Star Wars Celebration ignores the franchise’s movie future

There’s no shortage of TV shows in a galaxy far, far away.

Most of the time at Disney and Lucasfilm’s presentation at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Calif., was spent introducing new series like “Skeleton Crew,” starring Jude Law, and “Andor,” starring Diego Luna. in a prequel to “Rogue One”. ”, as well as long-running titles like “Obi-Wan Kenobi”, which will premiere on May 27.

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But unlike the solid slate of “Star Wars” TV series slated for Disney+, the franchise’s feature film landscape was as desolate as the sands of Tatooine in the wake of 2019’s “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” That’s surprising, since “Star Wars” is one of Hollywood’s biggest properties, and the studio has a trio of untitled space opera movies slated to hit theaters around Christmas every two years starting. of 2023.

Even more frowning, Disney didn’t completely skip the movies during its hour-and-a-half-long presentation. The studio has found the time to present a different, long-running saga, starring Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford and director James Mangold to promote the adventure franchise’s upcoming fifth installment. “Indy 5” opens on June 30, 2023 – just months before the so-called “Star Wars” movie hits the big screen.

A year after ‘Rise of Skywalker’ premiered, Disney announced during its 2020 Investor Day presentation that ‘Wonder Woman’ filmmaker Patty Jenkins would direct ‘Star Wars: Rogue Squadron,’ and the film would premiere. in December 2023. In November 2021, however, Lucasfilm delayed production, allegedly due to scheduling conflicts with Jenkins, who was also committed to directing a sequel to 2020’s “Wonder Woman 1984”.

Still, in Vanity Fair’s cover story this month, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy admitted that “Rogue Squadron” won’t get the December 2023 release date as Jenkins continues to work on the script. Instead, Kennedy indicated that a film Taika Waititi directed and co-wrote with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (“1917”), would be the first feature film to follow “The Rise of Skywalker.” But to be released in December 2023, Waititi should begin filming no later than the fall – when his next film, “Next Goal Wins”, is expected to premiere for Searchlight.

Beyond the Waititi and Jenkins feature film projects, the picture has been much murkier for where the “Star Wars” movies are heading. In March, Kennedy dismissed speculation that Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige was actively producing a “Star Wars” movie for Lucasfilm, saying that while she “would love to see at some point” what Feige would do, “he nothing specifically on the horizon.

In May, however, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” screenwriter Michael Waldron said Variety that he has begun actively writing a “Star Wars” script for Feige, noting that he is currently working on a story that “doesn’t have a bunch of TV shows and movies that you’re serving up besides”. When or if this script would be greenlit and performed remains unclear.

Beyond that? Kennedy said ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ director Rian Johnson remains “very committed” to directing a new trilogy of “Star Wars” films for the studio, which were first announced. before “The Last Jedi” has debuted. But the director’s commitment to his “Knives Out” film series, now on Netflix, has kept him very, very far from the “Star Wars” galaxy, and will likely remain so for some time. And there was no update on the February 2020 news that “Sleight” director JD Dillard and “Luke Cage” writer Matt Owens are developing a “Star Wars” project (including that either for theaters or Disney+).

On the Star Wars Celebration red carpet, Kennedy remained vague about the franchise’s next steps.

“We had so much to highlight with the new television that we have coming. We will have plenty of time to similarly present what we do in the cinematic space. We are all very excited to know where this is going,” she said. Variety.

Although ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ topped $1 billion at the box office in 2019, the tentpole fell considerably short of its predecessors, 2015’s ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’. 2017, in terms of worldwide ticket sales. Before that, 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” an origin story about Han Solo, became the first “Star Wars” movie to lose money. These back-to-back declines painfully show that not everything in the sci-fi universe had the Midas touch.

With this sobering reality — and without concrete plans — “A New Hope” isn’t just the name of a one-time blockbuster. It’s become a mantra for the future of Star Wars on the big screen.

Marc Malkin contributed to this report.

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