Here’s When Fans Can Expect the Next ‘Star Wars’ Movie

While all focus is on The Rise of Skywalker at the time of this writing, the Star Wars franchise is very much at a crossroads following the completion of big-screen Episode IX.

The saga of the Skywalkers is now set in cinematic stone. What comes next looks increasingly like moving away from big-screen efforts and maybe more within the realm of Disney+ streaming. With The Mandalorian a major hit and more probably like it down the road, is a new big-screen trilogy really necessary?

Questions are circling Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and whether she’ll really green-light a new theatrical Star Wars movie or leave it up to others to make those decisions.

A new film will reportedly be announced in 2020

A ‘Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker’ sign | Michael Tullberg/Getty Images

All reports say Lucasfilm will reveal what the next Star Wars will be in January of 2020, and it apparently won’t be the new trilogy Rian Johnson planned to make. No indications are in place Johnson has necessarily bowed out, yet it seems he may resist going near Star Wars again after the criticisms he received for taking the franchise in daring new directions.

Perhaps J.J. Abrams reset things in The Rise of Skywalker to give more fan service to those who wanted the film to adhere to the original trilogy style. Not that Abrams will be involved in Star Wars again soon, if perhaps ever.

Whoever it is tapped to make the next ST movie will probably take it in their own direction as well. From all indications, it’s going to be Kevin Feige who may bring a little bit of his Marvel magic to the galaxy far, far away. How that crossover works could become another Rian Johnson moment, despite Feige noted for being a master storyteller.

Considering Feige is going to be focusing on the behemoth of MCU’s Phase Four, plus Disney+ shows, Star Wars may just get in the way. However, it may be an indicator of the latter franchise moving forward mostly in a streaming environment.

Should future ‘Star Wars‘ movies just go to Disney+, or stay theatrical?

The line between streaming and theatrical is starting to blur as seen recently with new strategies of releasing Oscar-caliber films in theaters, plus streaming services like Netflix. The Irishman and Marriage Story likely set the new path forward on doing a combination of theatrical-streaming releases to gain the maximum amount of audiences.

Eventually, there may even be a time when theaters start using streaming technologies to give a more 4K shine to the theatrical experience. Although it could also mean riskier technical problems when watching.

Is it possible future Star Wars movies will go this route? There won’t be a new movie done until 2022 at the earliest now, assuming there aren’t delays if Feige takes the helm or Kennedy departs her job by 2021. By then, streaming is going to be even more mainstream in global households. Disney+ will also be the most powerful streaming service in the world.

From a bigger perspective, it might also make sense to debut a new Star Wars movie on Disney+ first to test the waters since the new movies may not have emotional connections to the Skywalker saga.

Does Lucasfilm have any choice but to connect to the Skywalkers?

One could argue the new trilogy wouldn’t have done so well had it not have related directly to the Skywalker arc. Even The Mandalorian has references to the original trilogy (particularly Force healing) without mentioning the name “Skywalker” once.

Because there are several older generations who grew up with Star Wars, new movies may have no choice but to have connective strings to the original characters in some capacity. Starting all over with a new saga set in an earlier time or another part of the universe will just seem too “alien” or niche to longtime fans to ensure massive box office.

All possibility exists the next movie will start on Disney+ first, then go to theaters after a week or two. Or it may be all streaming from here on out. What better way to honor the Skywalker story than to let it possibly be the last of the theatrical releases?