‘Star Wars’: What Movies Is Disney Planning for After ‘The Rise of Skywalker’?

Lucasfilm has released the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and fans are already bracing themselves for all the feels. Director J.J. Abrams has made it clear he intends to bring the nine-part Skywalker saga to a “cohesive” conclusion. That doesn’t mean that Disney is closing up shop in the “galaxy far, far away.”

Of course, The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of an era for the Star Wars saga. But it’s certainly not the last film in the franchise Disney will release. In fact, the Mouse House has a ton of plans to keep fans excited for years to come.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy | Todd Williamson/Getty Images
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy | Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Farewell to the Skywalker saga

Ironically, The Rise of Skywalker will be the last film to focus on Anakin Skywalker and his legacy. The prequel and original trilogy focus on Anakin and Luke Skywalker, respectively. Meanwhile, the sequel trilogy largely follows Anakin’s grandson, Ben Solo a.k.a. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Since Abrams’ new film concludes this story, many fan-favorite characters are not expected to appear in subsequent Star Wars adventures. Even Anthony Daniels — who appears in every film in the franchise — is set to retire as C-3PO after this next film.

The Rise of Skywalker is even bringing Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) back from the dead to tie up any lingering plot threads. So fans shouldn’t plan to see Rey (Daisy Ridley) and her fellow rebels back for Episode X anytime soon.

What will ‘Star Wars’ look like going forward?

In many respects, The Rise of Skywalker is about as definitive an ending as Avengers: Endgame was earlier this year. New adventures will follow but without the presence of many characters we’ve come to know and love. What comes next will be very different. But when will it come?

As of now, Disney has staked out December release dates in 2022, 2024, and 2026. But the company hasn’t made announcements about which trilogy may fill these slots. As far as we know, potential standalone spinoffs like Rogue One and Solo (i.e., those bearing A Star Wars Story subtitles) have been put on indefinite hold.

That leaves two Star Wars trilogies we know are in development. One is being spearheaded by Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff. The mixed results to that show’s finale has some fans worried, and the lack of updates is suspicious.

Likewise, some fans are hoping that the other trilogy supposedly on the way falls apart. The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is taking the franchise in a new direction. However, we’ve don’t have any plot details on either his trilogy or that of Benioff and Weiss.

The saga lives on through Disney+

At one point, the Benioff and Weiss trilogy was reportedly up first. But Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy has remained mum about the exact plans for the franchise. The reason behind this? It seems the company is still mapping out its future plans.

Likely, this hesitation is based in part on the divisive reaction to The Last Jedi and the lackluster box office performance of Solo. Yet, it’s not like Star Wars fans will be left starving for content. This fall, the franchise lands on Disney+.

The first episode of The Mandalorian will be available when the streaming service launches on November 12. Disney+ is also developing a Rogue One spinoff series starring Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor. Moreover, Ewan McGregor will finally be reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi for a new limited series set between Episode III and IV.

While The Rise of Skywalker may be closing the curtain on the Skywalkers, what will follow is a brave new world for the Star Wars universe. The franchise has long needed to “let the past go,” as one masked baddie once so eloquently put it.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20. Tickets are on sale now.