Here’s what’s coming next in the galaxy far, far away.
The new era of Star Wars is an embarrassment of riches for fans of the franchise. Disney’s purchase of Star Wars didn’t just revive the fandom—it also guaranteed the regular production of new Star Wars movies from now until, well, Disney and Lucasfilm decide to stop making them (possibly never). With the intricate planning that has to take place at every stage of the process to maintain continuity in the galaxy far, far away, it makes sense that Lucasfilm has planned its film lineup well into the future.
Here are the upcoming Star Wars movies you can expect to hit theaters in the next few years.
Upcoming Star Wars movies: The complete release schedule
1) Star Wars Episode IX, Dec. 20, 2019
Star Wars Episode IX is the final chapter of the trilogy that started with A Force Awakens. It’ll be an especially bittersweet moment for fans because Carrie Fisher’s beloved Princess Leia was expected to play a larger role in the film.
Lucasfilm has said that it would adjust the script to account for her absence, and it would not construct a CGI version of her character like it did for Peter Cushings as Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One. Fisher finished filming her scenes for The Last Jedi before she died in December 2016.
Lucasfilm had tapped Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow to helm the project, but it announced on Sept. 5, 2017, that it and Trevorrow were parting ways. A week later Lucasfilm said The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams—widely viewed as a safe choice—would be back for Episode IX.
J.J. Abrams confirmed on Feb. 21, 2018, that the script is complete, and he’ll begin filming in July 2018.
With that change, it comes as little surprise that Lucasfilm bumped the May 2019 release date for Episode IX to Dec. 20, 2019.
While Episode IX marks the final chapter of the trilogy, it won’t be the last we see of Star Wars—not by a long shot. It’ll be followed in 2020 by another standalone movie, and while there are no further announced films, you can bet Disney won’t leave its extremely valuable intellectual property sitting around to gather dust. Disney CEO Bob Iger hinted in a Q&A back in March 2017 that we could be looking at 15 more years of Star Wars filmmaking. Indeed, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has already been tasked with developing a new trilogy for Lucasfilm that will steer away from the Skywalker saga. More on that later.
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2) Boba Fett spinoff, release date unknown
Shortly after the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Variety confirmed that Disney is making a Boba Fett movie. Long rumored to be the third “Star Wars Story” spinoff, it will be written and directed by James Mangold. Currently known as the director of Logan, Mangold has worked in a wide variety of genres including romcoms (Kate & Leopold), biopics (Walk the Line), and Westerns (3:10 to Yuma).
Although Boba Fett has a cult following, the idea of a spinoff inspired mixed reactions from fans. Solo’s disappointing box office proved that a famous name won’t necessarily sell a Star Wars movie by itself. Given Boba Fett’s role as a bounty hunter, we can expect this to be another action/adventure crime drama about a character we already know.
Boba Fett had a minor role in the Original Trilogy, receiving a more significant backstory in Attack of the Clones. It reimagined him as the cloned son of Jango Fett, a mercenary who provided the DNA for the titular clone army. Since Jango Fett was played by Temuera Morrison, the new Boba Fett will most likely be played by a Māori actor.
While the actual story is still unknown, Lucasfilm has been trying to make a Boba Fett movie for a while. They previously tapped Jurassic World director Josh Trank for the job, almost announcing the film at Star Wars Celebration 2015. There was even a teaser reel ready to show fans, according to Entertainment Weekly. But Trank mysteriously dropped out of the panel and left the project a week later. The reason for his departure was never stated, but many fans guess it had something to do with production problems on the embarrassingly bad Fantastic Four movie (which Trank publicly disavowed). Whatever the reason, Trank’s departure left the movie floundering. James Mangold is a more reliable replacement, familiar with blockbuster franchise filmmaking.
Disney hasn’t announced a release date for Boba Fett, but it’s likely to be May 2020. There are also persistent rumors of an Obi-Wan spinoff, partly because Ewan McGregor is so openly enthusiastic about the idea. Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry is reportedly in talks to direct.
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3) Rian Johnson’s Star Wars trilogy (TBA)
The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson got seriously mixed reviews for his contribution to Lucasfilm’s mainline Star Wars trilogy. Critics loved Johnson’s bold choices and strong character development, but large portions of Star Wars fandom hated Luke Skywalker’s characterization in the film and the sometimes awkward tonal shifts. But before The Last Jedi even debuted, Lucasfilm announced it was shifting Johnson away from the Skywalker saga to a different part of the Star Wars universe.
In early November 2017, Lucasfilm said Johnson would helm a new Star Wars trilogy and “introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy notably said she was excited to see what Johnson would do with a “clean slate” to build from. We still have no idea what story Johnson might tell, but we’re very interested to see what shakes out from this unprecedented cinematic move away from the core story and characters.
While Johnson is off in his own Star Wars sandbox, J.J. Abrams will close out the current trilogy with what will likely be a more broadly palatable (but less interesting) final chapter.
Editor’s note: This article will be regularly updated for relevance.