Disney CEO Bob Iger was a real Chatty Cathy earlier today at an annual shareholders meeting. He announced the release date of not one but two more Star Wars movies and gave into inevitability by confirming Frozen 2 is in the works with the same directors and Josh Gad returning. So, the parents of the world have that to look forward to, possibly filling them with a mix of relief (Finally, my kids will want to watch something other than Frozen) and dread (I don’t know if I can go through this again).
It was at a similar shareholders meeting that Iger first announced the studio’s plans to have one new Star Wars movie out every year through 2019, with the installments of a new trilogy falling in 2015, 2017, and 2019 and two standalone titles/spin-offs dropping in 2016 and 2018. J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens kicks all of this off this December, and then he hands it off to Looper’s Rian Johnson, who will write and direct Episode VIII for a May 26, 2017 release, one day removed from the 40th anniversary of the release of the first Star Wars. In-between those two will come Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One, starring Felicity Jones and due out December 16, 2016.
Here’s a handy-dandy bullet list to help you keep it straight:
- The Force Awakens due December 18, 2015
- Rogue One due December 16, 2016
- Episode VIII due May 26, 2017
At one point, it was widely speculated that the standalone movies would be showcases for some of the iconic characters, like maybe a Han Solo prequel or something about Boba Fett. Then a rumor arrived that one of the movies would actually be about a collection of mercenaries tasked by the leaders of the rebellion to steal the plans for the Death Star during the original trilogy. Now, we know the first one of these is going to be called Rogue One. Huh. What the heck does that mean?
Yeah, no idea, but as per usual BadAssDigest has a theory:
In the Expanded Universe novels the “Red Squadron” of the movies is known as “Rogue Squadron,” led by Wedge Antilles and tasked with all sorts of elite missions. They appear in books, comics and video games, but only get mentioned sort of off-handedly in The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke is referred to as “Rogue Leader” during the Battle of Hoth. If this is a movie about the X-Wing squadron, and if it has Wedge Antilles and all those dudes show up, it’ll be a big victory for those who have been hoping to see the Expanded Universe folded into the new canon.
But if the early rumors are true – that it’s a movie about a group of pirates/bounty hunters (aka, rogues) who end up stealing the Death Star plans, it could get a very different reaction. Maybe the movie will establish that this group begins the “Rogue Squadron” designation? Still, the title Rogue One really, really, really sounds like the callsign for the leader of Rogue Squadron. In fact Wedge Antilles, who is almost always Rogue Leader in the Expanded Universe stuff, once used the title Rogue One – in Shadows of the Empire, the book that takes place between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi and whose current canonicity I do not know. It was, at the time of release, promoted as the canon story of the missing years between those films, but that could have all changed with the recent sweep of continuity when Disney bought Lucasfilm.
He’s right that all of that could be totally irrelevant considering that Disney has drawn a line in the sand and erased all of those pre-Disney Star Wars novels out of continuity, although there’s nothing stopping them from using any of those for inspiration. Maybe we’ll get some hint of Rogue One in the 20 canonical novels Disney is going to release in the build-up to Force Awakens.
Overall, I feel like I should be more critical of all of this, pointing back to the Ghostbusters article I wrote a couple of days ago where I included James Gunn’s quote about Hollywood rushing too fast with its new expanded universes and not allowing a base film to actually justify the existence of any follow-ups. After all, Rogue One is scheduled to start filming this summer meaning there’s going to be no turning back for them if The Force Awakens turns out to be more Phantom Menace than New Hope when it arrives later this year. But that Force Awakens teaser trailer does look really good, the tie-in animated series Star Wars: Rebel Force was a worthy successor to Clone Wars, and I love everything Rian Johnson has done to this point and appreciate a lot of what Gareth Edwards did with his Godzilla movie last year. Plus, Kathleen Kennedy is producing all of this, and have you seen how many amazing, modern classic movies she’s produced?
What do you think of the potential plots for Rogue One? Are you part of the Wedge adoration society? Do you still not even know who that is? Or are you just excited about Felicity Jones potentially getting to do a female-led Star Wars movie? Is 3 Stars Wars in 3 years too much? Are you echoing The Who and pointing to the prequel trilogy as evidence for your shouts about why you won’t get fooled again? Or do you just want to make a joke about how you can’t wait forward for the inevitable sequel called Rogue Two?