Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams say the Skywalker saga could continue after Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but probably won’t. The Skywalker saga began with George Lucas’ original Star Wars in 1977 and has continued on through every mainline film since then, sans the spin-offs Rogue One and Solo. It will finally culminate with the release of next week’s The Rise of Skywalker, with the upcoming film set to bring Disney and Lucasfilm’s sequel trilogy to a close four years after The Force Awakens opened in theaters.
Of late, The Rise of Skywalker‘s marketing has striven to really drive home the idea this is as much the finale to the last forty-two years of Star Wars as it is an ending to the previous two films in the franchise. Between TV spots featuring music from the Star Wars prequel trilogy and posters which recreate classic one-sheets from the original trilogy, the promotional campaign has so far successfully connected the movie to everything that’s happened in the Skywalker saga already. Though, to paraphrase Watchmen‘s Doctor Manhattan, nothing ever (really) ends.
During an interview with NYT, The Rise of Skywalker and The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams was asked if the Skywalker Saga could still continue after the latest Star Wars film – to which he replied “Of course it can go on. But there’s something bold about saying this is what the story should be.” Lucasfilm president Kennedy said something similar in the same article, noting the Skywalker saga “does have to end” with the movie before adding her intention is to “recognize and honor what it is that [George Lucas] created – and move on. I think we’re ready to move on.”
It’s worth pointing out this is not at all tantamount to Abrams and Kennedy back-tracking on the idea of The Rise of Skywalker being the end of the Skywalker saga. Rather, it’s just their way of saying this is where they feel the story should end, not where it has to. All the same, The Rise of Skywalker ought to have a feeling of finality to it, much in the same way Avengers: Endgame served as the final chapter in the Infinity Saga earlier this year. If anything, it could be even more conclusive than Endgame was, considering the latter intentionally left a number of plot threads dangling for the MCU’s Phase 4 movies and TV shows to pick up. By comparison, the Star Wars movies are going to go on a three year break after The Rise of Skywalker, giving Lucasfilm the time they need to figure out where exactly they want to take the franchise next.
In an era of pop culture where true conclusions are hard to find, it’s refreshing to see Abrams and Kennedy put their foot down and commit to ending the Skywalker saga on their own terms. Their claims the saga could continue seems to have more to do with not inadvertently spoiling anything about The Rise of Skywalker‘s story ahead of time than anything else. Considering just how successful the movie’s marketing has been at keeping its plot secret up to now (even if Abrams insists it has not been secretive) it only makes sense for the pair to continue discussing Star Wars‘ future as vaguely as possible for a little while longer.
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