and fans alike. Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi (2017) went off in new directions, leaving the fans disappointed. Abrams was brought back for The Rise of Skywalker but unfortunately it did not get the same love it received for The Force Awakens.
There were two spin-offs — Gareth Edwards’ well-received Rogue One (2016), which focusses on how the rebels got the Death Star plans and the not-so-well-received Han Solo origin story, Solo (2018), directed by Ron Howard. While The Rise of Skywalker signals the end of the sequel trilogy, there are many more Star Wars movies on the anvil.
What’s in store?
There are two trilogies being planned — one based on the game, Knights of the Old Republic, with Laeta Kalogridis (Alita: Battle Angel fame) doing the writing honours and the other based on the book series, The High Republic, set 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace. Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and DB Weiss were attached to a new Star Wars trilogy with Disney, but they backed off and signed a nine-figure deal with Netflix.
Marvel’s Kevin Feige is developing a Star Wars movie, as is filmmaker Rian Johnson. There are also rumours of spin-offs on Kylo Ren and Rey.
While the movies are set to release in alternate years from December 2022, we find the proposed series way more exciting. First up is Jon Favreau’s excellent The Mandalorian. Season Two is coming out in October 2020 and Favreau is already working on Season Three. There is also an Obi-Wan Kenobi series with Ewan McGregor reprising his role as the Jedi master, directed by Deborah Chow. Set eight years after The Revenge of the Sith and 11 years before A New Hope, the series with six one-hour episodes will feature a young Luke Skywalker.
A Rogue One spin-off series is scheduled for a 2021 release. Said to be a spy thriller, the show will tell the story of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna reprises his role). There is also news of Russian Doll’s Leslye Headland being show runner for a female-centric series — Rey or Cara Dune? Neither, because it is supposed to “take place in a different part of the Star Wars timeline”. That is the good thing about having a galaxy as your sandbox.