Star Wars’ New Movie Delays Are A Good Thing… For Now
It has been three years since the last Star Wars film, but the delay is actually good for the franchise, at least for now. Last month saw Star Wars’ movie calendar wiped clean for the foreseeable future, through the indefinite delay of Rogue Squadron. As the only film on the release schedule at the time, it will be a good few years before a new Star Wars movie is released. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
For one, the many years between movies have given Star Wars time to let its Disney+ shows breathe and find an appreciative audience at home. The Disney+ shows have been a welcome change of pace. In particular, Andor proves how compelling, original, and adult Star Wars programming can be when used to tell stories unseen elsewhere in the franchise, while Lando and The Mandalorian season 3 will re-engage audiences with some of their favorite characters. Even a show like Ahsoka, which revolves around a beloved The Clone Wars character, offers the exciting potential to expand the hero’s story while also exploring different sides of the wider universe. Yet while the TV shows have been entertaining and often refreshing, lacking a cohesive plan for Star Wars’ movie future leaves such shows without the anticipatory build-up to the big occasion in cinemas. And Star Wars is a cinematic franchise if ever there was one.
Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins had been slated to direct Rogue Squadron with an original release date of Christmas 2023. After initial production delays allegedly due to scheduling conflicts were revealed in November 2021, the movie was finally removed from Disney’s release calendar in September 2022. Oscar-winning and recurrent MCU director Taika Waititi is in the early stages of planning a Star Wars film, but there is little concrete information about when audiences might expect it, though Kathleen Kennedy said in May that it will likely be the next Star Wars movie to arrive. A Rian Johnson Star Wars trilogy was being lined up, but as the Star Wars: The Last Jedi director is busy with his Knives Out projects, it will be a long time before it makes it to the big screen, if ever. Lastly, there is a Kevin Feige Star Wars project in the works, but very little is known about it at this time, never mind a potential release date.
It’s understandable Disney has opted to take its time with the next Star Wars movie. It has allowed Lucasfilm the opportunity to reflect on why Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was divisively received, as well as why Solo: A Star Wars Story had an underwhelming box office performance. In this way, the companies can revise their content plan going forward and potentially with greater quality control. The delay has also allowed the heavy schedule of Disney+ shows the space to shine on their own terms. They likely wouldn’t have received nearly as much attention if movies were releasing at the same time.
Yet the disappointments of both Solo and especially The Rise of Skywalker disillusioned some with Star Wars’ direction under Disney. If the purpose of taking time away from movie production was to review and improve the quality of movie releases, then that needs to be realized on the big screen sooner rather than later to win audiences over again. It can remind them of how singular and special Star Wars movies executed brilliantly can be, provided the wait for that isn’t too long.