Three new Star Wars films are coming, beginning in 2022, Disney has confirmed.
The first movie will arrive on the pre-Christmas weekend, with sequels then following in 2024 and then 2026, after the conclusion of the current trilogy with J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker.
The move somewhat contradicts word that the Mouse House was planning to leave the Star Wars franchise fallow for a time after a glut of recent movies.
Bob Iger, Disney CEO, said last month that there would be a ‘hiatus’ in the series, which echoed comments he made last year that there would be ‘some slowdown’.
He added that there had been ‘too much, too fast’, what with the new movies and spin-offs Rogue One and Solo, particularly considering that Solo was the first flop for the storied space franchise.
After a tumultuous shoot, in which original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired, Ron Howard was brought in to finish the movie.
But having cost a rumoured $300 million (£230 million) to make, the Han Solo origin story, starring Alden Ehrenreich and Emilia Clarke, only made back $392 million (£301 million).
Deadline estimated that it ended up losing nearly $80 million (£61 million) after marketing and advertising costs.
Though three years doesn’t seem like much of a ‘hiatus’, Lucasfilm is now forging ahead, though it has not confirmed which new trilogy will head into production.
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Two possibilities are in the offing, one being formulated by Rian Johnson, the former Breaking Bad helmsman who made The Last Jedi, and another by D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, the showrunners behind Game of Thrones.
On the latter, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly last month: “As they finish Game of Thrones, they’re going to segue into Star Wars. They’re working very closely with Rian.”
She also confirmed that their trilogy would be set quite apart from the current Skywalker dynasty storyline, seen in all the movies so far.
“Yes, absolutely. I think that that’s absolutely on the horizon,” she added. “We’re looking at whether we can move massively in one direction of the other. It’s still Star Wars, and holding on to the DNA of what George created is still very important to us.
“I think this is a huge opportunity to step into the galaxy in a little bit different part of the timeline.”
It’s thought that this means it will focus on the Old Republic strand of the Star Wars story world, set thousands of years before the current saga.
A third possibility is that the three new movies aren’t a connected trilogy, rather three standalone films like Rogue One, or a mix of Johnson, and Weiss and Benioff’s films. Until it’s officially announced on StarWars.com, we’ll not leap to any conclusions.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in the UK on December 19.