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Thanks to Marvel we look at mega trilogies in waves or phases. Marvel wraps their phase 3 with Avengers 4. Next December after the release of Episode 9, Star Wars will effectively wrap its phase 1, consisting of 5 films. While the overall view of those films is mixed, the box office says 3 out of 4 were a success with one yet to be determined. With a split fan base over The Last Jedi and the one box office failure being the last film, the future is clouded, difficult to see. If the “Story” movies are now on hold what’s next?
To hit the 2020 date, hopefully, December if Iger has learned anything, the next film will have to be on point. Production must begin by mid-2019 at the absolute latest in order to get shooting wrapped and post-production complete in time. Before any of that, you need a script, design and casting all to be rolling, presumably any day now. There are only two options even possible, especially given the latest rumors of all focus going to the Johnson and Benioff/Weiss productions. Benioff and Weiss are still busy with post-production on Game of Thrones. Their series will be some time yet.
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This leaves one option – the Rian’s trilogy. Rumors are now surfacing that 2020 may indeed be the goal for Rian’s new trilogy. Johnson stated recently he has been working on the idea for this new trilogy for some time and is now actively flushing out a script.
In a recent interview with Israeli website From the Grapevine, Johnson’s longtime producing partner Ram Bergman answered the question of when it could be ready as follows: “I can’t tell you because we don’t know yet. Maybe in two years; it’s just in the early stages.”
Rian Johnson, who recently won a Saturn Award for best screenplay for The Last Jedi, has proven he knows how to direct and guide a movie. Of all the movies so far in the relaunch, Rian’s production of The Last Jedi remains the only one to have absolutely no behind the scenes commotion or need for assistance in post-production. Johnson zipped right through the movie-making process. Like it or not, his film received criticism not for its directing as much as character choices and depictions. If anyone proved he can churn out a movie it’s Johnson.
If Johnson cannot hit the 2020 date we may be looking at a two-year hiatus before the next film. Given we are coming off a year and a half hiatus between Solo and Episode 9, it may be a break that frustrates fans. The only good news is that by late 2019 we should have Favreau’s streaming series and the Resistance cartoon to tide us over.
How will the Johnson trilogy be handled once it does start? Will its goal be to shoot back to back, releasing three years in a row, or will it release every other year, making room for the Benioff/Weiss films or stand-alone movies? Given the confusion some average movie goers had with Rogue One being a part of the Skywalker trilogy or not, it may be beneficial to let Rian do his three then either take a break or launch the Benioff/Weiss series. A stand-alone title would also be possible then.
A FINAL BAD OPTION
One possibility remains. If this is indeed the case I will be extremely pissed. Assuming Rian Johnson cannot hit the 2020 deadline, Disney may have another option. Disney received extremely fast approval for its Fox merger and by all counts its a done deal in every way. The 2020 option? Avatar. The Avatar movies are going to be owned by Disney when the deal is finalized. James Cameron missed mark after mark after mark trying to release these films, but who knows. Cameron has long stated he wanted a Christmas release, and if Cameron is indeed told Christmas 2020 or bust, maybe he can finally hit a date.
If Bob Iger decides to try and go every other Christmas with Star Wars and Avatar, this will truly slow down Star Wars releases for the sake of a sub-par Avatar franchise.