Is ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’ the End of the Saga Movies? Will There Be an ‘Episode X’?

Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Lucasfilm

When Lucasfilm announced the cast list for Star Wars: Episode IX this week, the news release called this the “final installment of the Skywalker saga,” and later, Mark Hamill referred to this movie as his final chapter. So does that mean Episode IX is the end of the Star Wars saga movies and there won’t be an Episode X?

Well, not exactly. Lucasfilm has referenced this movie as the end of the “Skywalker saga,” not the end of the Star Wars saga. It seems more likely that what the studio means is that Episode IX is the end of the storyline about the Skywalker family and that a potential Episode X would be the beginning of a new era.

After all, Luke Skywalker has died by the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Leia Organa will likely die in Episode IX. That would leave Ben Solo as the last Skywalker, and if we assume that he doesn’t make it out of Episode IX alive, that means the Skywalker story is effectively over.

That doesn’t suggest there won’t be an Episode X, though. Last fall, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy spoke with The Star Wars Show about the future of the series, and she suggested we’ll continue seeing the sequel trilogy characters after Episode IX.

“We’re sitting down now, we’re talking about the next 10 years of Star Wars stories, and we’re looking at narratively where that might go,” she said. “Future stories beyond Episode IX with these new characters: Rey, Poe, Finn, BB-8.”

Kylo Ren and Rey battling in The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

Unless those characters are to get spinoffs, any future stories with them would likely involve Episode X. And it’s worth noting that she didn’t mention Kylo Ren there, meaning additional storylines with these characters would have nothing to do with the Skywalkers anymore.

From a business perspective, it’s a bit difficult to believe that Disney would totally abandon the episodic movies, which thus far have been performing significantly better than the spinoffs. If Episode IX was going to be the end of Star Wars films with numbered titles, and the future of the series lied in the spinoffs and standalone movies, then the next few non-saga films would have to perform incredibly well to prove to Disney that this is a good direction to go in.

Those films that are in the works include three from Rian Johnson, which will follow a completely original storyline and have nothing to do with the main saga. There’s also going to be a series from David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The only way Disney and Lucasfilm would consider abandoning the saga movies is if these spinoffs perform just as well at the box office.

But the recent failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story proved that Star Wars movies are no longer guaranteed hits. After that film underperformed, there were reports that Lucasfilm was reassessing its upcoming slate and putting some planned spinoffs on hold; the guaranteed hit of an Episode X must seem a lot more appealing after Solo grossed nearly $1 billion less than The Last Jedi.

If there is an Episode X, it almost certainly won’t be released just two years after Episode IX, though. So far, there has been a long gap between all three of the Star Wars trilogies, and Lucasfilm already has enough projects in development to last them a while. One theory among fans is that Lucasfilm will focus on these spinoffs and standalone films for the next 10 years or so, allowing audiences to miss the main saga. Then, in 2027, we’ll get Star Wars: Episode X just in time for the franchise’s 50th anniversary.