Star Wars: Episode IX may not be at the forefront of audiences’ minds just yet, but you can bet that it’s on those of the execs at Disney.
The House of Mouse spent $4.26 billion to wrest control of the most beloved film franchise of all time from the iron grip of George Lucas, and even though they’ve likely made that money back in The Force Awakens‘ climbing gross and the ancillary products surrounding the film, it isn’t a property they wish to let lapse any time soon.
Considering that Star Wars: Episode IX will hit theaters in 2019, you can bank on it that Disney is already dreaming up plans of where this could all be going.
Fans have already gotten something of a glimpse into that distant future, and to read any more, you should know that you’ll be heading deep into spoiler territory for the new film from this point forward.
For those of you still here, let’s begin.
First thing: Disney has clearly positioned their new trilogy as something “special” in comparison to the “anthology” films that they plan to promote on alternating years in between the bigger “event” pictures.
That means for films like the planned Han Solo and Boba Fett spinoffs, as well as this year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, you can expect events and characters playing minor or “less major” roles in the trilogy films will get a chance to shine.
The anthologies really do free up Disney to experiment with the types of stories told in between trilogy pictures, but it’s clear the “anchors” will be Episodes 7, 8, and 9.
That means, as things stand, the anthology films will have to be “smaller” events, and it isn’t likely that Star Wars can survive for generations to come based solely on those types of films.
So what options does Disney have after closing out the saga of Finn, Rey, Poe Dameron, Chewbacca, and Leia and Luke Skywalker?
Well, the older characters are likely going away. Chewbacca can be recast and already has been to some degree, but Mark Hamill (Luke) and Carrie Fisher (Leia) cannot go on starring in these films for 10 or 20 years to come.
Therefore, you should probably get used to the idea that neither makes it past Star Wars: Episode IX alive.
It’s probable that Leia will check out in Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII, and that Luke will follow suit in the trilogy’s conclusion.
With Rey set to take the reins, she has a strong supporting cast to back her up for the films beyond Star Wars: Episode IX. Who knows which ones — if any — will get killed off, but the repercussions are sure to populate a new trilogy of films after this one finishes up.
While it is way too early to get into where the specific story mechanics will go after Star Wars: Episode IX, it is not too early to tell how Disney might structure the films to follow.
Firstly, you should probably expect more Han Solo, perhaps more Boba Fett, and maybe even some spinoffs from new characters like those appearing in Rogue One or other events sandwiched between one of the nine “Prime” movies.
Additionally, it is clear that tension exists between George Lucas and Disney after his “white slaver” comments to Charlie Rose, reported here by the BBC. Despite Lucas’s recent apology for his November outburst, the bad blood is clearly out there. Might Disney consider throwing out the prequels altogether and remaking those?
Likely not, since they do have their fans. But you could see some trilogy events prior to the prequels.
What do you think, readers? Where does the franchise have to go after Star Wars: Episode IX? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Star Wars: The Force Awakens]