When Disney announced a decade ago its plans to release one Star Wars film a year, starting with 2015’s The Force Awakens, the studio likely didn’t factor a three-year lull after the end of Sequel Trilogy into its plans. But almost three years since the release of 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker, the state of the film franchise is up in the air. While Star Wars has continued to thrive on Disney+ during that time, it’s unclear when the saga will actually return to the big screen.
Yes, Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron movie is currently slated for a Dec. 2023 release but rumored production delays due to creative differences behind the scenes will likely mean the film has to be pushed back — if it isn’t just quietly removed from Disney’s release calendar altogether just like Rian Johnson’s long-awaited Star Wars trilogy. Fortunately, there are other Star Wars movies in the works at Lucasfilm, including a film directed by MCU veteran Taika Waititi, who is also writing the script with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917).
Then there’s the picture being developed by MCU boss Kevin Feige. First revealed in 2020, Feige’s movie is currently being penned by Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness screenwriter Michael Waldron.
The screenwriter gave Den of Geek an update on how his top-secret Star Wars movie is progressing while chatting with us about his latest MCU outing.
“It’s coming along, it’s nice to have some time to focus on it,” Waldron says. “And it’s fun to get to do something that feels fresh and original, and I’m excited to work with Kevin again, and with the team at Lucasfilm. And I love Star Wars. So it’s a blast.”
The keyword here is “fresh,” a sentiment Waldron echoed in an interview with Variety in which the writer dropped some hints regarding how this Star Wars movie will fit into the timeline of the galaxy far, far away.
“I’m writing away,” Waldron told the outlet. “I’m enjoying having the freedom on that to do something that’s not necessarily a sequel or anything. It maybe has a little bit less of a — it just doesn’t have a bunch of TV shows and movies that you’re servicing on top of it, the way I did with Doctor Strange. So it’s nice. It feels like a different exercise.”
While Waldron is careful not to divulge any actual spoilers, we can guess a few things about the film’s plot based on what the writer is saying, specifically that it’s a standalone adventure not tied to the larger film saga or the slate of Disney+ series. Since interconnection and synergy with the main Skywalker saga has long been a key aspect of Star Wars movies, including with solo outings like 2016’s Rogue One and 2018’s Solo, Feige and Waldron’s upcoming installment could end up being one of the first films set in this universe not to tie into all the others in some way.
This does raise questions about when in the Star Wars timeline this movie will be set. All 11 live-action Star Wars films released thus far have taken place within a particularly eventful 70-year period in galactic history. If the Feige/Waldron project truly doesn’t tie into any of these other movies, could this be the Star Wars project that finally explores a completely different era on the big screen?
In recent years, Disney has shown interest in developing stories set hundreds to thousands of years before Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star in A New Hope. The High Republic series, which will soon include a Disney+ show called The Acolyte, is set 200 years before the events of The Phantom Menace. Meanwhile, rumors of a Knights of the Old Republic movie set millennia before the Skywalker saga have persisted, with even Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy previously expressing interest in bringing that fan-favorite era to the big screen.
Lucasfilm also tapped Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to make a series of films that would have explored the origin of the Jedi, a story that would have presumably taken place thousands of years before Obi-Wan Kenobi first showed Luke the ways of the Force. But the project fell through when Benioff and Weiss exited the franchise during the development phase. It’s possible Feige and Waldron’s project (or Waititi and Wilson-Cairns’) will be the one to finally show us the galaxy of thousands of years ago.
But when we asked Waldron about whether the team had pinned down when this movie will be set, the writer kept his cards close to the chest: “Not yet, no. Still figuring all that out.”
While Waldron’s latest update leaves us with way more questions than answers, there’s a possibility that we’ll learn a bit more about this movie at Star Wars Celebration, which will open with a panel about Lucasfilm’s upcoming live-action projects on May 26.
Additional reporting by Don Kaye.