“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.”
In just one month from now, The Rise of Skywalker is set to close the original Star Wars trilogy, thus ending a timeless tale that began in 1977 with George Lucas‘ STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE. Since the surprise success of that first chapter, the Star Wars franchised has amassed billions, making the sci-fi property one of the most lucrative ventures in entertainment history. When taking all of this into consideration, it’s easy to understand why both fans and studio executives are eager to learn of what the future holds for such a bold, beloved, and money-printing enterprise.
Will Kathleen Kennedy remain as an influential player of the proverbial Star Wars chess board? Will Disney CEO Bob Iger and film studio chief Alan Horn permit Kennedy to pilot the far-reaching franchise into parts unknown? Will Star Wars continue to encounter stumbling blocks such as failed projects, exiting creatives, and spinoffs that achieve more backlash than genuine interest? Who among Hollywood’s most creative minds will lead us into a brave, new future for arguably the most iconic science-fiction franchise of all time? Will their efforts be enough to sate even the most rabid of fans?
When approached for comment about the future of Star Wars, those who sit at the high table at Disney have remained tight-lipped. However, when Kennedy was asked to give her take on what’s to come, she recently told Rolling Stone: “What happens in the future, and how long and how much longer I do this? I don’t know yet. I’m looking at all of that.”
To get a better idea as to where Kennedy thinks the future of Star Wars is headed, you need look no further than filmmaker Jon Favreau‘s series THE MANDALORIAN. Having recently made its Disney+ debut, THE MANDALORIAN is an 8-episode series that serves to expand the Star Wars universe without the bells and whistles of a feature-length affair. In other words, THE MANDALORIAN is able to take its time when portioning out new Star Wars content to fans, thanks to the show’s episodic and weekly rollout. As a result of the show’s release schedule, Disney and Lucasfilm are permitted more time to plot the future of the franchise while still delivering top-tier Star Wars experiences to fans between theatrical releases. Bringing Star Wars to the live-action small screen also allows for more creatives to get involved, such as Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, who is poised to produce his own film for the Star Wars cannon.
On November 13, Disney held a premiere for THE MANDALORIAN at its El Captain Theatre in Hollywood. Among those in attendance was famed filmmaker Werner Herzog, who remarked that Favreau’s new Star Wars series is among some of the most ambitious projects he’s ever experienced. “What you are creating is an entire universe,” Herzog commented that evening. “This universe is filled with new mythology. Not very often in the cultural history have we had new mythologies. And I find it very significant.”
With so much praise being heaped upon Favreau as of late for his Star Wars efforts, could he be next in line to steer the franchise should Kennedy surrender her post? If you think about it, this might not be a bad move for Disney to make. After all, Favreau is already a esteemed member of the Disney family, fans have reacted positively to both his Marvel and Star Wars contributions thus far, and he’s proven himself to be a creative force to be reckoned with time and again. Moreover, Favreau has a tight working relationship with Feige, who is likely to play a larger role in the Star Wars universe going forward.
Should Kennedy step away from the Star Wars universe, sources say that in addition to Favreau possibly playing a major role, that Episode IV and Lucasfilm’s senior vp of live action development and production, Michelle Rejwan, will also step up. Another name being floated is Dave Filoni, the veteran animation director and George Lucas protege who directed live action for the first time with two episodes of Mandalorian.
With regard to the Star Wars film universe, no one should expect for a new film or trilogy to be announced anytime soon. In fact, during a recent earnings call, Iger noted that a Star Wars film “hiatus” is inevitable. To back this up, Iger even told The New York Times that Disney “put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast.”
For the moment, sources say that Kennedy has a film on deck for 2022, but not the project being developed by The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson. Furthermore, details related to this mysterious project are not expected to be officially announced until January of next year. As for Feige, word has it that he’s already pitched a Star Wars film, but that his current schedule would not allow for him to make any big moves until his Phase 4 work over at Marvel is well under construction and then some.
How are you feeling about the future of the Star Wars universe? Would you like to see Favreau take on a larger role? Will Feige work his Marvel magic on the Star Wars universe, thereby changing its landscape for the foreseeable future? Is there a filmmaker who’s yet to get involved in Star Wars that you’d like to see join the team? Let us know in the comments section below.