Everything You Need to Know About the 'Star Wars' Sequels

Everything You Need to Know About the 'Star Wars' Sequels

Dec 21, 2015

Fans have been waiting 32 years for a movie to explore what happens after the events of Return of the Jedi. Now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is upon us, we can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen next. With several direct sequels and spin-offs in the works, here is everything you need to know about the future of the Star Wars saga.


Rian Johnson Will Write and Direct Star Wars: Episode VIII

The indie darling behind critically beloved movies like BrickThe Brothers Bloom and Looper, Rian Johnson is an inspired choice to direct the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, which is already set for May 26, 2017. With experience crafting memorable characters; directing unique action; and building deep, fully realized worlds, he’s the kind of seemingly left-field choice that makes too much sense to have not happened.


Johnson Is Bringing Some Old Friends Along for the Ride

It looks like each new Star Wars director is going to get to shape his crew however he wants. Johnson is writing the Episode VIIIscreenplay solo, and he’s already brought cinematographer Steve Yedlin and producer Ram Bergman (who have worked on all of his previous projects) on board. This movie may have Star Wars in the title, but it’ll be Johnson’s movie through and through.

As far as cast goes, Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed that Captain Phasma and Finn will both return for the next installment, and reports have also confirmed that Rey and Luke Skywalker will return, too. There will be new characters (see below), but you should also expect to see Kylo Ren, General Leia, General Hux, Supreme Leader Snoke, BB-8, Maz Kanata and Poe Dameron as well.  


Benicio del Toro Will Probably Be the Episode VIII Villain

Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed, Academy Award-winning actor Benicio del Toro has frequently spoken about being all but cast in Episode VIII. We don’t know much beyond that, but between this and his work as the Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy, he’s becoming the go-to guy to play baddies in Disney-produced science fiction adventures.


Gareth Edwards Will Helm the First Spin-off, Rogue One

In addition to the regular Star Wars “episodes,” fans will also be treated to spin-off movies that are scheduled to come out every other year. The first of them, titled Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is currently filming with director Gareth Edwards at the helm for a December 16, 2016 release. Edwards, who got his start with the very cool indie sci-fi movie Monsters, broke onto the Hollywood A-list with last year’s Godzilla, where he proved himself more than capable of directing a massive blockbuster.


Rogue One Will Take Place When?!

While the regular sequels will take the Star Wars saga deeper and deeper into the future, the spin-off films will be able to jump all around the series’ timeline. Rogue One will tell a story that Star Wars fans never thought they’d get a chance to see. Set right before the events of the original 1977 Star Wars, Edwards’s film will follow a team of Rebel Alliance soldiers who steal the plans to the original Death Star.

Before Princess Leia smuggled those plans off her ship by hiding them in R2-D2, these brave men and women indirectly saved the galaxy by getting the plans to her in the first place. In a roundabout way, they also brought Luke Skywalker and Han Solo into the saga in the first place. 


Rogue One’s Cast Is the Future of Blockbuster Filmmaking

Lucasfilm president and Star Wars series producer Kathleen Kennedy has made a point of bringing diversity to future installments in the saga and you can see the fruits of her labors in Rogue One’s cast. Oscar nominee Felicity Jones leads a cast that includes Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Wen Jiang, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker and Alan Tudyk. Expect to seeStar Wars movies continue to focus on bringing actors and actresses from all races, nations and backgrounds into the fold. And we wouldn't be surprised if Rogue One brings Darth Vader back into the fold, too.


The Second Spin-off Will be a Han Solo Movie

Get comfortable. The second Star Wars spin-off movie following Rogue One won’t arrive until May 25, 2018… and it will center around one of the most popular characters in all of science fiction. Yep, Han Solo is getting his own movie, telling of his adventures when he was a younger man (early buzz suggests late teens or early twenties). Yes, this means that someone else besides Harrison Ford is going to play everyone’s favorite smuggler. Let the casting games begin!


A Lot of People You Love Are Making That Han Solo Movie

If you find yourself nervous about a young Han Solo movie, you're not alone. Fans are understandably concerned, but everything about this movie suggests that everyone involved knows what they’re doing. After all, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (who wrote and cowrote The Empire Strikes BackReturn of the Jedi and The Force Awakens) is back to pen the screenplay alongside his son, Jon Kasdan. The goodwill extends to the director’s chair, where Chris Miller and Phil Lord of 21 Jump Streetand The Lego Movie fame will be calling the shots. That’s a lot of smart, talented people.


Colin Trevorrow Is Directing Star Wars: Episode IX

The release date of Star Wars: Episode IX hasn’t been revealed yet, but we know it will hit theaters at some point in 2019 (probably in May). However, we do know that Colin Trevorrow, fresh off of delivering the third biggest movie of all time withJurassic World, will finish off the sequel trilogy. A Star Wars movie and a Jurassic Park movie? Trevorrow is living the dream.


Here's A Great Timeline of the New Star Wars Canon

Curious to know what fits where? Want to study up more on the new Star Wars universe? Here's a handy visual guide to what's available now and what's coming up soon. [via Comics Alliance]


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