The Star Wars franchise has had its ups and downs in recent years, both in the reception of its films and in the behind-the-scenes processes of bringing the series to life. Earlier this year, Disney CEO Bob Iger claimed that the franchise would go on an indefinite theatrical hiatus, with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker being the only film with a confirmed release date. Less than a month later, Lucasfilm confirmed that three new films will begin to hit theaters in alternating Decembers, beginning in 2022, leaving fans to wonder what these films could be. Unfortunately, the studio knows how desperate fans are to know more information about the announced projects, though they refuse to shed insight into those endeavors.
ABC correspondent Clayton Sandell took to Twitter to confirm, "We asked, but Lucasfilm is not yet saying if the new [Star Wars] films planned for 2022, 2024 and 2026 are part of the previously-announced Rian Johnson trilogy or the series from Game of Thrones producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss."
One reason why fans think the first of these films to hit theaters could be the first installment in Johnson's trilogy is that his films were announced before Star Wars: The Last Jedi even landed in theaters, confirming the faith they had in the filmmaker's vision. With Benioff and Weiss' films not announced until months later, it would seem as though their trilogy wouldn't hit theaters until after Johnson's.
A possible complication with that theory is Johnson's next film, Knives Out, won't be landing in theaters until this November. Benioff and Weiss, meanwhile, have wrapped up their work on Game of Thrones, whose final episode debuts later this month. In regards to scheduling, it would seem as though this duo would have an upcoming opening in their schedule, potentially allowing the film to head into production before the end of the year.
Fans are also curious if the three confirmed release dates are all for one trilogy or if these dates account for various series. It's possible that Benioff and Weiss' film debuts in 2022, with Johnson's landing in 2024, before getting back to the Game of Thrones co-creators' series. In the years that a Star Wars film won't be opening in December, Disney confirmed that an Avatar sequel will be opening, potentially forcing other confirmed Star Wars films to open at different times of the year.
Solo: A Star Wars Story marked the first film in the series released by Disney to open outside of December, with the film becoming the lowest-grossing entry in the entire franchise. The prevailing theory about why it disappointed was that it had only been six months since the last film had been released, with Solo failing to earn substantial buzz or earn the interest of casual fans.
These confirmed release dates are surely exciting for fans, even without knowing what creative team will be responsible for those slots, but the news is also frustrating as we are left to wonder what projects will ultimately arrive on those days, in addition to knowing we have to wait three years after The Rise of Skywalker for a new film.
Stay tuned for details on the future of the Star Wars franchise.
Which films do you think will open on these dates? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!
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