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I recently speculated about what’s coming up next for the Star Wars franchise on the big screen after December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And while there are certainly plenty of interesting and exciting possibilities for what the next theatrical Star Wars movie will be, whatever it is, we won’t be seeing it for a while. That’s because Star Wars is going on a hiatus following The Rise of Skywalker. That’s according to none other than Disney CEO Bob Iger.
During a call with shareholders to discuss The Walt Disney Company’s full fiscal year and Q4 2019 earnings, Bob Iger addressed Star Wars’ cinematic future saying:
In the Star Wars case, Star Wars 9, which comes out this December will be the last of the Skywalker Saga and we’ll go into a hiatus for a few years before the next Star Wars feature.
So after The Rise of Skywalker brings a hopefully satisfying ending to the Skywalker Saga next month, we won’t be seeing any Star Wars movies for quite a while. The cinematic arm of this massive franchise is going on a hiatus and for the first time since the Disney-owned Star Wars era began with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015, we’ll be going years without a new big screen Star Wars movie.
That said, Bob Iger was sure to reassure investors that just because Star Wars will be absent from the multiplex, the brand will still be ever-present. The CEO cited the three Star Wars shows in development for the Disney+ streaming service (The Mandalorian, the Cassian Andor series and the Obi-Wan Kenobi series) that will carry the torch for the franchise during its cinematic hiatus. If you haven't joined Disney+, use this link for a 7 day free trial.
Disney doesn’t think of Star Wars (or Marvel for that matter) as just a feature film franchise; it is a brand and one that plays a role in multiple aspects of the company’s business, from the TV side to the theme parks. But as far as the theatrical releases are concerned, Star Wars won’t be having any for a while.
This affirms what we have long suspected with regards to the Star Wars franchise, that it would be taking a break following J.J. Abrams’ The Rise of Skywalker. There is no Star Wars movie on the calendar for the next couple of years and to make it official, Bob Iger has confirmed to investors that Star Wars is going on hiatus theatrically.
What Bob Iger didn’t make clear in the earnings call was when specifically Star Wars would return to the big screen and with what movie. That’s to be expected but if we are to take his “a few years” comments literally, it would seem the company still plans to release a Star Wars movie on December 16, 2022, the release date previously reserved for the David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Star Wars films. What will slot in there now, we don’t yet know.
The decision to slowdown Star Wars films is seemingly the result of a hard-learned lesson for the company. Bob Iger took some of the blame for the performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story and has admitted that they put out too much Star Wars into the marketplace too soon. He has since come to believe that Star Wars movies are special and less is more and this theatrical hiatus reflects that.
The last Star Wars movie for a while arrives in theaters on December 20 with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to see what else you can look forward to this year.