A decade after Revenge of the Sith and 32 years after Return of the Jedi, Star Wars is back.
Disney isn't kidding around with its newly acquired IP, either. It knows you want more Star Wars, and it knows it will make billions of dollars off movies, toys and video games that include more Star Wars. So, unsurprisingly, more Star Wars is coming. A lot more. In fact, there will be a new Star Wars movie every year for the next four years. Considering there have been a total of six Star Wars films in three decades, to suddenly get five in five years is astounding.
Unlike the previous six entries in the franchise, Disney's new strategy is to release a numbered Star Wars entry every other year, with "Anthology" films in between. We will be returning to the era of the original trilogy for at least two of the films, with Episodes VIII and IX continuing the story of the Skywalkers and their battle against the new form of the Empire, the First Order. Without further ado, here are all the Star Wars films currently in the works:
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Dec. 16, 2016
Director: Gareth Edwards
Written by: Chris Weitz, Gary Whitta
Starring: Felicity Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Sam Claflin, Riz Ahmed
This is already the most anticipated film of 2016, according to a Fandango poll, and it's easy to understand why. Ever wonder how exactly the Rebellion got a hold of those oh-so-important Death Star plans in A New Hope? Rogue One will tell that tale, and it involves a wayward band of rebel warriors stealing the Empire's most heavily guarded secret. Fans have wondered how the plans were stolen since the release of the first film back in 1977, making it the perfect way to kick off the Star Wars Anthology films.
Star Wars: Episode VIII - December 15, 2017
Director: Rian Johnson
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac, John Beyega
The final moments of The Force Awakens are all about setting up this film, so expect it to be just as big. Rey has just found Luke Skywalker and seems ready to begin her training as a Jedi. Meanwhile, Kylo Ren is sent to complete his mastery of the dark side under the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke. We don't yet know many details beyond what can be assumed after watching The Force Awakens, but rest assured all the new characters will be back and ready for action.
Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo (working title) - May 25, 2018
Directors: Phil Lord and Christopher Miller
Written by: Lawrence and Jon Kasdan
It may seem like sacrilege to recast Harrison Ford's Han Solo, but that is exactly what Disney is planning. This will explore how Han became the iconic smuggler with a heart of gold that Luke and Obi-wan encounter in the Mos Eisley cantina. We're hoping it tells the story of how Han and Chewbacca became friends as well.
Star Wars Episode IX - 2019
Director: Colin Trevorrow
Written by: Rian Johnson
Starring: The cast from The Force Awakens, assuming their characters live to see this movie
The saga continues with Episode IX, as Rian Johnson, the director and writer of Episode VIII, will also pen the script for this one as well. At the helm will be Colin Trevorrow of Jurassic World fame. He's proven himself to have the necessary chops to direct blockbusters heavy on the special effects, so the last entry in Disney's new trilogy should be a perfect fit.
Unannounced Star Wars Anthology Film - 2020
Directed by: Not yet announced
Written by: Not yet announced
Starring: Not yet announced
This is the film we know the least about, as is evident from the film not having a title, director or writers. It has long been rumored the film will be about the infamous bounty hunter Boba Fett, but it remains to be seen if that is indeed the case.
As for what's next, who's to say? Certainly Disney will want to make more numbered Star Wars films after the conclusion of its trilogy, but the beauty of the anthology format is that the entire Star Wars galaxy is open for new movies. Disney could once again return to the era of the Clone Wars and the prequels, explore the events before A New Hope or fill in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, all the while paving a new road forward with its numbered entries in the franchise. The future of Star Wars is looking brighter than a ready-to-fire Starkiller Base, but we'll have to wait a few more years to learn what all Disney has in store after these initial five films. Until then, may the force be with us all.