The Skywalker Saga comes to an end this weekend (wow, that’s weird to write) with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. After that, well, we don’t know what’s after that because the Star Wars franchise will be taking a hiatus from the big screen for a bit and the next film has not been announced. In a recent interview, Star Wars boss Kathleen Kennedy teased the film hiatus after The Rise of Skywalker and why it’s necessary, saying:
We’re literally making this up from whole cloth and bringing in filmmakers to find what these stories might be. It can take a while before you find what direction you might want to go. We need the time to do that.
That sounds reasonable enough. Star Wars’ theatrical hiatus is necessary because deciding the next steps for cinema’s most famous and iconic franchise is no easy task. In fact, it’s quite difficult because, as Kathleen Kennedy notes, she and the team at Lucasfilm are making it up out of whole cloth.
They are not adapting existing material that provides a clear roadmap of where to go next (a suggestion that fans of Legends canon and the Star Wars video games will certainly take umbrage with), nor do they have the narrative momentum of six prior films to go off of. Lucasfilm is essentially working with a vast and blank canvas.
According to Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm is still trying to figure out what the future of the Star Wars franchise is and what the next theatrical feature films will be. That takes time and it’s not something you can rush, making the upcoming theatrical hiatus necessary and vital to Star Wars’ cinematic future.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy teased to the Los Angeles Times that filmmakers are being brought in to help chart that future. But that process doesn’t happen overnight, and choosing the right direction is something that must be carefully considered with the Star Wars universe providing a seemingly endless amount of possibilities.
Frankly, this sounds like exactly what Star Wars needs. Too much, too fast is arguably one of the problems with Star Wars under the Disney-owned era so far, and not having a real plan ahead of time before rushing to the big screen is one of the possible culprits for the perceived flaws in the Sequel Trilogy. A more measured approach could have been used sooner, but there’s no time like the present.
During this hiatus, Lucasfilm will be meeting with filmmakers to help decide where to go next. Part of what’s interesting about that is we don’t know if the next film will be a one-off, a trilogy or something else. So are these filmmakers’ ideas part of an overall plan for the entire franchise or just a plan guiding the next set of films? And will the story be mapped out ahead of time, something that was seemingly not done with the Sequels?
Elsewhere in the interview with the LA Times, Kathleen Kennedy says that Lucasfilm is going to be moving away from trilogies and letting the story dictate film count. So it seems that the future of Star Wars could look very different than what we’ve experience before.
We still don’t know for sure how long the hiatus will be or what’s coming up on the big screen post-Rise of Skywalker, but the December 2022 date, previously occupied by the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss films, is still on the calendar. That film supposedly already found a director according to THR, but who and what they’ll be directing remains a mystery.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters on Friday, December 20. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what movies you can look forward to next year.