“Star Wars” is branching off into three different directions post-“Rise of Skywalker” through three different films that take place in past, “present” and future eras of the franchise.
1. A film set 15 years after “The Rise of Skywalker” starring Daisy Ridley as Rey Skywalker, who is rebuilding the Jedi Order. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is set to direct.
2. A film directed by Dave Filoni that will serve as a huge “Mando-Verse” crossover film.
3. A film set far in the past exploring the origins of the Jedi, directed by James Mangold.
It represents a departure from Disney’s original cinematic universe plan for “Star Wars” at this point, which included a bunch of standalone “Star Wars Story” films and a self-contained trilogy directed by “The Last Jedi” director Rian Johnson, the first of which was scrapped after “Solo: A Star Wars Story” underperformed.
I think that if all goes well, these films will spawn their own trilogies. We already know that fan-favorite character Grand Admiral Thrawn will appear in the “Ahsoka” series and that Filoni and co-showrunner John Favreau consulted author Timothy Zahn, who created Thrawn in the 1990s, in order to authentically bring the character to life. “Ahsoka” will also lift elements from Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy of books. It is unlikely that Filoni and Favreau will be able to tell Thrawn’s story in full in that show and Thrawn’s story would be a fitting one for their galaxy-defining “Mando-Verse” team up film — why not just go ahead and loosely adapt the entire trilogy into three films?
Mangold’s film set at the dawn of the Jedi and Rey’s belated sequel to “The Rise of Skywalker” have less clear paths to constructing trilogies. Mangold could easily steal elements from the “Knights of the Old Republic” game that delves into the origins of the Jedi and the Sith. He could easily portray his own version of the Rakatan Infinite Empire, an alien species that developed hyperspace travel early on and dominated the galaxy in those early days, as the series’ big bad.
For Rey’s film, I think elements of the “Legacy of the Force” and “Fate of the Jedi” series are best suited, as they portray a rebuilt Jedi Order after the Empire’s purge that is not officially affiliated with the government. In fact, under the leadership of Darth Caedus (a better version of Kylo Ren), Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Order was in hiding from the government in “Legacy of the Force,” which is called the Galactic Alliance.
Disney’s choice to keep Daisy Ridley on board is an interesting one, as while the film takes place 15 years after “The Rise of Skywalker,” Ridley would have aged about four or five years at the time of filming, if the film’s rumored 2025 release is true. Ridley is only 31 right now, which means that unlike the cast of the original trilogy, Disney could have her around for a very long time. So while the film would likely shift the spotlight from Rey to some of her new Jedi students, I don’t think they will discard her like the series is known to do with mentors.
This means that Rey would play a role similar to what Luke did in the Expanded Universe; a very powerful Jedi Grand Master who manages the inner workings of the order but is not the main protagonist, who sticks around for a while. It still would be nice if the “Mando-Verse” is able to restore some of these elements of Luke’s story in canon, but going forward, I think this is Disney’s only option for Rey. It would also make sense for Ridley, who has notably struggled to land projects after “The Rise of Skywalker.”
Running these trilogies at the same time would let Disney stagger releases, which would give filmmakers more time to work on their films, while also giving us a “Star Wars” film every year or every other year. It could work out something like this:
2025: Rey’s post-“Rise of Skywalker” film
2026: Filoni “Mando-Verse” film
2027: Mangold’s dawn of the Jedi film
2028: Rey’s second film
2029: Filoni’s second film
2030: Mangold’s second film
2031: Rey’s third film
2032: Filoni’s second film
2033: Mangold’s third film
After 2033, the franchise could take a break and Disney could enjoy the mountain of cash they’ve just made.
Of course, Disney could just be making only the three films they announced. But if they’re successful, I wouldn’t be surprised if they try something similar to what I just described; there’s too much money to be made.
It’s also possible that Disney is planning to do this all long and is wary to release their entire plans to the public, for fear of appearing to put the cart before the horse, especially considering the fact that the last time they did this (their “Star Wars Story” films), their plans imploded.
At the very least, if any of the three announced films are successful, I expect Disney to explore sequel prospects. I don’t expect them to be one and done, if there’s enough demand for more films.
There should be TV shows to follow each of those movies. I put in ideas for Matthew Vaughn on a Star Wars film to take place in the Skywalker Saga.