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Since the 1977 release of the original Star Wars, later rechristened as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, the epic sci-fi series has stood at the forefront of pop culture. With eleven films and countless other stories told through animated series, novels, and comic books, the world of Star Wars is large and ever-expanding. The series has kept Lucasfilm, bought by the Walt Disney Company in 2012, at the top of the box-office.

Last year’s Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker has been touted as the end of “The Skywalker Saga”, a nine-film story consisting of the “original trilogy” released between 1977 and 1983, the “prequel trilogy” released between 1999 and 2005, and the “sequel trilogy” released between 2015 and 2019. While there exist two other films in the franchise, these nine films make up the main Star Wars narrative, all focused on the members of the Skywalker family. 

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Rumors or Confirmed News on the Future of Star Wars?

Despite the sense of finality that comes with the release of The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars isn’t going anywhere. The franchise will, of course, continue. While the production of films seems to have slowed down for the immediate future, there are definite plans for more big-screen space fantasy action. Meanwhile, the galaxy far, far away will also be appearing in some new places as well. 

Several Star Wars movies have been rumored or confirmed, to be in various stages of development. However, details are vague, and plans can always be changed at a moment’s notice. Whatever film does wind up following The Rise of Skywalker, it likely won’t hit theatres for at least two or three years, as Lucasfilm has placed themselves on a hiatus for the time being. 

Last year it was announced that Marvel Studios producer and a frontrunner, Kevin Feige, had been brought on to help develop a new Star Wars film. Feige is a self-confessed fan of the epic sci-fi series, and so his involvement in the future of the franchise seems fitting. Unfortunately, no other details about the upcoming project were mentioned, outside of Feige’s involvement. 

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A more substantial hint towards where future Star Wars movies will go is the wildly popular video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and its sequel Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. A fan-favorite game, KOTOR is set in an era about 4,000 years before the original Star Wars film. Due to the gap in time, the setting is wildly different, while still containing recognizable elements such as lightsabers, the Jedi and the Sith, and some iconic settings. The online role-playing game Star Wars: The Old Republic, released in 2011, is also set in this time period. 

Fans have long anticipated a film, or even trilogy of films, set in the Old Republic era. According to some sources, the time may have finally come for this unique time period to appear on the big screen. The film, or series of films, would tell a new story rather than retelling the events of the three Old Republic video games. This would open up many new story opportunities for the movies after the Skywalker Saga focused on a contained cast of characters and a singular conflict. Last year, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy also hinted at an Old Republic project possibly being in development

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In addition to the Old Republic plans, new plans have more recently surfaced which detail a different setting for an upcoming film. The High Republic era, which takes place thousands of years after the Old Republic but still about 400 years before the Skywalker Saga, may be the destination for the next film. In this case, the new film would take place much closer to the previous Star Wars films, with the possibility of showing some long-living familiar faces such as the iconic Jedi Master Yoda. While many fans would prefer an Old Republic film, the High Republic may function as a more recognizable Star Wars setting, with much of the technology and lore being closer to what we’ve come to expect from the franchise. 

With the films placed on hiatus, it seems that television will be fans’ major source of Star Wars for the near future. Thankfully, there are a number of upcoming projects on Disney+ that will likely be released sooner rather than later. 

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Star Wars Series

Currently airing on Disney+ is season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a popular animated series that previously aired on Cartoon Network. The Clone Wars is set between two of the films in the prequel film series, Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. It includes most of the major characters from the prequel films, such as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as original characters such as Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano. 

The Clone Wars originally aired on Cartoon Network, before being canceled in 2013. A sixth season was released on Netflix in 2014, which was intended to be the end of the show. However, due to popular demand, a seventh and final season was launched and began airing on Disney+ in February 2020. The final episode is scheduled to drop on May 8TH, 2020. 

There are also several live-action shows planned for Disney+ in the coming years. A second season of The Mandalorian, a sort of space Western set after the events of the Skywalker Saga, has been produced after a successful first season. The Mandalorian stars Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal as a lone bounty hunter working in the lawless reaches of space, whose life is changed after discovering a bounty that he can’t bear to collect. 

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The Mandalorian

Season 2 of The Mandalorian wrapped filming last month and is intended to premiere in October, though other details are sparse. Ming-Na Wen, who appeared for a single episode in the show’s first season, has revealed that she will return for the second season. Director Taika Waititi, who directed the eighth episode of the first season along with voicing the recurring character IG-11, revealed that he will not be returning to direct in Season 2. The season will also see the live-action debut of The Clone Wars’ Ahsoka Tano, who will be played by Rosario Dawson.

Along with The Mandalorian, Star Wars fans are surely excited about another live-action Disney+ project in the works. A currently untitled series starring Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi will be coming to the streaming service, and it will see the long-awaited return of actor Ewan McGregor in the role. 

McGregor played Kenobi, a major character, throughout all three films of the prequel trilogy. While those films are divisive among fans, McGregor’s performance has been frequently praised as genuine, providing many moments of both lighthearted humor and grave drama. The upcoming project was delayed at the beginning of the year, pushing its premier to early next year, and the show also recently received a new writer. It is expected to take place between Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV: A New Hope, when Kenobi lived as a hermit on the desert planet of Tatooine. 

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A third Disney+ series is slated to star Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna, a rebel spy who first appeared in the 2016 spin-off film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The series will act as a prequel, following Andor’s adventures before the events of Rogue One along with his droid sidekick K-2SO, voiced by Alan Tudyk. The series was recently delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, after completing six weeks of pre-production.  

Star Wars stands at the center of sci-fi fandom. It is a franchise that has stood the test of time and has touched generations of moviegoers over the span of over forty years. While there have been delays, and plans have changed, Lucasfilm has already planned out the next steps in this epic space opera.  

By Thomas McNulty

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