On Thursday, Disney announced a slew of major blockbuster delays as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chief among them was the ripple effect tearing through a galaxy far, far away as Lucasfilm’s future Star Wars films have each been delayed by a year. This further complicates what was already a murky picture in the eyes of fans. That’s why we’re here—to put on our deerstalker hats and do our best Sherlock Holmes impression in order to figure out what’s next.
Here’s the new schedule:
Untitled Star Wars previously dated on 12/16/22 moves to 12/22/23
Untitled Star Wars previously dated 12/20/24 moves to 12/19/25
Untitled Star Wars previously dated 12/18/26 moves to 12/17/27
Originally, the 2022 Star Wars film belonged to Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, who were set to write and produce a new series of films. But once Disney and the duo parted ways, it was widely believed that keeping that date was highly unrealistic. COVID or not, we were unlikely to get a new Star Wars film that year, especially as Lucasfilm ramps up its brand expansion on Disney+.
On May 4th, Lucasfilm announced that Thor: Ragnarok filmmaker Taika Waititi, who also helmed the season finale of The Mandalorian, would be directing and co-writing a new Star Wars film. (Side note: In September, we argued that Disney should do whatever it takes to sign Waititi to an overall deal. While that still hasn’t occurred in any official capacity, all three of his upcoming films are under the Disney umbrella). On Thursday, he confirmed that he has started writing the script with 1917‘s Krysty Wilson-Cairns. As the only Star Wars film confirmed to be in active development at the moment, this is the most logical project to assume the 2023 date, assuming Thor: Love and Thunder isn’t hit with massive delays.
While The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson told Observer last August that he was still working on his planned Star Wars trilogy, there has been no tangible movement on this project for years. At this point, it’s unlikely that this project is still moving forward.
In September, it was reported that Marvel Studios president and MCU architect Kevin Feige would develop a new Star Wars movie for Lucasfilm down the line. In November, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy discussed how Feige became involved with Star Wars. This was notable because she has not publicly commented or confirmed any of the other rumored Star Wars films in development (such as a potential Knights of the Old Republic tale), suggesting that despite the busy schedule of the MCU, Feige’s film could be next on the docket. It would make sense for his movie to follow Waititi’s in 2025. Feige apparently already has a star in mind.
The 2026 Star Wars film that was delayed one year is a bit trickier to figure out. It’s worth noting that 2027 marks the 50th anniversary of 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope. It would make sense for the studio to be planning some sort of massive commemorative blockbuster to take advantage of the anniversary. Although heat has cooled down on the Sequel Trilogy, Kennedy did say in 2017 that they were trying to figure out how to keep the main characters around beyond Episode IX. Could we see Rey, Finn and Poe pop up in some capacity?
All of this is purely speculative at this point, but logical given the studio’s actions and comments from its leadership. Hopefully, Disney and Lucasfilm will provide more concrete clarity in the near future.