Bob Iger said recently that Disney would be leaning into their established brands, and that will include an anticipated return to theaters for the Star Wars franchise.
The Hollywood Reporter recently ran an article about how Disney is re-thinking and evaluating their approach to Marvel and Star Wars, and as a result they are going to be slowing down their Marvel output (at least as far as the shows are concerned). But Star Wars has already been there, with Disney having slowed down their film production, so now the focus is on ramping that back up. The report said that “Disney is expected to unveil film plans at Star Wars Celebration, set for April in London.” As opposed to Marvel perhaps slowing down a bit, an industry insider suggested that Lucasfilm will actually ramp it up a bit – but that the company will still have to follow the same cost-saving discipline that Iger is instituting company-wide.
It has been long expected that this year’s Celebration would be where Lucasfilm rolls out some updates about their theatrical future, so this should come as a surprise to absolutely no one. But it’s good to get something more concrete than just informed speculation, as THR suggests it’s going to happen. Celebration will be taking place April 7-10 in London, and should this actually prove true, their announcements about upcoming movies will prove to be among the big highlights from the event. Last year, there was surprisingly little said about any Star Wars movie (read: nothing was said), but that will change this year.
In the meantime it has been awesome getting so much Star Wars content through the Disney+ shows, and that will continue. That gives us a staggering amount of content and much more frequently too, so that should be celebrated. But there’s also something about the Star Wars franchise that just feels made for the big screen, and given the franchise’s massive groundbreaking impact in the film and theater industry it’s understandable. The shows are great, but they need to be mixed in with movies too.
The next theatrical release slot for a Star Wars film is December 19, 2025, followed by another film in December 2027. Should the company make that slot, it will mark six years (almost to the day) since the previous Star Wars movie was released. To longtime Star Wars fans, who waited 16 years for The Phantom Menace and another decade for The Force Awakens, that isn’t huge, but it’s surprisingly slow considering the staggering output by Lucasfilm, Marvel, and the other Disney properties.
The big question, of course, is not when the next Star Wars movie is coming, but what it will be. The project that has seemed to pick up the most steam recently is the one being developed by Damon Lindelof, which will be set in the era following The Rise of Skywalker. Shawn Levy has also been brought on to direct a Star Wars film, while Taika Waititi’s project seems on the backburner but not out of the picture. Patty Jenkins’s Rogue Squadron was at one time planned to be the next release (just like Waititi’s), but its development stalled and it is currently shelved. The same is true of Rian Johnson’s planned trilogy, which is still in the works and planned, but given Johnson’s schedule it’s very much up in the air when it gets made, and whether it happens at all. And then there was the reported film being developed by Kevin Feige, but the last reports seemed to indicate that nothing concrete was in the works.
And those are just the ones that have been reported. I’m sure there are plenty of others in various stages of development, so it will be very interesting to see what we learn at Celebration about which project is going to take the lead into this brand new era of Star Wars on the big screen.