“May the Fourth be with you!”
“And also with you!”
If you can have this exchange with someone today, this person is someone to not ignore the other 364 days of the year. Today is, of COURSE, the greatest unofficial holiday on the calendar: Star Wars Day! Not Cinco de Mayo eve, but a celebration of the greatest fictional universe and the state of that fictional universe is, unfortunately, a lot more precarious than it was at this time last year. Star Wars is at a crossroads. Though it was a financial and critical success, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi split the fanbase in a way that it hasn’t been since Disney started managing the property. Whether you thought what Rian Johnson with TLJ was brilliant, or-like me-you’re still kind of trying to suppress the whole experience because the more you dwell on it the more depressed you get, it was a divisive film. My short, personal rant is that it undid nearly everything good that The Force Awakens did, ruined several characters (some irredeemably), and didn’t really accomplish a whole lot for being the longest film in the Saga. But it’s more fun if Auralnauts’ Kylo Ren breaks down the film.
The cornerstone of Star Wars will always be the films, and we have the next two set, but afterward is a giant question mark. Solo: A Star Wars Story, the series’ second spin-off, is set to open on May 25, 2018. Solo’s production was extremely problematic. Its directors were fired with the movie nearly complete, and Ron Howard was brought onboard to reshoot most of the film. Writer Lawrence Kasdan (who also wrote Empire and TFA) had said before shooting it was his best script, and the last trailer looked more promising than anything we’ve seen previously from the film. Something that feels a lot more like Star Wars than TLJ did would go a long way toward cleansing the palate before JJ Abrams tries to figure out how to close things out when Episode IX releases in December 2019.
Will Episode IX be the last episodic Star Wars installment? It certainly seems like it will be for awhile. Both TLJ director Rian Johnson and the creators behind Game of Thrones have been given their own Star Wars film series to develop that will supposedly have no connection in time or place with the Saga. The future of the “Star Wars Stories” is also in doubt as no 2020 Star Wars film (when the next one would appear) has been officially announced. There were rumblings of a Stephen Daldry-helmed Kenobi spin-off, but nothing set in stone. D23 has been the forum for Disney to release most of their news the last few years, but there is no D23 scheduled until 2019. So your guess is as good as mine as to when we’ll know, but production for a 2020 release would require some kind of announcement this year.
If you’re still recovering from the end of Star Wars: Rebels, and are craving more Dave Filoni Star Wars animation, you’re in luck. Filoni was recently announced to be working on Star Wars: Resistance, set during the sequel era trilogy. It will feature established characters like Poe and Phasma (that TLJ ruined) and Filoni will find some way to rehabilitate the mess like he did with the prequels to a certain extent. The man is magic.
2019 will see Disney launch its own streaming service, which both Resistance and a new live-action Star Wars series written and executive produced by Iron Man and Jungle Book director Jon Favreau, are targeted to debut on. There have been various rumors of various live-action Star Wars shows for years (including one called Star Wars: Underworld that supposedly has 100 scripts already completed), but this is concrete.
The Force is unbalanced right now, and a lot is uncertain, but Star Wars has been in tougher places and survived. Let’s hope Solo kicks off a great 2018 for fans. May the fourth be with you all!