Lucasfilm’s Plans for the Future: Things We’ve Heard About Upcoming Star Wars Projects!
Alright, so my earlier piece on three of the classic planets we’ll see return in the Sequel Trilogy made a splash among those who read it. But that wasn’t the only thing that this particular source told me: I also asked about what Lucasfilm’s plans are for beyond 2019. I think it’s gonna be a long, long time until touchdown brings us around to find if this information is true or not (since these movies are all years out), but for now, the answers that I received may be of interest to you…
Contrary to my previous article from this source about the three planets set to appear in future Star Wars movies, this piece will be less speculative and will also be completely spoiler-free in regards to possible plot details or anything of that nature. I’d also like to note two other things – the first being that we received this scoop a little while before Bob Iger’s recent statement that Lucasfilm had plans for at least fifteen more years of Star Wars after the end of the Sequel Trilogy, and the second being that we got this scoop slightly before the story about the three planets (which I chose to report first, because Episode VIII and Episode IX are going to be much closer in terms of release than a bunch of spin-offs that don’t have creative teams yet). Also, I’d like to note that every quote I make in regards to the source is significantly paraphrased from what he told me.
Lucasfilm’s Creative Process
Before we get into the meat of this article, I’m going to touch upon one of the first things I asked about, which concerned the creative process that goes on behind closed doors at Lucasfilm. Here’s a summary of what the source said on the subject:
The creative process regarding the status of Star Wars projects across multiple mediums is said to be rather fluid in nature – most titles that are being talked about right now are simple concepts that don’t have particular talent or crew in mind.
This is not really unexpected, considering that the big focus right now will be continuing and concluding the Sequel Trilogy, with a spin-off about a certain smuggler on the side. It seems that they have a more concrete plan and direction in mind for the Saga films, but this fluidity seems to be based more around Anthology films.
In the day and age where big film studios tend to announce a slate of upcoming films years in advance, many fans may be confused about why Lucasfilm has kept their cards so close to the chest regarding future projects. According to our source, this is the reason why:
Lucasfilm doesn’t just reveal that they’re working on a specific movie until they’re 100% sure what it is that they’re going to do with it.
This is why we haven’t seen a years-in-advance unveiling of every movie they want to make comparable to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 3 announcement years in advance, and why they still haven’t confirmed what Anthology #3 is. Their approach is more in-line with the standard kind of protocol that one would associate with smaller franchises, or at least franchises that were started prior to 2012. The process, as I was able to understand it, goes a little something like this:
Usually, a bit of concept art and a rough outline of a concept is made prior to the actual pitch or outline. Lucasfilm’s President, Kathleen Kennedy, hears the pitch, which she subsequently discusses with the story group. If the idea is liked enough, then it makes the rounds with the people in Lucasfilm and The Walt Disney Company alike – and if everyone agrees on a good idea, then that’s when development on a project officially begins. Just because an idea is officially in production doesn’t mean that there’s necessarily a ton of development behind it.
For instance, one of the projects mentioned below did not have a script when it was kind of/sort of announced (unofficially, of course, but we’ll get there). But it’s worth noting that unfinished or restructured projects can still have an impact on the Star Wars franchise:
If the pitch is unsuccessful, or the project is cancelled or relegated to another medium, then the work that’s already been put into the concepts behind those works do not go to waste. Instead, they’re sent off to the other divisions of Lucasfilm for the purposes of redevelopment.
This would be consistent with what’s been officially stated about Lucasfilm’s existing approach to unused ideas. For example, the Inquisitor lightsabers shown in Rebels were based on concept art for Galen Marek’s lightsaber in The Force Unleashed. (Yes, even after that game was excised into Legends.) As of right now, there are three major film projects that have a significant amount of traction (or enough ideas) within Lucasfilm that they are likely to be made – and these projects will almost certainly be movies unless something significant changes. Once I’m done discussing them, I’ll go into some additional plans that are going to be a ways away. We’ll start us off with the idea that the greatest number of fans want to see on film, followed by the idea that we’ve kind of known about for a while, and lastly an idea that has not been discussed anywhere else.
A while ago, we were told by Anthony Breznican that Lucasfilm seemed to be waiting to figure out if the Sequel Trilogy was going to use Obi-Wan before they wanted to greenlight a spin-off. Well, evidently, they didn’t have to wait that long. Your prayers have been answered, Kenobi bros:
Kathleen Kennedy and the rest of Lucasfilm fully intend to make an Obi-Wan movie set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, with Ewan McGregor in tow.
Of the three projects, this is the one I was told the most about. It should also be noted that our source clarified the following:
It’s a movie, singular – not a trilogy.
There was a bit of confusion over this one, since some believed that the character would be getting an entire trilogy to himself because there were three different pitches being developed for the film. However, I’d like to stress that three different pitches do not necessarily denote three different movies – and, in some respect, that may be three more pitches than most other potential Star Wars movies have right now. (Wink to our friend Jordan from Cinelinx who reported that back in 2014.)
Who might be directing the film, you may ask? One potential candidate is someone already familiar with the Galaxy Far, Far Away:
Rogue One’s Gareth Edwards could be returning to the director’s chair, as Kathleen Kennedy was happy with his work on that film.
As of right now, Edwards is taking a well-deserved break from directing after handling the movie that launched the MonsterVerse (2014’s Godzilla) and the first Star Wars spin-off, and when he’ll return to doing another tent-pole is anyone’s guess. Since the movie doesn’t come out until 2020 at the absolute earliest, that gives him more than enough time to come back and even direct a “small” movie in the interim. But even if Edwards does return, our source told us that:
The team of producers and writers are going to be different than Rogue One.
Should this pan out, then one thing I hope for above all else is the possibility of a fight between Obi-Wan and a Krayt Dragon. Seems like it’d fit with how much Edwards loves giant monsters.
Lastly, the source told me that he thinks that an announcement for this one is forthcoming in the next few weeks:
An announcement of an Obi-Wan movie might just be one of the big surprises at Celebration Orlando.
And it’s not just a gut feeling – this possibility is supported by the existence of a few materials that were made in conjunction with the event.
As it stands, at the end of 2015, there were four movies in the works at Lucasfilm: The Last Jedi and Han Solo in pre-production, Rogue One in production, and The Force Awakens in post-production. At the end of 2016, the same thing could be said with Episode VIII in place of The Force Awakens. It’s entirely possible that they’ll keep this pattern up until The Last Jedi actually comes out.
Boba Fett & The Bounty Hunters
This is another project that we already knew about – the film was originally set to be announced at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim nearly two years ago. The picture was intended to be directed by Josh Trank, and was intended to be shown with a small proof-of-concept teaser akin to the one that Rogue One got, but Trank didn’t show up for the panel due to a “cold”, and the project was delayed once Trank announced that he’d be focusing on smaller projects – like Fonzo, which will star Tom Hardy – instead. In actuality, there was a lot of friction between Trank and producer Simon Kinberg over Fant4stic, which had an absolute nightmare of a production that led to Trank having a nervous breakdown while filming – and Kinberg apparently threatened to walk out on Lucasfilm if Trank wasn’t encouraged to leave. (Bear in mind that he was busy making sure that Rebels got off the ground at this time as well.) So leave Trank did, and the 2018-targeting movie was subsequently swapped out for the Han Solo movie (which was also in an early stage of development) directed by Philip Lord & Christopher Miller. Some took this delay as a sign that Lucasfilm no longer has interest in the idea and are putting it out to pasture. But our source clarified that the idea itself hasn’t been thrown out with its former director:
Rest assured, the Boba Fett movie is not dead.
There’s good news and bad news for Fett fanatics regarding this project. Here’s the good news: as far as I can tell, the movie will most likely not be an origin story. (Since, y’know, we basically already had one through Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars, and we’re all more interested in why he has such a great reputation when he got his ass kicked by a blind man – by accident.) The bad news is that:
It’s not strictly a Boba Fett movie, but a film about an ensemble of bounty hunters on an adventure.
That last bit might be good news, however, if you were among the fans worried that the picture was going to de-mystify the man behind the mask – I’m not saying that they’re going to be pulling a Dredd with this movie and never show the actor’s face, because I don’t know, but our source seems to think that the film is more of an ensemble effort than a story based on a singular character:
It sounds as though Fett is just one important component to the movie as opposed to the central character.
With that in mind, I would be unsurprised if they put Fett’s helmet on all of the merchandise like they did with Kylo Ren for the line for The Force Awakens or Darth Vader for Rogue One… Scratch that, damn near all Star Wars merchandise.
Just in case you’re wondering about if any ideas were thrown out, I can also tell you that the idea for the film seems to be the same as the one in the works when Trank was on board:
The project is basically going to use the same pitch that it would have had if Trank had directed it. A script was not even ready at the point where Trank would have talked about his movie at Celebration Anaheim, the project has received further development thanks to Kinberg’s efforts.
Aside from the obvious reason for such a delay, I think the official explanation (read: excuse) that Kathleen Kennedy gave for the delay was that visual effects would be a big component to this film – so hopefully this project will end up being one of the most visually-stunning Star Wars films when it eventually comes to fruition.
The Fault In Our Star Wars
This project is one that hasn’t been discussed by anyone else as of yet, and I get the feeling that that this will probably be the one fans are going to be least excited about – or rather, older fans. Younger fans are probably going to Tumblr gush over this movie, provided that it’s done well. As you might be able to guess from my spoof of a title, 40-year-old men may not be the target demographic for this one. Our source had the following to say about the project:
This Star Wars project is going to target the young-adult audience and have slight romantic themes to it.
Now, before you guys claw each others’ eyes out over this pitch, bear with me for a moment. For those of you worried that Lucasfilm has given into imaginary pressure from Disney and is now going to turn the franchise into Twilight lite (God forbid), our source also notes:
Said story is a tragedy…the “love story” angle has more in common with Han & Leia’s romance in The Empire Strikes Back than anything else.
Perhaps the correct comparison would be to call it a Rogue One lite, if that movie had chosen to play up the Jyn/Cassian angle a fair amount more than it actually did.
If you remember earlier news, Kathleen Kennedy said that she’s looking for opportunities for women to direct future Star Wars movies, but our source seems to think that this may be the first major step toward getting a Star Wars movie that’s directed by a woman.
Considering that there’s been a recent push in Hollywood to get more women in director’s chairs (in part due to pressure from unions), it seems like this would be a shrewd decision on Kennedy’s part… Presuming, of course, that a female director isn’t attached to one of the spin-offs made prior to this. Hopefully, they can get someone like Claudia Grey to handle the script, as her work on Lost Stars (a novel that handled the same kind of pitch) has been deemed some of the best literature in the new canon, even if it is based around a standard young adult narrative. However, although our source allows that this story is in the same vein as Lost Stars, he clarified the following:
It doesn’t sound like this is going to be an adaptation of that book.
I’m not sold on this concept yet, but then again, there are so few details on it that I can’t really make a judgment one way or another.
What Comes Next
So that’s it for the three projects that will likely become films after 2019. But first, a quick aside, because it’s not going to fit in anywhere else in this article and it doesn’t warrant its own page. Our source says:
We’re going to get information about Han Solo a lot earlier than we have for any other recently-produced Star Wars movie.
That much should be obvious given that they’re angling for a May release date. But he also made mention about the style and vibe of the film:
The movie is said to have something of a comic book/pulp feel as well.
This would make a lot of sense if you’re familiar with Lord & Miller’s existing body of work. Anyway, onto the distant future. While it was noted by Iger that there are already rough plans for about 15 years of Star Wars material after Episode IX (as mentioned at the beginning of this article), it also seems that even though Disney/Lucasfilm doesn’t have an end anywhere in sight for the franchise for some time, they may be planning to ease off on the idea of putting out a Star Wars movie every year in perpetuity:
There seems to be a plan for a hiatus on Star Wars movies – a plan that will happen after a few years after the end of the Sequel Trilogy.
While that might seem unthinkable at first, there are two reasons that they’d do this.
The first reason is that:
Star Wars on television is going to become a big focus over the next few years.
As Pablo Hidalgo said, one of the reason that Dave Filoni got that big promotion to oversee all animated projects is because there’s going to be plenty of them in the pipeline. We already know that another series is in development, though we don’t know when it’s going to hit or what it’s going to be about. Our source had this to say about an upcoming TV project:
The new series might be more in-tune with the existing story arcs of the Star Wars saga instead of “filling in gaps” like The Clone Wars and Rebels have.
I’m not sure what that entails, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough. One other thing that may or may not be related to this point that’s worth mentioning is that Lucasfilm is not letting anything go to waste:
A lot of stuff is going into storage – more than the Original Trilogy at its peak.
My guess is that this stuff could be reused for either future movies, or possibly for the live-action television show that will eventually happen.
On to the second point:
Lucasfilm will want to deliberately starve the market of Star Wars movies for a time.
It seems that the executives at Disney/LFL are keenly aware of the possibility of over-saturation with the franchise, and will intentionally institute dry periods in effort to increase the desire for future matierial, much like how the 3-D re-releases of the later two chapters of the Prequel Trilogy (and presumably, the Original Trilogy as well) were all cancelled during the lead-up to The Force Awakens. While Star Wars looks to be the kind of franchise that will bank hundreds of millions no matter what:
The powers that be are interested in making sure that there’s not a sense of fatigue.
That’s not to say that they won’t be developing new movie content on the side, but that it won’t be Star Wars related. You can probably guess where this is going, because it’s related to something that’s going to be a huge announcement when it actually happens…
The Fourth Star Wars Saga Trilogy
C’mon, you know that this was going to happen eventually. The Force Awakens isn’t the highest-grossing movie not directed by James Cameron for nothing. But at the same time, they might be taking another page from Cameron – wait a while before you do the sequel. Hopefully, it’s not as long a wait as Avatar 2 has been, and hopefully the waiting game will play out in Avatar‘s favor, but still. It’s safe to say that after the success of the Sequel Trilogy, another trilogy is going to follow:
Since Star Wars is a generational thing, there will be a gap between the Sequel Trilogy’s end and the new trilogy’s arrival.
And that’s all I was told about the future of Star Wars. All of this is a long way off from materializing, so there’s not going to be much in the way of confirming or debunking any of this information. Until then, I’ll preemptively brag that you heard it here, on Star Wars News Net, first.
Grant has been a fan of Star Wars for as long as he can remember, having seen every movie on the big screen. When he’s not hard at work with his college studies, he keeps himself busy by reporting on all kinds of Star Wars news for SWNN and general movie news on the sister site, Movie News Net. He served as a frequent commentator on SWNN’s The Resistance Broadcast.