Movies | November 11, 2017 10:00 am

Why ‘Star Wars’ Franchise Needs to Move Go Beyond Skywalker Saga

The new trilogy from Lucasfilm and Disney will move the sci-fi saga in interesting directions.

NASA's EmDrive has drawn comparison to Star Wars' Milennium Falcon. (Lucasfilm/Disney)
NASA's EmDrive has drawn comparison to Star Wars' Milennium Falcon. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

To borrow a line from J.J. Abrams’s other sci-fi franchise, Star Wars is boldly going where it has never gone before.

With the announcement Thursday that Lucasfilm enlisted filmmaker Rian Johnson, the director of the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi, to create a whole new trilogy with new characters for the franchise, that universe suddenly feels a lot bigger. A live action show is also planned for Disney’s streaming service, when the company’s answer to Netflix launches in 2019.

As The Hollywood Reporter points out, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy had previously promised at least 10 years of Star Wars movies, but fans and industry watchers had concerns whether or not the current central characters could sustain that pipeline. Even standalone films like last year’s Rogue One and the upcoming, Solo, have to fit in the larger “Skywalker Saga” that cast a Death Star-sized shadow over everything.

And by giving Johnson such unprecedented creative control over a new direction, Lucasfilm is showing tremendous confidence in their own Padawan.

“This new trilogy, by comparison, feels like the fulfillment of something that Lucasfilm has been searching for for some time,” writes THR‘s Graeme McMillan. “By focusing on, in Lucasfilm’s words, ‘new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored,’ Johnson is actually managing to expand the galaxy beyond the central storyline that everything to date has dealt with, in the process setting the franchise up for a longevity that it arguably lacked previously.

“After all, there’s only so far that you can go with the Skywalkers and their friends, especially with stand-alone movies strip-mining that series for parts as it goes along.”