Star Wars Episode IX The Rise Of Skywalker is finally here. After more than 40 years the story of the Skywalker Saga has come to a close. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm the studio not only promised us a new trilogy, but also a regular flow of Star Wars movies for the foreseeable future.
In between each of the previous chapters of the new trilogy we got a pair of Star Wars Story movies. Rogue One and Solo were standalone adventures that had connections to the story we knew, but weren't directly related. But now, with The Rise of Skywalker behind us, 2020 will be the first time since 2014 that we won't be getting a brand new Star Wars movie on the big screen.
The initial slate of movies that was announced early in the Disney ownership of Lucasfilm took us through the five movies that have now been released, the new trilogy, plus Rogue One and Solo. But whatever was coming following Episode IX, the one thing that was made clear by Disney was that something was coming. Disney CEO Bob Iger had stated that there was a plan, official or otherwise, to release at least one Star Wars movie a year until the heat death of the universe. And so we waited to find out what the next movie would be. And we waited. And we waited.
Finally, it was confirmed that we won't actually be getting another Star Wars movie until 2022. So just what happened?
The Boba Fett Movie Died Early
Along with the announcement of the brand new trilogy years ago, we started hearing reports of plans for Star Wars "anthology" movies. These were the stories that would take place in the same galaxy far, far away, but not be directly linked to anybody named Skywalker. Two of the rumored projects, Rogue One, about the heist of the original Death Star plans, and an origin story movie for fan favorite character Han Solo, turned out to be real, and did eventually happen, but there was a third rumored film and that one didn't work out.
Josh Trank was reported to be on board as director for a movie that focus on bounty hunter Boba Fett, and while the project was never officially announced, that announcement apparently came awfully close to happening, but then Trank left the project, possibly because of issues regarding his Fantastic Four movie, but who really knows? This was originally going to be the Star Wars movie we got this year, but when Trank left, the project, rather than looking for a new director, got shelved, and was never restarted.
Solo: A Star Wars Story Struggled
Many people point to this one as the main reason that we're not getting a Star Wars movie in 2020, and while it's certainly more complicated than that, it's also certainly a factor. The production of Solo: A Star Wars Story was never a smooth thing. While many were intrigued by the choice of Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo behind The LEGO Movie, to direct the project, it certainly showed the movie was not going be what we might expect from a Star Wars film.
Unfortunately, it may have been a little two different. Lucasfilm and Lord and Miller made the decision to part ways in the middle of filming, a very unusual time for such a decision. Ron Howard was brought in to finish the film. However, whether despite the change of direction, because of it, or for other reasons entirely Solo failed to put up Star Wars-like box office numbers. If the movie hadn't faced so many problems, and thus become expensive, it might have still survived, but following Solo we stopped hearing about future Star Wars Story style movies.
The Launch Of Disney+
While we waited to see what would happen with the Boba Fett movie, or whatever might replace it, a new player entered the game. Disney made it known that the company would be launching its own dedicated streaming service, and that it would be bringing all of its major brands to play in the new sandbox, that meant Star Wars would be coming directly to your television.
As big as Disney and Lucasfilm are, there's only so much time and so many people to complete any given projects, and it's clear that Disney+ has taken serious time and effort from all involved. The Mandalorian was confirmed as a Star Wars series that would launch Disney+, and that was followed by the confirmation of a series starring Diego Luna's Rogue One character, in a prequel to that film, and now we have a second season of The Mandalorian being filmed. Oh, and there's one more Disney+ project on the way...
Obi-Wan Was Moved From The Big Screen To Disney+
For a while, in the dark times, following the release of Solo, there was still the possibility that we might still get a 2020 Star Wars movie. We started to hear a series of rumors that there might be an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie, that would likely star Ewan McGregor. Some rumors implied locations were being scouted and studios were being chosen. Of course, similar rumors had been going on for years, so it was hard to judge there veracity.
As it turned out, there was some truth to those rumors. Lucasfilm did look at making an Obi-Wan movie, that would have been set between the prequel and original trilogies, but at some point, the decision was made to shift the concept from a theatrical film to a Disney+ series. While we'll get the story, this is one more story that won't be making its way to the big screen.
Other Star Projects Are A Long Way Off
There are certainly other Star Wars films being discussed, but those projects simply could not be ready in time for a 2020 release. While the Star Wars movie currently set for 2022 is still on the official Disney release schedule, the duo making it, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff of Game of Thrones fame, have left the film, making it less than certain even that movie will meet that date.
Another planned (as far as we know) Star Wars trilogy will come from The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, while some rumors have implied those movies may not happen either, what we really don't know is when they're supposed to start. It seems clear they were never planned to be ready for this year.
Bob Iger, the man who had originally said we'd probably get a Star Wars movie a year, has since been the one to say that Star Wars moved too fast and should not release films on a schedule like that. The current plan is for one movie every other year, starting with December 2022. It seems there's a feeling that for Star Wars to work we can either have quantity or quality, and Disney and Lucasfilm have optioned to go for quality. That means it will almost three years before we see Star Wars again.