The Future of Star Wars

What is the future of this franchise in the Disney era?

The Future of Star Wars
Chewbacca and Han Solo

I'm the kind of Star Wars fan who will watch all the movies, watch all the TV shows, read all the books and play all the video games. Even the less popular entries like Attack of the Clones bring a smile to my face because any story that takes place in the Star Wars universe feels like home to me.

This all started with the 1977 movie, which I first watched as a kid on cable television. I don't know what it is about that movie but it had just as profound an effect on me as it did on those moviegoers in the '70s. I was in love with those characters and that world like I've never loved a movie before. Not even my Disney home video collection made me feel like this, and my passion for the Star Wars series is just as strong today as it ever was.

My world got rocked when I found out they were making the first new Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith with J.J. Abrams, and that Disney would release new spin-off titles that branch away from the Skywalker saga. A movie that takes place after Return of the Jedi? With Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford reprising their roles? Made by my favorite director of all time? Taking place in the universe of my childhood? With a possible solo Yoda film on the horizon? What more could I ask for?

So far, they have done a good job relaunching the series with the excellent The Force Awakens and the stand-out war movie Rogue One, and they already have a Han Solo prequel planned along with Episodes VIII and IX of the main series, but once they get through all that, what's next? Something tells me they will not stop after that, so what is the future of this franchise in the Disney era? I can only answer that question by telling you what I would prefer.

How far they can take the Skywalker saga seems up in the air right now. I would say that however Episode IX ends would determine its longevity, but I thought Return of the Jedi was the perfect ending for the original trilogy and they found a great way to progress the story in The Force Awakens. I honestly would prefer they didn't make an Episode X though. I would rather see stories in the Star Wars universe with new characters on planets we've never seen before taking the series in directions they've never gone before. There are a lot of possibilities for a great movie experience in this universe with all kinds of characters other than the Jedi and the rebellion. I hope they explore these areas and make Star Wars movies about people who have never even heard of the Skywalkers.

Most of all I hope they don't keep repeating themselves. Let me see Star Wars from the perspective of a murder mystery, or Star Wars as a buddy comedy, or what it's like to be a teenage girl in the Star Wars universe, or a boy-and-his-droid drama. This is a huge universe that is mostly untapped, so mine it for all of its story possibilities.

As for the spin-offs, there are only a few of those that would really interest me. I think it's a great idea to make spin-offs about Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Boba Fett. Those three are the ones with the backstories I'm most curious about. Any other character seems like a reach. You could argue with me about the merits of a spin-off about anyone else, and you might even be able to convince me they should make it, but there are only three no-brainers in my mind, and after they make them, there's no reason to rush towards the Darth Maul movie or anything. The most important thing for Disney to do is pace themselves because no matter when they release the next Star Wars movie we all know it will make money, so don't get greedy. Audiences can smell when you care more about making money than making a good movie so don't rush into spin-off overdrive.

Another thing I'd like to see at Lucasfilm in general is more movies besides Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I hope they make some original movies. Lucasfilm could even be the banner for all of Disney's sci-fi films. Disney can focus on remaking all their animated movies while Lucasfilm can be their experimental arm. It won't be that risky because if one of their original films fails, a Star Wars movie will compensate them financially. Disney needs some variety. Let Lucasfilm provide it.

Look, those are just the things I would do if I were in charge but whatever Disney's strategy is, may each new entry in the Star Wars series at least be an entertaining movie experience. That's what made me fall in love with Star Wars in the first place and that's what's most important.

science fictionstar warsscifi movie
Eli Sanza
Eli Sanza
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Eli Sanza

Eli Sanza is a media critic and film historian from California. He posts film and TV news on Twitter and discusses Hollywood history on his podcast and his blog. He is also a Disney geek and currently stuck in the '90s.

See all posts by Eli Sanza