Star Wars: What Rogue Squadron’s Possible Cancellation Means
The Patty Jenkins-directed Rogue Squadron, which was announced with great fanfare a few years ago, has gone down the Star Wars memory hole.
Rogue Squadron has finally been grounded.
To the surprise of absolutely no one who follows the movie business, the Star Wars film announced back in late 2020 on a Disney investor’s call has been removed from the Disney release schedule. The Lucasfilm project was set to arrive on Dec. 22, 2023, a date which stubbornly remained on the calendar even as months went by with no appreciable movement on the movie.
Patty Jenkins had been slated to direct the movie, which would have been the first new Star Wars theatrical release since The Rise of Skywalker underperformed at the box office—it also would’ve been the first Star Wars movie, period, to be directed by a woman. But as time went by with no announcements on casting, the start of production, or other aspects, fans began to wonder what was happening with the project.
Jenkins herself put the film on hold in November 2021 to focus on a third Wonder Woman movie. Rogue Squadron’s planned 2022 production start date was then effectively squashed. By that point it certainly seemed like the film was comatose, if not outright dead, and this week’s revelation that it had been taken off the schedule only confirmed that, at least for now, it’s been consigned to the same limbo as a number of other Star Wars movies in the past several years.
What This Means for Star Wars Going Forward
There’s no official word on whether Rogue Squadron might ever return, and indeed Disney did not give any reason for its removal, but two other untitled Star Wars movies remain on the studio’s schedule: One is dated for Dec. 19, 2025; the other for Dec. 17, 2027. But any further details about both remain unknown.
One of those could be the movie slated to be written and directed by Thor: Love and Thunder helmer Taika Waititi. Back in June, Waititi told ScreenRant that “I’m still writing. I’m still coming up with the ideas and storylining it, and just wanted to make sure that it feels like a Star Wars film.” While Waititi does have an already completed movie, Next Goal Wins, coming out next April, and also has various projects in development, now might finally be the time for him to hit the hyperdrive on his Star Wars opus.
That’s because, aside from those two lonely release dates hanging out there, Star Wars as a theatrical franchise—once considered the theatrical experience as recently as seven years ago, when The Force Awakens broke the opening weekend box office record—seems to have ground to a complete halt.
Streaming-wise on Disney+, that “galaxy far, far away” is humming along: The Mandalorian is heading into Season 3, The Bad Batch got a season 2 premiere date, Andor is just days away from its premiere, and Ahsoka and The Acolyte are both in production. No one’s ruled out second seasons of The Book of Boba Fett or Obi-Wan Kenobi either.
But so far those streaming shows have lacked a certain amount of prestige and visibility in pop culture; and unlike the films, many of them have failed to make a major splash on the zeitgeist.
In addition to Rogue Squadron, theatrical Star Wars projects now missing in action include the allegedly-still-possible trilogy from Rian Johnson, the definitely dead trilogy from Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and standalone films from Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige and Sleight director J.D. Dillard.
Whether it was the scathing fan, critical, and box office response to The Rise of Skywalker, the still-lingering divisiveness over The Last Jedi, or problems in developing new big screen stories that take Star Wars out of the comfort zone of Skywalker family canon and fan service, Lucasfilm and Disney seem to continue to be gun-shy about committing to a full Star Wars theatrical slate, as once envisioned by former CEO Bob Iger nearly a decade ago upon Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm.
The disappearance of Rogue Squadron and the continued lack of significant movement on any further theatrical films seem to indicate that, at least for the immediate future, Disney believes that the most profitable path for Star Wars lies in streaming. Who knows—perhaps even a reimagined Rogue Squadron might eventually find a home there and soar again, only this time on your TV.
That still seems a pretty low altitude for a concept that was once intended to herald in the next phase of Star Wars as a cinematic event.