The future of Star Wars on the big screen was a nebulous cloud of questions following the end of the newest trilogy. While numerous projects had been announced and rumored over the years, the only project that had been confirmed by Lucasfilm, a Star Wars movie from the creators of the Game of Thrones series, fell apart when they left the movie. Now, however, we finally know something about what the future of Star Wars will look like in theaters, it will look like Rogue Squadron and it will be directed by Patty Jenkins.
Of course, at this point, that's just about all we know about the movie. We know Patty Jenkins is inspired to make a fighter pilot movie set in the galaxy far, far away, and that the movie is set to debut in theaters in 2023, and that's really all the detail we have. This leaves us with a number of big questions about the movie. Here are the biggest ones.
When Will Rogue Squadron Be Set?
The first time we saw the fighter group Rogue Squadron as an organized team under that name in Star Wars was when Rogue Two discovered Han Solo and Luke Skywalker on Hoth at the beginning of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. According to modern Star Wars continuity, Rogue Squadron was formed by Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, and others in the years following the destruction of the first Death Star and it continued at least through the end of the Empire. This means that the most likely place for a Rogue Squadron movie is probably actually during the original trilogy, which would make it the first movie to take place concurrently with another film.
However, we could just as easily see the film take place post-Return of the Jedi which would also make it the first big screen adventure to be set in between the original and sequel trilogies. We've seen this era in The Mandalorian, but not from the New Republic's perspective. which could make for an interesting story.
Who Will Be In Rogue Squadron (The Characters)?
Nearly every Star Wars movie ever made has been a true ensemble piece. While the stories of people named Skywalker tend to be the ones that get the most attention, there are always other stories happening that are, if not as important, still key to the overall story. Rogue Squadron would seem likely to be an ensemble story as well, but one of a different sort, where all the characters are dedicated to the same objective. There may be a single character who will act as the main protagonist, but more than likely, based on the name of the movie, the core fighter squadron will all share the story, which leads to the question, what will they be like?
Will they all be human? Will we get our first aliens that are real main characters in a Star Wars movie? Could our "main" character, assuming there is one, actually be a non-human? Will characters like Wedge or Luke play a part or will this be an entirely new cast of pilots?
Who Will Be In Rogue Squadron (The Actors)?
Whoever we get as characters in the film, they will -- CGI performances notwithstanding -- need to be played by actual actors. We haven't any idea what sort of cast could be considered. The major question, however, isn't what big names might be considered for roles, but whether or not big name actors will be considered at all. Generally, the main cast of the Star Wars movies have been made up mainly of actors that are not well known. Will that be the case with Rogue Squadron as well, or will we see some A-list stars joining Patty Jenkins crew of pilots?
Of course, as mentioned above, a Rogue Squadron movie could potentially include the likes of Luke Skywalker or Wedge Antilles. Could we see them played by new actors, or with some CGI assistance? That bridge has already been crossed, so it certainly could happen.
What Kind Of Movie Will Rogue Squadron Really Be?
In the announcement video for Rogue Squadron that stars Patty Jenkins, the director talks about the desire that she's had, for years, to make an epic, exciting, fighter pilot movie. Rather than make a more traditional combat movie, Jenkins will make her movie in the galaxy far, far away, but will that ultimately change the way Jenkins' fighter pilot movie comes across? Will Rogue Squadron really feel like a traditional Star Wars movie as we have known them, or will it feel more like a "war movie?"
The Marvel Cinematic Universe movies are all superhero films, but they have done a good job of at least dipping their toe into other genres, like making Ant-Man a classic heist movie or Captain America: The Winter Soldier an espionage thriller. Will Rogue Squadron feel like a fighter pilot movie that happens to be set in the Star Wars galaxy, or will it be a Star Wars movie that happens to be about pilots. There's a difference.
Will Rogue Squadron Be A New Franchise?
The Star Wars sequel trilogy was, whatever you think of the films themselves, a massive box office success. In fact nearly everything named Star Wars tends to be quite popular. However, the last movie outside of the trilogy, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is the closest thing the franchise has seen to a flop, and the fact that Lucasfilm put the brakes on movies after that is somewhat telling. So what exactly is the plan for the first big movie after the trilogy ended? Is this a new stand alone story, or is this the beginning of a new franchise?
Of course, the film's ultimate success, or lack thereof, will likely determine that, but one has to assume Lucasfilm already has thoughts in that regard. Will this script be written with an ending that makes a second film possible, or will it be written in a way that makes a second film necessary? With Patty Jenkins apparently sharing her time between Star Wars and Wonder Woman, she might not be entirely available to helm future installments, which is not to say others might not take up the reins.
Who Wrote Rogue Squadron?
We know that Patty Jenkins is directing Rogue Squadron and the fact that Lucasfilm has announced the movie at all, including its name and director, means that the studio is confident that this movie will happen, but one key piece of information that we are, so far, lacking, is who is writing the screenplay. Patty Jenkins has been intentionally vague on the topic of the writer, which seems to make it clear she's not handling the screenplay. So if not her, then who?
We know that the Star Wars movie being written by Taika Waititi is a separate project, so it isn't him. Could Rogue Squadron be the Star Wars project Rian Johnson was writing? He's the only other person that Lucasfilm has officially announced as writing any Star Wars movies, so it's possible. There's been no confirmation that Johnson's Star Wars project was dead, but neither has there been any news on it. Of course, it could just as easily be anybody else. Considering how far out the movie itself will be, the script likely isn't done, so Lucasfilm may simply be waiting to announce the writer until the studio is sure it's happy with the script.
Will Rogue Squadron Connect To Disney+'s Star Wars Series?
While the first batch of shows aren't even out yet, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is fully embracing a method of storytelling that combines theatrical films with regular series. We know, for example that the actress playing Ms. Marvel on Disney+ will appear on the big screen in Captain Marvel 2 as well. And so, one has to wonder if Disney is looking to recreate that success with their other blockbuster franchise. Could we see characters introduced in Rogue Squadron appear on a Disney+ series, or vice versa?
At the moment, all the Disney+ live-action Star Wars series are set in the same post-Return of the Jedi time period, and so whether Rogue Squadron will connect directly may depend largely on when the movie is set, and we don't know that yet. Of course, with Rogue Squadron still three years away, there's plenty of time for a new Star Wars series, or more than one, to get off the ground that might connect to this new story.
With Rogue Squadron still years away, we probably won't have answers to most of these questions for quite some time. Odds are even Disney and Lucasfilm don't know the answers to most of them. There will need to be a finished script before anybody will know what characters need to be cast, and nobody will be developing even a wish list of actors until there are roles for them to inhabit.
Still, it's exciting to even have a new Star Wars movie to look forward to at all. The franchise's life under Disney has clearly had some growing pains as it has attempted to find its footing. While the movies have all made big money at the box office, they haven't all been warmly received, leading to an intentional slow down of releases. Rogue Squadron will be Lucasfilm's attempt to show the audience what it has learned. What little we do know about Rogue Squadron makes it a movie worth looking forward to, even if we'll all be waiting until Christmas 2023 to actually see it.