It is certainly a strange time for Star Wars. With the Skywalker Saga coming to an end this past December and the success of The Mandalorian’s first season, it’s unclear what the next direction will be for the films. When Disney announced its slate of upcoming movies in May 2019, it exposed a plan to release three new Star Wars movies, each set to come out every other year between 2022 and 2026. Fans are privy to limited information concerning the 2022 film, even though numerous projects at Lucasfilm have been reported on (e.g. Kevin Feige’s film and J.D. Dillard’s movie).
The Direct’s Star Wars team decided to give some predictions on when the 2022 movie would be set in the Star Wars timeline. Four time periods were decided on and our writers were instructed to give a percentage of likelihood of when the movie would take place. Now that the numbers are averaged out, here’s a breakdown of the results...
Based on the team’s responses, the least likely time period that the 2022 Star Wars film will be set during is the Skywalker Saga. Every Star Wars movie that Lucasfilm has made thus far takes place in the aforementioned timespan. Many of its planned TV developments are established in this time as well, such as The Mandalorian, the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, and the Cassian Andor show. One can imagine why executives and creators might want to step out of the era. Not only would it be more tempting to outside directors to explore new time territory, but it would provide a way for Disney and Lucasfilm to reinvigorate originality within the franchise to prevent nostalgia or fan attachment from crippling unique visions.
Nevertheless, there are some potential explanations as to why Lucasfilm might want to stick with what’s worked before. For one, they still have such a strong foundation with the saga, and regardless of Solo’s poor box office performance, it has proved effective in generating revenue. Furthermore, there is a wide range of narratives for storytellers to share and expand on (just look at their current state of TV shows, comic books, and novels). However, one of the writers, Pete Hernandez, put it best saying that it's "unlikely the next feature film would take place in the Skywalker saga after [The] Rise of Skywalker effectively closed the chapter on that.”
Coming in second to last is the period after the Skywalker saga. During the press tour for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, actors clarified their own future with the franchise. Both John Boyega and Oscar Isaac indicated that they are not motivated to participate in a Disney+ project, but Boyega stated that he would consider returning to the movies. Daisy Ridley elaborated on the subject:
“I just don’t know if anything could top this one, honestly. I think it’s just a great story and a great close, and even though obviously the characters continue to exist, it would have to be so extraordinary [to return], and I don’t know if that’s possible.”
With these responses, it makes sense that The Direct only gave a 16% chance that the 2022 film will cover this area in the timeline. If these actors aren’t keen on coming back by that year, it’s doubtful Kathleen Kennedy would want to continue past Episode IX, for now. This sentiment is also shared by The Direct's writer Andrew Gilman, who expressed how Lucasfilm won’t want to tie their hands when an inevitable fourth trilogy rolls along in ‘x’ amount of years. There are definitely stories to tell, even without the characters that audiences have already seen. The fact of the matter is 2022 is not far away, so this time period would be better served later in Star Wars’ future.
As the first significant percentage of the four, this period is almost a blank slate. It must still hold to certain facts heard from the saga and canon before, but there is plenty of room to flesh out unexplained myths and legends. Speaking of legends, the stories presented in the Expanded Universe could be a great place for any writer or director to start. From Darth Bane to the origins of the Jedi and Sith, this timeline provides many areas of interest to the fandom.
It’s hard to determine what precise times encapsulate the High Republic (see more on that in the next section). The public’s been made aware that the new run of content is set 200 years before the main saga, but they’re unsure when it actually begins and ends. So, if they were to place it before the saga and not have it in the High Republic era, it would probably be years beforehand in order to create space between stories.
Finally, The Direct’s highest percent likelihood of when the 2022 Star Wars film will be set is…during the High Republic! Lucasfilm finally let the public in the know about the long-anticipated Project Luminous, now referred to as The High Republic. Authors and executives recently shared several details of their new strategy. As mentioned above, The High Republic will introduce an era in Star Wars occurring 200 years before the Skywalker saga begins. It’ll foster diverse characters and interconnected tales for all generations.
This news is truly exhilarating because they’re starting to dig into uncharted space. Scheduled to publish across multiple years, these comic books and novels could possibly lead into a live-action film, particularly the one in 2022. Another member of The Direct team, Lauren Rouse, expressed how the energy and effort that Disney is putting forth in setting up the High Republic Era with its publishing could be indicative of how they hope to expand on this shared world in their future films and a Disney+ series.
Most of the writers carry the same opinion as Lauren, despite Disney’s assertion that The High Republic won’t cross over “with any of the films or series currently planned for production.” This contradicts rumors that a new movie was being developed during this timeline. Whether or not there’s any truth to these reports, it’s safe to say The High Republic is going to be popular in the coming years.
There is considerable room for speculation and guessing because of the lack of specificity surrounding the 2022 Star Wars movie. To reiterate, the results shown here represent where in the timeline The Direct’s writers think the film will be placed, not necessarily where they would like to see it placed.
Is there a particular time frame you have in mind, or do you suspect the movie won't even come out in 2022? Share your thoughts using the poll and "Comments" section below!