Star Wars is dead… long live Star Wars? The Skywalker saga may have ended with The Rise of Skywalker, but the galaxy lives on, with The Mandalorian and the upcoming Obi-Wan series on TV and a new Star Wars film arriving in 2022.
But what will that movie be? At the moment, no one outside of Lucasfilm and Disney has a clue. We know that MCU mastermind Kevin Feige is down to produce something, that The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson may (or may not) still be developing a series of Star Wars films and that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss definitely aren’t, but until an announcement (strongly rumored to be early next year), we’re all in the dark.
Still, it’s fun to speculate. Here then are five directions the saga could potentially go in…
The Next Generation of Jedi
One of the open goals that The Rise of Skywalker misses is in picking up the loose threads from The Last Jedi. If you’ll recall, Episode 8 ends with the implication that the Force is growing once more, far away from the Skywalker bloodline. There may well be an entire new generation of Force-users waking up to their powers. Now that the war is over, someone needs to get them in line...
Imagine an X-Men type film, where a group of charismatic tutors must help troubled young initiates avoid the perils of the Dark Side. Rey would be involved in some capacity for sure, but you could also include Maz Kanata (not a Jedi, but very much in-tune with the Force) and new characters in the vein of The Force Awakens’ Lor San Tekka, trying to guide this gifted - but also extremely dangerous - new generation into the future. Hell, even Force Ghost Luke could show up, if we can pull Mark Hamill away from Twitter.
The Syndicate Wars
One of the most fascinating aspects of Solo - a film that absolutely nobody wanted, but which managed to be fun enough to retroactively justify its existence - was its exploration of the galaxy's various criminal organizations. By the end of the movie Crimson Dawn (led by Maul, no less) is a fearsome force in the galaxy and Qi'ra (Emilia Clarke) is in deeper than ever before.
It's hard to imagine we'll be seeing a Solo 2 any time soon based on its box office, but there's plenty of mileage in following his ex. Game of Thrones may have finished, but Emilia Clarke is still a big name and could easily carry a film exploring the galaxy's shadier nooks and crannies as Qi'ra tries desperately to escape her past, dodge her saber-wielding boss and make a new life for herself. Team her up with Donald Glover's universally-loved Lando Calrissian and you have everything you need for a fun, exciting Star Wars film that’s mostly detached from the familiar bigger picture of the Empire and the Rebellion.
Knights of the Old Republic
The Knights of the Old Republic video games have become a beloved Star Wars era in their own right, every bit as cherished as the films. Set some 4000 years before the events of A New Hope, they explore the raging conflict between the Jedi and the Sith, both at the height of their powers.
Sound overly familiar? It’s really not. KOTOR stands out thanks to its shades of grey and rich, complex characterization. Revan, in particular, is a fascinating character - truly embodying both the dark side and the light in a way that Anakin never quite managed. The era also has the benefit of being sufficiently distant from current canon that you could do pretty much anything, while still feeling like Star Wars.
Of all of these suggestions, this is the one that may actually be in development right now... Back in May, Buzzfeed reported that Altered Carbon screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis has penned a script for a potential Knights of the Old Republic film. We’re keeping all our lightsabers crossed…
Into the Unknown
Did you watch the Star Wars animated series Rebels? If you didn't, you missed out on some of the best - and most adventurous - Star Wars storytelling of the last few years. Spoilers for the fate of protagonist Ezra Bridger ahead...
Set a few years before A New Hope, the series follows the young Jedi as he joins a growing rebel cell. Now, we all know that by the time of A New Hope, Obi-Wan is the only (known) surviving Jedi, so there was always a heavy question mark hanging over his eventual fate. As it happens, Ezra survives the series, fleeing into the Unknown Regions, albeit chased by the wicked Grand Admiral Thrawn.
Something that Star Wars has sometimes suffered with is its tendency to smallness. Everyone and everything is connected. A film set in a brand new area of the galaxy, though, offers the chance to start again. The Unknown Regions are, well, unknown. There's no Empire or Rebellion here, so you wouldn't have to rely on the backstory of Rebels. Instead, this would be the story of a single Jedi, truly lost and alone, forced to rely on his wits and his lightsaber to survive.
Poe Dameron: Sith Hunter
Honestly, who doesn't love Poe Dameron? Of all the characters introduced in the sequels, he's the one that most embodies the adventure serial vibes of the original trilogy. Somewhere between Han Solo and Indiana Jones, he's a hugely appealing lead. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that Oscar Isaac is easy on the eye.
But what does he do next? In The Last Jedi Poe is being positioned as a leader of the Resistance, but it's hard to imagine him settling down and becoming a senator in a new New Republic. Instead, we can see him living for the thrill of adventure, venturing out on missions for the new order, possibly tracking down the remainder of Palpatine's Final Order, like a futuristic nazi hunter.
He wouldn’t have to be alone, either. The Rise of Skywalker sets him up with a perfect companion in the form of Zorii Bliss, plus there would be plenty of room for his other co-stars to show up. This would be a great chance to explore the new status quo, while telling a rattling adventure yarn.