Kathleen Kennedy Confirms 10-Year Star Wars Plan Beyond Episode IX

Lauren Gallaway
Star Wars Movies
Star Wars Movies

While visiting the Star Wars Show this week, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy shared some insights into where the company is heading after the current Star Wars trilogy wraps up. She also gave an update on which characters might survive Episodes VIII and IX.

The Future of Star Wars

With the upcoming launch of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm is looking ahead to their next film projects. We know they just wrapped principal photography on Solo and that production will be begin shortly on the untitled Episode IX, but what about after that? According to Kennedy, Lucasfilm is looking at films that expand the universe over the next 10 years. “We’re sitting down now, we’re looking at the next 10 years of Star Wars stories,” Kennedy shared. “We’re looking at narratively where that might go.”

Where might those stories go and which characters might they include? Kennedy mentioned four specific names, “Future stories beyond Episode IX, with these new characters Rey, Poe, Finn, BB-8.” YES! Rey, Poe Dameron, Finn, and BB-8 have easily been everyone’s favorite new characters. Does this mean these characters will live past Episodes VIII and IX? Sounds like it.

Moving Beyond Legacy Characters

Star Wars Episode IV
Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford in 'Star Wars A New Hope'.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first announced, it was positioned as the first film in the final Star Wars trilogy. It was assumed that this would conclude the original nine-film saga George Lucas had planned from the beginning. When we met Rey and Finn and Poe and BB-8, the film felt new, while also including our legacy characters: Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker. Now it sounds like these three films, Force Awakens, Last Jedi and IX will serve as a bridge trilogy, wrapping up the storylines of our legacy characters while launching these new characters in their own film franchise that could go way beyond Episode IX.

Who Should Lead?

Rey Star Wars
Daisy Ridley plays the fierce, force sensitive Rey.

If these last films conclude the Skywalker Saga (as Kennedy has mentioned before) who should lead the next series? While Star Wars has always been an ensemble series, Anakin Skywalker was the clear protagonist in the prequels, and Luke was the clear protagonist in the original trilogy. Should Rey lead the next series of films? As both a trained Jedi and a pilot, she feels like the best candidate. What about Poe or Finn? Poe has the most battle experience and the most experience with the Rebellion. Will there still be a Rebellion after Episode IX, or will the First Order be crushed for good? And Finn? His experience on Star Destroyers makes him a great candidate for leadership — he also has a passion for setting First Order officers free, since he knows first hand of their oppression.

Each of these characters could step into a leadership position. For now, our vote goes to Rey, who is about to experience some harrowing and life-changing training with Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. If she can overcome the Dark Side and become a true Jedi Knight, then she might be the galaxy’s best hope in balancing the Force and defeating the First Order. A woman who can do that is definitely worthy of leading her own franchise in the years to come.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in theaters December 15, 2017.

Lauren Gallaway
TV editor at Fandom. Creator of The Marvel Report. Journalist, Comic-Con reporter, Podcaster.
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