The Next Star Wars Movie Terrifies Lucasfilm

Past November, correct right after Patty Jenkins’ considerably-touted Rogue Squadron was positioned on the dreaded back again burner, I politely questioned Disney C.E.O. Bob Chapek to eliminate Star Wars films from the purview of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Following 5 movies and about $6 billion in box business office beneath Disney, this A+-amount film franchise—a assets other studios would destroy for—had been primarily still left 50 %-digested in a Sarlacc pit. 

No continuing storylines, no new people worthy of adhering to, various major-tier creators employed and then discarded, and minimal overarching resourceful eyesight. Lucasfilm was continuing to churn out a combined bag of competently created and really-watched collection for Disney+, but on the movie aspect, the franchise was basically dormant, and, at minimum to me, Kennedy’s stewardship was a gorgeous instance of I.P. mismanagement.  

Possibly I was a little bit harsh. But now, approximately a calendar year later on, items are… very a lot the very same. No new Star Wars movie in advance of at least December 2025, which would be a 6 year gap immediately after the substantially-maligned The Increase of Skywalker. You can argue that previous C.E.O. Bob Iger’s original one particular-motion picture-a-yr mandate was also much, and that it led to rushed selection-building and employed-and-fired filmmakers like Gareth Edwards (Rogue One particular), Lord and Miller (Solo) and Colin Trevorrow (Increase of Skywalker), and that a little crack for a reset is a superior detail. 

But with Marvel churning out a number of motion pictures and D+ collection every single calendar year, these types of a large pause at Lucasfilm is borderline company carelessness. And that is if the 2025 date holds. Right after all, none of the 3 assignments that are furthest along in advancement have been formally greenlit. Disney’s D23 function came and went previous month devoid of Kennedy featuring even a standing update on the film side. (Upcoming summer’s Indiana Jones, also from Lucasfilm, did get a highlight.)

Sure, the corporation has been concentrated on stocking Disney+ with Star Wars exhibits like The Mandalorian, The E-book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, the presently airing (and really very good, although underwatched) Andor, and the in-the-performs Ahsoka, The Acolyte, and The Skeleton Crew. If Mandalorian hadn’t hit so massive proper out of the gate in 2019 and founded a template for a major I.P.-driven streaming sequence, would Disney+ be everywhere near 152 million subscribers globally? Similarly, Star Wars is nevertheless flourishing in the theme parks and on retailer shelves.  

All the extra explanation why the film franchise seems adrift. At this position, aspect of the hesitation is basically media management. I’m explained to Kennedy was recommended by Disney to end announcing jobs and artistic partners, lest the ravenous nerd press pounce when these initiatives really don’t in fact come about, as is the situation regularly at Lucasfilm. Remember that hokey movie with Jenkins in a flight accommodate that played at Disney’s trader working day in 2020? Ummm… Or the triumphant press releases about new trilogies from The Very last Jedi director Rian Johnson and the Match of Thrones guys? Appears to be like ancient history now. 

I can ensure there is a new movie venture in growth for the previous couple months with author-producer Damon Lindelof, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, a Tv and documentary brief director, is in talks to direct it (which would make her, not Jenkins, the initially female to direct a Star Wars movie). That motion picture could basically shoot ahead of the Taika Waititi task with The Excellent Nurse author Krysty Wilson-Cairns, which was announced back in 2020 with a spiffy logo and notion artwork. Taika’s now in New Zealand creating his HBO Max clearly show, Our Flag Signifies Death, right up until the conclusion of the calendar year, and in June—two years just after the movie was officially announced—he mentioned, “I’m still making an attempt to determine out what the story is.” Not fantastic. There’s one more concept that is apparently also much alongside, and that may possibly be a rumored undertaking from Marvel’s Kevin Feige and author Michael Waldron. Or not. There is other stuff in several levels, but nothing is evidently set.


Stars Wars movies will inevitably restart, of program, and almost certainly quickly. But the Jabba the Hutt-like pace can be attributed to a tradition of anxiety and indecision close to the up coming installment, in accordance to the persons I talked to. The good way of expressing it, and a new mantra at Lucasfilm, is “getting it correct.” It’s acknowledged internally that the final trilogy, and specially Increase of Skywalker, was rushed to meet up with intense launch dates, and Kennedy performed it secure in each and every doable way, deciding upon lover company and franchise administration about imaginative swings. Appear at her choices: From jettisoning most of primary author Michael Arndt’s strategies and effectively remaking A New Hope with The Power Awakens, to freaking out and bringing back director J.J. Abrams and the villainous Emperor for Rise of Skywalker soon after some fans complained about Johnson’s mythology-busting alternatives in Past Jedi—choices that Kennedy had enthusiastically supported… right up right up until she didn’t.     

And while the Disney+ demonstrates have stored the model ubiquitous, they’ve also cheapened it by creating Star Wars considerably considerably less distinctive in the life of its fans, so raising the stakes even additional for what will be “movie-worthy” in this franchise. (They presently burned a showdown involving Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in the Obi-Wan series, which was initially meant to be a movie.) Even though I like Andor, it is an adult drama and certainly not for some admirers, specifically young ones. That possible points out the lessen ratings.     

Kennedy, say individuals who have spoken with her, seems to realize that the following installment requirements to in fact be fantastic, and various from the D+ things, and also kinda the very same, and it requires to steer the franchise absent from fan company based mostly on the first trilogy, but also be rooted in what fans like about Star Wars. And did I mention it has to be very good? Disney primarily has to re-introduce Star Wars even though Star Wars is also constantly on tv. This is a really challenging task—or a really large hole she has dug for herself, dependent on your perspective—far more durable than basically declaring yes to these D+ sequence. 


I returned to my Lucasfilm resources this week when the news ultimately broke that Michelle Rejwan, senior V.P. at the unit and just one of Kennedy’s important right arms for Star Wars, was leaving her article soon after three several years and transitioning again into creating total time for Lucasfilm. Rejwan, who is at present working on Leslye Headland’s The Acolyte, had been telling persons about this for months and she may not be the only government there to possibly exit or go full producer before long. Lucasfilm declined to remark, as did a rep for Rejwan. (She has her possess personal publicist.)  

It is not acrimonious, the two sides insist. But it’s also a frequent aggravation between Lucasfilm executives that the tactic there is typically altering, and there have been disagreements on which creatives have the best vision for the franchise. Kennedy, a famous producer who spent a long time with Steven Spielberg, has put a large amount of inventory in exterior creators to figure out the route forward, rather than the Marvel design and style of acquiring in-dwelling and partaking filmmakers to execute. And Kathy is said to change her brain normally. Which is rough, specifically given that her executives have to engage in conduit with the resourceful neighborhood and all the reps.  

However, Kennedy has been executing on Disney+, the platform Chapek cares most about. And in the decade because Disney compensated $4 billion for George Lucas’s company and set up Kennedy, Lucas’s particular choice to operate the device, Disney has recouped its financial investment quite a few moments over. But it is distinct Disney demands to refresh and restart Star Wars as a movie franchise, which, of training course, is how the entire thing commenced back in 1977. 

This isn’t very a do-or-die minute, I really do not think. Avatar, as a franchise, has way a lot more using on whether The Way of H2o performs this December. If it grosses considerably less than $1 billion and leaves audiences limp, in which does that leave the three prepared sequels? But Star Wars does want a huge swing, while. Presented how badly the franchise was harmed by the past trilogy, the easy options will no extended minimize it. That’s what Kennedy, a seasoned moviemaker who has been enjoying it risk-free for a long time, most likely understands well—and it in all probability terrifies her.

Kenneth Proto

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