Disney and Lucasfilm are in an incredible place with Star Wars after Kathleen Kennedy’s presentation at Star Wars Celebration 2022, which featured The Mandalorian, Andor, and everything in-between. However, the only thing not on the agenda at this massive fan event was the next step on the big screen for the galaxy far, far away.
Star Wars hasn’t had a film in theaters in over two years, the last of which being 2019's Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker to close out the nine-movie Skywalker Saga. And although it was a financial success with over $1 billion at the global box office it remains a sore spot for countless Star Wars fans who were let down and confused by the sequel trilogy’s lukewarm ending.
Even though the Skywalker Saga ended with this finale in 2019, Lucasfilm and Disney are far from done with their ventures into the intergalactic story in a theatrical setting. However, even with official plans set into motion on that front, Kennedy's most recent public appearance didn't yield much in terms of news on that venture.
When Will Star Wars Go Back to Movies?
Kennedy reflected on how incredible it was to be on stage in front of the fans at this event after two missed years of Star Wars Celebration, describing it as "what people need" during these difficult times:
"Yeah, I gotta say for all of us, I think for the crowd and all of us involved, to be, three years later, finally walking out on that stage in person and hearing the roar of the crowd and feeling like ‘Oh my god, we may actually be back in some form to what we were.’ It’s what people need, and it was really great to be a part of that."
The Lucasfilm executive also touched on the lack of movie announcements on Thursday's panel, noting how the studio wanted to highlight so much exciting news from its TV department. However, she also teased that there will be "plenty of time" to feature everything coming in the movie universe down the road:
"I think, you know, we had so much to highlight with the new television that we have coming that we’re gonna have plenty of time to be able to showcase, in the same way, what we’re doing in the movie space, and we’re all really excited with where that’s going."
Kennedy moved on to the franchise's expansion, sharing how "Ahsoka is the next iteration" of that growth from everything The Mandalorian built. She also mentioned Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts' work on the newly-announced Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, noting how this and other shows tie back to everything that George Lucas first built 45 years ago:
"We’re continuing to expand on The Mandalorian, Ahsoka is the next iteration of that, and then what Jon Watts is doing with his show. It gives us different places on the timeline to look at. There is this persistent story of Star Wars, that’s what we’re building on, so rather than thinking of it that we’re just gonna go off and do a one-off story, we’re constantly thinking about ‘Ok, what does this really mean inside the long saga and mythology that George Lucas created?’ So it could go on forever, to be perfectly honest. If we have good storytellers, it will go on forever.
Touching more deeply on Skeleton Crew, Kennedy looked at how Watts wanted to make something that resembled the 1985 classic movie The Goonies, asking if he could "do something like that in Star Wars:"
Kennedy: “Well, you know, it’s funny because, Jon Watts said to me ‘Well, you know, I always loved Goonies, I loved what you guys did with Goonies. Could we ever do something like that in Star Wars?’ And I said ‘Yeah, absolutely we could.”
Variety: “Goonie Wars!”
Kennedy: “Goonie Wars! He’s gonna put together something pretty fun and great.”
Star Wars Movies' Time to Shine Coming Soon
Even without any new movies releasing in the near future, Star Wars remains one of the biggest franchises in the world thanks to its efforts on Disney+. Even with that success, though, the big screen is where the galaxy far, far away first became a worldwide phenomenon, and it would be a big mistake to stay away from that platform for too long.
The great thing is that Kennedy is well aware that the movies deserve their own spotlight, only indicating that it may be a little while longer until that day comes for them to return to prominence. With more than half a dozen Disney+ shows set for release over the next two years alone, their runs will keep Star Wars fans excited until the next big-screen adventure.
Currently, there are a few movies that are actively in development including Patty Jenkins' Rogue Squadron, an untitled film directed by Thor: Love and Thunder's Taika Waititi, and even one produced by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. While those new entries are still shrouded in mystery, the talent attached to them should only mean that the Star Wars story will continue to thrive in theaters when that return arrives.