Four Different Directions the Star Wars Movies Can Go in Now

So that’s it. With the release of The Rise of Skywalker, the Star Wars franchise is done. Finished. No more. It is a dead parrot. Long live the franchise. Yada yada. No. The “Skywalker Saga” is done, presumably, but there will be more Star Wars. That much is confirmed since we know a Mandalorian season two is coming, as well as an Obi Wan show on Disney+ and probably more as well. As for the movies…that’s where things get a bit more complicated.

When Disney bought Lucasfilm for four billion dollars they immediately announced a new trilogy of movies to follow Return of the Jedi. There was no talk that Episodes 7-9 would be the end. As a matter of fact, most assumed after Episode 9 there would be a hiatus of a few years to a decade before “Episode X” released, kicking off a new trilogy, and on into perpetuity. Cause if there’s one thing Disney loves, it’s “franchises continuing into perpetuity.”

But then came the diminishing returns. As of now, The Rise of Skywalker (being the fifth Star Wars movie in just four years) is on track for the second-worse box office intake. Episode 7 brought in two billion dollars. The follow-up episode nabbed half a billion less. The Rise of Skywalker is now projected barely to limp over the billion dollar finish line.

Nevertheless, there will be more Star Wars.

Disney is going to have to rethink their approach but they will not let this franchise lie dormant. There’s too much money to be made off of ticket sales, home video sales, Disney+ subscriptions, merchandise, theme park attractions and more.  So where do they go from here?

I have a few suspicions…

They can go to the past

The most obvious choice is to get as far away from the sixty-year Skywalker Saga as possible. Take the mythos of the galaxy far, far away into the far, far past. The ancient era of Star Wars features Knights of the Old Republic in swashbuckling adventures against legions of Sith warriors. Probably the most well known and storyline-rich saga of that era concerns Darth Revan but there’s a plethora of other storytelling possibilities to be mined, and there are a number of great writer-directors with skill in the fantasy genre who can bring something fresh to Star Wars.

Disney just needs to come up with a big picture story first and then go from there.

They can go to the Future

I’m not advocating you turn Star Wars into Star Trek but it is interesting to think about what Star Wars would look like even a hundred years after The Rise of Skywalker. What about a thousand years? Shoot, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic for “over a thousand generations;” why not jump that far into the future? There’s no rule book or canon for that era of Star Wars. That would be totally new territory. Sure there’d have to be some semblance of what came before, but you’d have to evolve everything. You’d have to take everything you know about that universe and filter it through a very different lens. Sounds like the perfect job for Rian Johnson, if you ask me.

Disney just needs to come up with a big picture story first and then go from there.

They can rest before a soft reboot

This would probably be the laziest choice to make: Rest the film franchise for five years or so and then announce “Episode X-XII are coming!” and set the new trilogy ten or even twenty years into the future. In that short amount of time, with characters like Rey, Poe, and Finn still alive and not too old to have an adventure, you could show how the (New) New Republic has gotten along in the decade since (re)defeating the Emperor. Naturally some new threat would emerge, kicking off a new trio of tales. It can work; of course it can, it’s Star Wars in the most fundamental ways we’ve been seeing it for forty years…it just wouldn’t be much more than that.

Disney just needs to come up with a big picture story first and then go from there.

They can rest before a hard reboot

A hard reboot would be the most brazen, ballsy, divisive move possible from a corporate standpoint while also being the laziest idea possible from a storytelling standpoint. While I don’t think it’ll actually happen in the immediate aftermath of The Rise of Skywalker, I can’t help but shake the idea that it might happen one day…

Disney could just remake the whole saga.

Obviously they can’t just announce something like that next Spring, but maybe they begin toying with the idea. Maybe first they do a trilogy of movies set in the past in the 2020s, then do a trilogy set in the distant future in the 2030s, and then announce a remake of the whole Skywalker Saga for the 2040s-50s. It’s a ludicrous idea now but by the time they would start it, Episode I (the first movie to be remade) would be around forty years old.

There is a great story that wasn’t well-told in the prequels. A great story was told in the original trilogy. A great story was almost told in the sequels. Now that the whole big picture is available Disney could re-tell it with an understanding of where things are supposed to go (with a few twists and new angles to some moments keeping things fresh).

The problem with the prequels was they were forced to work within the confines of whatever was hinted at in the Original Trilogy (and the writing/acting was really bad). Retroactively, some of the hints in the Original Trilogy lost a lot of their kick now that we know what happened in the Prequel Trilogy. The sequels started strong with two very distinct but thematically-connected movies, followed by a third film that buckled under the weight of trying to do too much.

In the end, Disney’s first crack at a Star Wars trilogy failed because Kathleen Kennedy failed to insist upon a big picture story first and then go from there. When the time comes for Disney to revisit the Skywalker Saga, they will have the story they need to tell their tale already in place, and though it will lack the lightning in a bottle magic that first accompanied the Original Trilogy, it’ll at least be a nine-part, harmonious story, which the original Skywalker Saga, sadly, was not.

…and maybe we can finally get that Darth Darth Binks plot off the ground!

Bonus: Just do a remake saga in this style

That’ll do.

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