A New Star Wars Movie Is In The Works, But Will It Be A Theatrical Release Or For Disney+?

Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker finale battle
(Image credit: (Lucasfilm))

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may have marked the end of an era for one saga, but there’s another one soon on the horizon. Aside from previously announced projects from Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige and The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson, another film from the iconic Lucasfilm property is reportedly in the works as well.

J.D. Dillard, the director behind indie sci-fi films Sleight and Sweetheart, has been tapped to direct a Star Wars project, with Luke Cage writer Matt Owens penning the script, The Hollywood Reporter has just learned. However, as of right now, it remains to be seen if this Star Wars project will be a theatrical offering or be put on the Disney+ streaming service.

Dillard made waves back at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016 for his directorial debut, Sleight. The thriller revolving around a street magician was critically acclaimed and made $4 million at the box office on a budget of just $250,000.

He’s not a complete stranger to Star Wars considering he started at the receptionist desk of J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot production company. J.D. Dillard ended up working on production and technical support for 2015’s The Force Awakens, and he considered J.J. as a professional mentor to him. Could J.J. have perhaps have put a good word out for him?

Last year, he helmed Sweetheart for Blumhouse Productions – a horror monster movie starring Dope’s Kiersey Clemons. Matt Owens has predominantly worked on Netflix’s previous Marvel projects, including The Defenders and Luke Cage. He also wrote on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. starting in 2016.

According to insiders in the report, it hasn't been decided yet whether J.D. Dillard's Star Wars movie is coming to theaters or going to Disney+. Disney CEO Bob Iger has previously said that Star Wars will be taking a hiatus on the big screen – so it's quite possible the new streaming platform could debut a smaller-scale Star Wars flick. Maybe that could become a new norm for this franchise.

There is not a movie set to take place in a galaxy far, far away until December 2022, with additional Star Wars release dates coming in 2024 and 2026. This was sparked by a steady box office decline of the franchise’s earnings since The Force Awakens (from that movie taking in over $2 billion to The Rise of Skywalker just cracking $1 billion during its global run).

The studio has found recent success with Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian, which became a cultural phenomenon when it debuted on Disney+ in November. That series being the launching point for the viral Baby Yoda had a lot to do with it. The streaming platform also has Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi and Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor returning for shows of their own.

Lucasfilm has been coy with revealing any details about its reported movies on the way. There’s word that Kevin Feige pitched a Star Wars film, and Rian Johnson is getting his own trilogy – but he’s also working on Knives Out 2 right now. J.D. Dillard’s Star Wars project could go one way or the other depending how much faith the studio has in the project.

What do you think about J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens working on a Star Wars film and where would you like to see it? Sound off in the comments below!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.