As Rogue One looms, Lucasfilm develops secret plans for new Star Wars movies – Entertainment Weekly
The stakes are greater than just one film, because the reaction to Lucasfilm’s first stand-alone will be a key decision-making factor as the company gathers its creative team together in early 2017 to decide on other titles to greenlight for the years ahead.
After relaunching Star Wars last year with The Force Awakens, which was the first offering in a new trilogy, Lucasfilm decided to experiment with how far they could expand their cinematic universe by rewinding the chronology and telling a story that doesn’t focus on any of the original characters – except the looming presence of Darth Vader in the background.
Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Gary Whitta, Chris Weitz, and Tony Gilroy, goes back 34 years in galactic time to tell the origin story of how Rebel commandos, led by Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso, came into possession of the original Death Star plans, which Princess Leia later hid in R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker used to blow the moon-sized weapon to smithereens.
Next year, Rian Johnson’s still-untitled Episode VIII will spin the clock forward again to pick up the story of Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren. In 2018, we’ll rewind again for The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, whose young Han Solo stand-alone will star Aldren Ehrenreich (Hail Caesar!) in the Harrison Ford role, Donald Glover filling Billy Dee Williams’ cape as Lando Calrissian, and Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke in an unspecified part. In 2019, director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) will deliver Episode IX. But after that…? Nobody knows.
The biggest question of all: After the new trilogy ends with Episode IX in 2019, will a new trilogy begin? Or does the annual release of a Star Wars film become a litany of stand-alones, only occasionally threading back together (the way the Marvel movies do)?