What will be the next Star Wars movie to hit the big screen after this December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? It’s a question many have asked, and while there are a number of logical possibilities, the truth is that neither I, nor the wider movie-going public, actually knows. You know who else apparently doesn’t know? The president of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy!
That’s right, not even Kathleen Kennedy is sure what’s next after The Rise of Skywalker. When asked if she has decided what movie is next, she said:
No. We’ve got various things we’re looking at and various ways in which we can begin or not. As you can imagine. You know, do you go back? Do you go forward? All those questions are being asked. Do we stay in this galaxy? Do we go to another? The universe is never-ending. The good news and the bad news. They have endless possibilities. It’s liberating, it’s exciting, and it creates a lot of pressure and anxiety as well.
If we take Kathleen Kennedy’s comments at face value – realistically, she could just be playing her cards close to the vest – it would seem that the Lucasfilm president and her team are still in the process of deciding what’s next for Star Wars. There are many direction in which this franchise can move forward in the post-Skywalker Saga era. At the moment, though, not even Kathleen Kennedy knows what will come next after The Rise of Skywalker, but she has some ideas.
As Kathleen Kennedy told Rolling Stone, Lucasfilm is looking at various possibilities for the next Star Wars film but there’s a lot that goes into making that decision and it is not one that they are taking lightly. Rather than just greenlighting multiple trilogies and tons of anthology films, which seemed to be happening earlier in the Disney-owned Lucasfilm era, Kathleen Kennedy and Co. are now employing a more measured approach moving forward, taking all considerations into account.
How Star Wars moves forward after the 40+ year Skywalker Saga is hugely important to its continued viability, so what comes next after The Rise of Skywalker is a critical decision. While I would say the next movie doesn’t necessarily have to be the one that dictates the next four decades of storytelling, Star Wars does need to start figuring out what it wants to be after the Skywalkers are no longer its main narrative source..
So it’s a big decision, and that’s part of why Lucasfilm is taking its time to settle on what comes next just yet. As Kathleen Kennedy says here, it’s a decision that carries with it unimaginable pressure and anxiety, but is also one of boundless opportunity.
It sounds like there are probably some options on the table for what the next movie will be post-Rise of Skywalker, but just as we fans speculate about the possibilities, Lucasfilm is doing the same thing, trying to decide what direction to go in. The questions that Kathleen Kennedy cited as the ones Lucasfilm is asking are actually quite interesting and give us some insight into that decision-making process.
When Will Future Star Wars Projects Be Set?
In particular, Lucasfilm is deciding what time period the next Star Wars movie should take place in, which makes sense. I think the prevailing wisdom has been that we would probably get films mostly set before the Skywalker Saga like Knights of the Old Republic, or during it.
What’s interesting is the idea of going forward, because you would think that taking the narrative into the future would just be Episode X, XI, and XII, but that trilogy isn’t happening (yet), so the idea is a curious one.
Where Will Future Star Wars Projects Take Place?
Kathleen Kennedy also mentioned possibly going outside the galaxy far, far away we’ve spent so much time in to visit a different galaxy. (A long time ago, in a different galaxy, far, far away). This is somewhat strange, because even including Outer Rim territories and the Unknown Regions, the Skywalker Saga has stayed in one galaxy, Expanded Universe notwithstanding.
So it’s worth considering how far the hallmarks of the franchise extend beyond that galaxy. Are the Jedi and Sith out that far? Because if you go to the other side of the universe to a different galaxy, removed from all that is familiar, that would kind of just be another space opera movie and wouldn’t necessarily have to even be a Star Wars movie.
Whatever they decide, it’s good to know that Lucasfilm is considering all possibilities and taking this decision seriously. Nevertheless, the December 2022 date previously reserved for the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Star Wars film remains on the calendar, so the cinematic hiatus isn't that long, and whatever Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm decide is after The Rise of Skywalker, they will hopefully decide fairly soon.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all the big movies still to come this year.