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All The Rumors About Star Wars After Episode IX

Although Disney has announced that the Star Wars films will be taking a well-earned hiatus from the big screen following the release of Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, Disney's version of a break looks a lot different than the leisurely rest period one might typically envision. While it's true that Disney doesn't have another Star Wars movie on its schedule for a couple years following Episode IX, there's still plenty of exciting Star Wars content on the docket to help bridge the gap between The Rise of Skywalker and whatever comes next — so much, in fact, that some projects were in production by the time Episode IX hits screens. 

But what does come next? While enough upcoming new Star Wars content has been announced to span the next decade, details on exactly what to expect and when are still pretty scarce, making it hard to anticipate precisely where the franchise will be headed following the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga. Fortunately, we've herded up every nerf of information we could find about what's on the horizon for Star Wars after The Rise of Skywalker in order to provide an overview of everything we have to look forward to the next time we return to a galaxy far, far away. 

Get ready for a lot of Star Wars reading material

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012, the studio also made the decision to de-canonize the expansive collection of novels and comics that made up the Star Wars Expanded Universe, rebranding those titles as Star Wars: Legends and placing them outside the continuity of the Star Wars films. Since then, many new books and comics have been released that are considered canon, and in February of 2020, Lucasfilm announced a brand new publishing initiative that they're calling Star Wars: The High Republic.

Set 200 years before the events of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the stories of The High Republic will unfold across adult, young adult, and children's books, as well as comics. The event that will kick off the new stories has only been revealed as "The Great Disaster," and according to Lucasfilm Publishing's creative director, Michael Siglain, the overarching plot of the interwoven tales will address the question, "What scares the Jedi?" This new initiative promises to introduce a wide spectrum of diverse characters, from Jedi to smugglers to bounty hunters, whose stories will gradually unfold over several years. The first phase of these new Star Wars stories will be called "Light of the Jedi," and the first books will make their debut in August of 2020, at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.

A new Star Wars film is in the works from the director of Sleight

In February of 2020, Disney announced that Lucasfilm was in the early stages of developing a new Star Wars film with J.D. Dillard, the writer and director of 2017's genre-bending superhero drama Sleight, and Luke Cage scribe Matt Owens. Very little is known about the film at this stage — including whether or not Dillard would even direct — but if it winds up becoming a reality, it would make Dillard and Owens the first black filmmakers to serve in a lead creative capacity on a Star Wars film.

Lucasfilm has declined to comment on whether this film would ultimately get a theatrical release, or whether it would premiere exclusively on Disney+, and the studio has also not revealed any information about the characters, location, or time period that will be featured in the film. However, based on both Dillard and Owens' backgrounds working on superhero-themed projects, we wouldn't be surprised if their take on Star Wars leans a lot more heavily on the Force and its various mystical properties than more grounded Star Wars tales such as Rogue One and The Mandalorian.

The Game of Thrones showrunners have exited a galaxy far, far away

Although Disney announced shortly after HBO's record-smashing fantasy series Game of Thrones wrapped up its run that series showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss would be coming aboard the Star Wars ship to create a new trilogy of their own, the duo has since parted ways with the franchise. While it's easy to speculate that their exit may have had something to do with Disney getting cold feet following the less-than-stellar reception for the final season of Game of Thrones, Benioff and Weiss have cited their massive, nine-figure deal with Netflix as the reason for their departure. 

Benioff and Weiss' trilogy, which was rumored to be set centuries before the events of A New Hope, during the time of the Old Republic, was previously scheduled to premiere with its first film on December 16, 2022. That would have made it the first post-Rise of Skywalker film in the Star Wars franchise. Now there's no telling what Disney will decide to slot into that release date... but we do know some other projects they have on the docket.

Rian Johnson is working on a new trilogy of his own

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is far from done with his time in Lucasfilm's sandbox. In fact, he's busy spinning up his own new trilogy of Star Wars films, which will "introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored." Johnson's trilogy was announced at the end of 2017, before The Last Jedi had even hit theaters, during Disney's year-end financial earnings call. After the deal was announced, Johnson tweeted, "Obviously I hope you like The Last Jedi. But man now I REALLY hope you like The Last Jedi." (The tweet has since been deleted, along with everything else Johnson tweeted prior to early 2018.) 

Clearly, the director wished for the audience response to his Star Wars film to be positive, so that we'd willingly follow him to three more. However, when The Last Jedi finally hit theaters, its reception was decidedly mixed, polarizing audiences who couldn't seem to agree on whether it was the best Star Wars movie ever made, or the worst. Fortunately for Johnson, though, Disney appears undeterred by the controversy surrounding The Last Jedi, and the director has confirmed that his trilogy is still moving forward — just as soon as everyone involved can get the scheduling worked out. 

Don't expect to find clues about Rian Johnson's trilogy in The Last Jedi

It may be a few years before we get the first film in Rian Johnson's new Star Wars trilogy, but we already have his entry in the Skywalker Saga in The Last Jedi. Additionally, we know that the decision to give him three additional films was made before The Last Jedi ever hit theaters, so it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that he may have slipped a few small hints about what he was planning into Episode VIII

However, any effort to scour each frame of The Last Jedi for Easter eggs would be wasted, as not even Johnson himself knew what his trilogy would be about, back when he first agreed to make it. As a matter of fact, Johnson signed onto the massive project without even a basic story pitch, telling SlashFilm that the way the idea came about had much more to do with sentimentality than any sort of narrative vision. 

"We were all... it was like last week of senior year," Johnson explained. "We [Kathleen Kennedy, Bob Iger, Alan Horn, and Alan Berg] were cleaning out our lockers. And all getting kind of sad. And saying, how do we keep working together? And that I threw out, I said, the most interesting thing to me would be a new trilogy, one story told over three movies. Go new places, meet new folks, come up with a new story to tell in the Star Wars universe. The sky's the limit. That sounds thrilling. And they really responded to that."

The future of Star Wars won't be about Skywalkers

Ever since the very first Star Wars film, the Skywalker family has been the heart of the story. Luke and Leia were at the center of the original trilogy. The prequels revealed the rise and fall of their father, Anakin. Luke and Leia return in the current films, while Leia's son Ben takes center stage (though he now fashions himself Kylo Ren). Even in the recent spin-off films Rogue One and Solo: A Star Wars Story, which followed non-Skywalker characters, the legacy of the first family of Star Wars loomed large through the presence of Darth Vader and the knowledge that young Han would one day become the father of Kylo Ren.

But after Episode IX, it sounds as though Star Wars will be moving away from the Skywalker family once and for all. "[Rise of Skywalker] is the culmination of the Skywalker Saga," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told The Hollywood Reporter during Star Wars Celebration in the spring of 2019. "It's by no means the culmination of Star Wars." 

Kennedy then added, "We are looking at the next saga. We are not just looking at another trilogy, we're really looking at the next ten years or more." So it sounds like there's still plenty of Star Wars ahead — it just won't be about the family that we've been following for the past four decades. 

The Mandalorian will help bridge the gap between Episodes VI and VII

Five weeks before The Rise of Skywalker blasts into theaters, The Mandalorian will premiere on Disney +, one of the tentpoles of the new streaming service. This series, taking place seven years after the events of Return of the Jedi and 27 years before the start of The Force Awakens, will still be in the midst of its first season when The Rise of Skywalker releases, meaning that it's both part of the lead-in to Episode IX and one of the first Star Wars properties to follow in its wake.

Of course, being set several decades before The Rise of Skywalker means that it's unlikely that the events of Episode IX will directly impact The Mandalorian (although it's always possible that we could see a time jump at some point in the series). However, much like how the Star Wars prequels were always viewed through the lens of what audiences knew would eventually come after, The Rise of Skywalker could still help color the way we see the events of the final episodes of The Mandalorian. Not only will The Mandalorian help fill in some of the blanks of what happened between Episodes VI and VII, but it may help give us a richer, more complete picture of the Star Wars universe in general, which can carry forward long after the Skywalker Saga is complete. 

Ewan McGregor is reprising his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney+

While the Star Wars prequels have been widely panned by fans and critics alike, one universally acknowledged bright spot in the much maligned trilogy is Ewan McGregor's portrayal of the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, played in the original trilogy by Alec Guinness. Despite the vast problems of Episodes I through III, McGregor's Obi-Wan was always kind, earnest, and charming, and he's long been one of the few elements of the prequels that Star Wars fans wouldn't mind making a return.

Now we're all getting our wish, with a new Obi-Wan-centric series for Disney+, starring McGregor. The announcement was made at the D23 Expo in August of 2019, although according to McGregor, it's been in the works for a lot longer than that. "It's been four years of [dodging questions]," he admitted to the enthusiastic crowd at Anaheim, CA. 

We don't yet have details about the plot of the Obi-Wan series, but we know it takes place eight years after Revenge of the Sith, and that all the scripts for the episodes have already been written. According to Kathleen Kennedy, the series will begin shooting sometime in 2020.

We may see the return of Darth Maul

Although the Sith lord Darth Maul was sliced in half by Obi-Wan and presumed dead at the end of The Phantom Menace, his survival has been depicted in several animated series that followed, and was confirmed in the Star Wars movie canon during a brief cameo in Solo: A Star Wars Story (much to Ewan McGregor's delight), which takes place about nine years after Revenge of the Sith. With the Obi-Wan Kenobi series set to take place right around the same time period as Solo, there's a strong chance that Darth Maul could appear on the Disney+ show. 

In Disney's animated series Star Wars Rebels, Obi-Wan and Darth Maul come face to face again in the Tatooine desert five years before the start of A New Hope. They battle, and Obi-Wan finally kills Darth Maul for real, before going to observe a young Luke Skywalker from afar. Considering that Rebels is also considered part of Star Wars canon, it seems likely that the Obi-Wan series will have to tackle the animosity between Darth Maul and Obi-Wan in some way, even if we don't necessarily get to see their final showdown play out.   

Diego Luna will be headlining a Cassian Andor series

In addition to Obi-Wan Kenobi, another popular character from a different Star Wars prequel will be getting his own show on Disney+. First announced in November of 2018, Disney is developing a Cassian Andor series, with Diego Luna set to reprise his role from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. A few months later, Kathleen Kennedy revealed that Alan Tudyk will also be returning for the Disney+ series as Cassian's faithful droid K-2SO, for whom Tudyk provided both the voice and motion capture work in Rogue One

Cassian Andor and K-2SO's constant banter throughout Rogue One provided some much-needed levity in what was generally one of the more somber Star Wars films, and their fierce loyalty to one another recalled some of Star Wars' most endearing relationships, such as Han and Chewie or C-3PO and R2-D2. While Rogue One had no shortage of interesting characters worthy of their own spin-off series (Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, anyone?), Cassian and K-2SO are excellent choices with a lot of story potential. 

Although the series was originally set to move into production during 2019, Lucasfilm announced during D23 that it would in fact begin shooting in 2020 in London. However, this delay in production hasn't seemed to affect the premiere date, which is currently set to be sometime in 2021

The Rogue One prequel will take place during the early years of the Rebellion

Of course, the only way for a Cassian Andor series to work is if it's set before the events of Rogue One, for reasons that are all too clear if you've seen that film. According to StarWars.com, the series will be a spy thriller that "follows the adventures of rebel spy Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion," and will "explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire." 

Setting the series just a few years before Rogue One — which then leads directly into A New Hope — places this show's timeline fairly close to the Obi-Wan series, making it highly possible that we could see characters or storylines cross over from one to the other. And while the Cassian Andor series will be set years before the events of The Mandalorian, we won't rule out that we could see a few characters from that series show up in this one as well. 

Marvel's Kevin Feige is making a Star Wars movie

In an unexpected announcement in September of 2019, Disney confirmed that Marvel Studios president and Marvel Cinematic Universe mastermind Kevin Feige will be adding Star Wars' expansive universe to his already impressive resume. A huge Star Wars fan himself, Feige will be making at least one film for the studio, although considering that Kathleen Kennedy already holds the title of president of Lucasfilm — the same role Feige fills at Marvel — he likely won't be overseeing Star Wars in the same capacity that he does the MCU.

Few details are yet known about what Feige's Star Wars film could look like or when we might expect to see it, but one tantalizing bit of news that's sure to set speculation buzzing is that there's a major actor Feige is eyeing for a specific role, implying that he may already have an idea of what sort of story he'd like to tell. Whether this means Feige will be looping in a top actor from the MCU or one of the few A-listers who has yet to play a superhero remains to be seen. 

While each Star Wars announcement they've made has felt even more thrilling than the last, Disney doesn't appear to be done dropping bombshells yet. THR reports that Kathleen Kennedy is making "new plans for a wave of projects set in the [Star Wars] universe," meaning that, exciting as it is, the Feige announcement could just be the tip of the space-iceberg.

We'll probably see a few Rise of Skywalker characters again

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times shortly before Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker hit theaters, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy hinted that we might want to pay attention to the new characters introduced in the final film of the Skywalker saga, because we may be seeing them again. Although Kennedy didn't commit to Rise of Skywalker's characters getting their own spinoff movies or series, she did promise that they wouldn't be abandoned by future Star Wars projects — which she also said won't necessarily be trilogies. "We're not going to have some finite number and fit it into a box," Kennedy said of future Star Wars films. "We're really going to let the story dictate that."

As for which new Rise of Skywalker characters may pop up in future Star Wars projects, there are a few obvious candidates. Former stormtrooper Jannah (Naomi Ackie) and her band of orbak-riding freedom fighters seem like prime contenders to show up again, especially after Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) hinted that he was willing to help Jannah search for her roots at the end of Rise of Skywalker. Keri Russell's jaded thief Zorii Bliss is another character we'd love to see return, possibly in a prequel that explores her intriguing and complex past with a pre-Resistance, spice-running Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). And although he likely wouldn't be able to carry an entire series on his own, we would not be opposed to diminutive droid hacker Babu Frik popping up again in future Star Wars installments, whether it's to reprogram some more droids, or just to wander around adorably in the background, Baby Yoda-style.

More Star Wars films are coming in 2024 and 2026

Disney has announced placeholder dates for Star Wars movies in 2022, 2024, and 2026, meaning that no matter how much they talk about a planned "hiatus" after Episode IX, it won't be much of a break. The first of these dates, December 16, 2022, had been held for Benioff and Weiss' first Star Wars film. What, if anything, will fill that now-vacant date is currently a matter of speculation.

However, the other two dates — both in December, as has been the tradition for Episodes VII through IX — could be anything. It's possible that all three dates were slated for Benioff and Weiss, or that one or both of them have been set aside for Rian Johnson all along. But with Kathleen Kennedy teasing that Lucasfilm already has the next decade of Star Wars planned out, there's surely all sorts of other Star Wars films we haven't yet heard about. Only time will tell precisely which stories we'll be getting and when, but one thing that's certain is that Star Wars plans to keep us entertained well into a future far, far away. 

A sequel series to Star Wars Rebels may be in the works

With The Mandalorian having completed its hugely successful first season and The Rise of Skywalker dominating the box office, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Disney seems eager to get new Star Wars content in front of its audience as soon as possible. Although we already knew about new seasons of Clone Wars and The Mandalorian dropping on Disney+ in 2020, rumor has it that yet another series may also be on the horizon.

The popular Star Wars YouTube channel Kessel Run Transmissions reported in January of 2020 that Disney is in fact working on an animated sequel series to Star Wars Rebels, which ended in 2018. The show's finale saw Sabine Wren and Ahsoka Tano traveling off together in search of Ezra Bridger, a dangling thread that Kessel Run Transmissions says the new series will be picking back up. According to their source, the Rebels sequel will star Sabine and Ahsoka, which could be bittersweet for fans who seemingly received confirmation of Ahsoka's death in The Rise of Skywalker. However, Ahsoka fans needn't worry that she'll necessarily be meeting her end any time soon — there are many years between the end of Rebels and the beginning of Skywalker, which leaves plenty of time for Ahsoka and Sabine to have multiple seasons worth of intergalactic adventures.

Disney hasn't officially confirmed the Rebels sequel series, which means we don't have any information on the title or release date yet. Still, if Kessel Run Transmissions' information is accurate, we can expect to hear something soon, since their source tells them that the Rebels sequel should be hitting Disney+ sometime in 2020.