Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is set to conclude the Skywalker Saga, but Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recently pointed out the distinction of what that means for the franchise's future and what new stories could explore. While all nine films in the Skywalker Saga have thematic connections, the key component of the overall narrative is the depiction of the Skywalker lineage, from Anakin in the prequel trilogy to his conflicts with his children Luke and Leia in the original trilogy to the descent of Anakin's grandson, Kylo Ren, down a path of darkness. According to Kennedy, so long as no Skywalker is involved, any spinoff projects with any characters are possible.
"It’s only creatively constrictive with regard to the Skywalkers, because 'the saga' really references the Skywalker family," Kennedy shared with io9. "And that’s what we’re bringing to a conclusion. There is an inevitability with that because of the actors and the characters they’re playing. So that’s really what we’re looking at more than anything. At least in my lifetime, there’s never going to be an end to Star Wars. So this isn’t the end of Star Wars, it’s the end of that family saga."
Up until 2016, fans never had to make the distinction between what is the Skywalker Saga and what isn't, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story offering a number of connections to the Skywalker family without having to focus entirely on characters from that family. In that regard, Kennedy's comments seem to confirm nearly any character could become the focus of a spinoff film or TV series, so long as a Skywalker isn't a central figure.
When George Lucas crafted the franchise, he likely hadn't anticipated expanding the narrative to include non-Skywalker spinoffs, as he reportedly only had plans for the nine episodic films. Earlier this year, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that, despite Lucas selling the company, he was disheartened to learn about the studio's plans for the sequel trilogy and how they deviated from his ideas.
"I think there’s plenty of examples where people create something that is fundamental to who they are, where it’s difficult letting go and watching that become something different," Kennedy shared with Rolling Stone earlier this year about Lucas' disappointment. "So I think initially, that was difficult for George — I don’t think he anticipated how hard that would be. And [director] J.J. [Abrams] came into it with such enthusiasm and, frankly, reverence for Star Wars and for George, and had to find what was personal for him. He had to make it his own. Every director who comes into a movie has to make something their own; they have to find themselves in the storytelling. And then that’s going to become a different point of view. And I think that’s all George was reacting to."
The final entry in the Skywalker Saga, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, hits theaters on December 20th.
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