Not only does this December mark the three-year anniversary of The Rise of Skywalker's release, but also the last time audiences had a new Star Wars film to see.
Granted, few expected or wanted another Star Wars movie so soon after Episode IX's lackluster reception. But now, years later, fans still have no idea when that galaxy far, far away will return to the big screen and what it will entail.
Part of this frustration is due to Lucasfilm having announced films and directors, only for those plans to fall through or be ignored.
However, a new report suggests that there was more to the story; and the industry bombshell concerning Disney's CEO Bob Chapek may actually benefit the future of theatrical Star Wars.
Is Lucasfilm Free to Make Star Wars Movies Again?
Following the sudden firing of Disney CEO Bob Chapek and the return of former CEO Bob Iger, rumors suggested that Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy may be the next to go.
In response to that speculation, insider John Campea pulled back the curtain on what may have been the real cause of Star Wars' theatrical sabbatical:
"Other people have heard this as well, that the lack of movies coming out of Star Wars was actually a Chapek directive. Chapek directed that there weren't going to be any movies coming out right now."
Campea went on to explain, "If anything, the return of Bob Iger solidifies Kathleen Kennedy because Iger is a Kennedy ally."
But even so, Campea doesn't expect Kennedy to remain at her post for long. But, if she leaves, it won't be because of Iger.
As he went on to explain, "Iger's going to want to steady things" and that doesn't involve "replacing studio heads:"
"I believe her current deal takes her to 2025. I personally don't believe Kathleen Kennedy makes it to that or past it. I don't think she's going to go anywhere immediately. Amidst all the chaos and the shakeup, Iger's going to want to steady things pretty quickly. And the last thing that I think Iger wants to do now is start replacing these studio heads as well."
While Kennedy's future at Lucasfilm remains to be seen, a new memo from Bob Iger confirms that the returning CEO is looking to put more power in her hands.
As shared via The Hollywood Reporter, Iger's memo claims he's looking to "design a new structure" that puts "more decision-making back in the hands of creative teams:"
“I’ve asked Dana Walden, Alan Bergman, Jimmy Pitaro, and Christine McCarthy to work together on the design of a new structure that puts more decision-making back in the hands of our creative teams and rationalizes costs, and this will necessitate a reorganization of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution."
One of the first casualties of this re-reorganization, and proof of a new creative-led direction, was the release of Kareem Daniel, the head of Chapek's Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution division:
"As a result, Kareem Daniel will be leaving the company, and I hope you will all join me in thanking him for his many years of service to Disney."
Under Chapek and Daniel, this division - not studio heads or creatives - determined distribution, sales, operations, and ads across all Disney content.
Star Wars Can Now Decide Between Disney+ and Theaters
If Chapek, not Kennedy, is responsible for Star Wars' Tatooine-Esque theatrical landscape, this Iger decision is a new hope.
It will be especially interesting to see if Patty Jenkins' Rogue Squadron film might be revived, especially if Chapek was key in why it was delayed.
This directive from Iger also means that Lucasfilm and its creatives - not Chapek or data - will have more control over what Star Wars stories go to Disney+ and which go to theaters.
A common complaint amongst fans in recent years is that certain Star Wars Disney+ shows would have been better as films than series.
In fact, The Direct learned that Obi-Wan Kenobi was intended as a trilogy before the decision was made to make it a Disney+ show.
With Andor and Obi-Wan as glowing examples of what stories need a show and which need a film, Lucasfilm not only has a better understanding of which medium works best but now the freedom to choose.
Still, it's important to note that Chapek isn't to blame for all of Star Wars' recent issues.
There's no doubt that Disney's sequel trilogy lacked a cohesive vision, and Lucasfilm's bad habit of announcing projects that never get made began before Chapek's reign.
Still, for those eager to see that galaxy far, far away make a big screen comeback, Iger's return isn't just good for the fans but also for the franchise moving forward.