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What You Need To Know About The Newly Announced Star Wars Movie

Ready for another trip to the galaxy far, far away? Of course you are. 

On Friday, February 21, reports broke that Lucasfilm has put into development a brand-new Star Wars movie, handing the creative keys over to J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens to make the project happen. 

Both Deadline and The Hollywood Reporter ran stories on the news break. Each outlet noted that sources close to Lucasfilm and its parent company Disney are unsure whether the mysterious Star Wars film will make it to the silver screen a lá the nine Skywalker saga movies, or if it will find a home on the streaming platform Disney+. According to THR, the Dillard-Owens film is "unrelated" to the Star Wars pitch from Kevin FeigeMarvel Studios' chief creative officer. Similarly, it's said to be unassociated with the trilogy that The Last Jedi writer-director Rian Johnson is working on.

Details are scarce for now, but here's what you need to know about this newly announced Star Wars movie and the people behind it.

J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens have major projects under their belts

The names "J.D. Dillard" and "Matt Owens" may not immediately ring any bells, but the projects on which they've worked likely will. 

Dillard stepped onto the scene in 2016 with Sleight, a sci-fi action-drama that earned rave reviews at Sundance Film Festival and went on to be heralded as "a bold work of vibrant creativity." He then directed the Kiersey Clemons-starring flick Sweethearta critically acclaimed survival horror that follows a young woman named Jennifer Remming (Clemons) as she fends off a dark force that threatens the island upon which she's stranded. Dillard has also lent his directing talents to Amazon Prime Studios' Utopia, an upcoming mystery series created by Gone Girl author and screenwriter Gillian Flynn. 

As for Owens, he's been entrenched in IPs just as prominent as Star Wars, having written for the Marvel series Luke CageAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Defenders. With Disney owning both Marvel Studios (where all the superhero content lives) and Lucasfilm (where Star Wars stuff is housed), it's easy to see why the company would bring a trusted talent like Owens on board a new Star Wars movie. And it isn't just the House of Mouse that has faith in Owens; Netflix hired Owens to co-write the live-action adaptation of One Piece, the manga written and illustrated by Eiichiro Oda. Owens is working alongside Lost and The X-Files alum Steven Maeda, who will also serve as the showrunner for the One Piece series.

It's unclear at this time whether Dillard would direct the new Star Wars film in addition to writing, but clearly, the film is in highly capable hands with him and Owens.

The new Star Wars movie reportedly takes place on Exegol

Lucasfilm hasn't yet revealed any concrete details about this fresh Star Wars feature, which shouldn't be surprising since it's in the very early stages of development. However, Deadline is reporting that, according to the intel it received, the film will take place on Exegol.

A desert planet tucked in the Unknown Regions, Exegol first appeared in the Star Wars universe in The Rise of Skywalker. Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), miraculously alive after seemingly dying during the events of 1983's Return of the Jedi, hid out on Exegol and grew close with the Sith Eternal over several decades. Together, Palpatine and the dark-sided cult built a massive Sith fleet, ultimately used in battle against the Resistance while Palpatine attempted to lure his granddaughter Rey (Daisy Ridley) away from the Jedi. By the end of The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine, the Sith Eternal, and their collective fleet were destroyed.

Not a lot is known about Exegol, but that means there's plenty of narrative to build through a new film. Imagine — the places to go, the people to see! Oh, possibilities abound! Interest in the dark, shrouded planet is certainly high amongst fans, so if the Dillard-Owens Star Wars pic truly does take place on Exegol, everyone involved with the project can feel confident that people will be interested in it.

Silver screen versus streaming for the new Star Wars movie

As of this writing, no decision has been made as to whether the Dillard and Owens-backed Star Wars film will see a silver-screen launch like the flicks that came before it, or if it will be a streaming exclusive. There are benefits and drawbacks of both options. 

On the one hand, bringing a Star Wars movie to theaters is a grand affair that almost always results in big box office bucks. It's a cinematic event fans get hyped up for, and the world waits with bated breath to find out what happens in the latest chapter of the decades-old space-faring franchise. But in giving a Star Wars movie a massive platform upon which it can potentially succeed, there exists the chance for the film to disappoint on a much larger scale — and Lucasfilm has faced that kind of metaphorical face-planting three times in the last three years. 

First, there was the now-infamous outrage over The Last Jedi, which was released in December 2017 and has continued to create conversations to this day. Then came the underwhelming critical and financial performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story, the Alden Ehrenreich-led Han Solo origin story flick that hit a sour note in May 2018. Most recently was the somewhat unexpected contention over The Rise of Skywalker, which received mixed reviews and sparked discussions about fan-service and the ways in which filmmakers should wrap up trilogies.

That considered, perhaps streaming is the better option for a film like this, one that's apparently not an entry into the main franchise, which is going on a brief hiatus following The Rise of Skywalker. Disney+ is already home to one of the greatest pieces of original Star Wars content that Disney and Lucasfilm have ever put out: the live-action series The Mandalorian. The platform also just rolled out the highly anticipated seventh and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a series fans helped bring back to life after it was cut short after its sixth season. Two more Star Wars shows — an Obi-Wan Kenobi series and a Rogue One prequel centered on Diego Luna's Cassian Andor — will also launch on Disney+ in the future. Naturally, there's the disadvantage of a studio not earning revenue through ticket sales when it distributes a film solely on a streamer, but history has shown that in the Star Wars universe, streaming titles can definitely hold their own.

Check back with Looper for more information on the new Star Wars movie as additional details become available.