The future for Star Wars on the silver screen grows bleaker with each passing month, as official announcements for the next wave of films remain overdue. Previously anticipated to be discussed a few months after Star Wars Celebration by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, there now seem to be less movies on the release slate than before.
In large part, this can be attributed to creative struggles Lucasfilm has had with the writers and directors for scheduled projects. Patty Jenkins' Rogue Squadron has been delayed indefinitely and removed from Disney's schedule, and Taika Waititi's film has been in development for several years without any significant progress to show for it. Ironically, Rian Johnson's controversial trilogy may have the best shot at seeing the light of day.
A surprising development in the past week was the firing of Lucasfilm's SVP Michelle Rejwan, who seemed to be the clear successor to Kathleen Kennedy as head of the company. Though her overall deal with Disney keeps Rejwan in touch with Lucasfilm as a producer, the move is a clear demotion - reportedly due to her inability to get Star Wars films off the ground.
In another unforeseen move, Lucasfilm has softened the blow by landing a director for a less-discussed new film.
Ms. Marvel Director Helming Star Wars Film
Deadline reported that Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will be directing Damon Lindelof's Star Wars movie for Lucasfilm. Obaid-Chinoy was most recently in the director's chair for Marvel Studios' Ms. Marvel Disney+ series, in which she directed the Pakistani-set Episodes 4 and 5.
Lindelof is said to be penning the project with an unknown co-writer. The script is still in development with production likely a long time out, but Lucasfilm and Lindelof sought out a director early to incorporate Obaid-Chinoy's vision for the film into the story's screenplay.
What to Expect from the Next Star Wars Movie
The bantha in the room is whether or not this Star Wars film will ever actually happen. Given Lucasfilm's... uninspiring track record with productions under the Disney umbrella - particularly on the feature film front - there's reason to be skeptical. The turmoil surrounding Rogue Squadron, Waititi's film, and Johnson's trilogy are already leading to an unconvinced reaction from fans.
Like every other project, the key to success will be the story. Lindelof has a great track record with TV series, though his movies have been less enthralling. The identity of the anonymous co-writer is a point of intrigue, one that could shape optimism for the movie's survival going forward. With Andor setting such a high bar for Star Wars, Lucasfilm is undoubtedly aware of the need for exceptional writing.
Obaid-Chinoy herself is a unique choice for a Star Wars film. The director, to this point, has only worked on projects related to her native country Pakistan - including her two episodes for Ms. Marvel. Her episodes were among the less popular for fans of the show, though production in Pakistan was hindered by the Covid outbreak.
With Obaid-Chinoy brought into the fold fairly early in the process for Lindelof's film, what her specific influences on the story will be is something interesting to ponder. Perhaps a faction in the movie is rooted deeply in their culture, and Pakistani influences were something Lucasfilm is seeking for the script. It could be much simpler, as well, and merely be a case of Obaid-Chinoy being the most desirable person for the job.
Assuming the project stays on target, Obaid-Chinoy will join Jon Favreau, Taika Waititi, Peyton Reed, and Kevin Tancharoen as an MCU alum to direct a Star Wars TV episode or film. With the next theatrical release now scheduled for 2025, this picture may be the return to the silver screen Star Wars fans are desiring. If the movie goes under, everyone can look forward to the unity of Rian Johnson's trilogy instead.