Star Wars: Episodes 10, 11 and 12

Star Wars: Episodes 10, 11 and 12

It has been four years since the last Star Wars film hit theaters. The ninth episode of the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker, brought the newest of the franchise’s trilogies to an end while also purporting to complete the Skywalker Saga as a whole. While there has not been a new feature film in the intervening years, there has been plenty of new Star Wars material to keep fans happy. The first season of The Mandalorian began airing on Disney+ about a month before The Rise of Skywalker’s release, and since then, the franchise has embraced television.

Live-action series have included The Book of Boba Fett in late 2021, followed by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor in mid-2022, while 2023 saw the release of the third season of The Mandalorian, and the first season of Ahsoka. For animation fans there was The Bad Batch, Visions, Tales of the Jedi, and Young Jedi Adventures. With 2024 expected releases, including Skeleton Crew and The Acolyte, as well as a second and final season of Andor sometime in 2025. Star Wars television appears to be in its prime.

However, while television is flourishing, the film side of the series seems to be struggling, with films previously announced by such industry heavyweights as David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and Patty Jenkins either confirmed to be canceled or presumed to be. While a long-announced untitled film directed by Taika Waititi is still in development, the Writer/Director has expressed his desire to take his time with the project, and it’s unclear when or if it will ever see the light of day.

New hope for the franchise may lie in recent announcements at Star Wars Celebration in Spring 2023 that revealed new films centering on Daisy Ridley’s Rey Skywalker, one by Dave Filoni that will connect the various Disney+ series together, and a film about the dawn of the Jedi Order by Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny director, James Mangold.

For a long time, Star Wars was a franchise of trilogies. There was the much beloved original trilogy that started it all in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, followed up by the prequel trilogy in the early 2000s. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, one of their first announcements was the development of a third Star Wars trilogy that would eventually become The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker. Considering this long history of film trilogies, it’s only natural to ask when (or if) Lucasfilm will ever make another Star Wars trilogy. With the financial success of the trilogies so far it seems inevitable that there eventually will be, but should those films continue the Skywalker Saga with Episodes 10, 11, and 12 (X, XI and XII if you prefer), or should they be something entirely new?

Update December 20, 2023: In honor of the 4 year anniversary of the release of The Rise of Skywalker and after new film announcements made at Star Wars Celebration 2023, this story was updated by Valerie Parker.

The Mixed Reaction to the Sequel Trilogy

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Although the three films in the sequel trilogy were financial successes, the reaction by fans has been mixed to say the least. Some fans loved it, while others were disappointed. While The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams, appeared to be a promising start to the trilogy, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi heavily divided the fan base. While some enjoyed the new direction for the franchise, others detested the treatment of fan-favorite characters such as Luke Skywalker and called on Lucasfilm to erase the film from the franchise canon. The intense division over The Last Jedi still haunts Star Wars to this day, and lead Lucasfilm to bring back Abrams to tie up the sequel trilogy with The Rise of Skywalker. Episode XI ended up walking back and retconning much of The Last Jedi while also attempting to wrap up the entire trilogy, at the same time revealing that there had never been an overall plan to complete the sequel trilogy. At the end of the day, it delivered a lackluster and rushed story that abandoned some plotlines and ideas from the previous films entirely.

Related: Here’s What Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Did Right, and What it Did Wrong

The sequel trilogy of The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker is a trilogy at war with itself. With no outlined story or general plan going into the films, the result was a story being yanked from one direction to another with each new creative voice that came on board. The potential was there for the sequel trilogy to tell an exciting new story about legacy and new generations; it dropped the ball and had fans wishing for something different. While the trilogy might have gotten off to a good start, the reception to it has, as time has gone on, been mixed. Similar to the prequel trilogy being a mixed back and leading to the creation of a new trilogy to rehabilitate the Star Wars brand, history might repeat itself again or, as George Lucas likes to say, rhyme.

Will the Rey Film Be Episode X

Daisy Ridley as Rey in The Last Jedi
Walt Disney Studios

With a newly announced Star Wars film focusing on Rey, many have speculated if this is, in fact, the start of a new trilogy and this is Episode X. After all, it is a new film picking up with the main protagonist of the sequel trilogy and as the film’s final scene established, the new Skywalker. Unlike other Star Wars spin-off films, Rogue One and Solo, those were films based on ideas or supporting characters but not the main protagonist of the film series. Doing a Rey film and having it not Episode X will certainly be confusing to general audiences.

The scarce details revealed by Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, that the film will take place 15 years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker finding the Jedi Order Rey is trying to rebuild in disarray also likely will lead to confusion. The Jedi Order have been the center of the Star Wars franchise for so long, and giving Rey the storyline of building a new Jedi Order that fans know (but did not see) Luke Skywalker did that ended in tragedy feels like a repeat of what has been done before. Even if they do not title Star Wars Episode X and instead call it New Jedi Order (because Lucasfilm loves referencing Legends titles) it will still be seen as Episode X the same way Captain America: Civil War was dubbed Avengers 2.5 by fans. Lucasfilm likely won’t end it with just one film, and it will lead to a trilogy anyway, so a film taking place after Rise of Skywalker that could launch a trilogy is basically Episode X anyway.

Continuing the Skywalker Saga

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
20th Century Fox

Considering the mixed reaction to the sequel trilogy and its attempt to wrap up the Skywalker Saga, returning to that story might not be the best idea right now. The galaxy of Star Wars is vast, and there are so many other stories to be told within it that don’t center around the Skywalker family. That doesn’t necessarily mean that those characters need to be abandoned completely, as they can still serve useful and exciting roles in other stories. Take The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, for example. The brief inclusions of Luke in those shows have gone a long way. Shoddy CGI aside, fans were over the moon about seeing that character on-screen again, even if it wasn’t in a core Star Wars movie.

Through connections to television shows and other stories, the Skywalker Saga can still be built upon without the development of an entirely new trilogy of films. The nine films in the saga have already established a rich universe and story. Instead of leaving that all behind and blindly pushing forward, Lucasfilm can win back the hearts of fans by just playing within the universe they’ve already developed. The Mandalorian is an excellent example of them doing just that. It’s a new story set in a familiar time with recognizable characters only occasionally weaving their way into the main plot.

If Lucasfilm is determined to produce Episodes X, XI, and XII, perhaps the wisest course of action would be to wait some time before doing so in order to give the audience the chance to miss some of the new characters that were established in the sequel trilogy. Though the overall story wasn’t the strongest, the lead characters of Rey, Finn, and Poe were lovable and interesting, simply lacking clear and compelling character development throughout the trilogy. There are certainly more stories to be told with them at some point in the future, but perhaps giving time for those kids that grew up on this trilogy to become adults develop some nostalgia for these characters, and they will jump at the opportunity to see their favorite characters on screen again. A prime example is the success of the Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+, as those who loved the Star Wars prequels were immensely excited to see Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen on screen together again.

Sadly, Lucasfilm doesn’t seem to have the patience for this course of action. The film focused on Daisy Ridley’s Rey, was announced earlier this year at Star Wars Celebration, was fast-tracked, and reportedly will be the first of the new Star Wars movies released. While it makes sense that James Mangold’s new Star Wars film won’t be ready first as he also is reportedly setting up Swamp Thing for James Gunn’s new DCU, Dave Filoni’s Mandalorian set film should ideally be the one being released first.

Not only is The Mandalorian popular, they should strike while the iron is hot. After disappointments like The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka, some fans are starting to get impatient with where that story is going and what it is building to. That film should be the first priority given the 2026 release date. Not only is 2026 only seven years since The Rise of Skywalker so it has not given fans time to be nostalgic for Rey, but that is the right amount of time since the beginning of The Mandalorian and to begin wrapping that story up. With Ahsoka ending on a frustrating cliffhanger, that story needs to be wrapped up soon with the potential Rey film being released in 2027.

Exploring New Eras

Darth Bane in The Clone Wars
Disney-ABC Domestic Television

A galaxy is a vast space, and Star Wars has already established that there’s a diverse world of beings and stories in its universe; it’d be nice to see something beyond the same characters we’ve met before. Instead of moving forward with yet another film in the Skywalker Saga right now, Star Wars could benefit from delving into new eras or times that haven’t been fully explored yet.

If the teams over at Lucasfilm wish to make another Star Wars film or even trilogy, their best bet might be to set it in an as-of-yet unexplored time, such as The High Republic, which was introduced and established in the comics and novels to great interest. This period will is due to be touched upon in the live-action Star Wars series, The Acolyte, set at the end of that era and taking place about a hundred years prior to the events of Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Related: Obi-Wan: How the Star Wars Series is a Prequel Fan’s Dream Come True

However, with the High Republic era having spanned 400 years, it could be interesting to go back even further to see the High Republic at its height with a new generation and order of Jedi to lead the way. It’s a convenient way to essentially start an entirely new Star Wars saga that does not need to remotely connect to anything that has already been done on screen. This would be a completely new and exciting starting point for Star Wars, which would shed much of the heavy expectations that come with continuing the stories of already beloved characters.

Lucasfilm has reportedly already expressed some interest in pursuing a new trilogy like this. Back in 2019, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had signed on to a new trilogy of Star Wars movies that was reportedly set in the Old Republic. This story would have been set even further back in the Star Wars timeline, with the films potentially exploring the origins of the Jedi and the Sith. The films were described as much more fantasy-oriented than Star Wars had previously been, with more of a sci-fi Lord of the Rings style to them.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, considering the overwhelmingly negative reaction to the ending of Game of Thrones, Benioff and Weiss left that project before anything got too far off the ground, so that story is likely dead and done at Lucasfilm, at least for the time being. However, there is much potential there, and a new creative team would have a nearly clean slate to create their own new world. With reports that James Mangold’s film will explore The First Jedi, this might be the story that Star Wars should really invest in.

A new trilogy of films like those that Benioff and Weiss were working on might just be exactly what Star Wars needs right now. Continuing the Skywalker Saga with a continuation of Rey’s story or another trilogy would certainly get some fans interested, but it would also feel like the franchise is flat-lining and falling back into the same ideas and tropes that it has already utilized time and time again. A new trilogy of films set in a different period and centered around new characters could be the start of an exciting and necessary new direction for the franchise.


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