A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away a certain sci-fi fantasy franchise exclusively orbited the trials and triumphs of a single Jedi bloodline. But with the conclusion of the nine-film Skywalker saga – and an intriguing sampler of standalone films in Rogue One and Solo – Disney’s plans to replicate its phenomenal Marvel Cinematic Universe success with a slate of fresh Star Wars films is well underway.
Here’s everything we know so far about the new Star Wars Cinematic Universe.
22 December 2023
Fresh off bringing Wonder Woman 1984 to the big screen, Patty Jenkins will become the first female director to direct a Star Wars film with Rogue Squadron. And it’s set to be a passion project as her heartfelt, self-directed announcement trailer revealed. You see, Jenkins’ dad was a USAF fighter pilot who died while serving his country, and ever since then she’s wanted to “one day make the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time” but could never find quite the right story. Until now.
There’s no plot to pick apart just yet but the official announcement says that Rogue Squadron “will introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.” Given that Rogue Squadron will be the first Star Wars film of the post-Skywalker saga era, there’s quite a lot riding on this. We can’t wait.
And if you’re wondering if there’s a connection between Rogue Squadron and 2016’s standalone anthology film Rogue One, there is. Apparently it’s official canon that Rogue Squadron was named by Luke in honour of Jyn Erso and her brave team.
It’s Top Gun in a galaxy far, far away, helmed by a diehard fly girl who was born to do it.
Talented, funny and relentlessly creative, writer/director Taika Waititi made Thor: Ragnorok one of our absolute favourite MCU films to date, so it’s fair to say we’re more than a little bit excited by the news that he’s going to helm his first Star Wars film. He’s already got form in the Disney-era Star Wars universe, as it happens, having directed an awesome episode of The Mandalorian and starring as the voice of IG-11.
Waititi is set to co-write the script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917, Last Night in Soho). Intriguingly, when Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy announced Waititi’s project during Disney’s Investor Day on 10 December 2020, two visual clues appeared on the screen behind her. The first was a colourful, Ben Hur-style cracked-stone Star Wars logo, while the second was what looked like a pyramidal space ship floating in a star field.
Star Wars fans were quick to point out that the angular ship looks very similar to the Tho Yor, a vessel/weapon in which the Force-sensitive predecessors of the Jedi travelled throughout Dark Horse’s 2012 comic book series, Dawn of the Jedi (which takes place some 26,000 years before the events of A New Hope). Could Waititi be bringing the prehistory of the Jedi to the big screen? While Dawn of the Jedi isn’t currently in the Star Wars canon, there’s nothing to say it can’t be resurrected, opening up a whole new sub-franchise.
For now, though, we’ll leave the last word to Kathleen Kennedy:
"Taika's approach to Star Wars will be fresh, unexpected, and unique. His enormous talent and sense of humor will ensure audiences are in for an unforgettable ride."
Taika Waititi does Star Wars. (What else do we need to say?)
Rising star, writer/director J.D. Dillard's first two features, 2016’s Sleight and 2019’s Sweetheart took established genres – the monster movie and the superhero movie – and cleverly, unexpectedly turned them on their heads.
Said to be working alongside Luke Cage and Marvel’s Agents of Shield writer Matt Owens, the new film hints at a future Star Wars universe filled with fresh voices and mold-shattering stories in a galaxy that’s offered glimpses of giddying diversity but has, to date, explored only a fraction of it.
As Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy says, "We have a vast and expansive timeline in the Star Wars mythology spanning over 25,000 years of history in the galaxy – with each era being a rich resource for storytelling,"
Get ready to explore areas of the Star Wars universe you never imagined.
What did you think of Rian Johnson’s Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi? Was it a bold injection of fresh energy into the Skywalker saga after the entertaining but safe, soft reboot of A Force Awakens? Or was it a sacreligious misstep that tried to jettison the very mythology that made the OG series of Star Wars films so good just as the saga was heading into the finishing straight?
Disney clearly appreciated his vision because, shortly before Last Jedi’s 2017 release, they announced they’d tapped him to head up a new, original trilogy of ‘Wars films for the post Skywalker era, directing the first of the three. Kathleen Kennedy even went as far as to say: “We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi. He's a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy."
But is Rian Johnson still lined up to break ground on a new Star Wars saga? Fans were certainly divided about The Last Jedi, and there’s been no official word on the development of the trilogy for a while – it didn’t even get a mention in the Lucasfilm section of Disney’s Investor Day presentation in December. That being said, given that the new trilogy would likely only hit screens after Taika Waititi’s 2025 film, it’s not wholly surprising that things have gone quiet for now.
As Johnson revealed to Total Film, his actual pitch for the new trilogy was surprisingly short and sweet: “One story told over three movies. Go new places, meet new folks, come up with a new story to tell in the Star Wars universe. The sky’s the limit…”
As crossover events are concerned this is a doozy. Kevin Feige, the super-producer behind the immensely successful MCU is set to partner up with Lucasfilm’s own super producer, Kathleen Kennedy, on a new, as yet unannounced Star Wars film.
Rumours are that a major Hollywood star has been approached for a leading role in a story to be penned by the showrunner of Disney+’s Loki series, Michael Waldron.
Frankly, given Feige’s Midas touch when it comes to producing consistently high-quality, endlessly entertaining blockbusters, the film could end up being a musical about the life and times of a malfunctioning gonk droid and we’d be first in line to see it.
Kevin Feige weaves his magic in a galaxy far, far away? Bring on the SWCU!