When ‘Star Wars’ first arrived in 1977, it was the story of Luke Skywalker, a farmboy swept away in a quintessential hero’s journey. Later, as the prequel trilogy got underway, George Lucas would take to describing the six film cycle as, essentially, the story of Anakin Skywalker. Viewed through this lens, ‘Star Wars’ was fundamentally about the fall of Anakin Skywalker (the prequels) and his redemption through his children (the originals). That definition is changing once again as the sequel trilogy approaches its midpoint with the impending release of ‘The Last Jedi’, but while we might not know exactly what shape the narrative will ultimately take, at the end of the day the saga is still all about the Skywalker family.
That paradigm has begun to shift with regard to the larger franchise, however. The first step came in the form of anthology films like ‘Rogue One‘ and next year’s ‘Solo‘. The biggest jump away from the Skywalker saga to date, however, came with the recent announcement that director Rian Johnson would begin work on a new trilogy of ‘Star Wars’ films once he’s done with ‘The Last Jedi’. Though very little is publicly known about Johnson’s trilogy, both Lucasfilm and Johnson have been very clear that it will not deal with the Skywalker clan.
And this may well be indicative of the direction that ‘Star Wars’ is destined to take after ‘Episode IX’. That is, away from the Skywalkers. As Lucasfim president Kathleen Kennedy explained earlier this year:
“I certainly foresee movies past ‘Nine’. whether or not we carry on the Skywalker saga… you know, George always intended nine movies, and whether we continue that or not is something we’re talking about right now. If the story warrants it, we’ll absolutely do it. If it actually inspires new ideas, then we’ll probably head in that direction. We just don’t know yet.”
And it’s not just Kennedy who’d been alluding to the possibility of ‘Episode IX’ bringing the Skywalker saga to a close. Speaking with Rolling Stone, J.J. Abrams, director of both ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘Episode IX’ (and thus, more involved with the sequel trilogy than most) had this to say on the subject:
“I do see it that way. But the future is in flux.”
So nothing’s written in stone, but it certainly seems like the plan is to move ‘Star Wars’ away from its long association with the Skywalker family following the conclusion of the sequel trilogy. Whether that move is meant to be permanent is anyone’s guess. It’s hard to imagine it would be, especially given Kennedy’s prior talk of developing future stories with Rey, Finn, Poe, and others, but stranger things have happened.
Directed by Rian Johnson, ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ is due to arrive in theaters on December 15, 2017. The film stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Domhnall Gleeson, and Gwendoline Christie.