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It’s been said a lot lately (including by myself), but it bears repeating: it’s the end of an era. With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker now playing in theaters, not only is the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy over, but the final chapter of the Skywalker Saga has unfolded. Naturally this will make many fans sad, but Disney CEO Bob Iger doesn’t think they should be bummed due to what The Rise of Skywalker delivers and what the future of the Star Wars franchise holds in store. As Iger put it:
It's interesting because I know in some respects it's bittersweet, but J.J. Abrams and his team created a very satisfying movie. Quite emotional, very exciting, but I think it's satisfying and it will provide closure. That said, it's not the end of Star Wars stories, so on the one hand, it's the end of nine chapters, or the three that we've been responsible for making, but in many respects it's the beginning of stories coming from galaxies far, far away.
You can’t blame a Star War enthusiast for feeling a little down before and/or after seeing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. A saga of epic tales that began in 1977 with A New Hope has finally reached the end. While there’s still the possibility that the leading characters of the Sequel Trilogy could return after “an appropriate time,” the Skywalker Saga itself has been cemented as a nine-movie saga. We have our beginning, middle and end, and now this proverbial book has been closed.
But as Robert Iger told The Hollywood Reporter, he thinks J.J. Abrams and his team did a good job with concluding everything. I won’t go into spoilers here, but suffice it to say that there’s definitely a lot packed into Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker… seriously, a lot. The end result has been met with divisive reactions, but you can’t say Abrams and writer Chris Terrio didn’t go out of their way to make sure it was all wrapped up as neatly as possible.
And then, of course, just because the Skywalker Saga is done doesn’t mean Disney will stop making Star Wars movies. Considering that with the exception of Solo: A Star Wars Story, all the Disney-made Star Wars movies have been commercial successes (with The Rise of Skywalker already off to a solid start), the studio would be foolish not to keep churning them out, although it's wisely taking several years off before delivering the next movie.
It’s still unclear what the next Star Wars movie will be about. Originally the plan was for the first of the trilogy That Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were working on to come out in 2022, but in October, they exited the franchise due to their Netflix commitment. We also know that The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson has a separate trilogy in the works, and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is developing his own Star Wars movie, but no specific details have been revealed for either.
So Star Wars will continue on the big screen, it’ll just look a lot different from what we’re used to. Considering how Disney+’s The Mandalorian has been received (the streaming service is currently offering a seven-day free trial), clearly there’s a market for on-screen Star Wars stories that aren’t connected to the Skywalker Saga, so it’ll be interesting to see how this new era of Star Wars cinematic history pans out.