“Culture of fear and indecision” surrounds the future of Star Wars movies

It’s an interesting time at Lucasfilm. After being acquired by Disney in 2012, the studio started churning out Star Wars movies to meet a once-a-year demand set by former Disney CEO Bob Iger. However, after The Rise of Skywalker disappointed critics and fans alike, Lucasfilm dialed things back.

The results have been hard to parse. The television arm of the Star Wars franchise is doing better than ever, with multiple live-action and animated projects hitting Disney+ every year. In 2022 alone, we’ve seen The Book of Boba FettObi-Wan KenobiTales of the Jedi, and the currently airing and criminally underrated AndorEarly next year we’ll be getting back together with our pals Din Djarin and Baby Yoda for The Mandalorian season 3, and after that there’s AhsokaThe AcolyteThe Skeleton Crew, and probably five more shows that I’m forgetting. But when it comes to movies, Star Wars has lain dormant since 2019, although a slew of projects have announced and subsequently shelved.

What exactly is going on with Star Wars movies? According to a new report from former Hollywood Reporter writer Matthew Beloni over at Puck, a “culture of fear and indecision” has grown at Lucasfilm over the pressure to get the next movie right.

The next Star Wars movie isn’t coming until 2025…maybe

The story is this: over the years, a ton of Star Wars movie projects have been announced, and subsequently had the plug pulled on them over scheduling or creative differences or various other reasons. Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were tapped to helm a trilogy of films, as was The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson. Benioff and Weiss ended up bailing to work with Netflix instead, with Johnson following suit. Then there was the Rogue Squadron movie helmed by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. That one even had a 2023 release date, but alas, a few months ago it was removed from Disney’s slate of upcoming projects.

In an interview over the summer, Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy claimed the next Star Wars movie we’d see was a brand new concept from visionary talent Taika Waititi, earmarked for a “late 2023” release. Meanwhile, Waititi said right around the same time that he was currently writing the movie and that he was unsure whether the movie would even actually get made. Not exactly a sign that all’s going according to plan.

There’s also a project being developed by Kevin Feige with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness scribe Michael Waldron; Kennedy said that one isn’t even on the radar right now, but that she “would love to see what movie [Feige] might come up with.” Around the same time, Waldron said he was actively working on the script.

Damon Lindeloff (Lost, Watchmen) and Justin Britt-Gibson (The Strain) are writing a new Star Wars film with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel) tapped to direct. This came about after Lucasfilm assembled a “secret writers room” to crack the next movie.

None of the movies I just listed are technically greenlit at Lucasfilm. The Hollywood Reporter reports that the earliest slot on Disney’s schedule for a Star Wars film isn’t until at least December 2025. So no matter how it shakes out, we’ll be waiting a while.

Why can’t Lucasfilm get its act together on Star Wars movies?

If all this sounds confusing, that’s because it is, for fans and Lucasfilm employees alike. According to Beloni, it’s gotten to the point where Disney itself has instructed Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy to stop announcing new Star Wars projects, lest (in Beloni’s words) “the ravenous nerd press pounce when those projects don’t actually happen.”

As a member of said ravenous nerd press, yes, we absolutely do report when these projects are announced and subsequently shelved, and it has been hard to keep up with Lucasfilm’s seemingly liquid release slate. “Getting it right” has apparently become a mantra at the studio, a reference to the need for the next Star Wars film to not be a flop like The Rise of Skywalker or Solo.

Some of Beloni’s sources cite Kennedy’s management of the franchise as the issue. Whatever the exact problem, it seems apparent that the vision for where next to take the Star Wars movie franchise has been deficient, even as the television wing flies high. It’s not necessarily a bad thing that the studio is taking its time, but all the stars and stops don’t inspire confidence.

But hey, you don’t need to hold your breath for that next Star Wars movie. It’ll get here whenever it gets here, in 2025 or 2030 or some day. In the meantime, Andor on Disney+ is excellent. New episodes drop every Wednesday:

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Get HBO, Starz, Showtime and MORE for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channels

h/t SFFGazette.com