‘Star Wars’: Here’s Why Lucasfilm Needs to Take a Break After ‘The Rise of Skywalker’

    No matter where you stand on the current state of the franchise, it’s a rough time to be aStar Warsfan. Over the years, the fandom has become increasingly defined by polarization and, in some respects, turned toxic. Thank goodness for those ever-optimistic “Reylo” shippers.

    WithStar Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerForce-leaping into theaters soon, the future of the saga is very much up in the air. J.J. Abrams’ film promises to give everyone’s favorite original trilogy characters one last hurrah. After that though, fans may not see Star Wars on the big screen for a while.

    The cast of ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’, Kathleen Kennedy, and J.J. Abrams at Disney’s D23 EXPO | Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

    Disney presses pause on the saga

    Disney and Lucasfilm have reportedly been developing a strategy for what films would followThe Rise of Skywalker. Yet, Variety’s Brent Lang reports that Disney CEO Bob Iger has shared the truth behind the future ofStar Wars. Apparently, the feature side of things is being put on an indefinite hiatus.

    That doesn’t bode well for previously announced projects like Rian Johnson’s trilogy. Then again, we recently learnedGame of Thronescreators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were no longer working with Lucasfilm. So perhaps fans shouldn’t be surprised at this point.

    Lucasfilm had previously staked out release dates starting in 2022 for a new trilogy ofStar Warsfilms. With Marvel Studios ramping up production to four films each year, perhaps the Avengers will claim those dates instead.

    ‘Star Wars’ has no clear direction

    Although devoted fans might be disheartened by this news, it ultimately could be a smart move for Lucasfilm Sure,Star Warshas remained financially successful since the Disney acquisition. But at what cost?

    Three of the four films released sinceThe Force Awakens— our apologies toSolo— have broken the $1-billion barrier worldwide. But the fanbase has been bifurcated as a result. Some love the ongoing Skywalker saga, and others prefer standalone spinoffs likeRogue One. The cross-section between lovers of both is uncomfortably slim and getting worse with each new film.

    Part of this is due to the lack of long-term planning at Lucasfilm. Consider the series of director firings that has plagued the studio these past few years. Rather than a clear vision of what it wants to be,Star Warshas been alternating between two different options.

    The saga should have chosen to either develop an ongoing narrative — a la Marvel — or embrace standalone successes like DC’sJoker. Instead, the decision to do both underscores a lack of confidence in the brand and has ultimately done it a disservice. Might fans expect to eventually see a Kevin Feige-esque five-year plan forStar Wars? Perhaps.

    Fans still have ‘The Mandalorian’

    Even though Star Wars won’t be up on the big screen, the saga is far from dead. The launch of Disney+, in fact, provides a whole new way for fans to visit the “galaxy far, far away.” The streaming service will feature a new season ofStar Wars: The Clone Warsas well as live-action series focused on Cassian Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

    But in the short term, all eyes are onThe Mandalorian. Notably, the show — at least so far — doesn’t feature any recognizable characters or storylines. So the Jon Favreau-created series could be the first bold step toward a fresh new era for the saga.

    A break fromStar Warsmight not be what some fans want. But, considering the toxic turn its relationship with fans has taken, such an approach is necessary to keep the two together for the long haul. Search your feelings,Star Warsfans. You know it to be true.

    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkeropens in theaters on December 20.


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