Star Wars: Episode IX will be a pivotal point for the franchise. It will close out another trilogy in the Skywalker saga, but it will also signal an interesting future for following films. What’s going to happen once Episode IX is over? Where will the series go? Let’s take a look at what we know and what might be in store for that galaxy far, far away…
More Star Wars Story Films
We know that Disney/Lucasfilm is committed to the Star Wars Story anthology films. The Han Solo film is underway and will premiere next year. Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy has said that they are very interested in pursuing further anthology films, but exactly what will that entail?
Part of the problem with the current slate of Star Wars Story films is that they all are prequels. They can’t take place after any of the events in the Skywalker saga films. Now, there is certainly a way to do that and feel apart from the regular series, but Rogue One and the Han Solo film still connect to the Skywalker movies in significant ways. Will Disney risk going further away from home base in order to tell stories that have next to no relation to the trilogies?
Rumors of films centered around Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Boba Fett don’t seem to back that possibility up. Disney/Lucasfilm are probably hedging their bets until they see how audiences react to this first slate of Star Wars Story entries. Better to stay with known characters and storylines than do something wholly original. That’s a shame since Star Wars is the most bulletproof intellectual property of all time. Doing something completely new in that universe could pay off and set the stage for something bigger…
The Star Wars Cinematic Universe
Disney has had immense success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe experiment. Would they think of doing something similar with Star Wars? The idea has almost certainly been floated by Lucasfilm. And rumors have circled about Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige wanting to take the creative reins of the Star Wars franchise once his contract at Marvel has expired.
It’s an interesting idea. Right now, the Star Wars Story films don’t link up to anything other than pre-existing characters and events that we know. Would Feige be able to start an MCU-type universe where an original series of movies were actually connected in certain ways? And would they build to an Avengers kind of climax? Could they even include characters from the new trilogy?
It would be a monumental task and a big risk. However, Feige has already proven he knows how to manage stories with that kind of scope. Don’t be surprised if this is the way the Star Wars universe is headed once the new trilogy has concluded. On that note…
Though Star Wars has historically been contained to the parameters of trilogies, who’s to say Disney will keep that formula going? It’s worth mentioning that Kathleen Kennedy has been very open about calling these new Skywalker films a trilogy. And fans are just expecting it to be so. But what if things change?
The characters from this newest trilogy have become immensely popular. More importantly (from a financial standpoint more than a creative one), the main actors are all very young. Disney could conceivably want to keep them on for future installments in the proper series. Don’t expect the Mouse House to close the door on a successful series out of some sense of story obligation. If the demand for Episode X exists, they will fulfill it by any means necessary.
Not to mention that Episode X feels good when you say it out loud. Even if you pronounce it “Episode Ex,” it just sounds cool. That sounds silly, I know, but marketing wizards know the importance of looking and sounding cool. Selling Episode X would be incredibly easy, especially if it isn’t framed as the start of a new trilogy. Breaking the format alone will cause a huge amount of upheaval, and that kind of discussion will translate to box office dollars.
Spoiler Alert: Star Wars Won’t Stop
It’s obvious that Episode IX will not be the end of Star Wars. Disney has invested in this property and will be bringing us a new Star Wars film for what might be every year of our lives. At some point, they are going to have to take some big chances in order to keep people coming back. Whether that means forging their own connected universe of films, doing more prequel-y standalone stories, or continuing the saga in a new way, you can bet that audiences will keep returning to see what they’ve got planned next.