Disney has confirmed Patty Jenkins is directing the next “Star Wars” movie, “Rogue Squadron,” for Christmas 2023. “Rogue Squadron” refers to the group of ace pilots — of X-Wings and snowspeeders, among other zippy ships — first introduced in “The Empire Strikes Back” who headlined a beloved book series for Ballantine and Del Rey Books in the late 1990s.
In Kathleen Kennedy’s announcement, she said that Jenkins’ film will explore a new, previously unexplored era of “Star Wars” lore set in the future beyond “The Rise of Skywalker.” In a statement on StarWars.com, Lucasfilm said “Rogue Squadron” will “introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.”
“Rogue Squadron” should be a film without Force users, such as the Jedi and the Sith, and will center around starfighter action instead. In a special teaser, Jenkins, whose next feature “Wonder Woman 1984” is debuting in theaters and on HBO Max on December 25, talked about being the daughter of a fighter pilot and how she’s always loved to go fast. Kinetic thrills should await “Star Wars” fans three years from now — and a lot of space battles.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) December 10, 2020
Prior to Disney Investor Day 2020, the future of the “Star Wars” franchise on the big screen was something of a mystery. Lucasfilm’s plan to create “Star Wars” spinoff movies hit a dead end with the 2018 release of “Solo,” which was widely viewed as a box office disappointment with a worldwide gross under the $400 million mark. The most recent Skywalker trilogy also became turbulent due to the polarizing fan responses to “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker,” the latter of which earned some of the worst reviews from critics in the franchise’s history.
In an interview with The Wrap published in August, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy said the studio was “stepping back” to reassess the future of “Star Wars” on the big screen, adding, “We just need the time to really absorb what George [Lucas] has created, and then start to think about where things might go. That’s what we’ve been doing, and we’ve been having a great deal of fun doing it, and meeting with lots of different filmmakers and talent.”
Kennedy continued, “There’s so many fans out there and so many filmmakers that have been influenced by ‘Star Wars’ for so long that it’s a fantastic opportunity to get a sense of who wants to be a part of this. So that’s what we’ve been doing.”
Disney and Lucasfilm confirmed in May “Jojo Rabbit” Oscar winner Taika Waititi would be directing a “Star Wars” movie and working on the script with “1917” scribe Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Waititi previously played in the “Star Wars” sandbox as the director of an episode of “The Mandalorian,” where he also voiced the droid character IG-11 in a couple episodes. The only other “Star Wars” project that had been rumored in the lead up to Investor Day was a film from “Sleight” filmmaker J.D. Dillard and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” writer Matt Owens, news for which broke back in February.
Lucasfilm tapped “Game of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss in 2019 to develop a new “Star Wars” film, but the duo parted ways with the studio because of their overall $250 million Netflix deal. Rumor had it that Benioff and Weiss’ film was to center on the origins of the Jedi. The studio also announced in November 2017 ahead of “The Last Jedi” theatrical release that writer-director Rian Johnson would be staying put to develop a new “Star Wars” trilogy, but no further updates were announced in the three years since. Johnson went on to direct “Knives Out” and said in September 2019 that he was unsure about a start date for the new trilogy as he was still “figuring out” his schedule.