Predicting what’s next for the future of the Star Wars franchise

Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley is Rey and John Boyega is Finn in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Joonas Suotamo is Chewbacca, Oscar Isaac is Poe Dameron, Daisy Ridley is Rey and John Boyega is Finn in STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER /

The Rise of Skywalker may have ended the nine-movie series George Lucas began with A New Hope in 1977, but under the ownership of Disney, Star Wars shows no signs of slowing down. With a growing list of new shows currently in development for Disney+, such as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka, and more and more Star Wars stories being explored through novels and comic books, the Star Wars universe continues to expand and evolve beyond Lucas’s initial vision with the original trilogy.

But what’s next for Star Wars?

The end of the Skywalker saga?

The chronologically last event to happen in-canon was Rey declaring herself a Skywalker to a strange old woman on Tatooine after burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers. This marked the end of the Skywalker saga, and yet, with Rey adopting the Skywalker name, it would seem the Skywalker story is actually far from over. It seems possible that everything Lucasfilm is doing with the Star Wars franchise is setting up for the stories that will take place post-sequel trilogy.

A wider context

First, there is The High Republic era, which began with Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi novel. It tells a story 200 years before the Skywalker saga, but in doing so, it’s creating a wider context for the events that occur in the Skywalker saga. We’re still early into the era, but it’s likely that we’ll begin to see seeds of what is inevitable to come in upcoming stories. Perhaps there will be mention of the chosen one prophecy, and we’re already seeing the temptation of the dark side for some Jedi. Though the Sith are believed to be non-existent in this era, it seems likely that we (as the audience) will at least begin to see the Sith laying the groundwork for what will become Darth Sidious’ master plan.

Bridging the gap

Second, Lucasfilm currently seems focused on bridging the gap between the original trilogy and the sequel trilogy. When The Force Awakens was released, we knew very little about what happened in the intervening thirty years between it and Return of the Jedi. The sequel trilogy itself touched on some of those events, but really only a surface glance. The Mandalorian has slowly been exploring the time chronologically closer to Return of the Jedi than The Force Awakens, and particularly in relationship to the Skywalker saga, the season two finale showed us Jedi Master Luke Skywalker coming to take Grogu to be a Padawan. This was Luke just five years after Return of the Jedi, and even though it was only a few minutes of screentime, Luke was everything fans have ever hoped to see in post-Return of the Jedi Luke Skywalker.

Other stories that will explore the gap between the original and sequel trilogies include Ahsoka, which is rumored to include Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn and The Book of Boba Fett. Given Luke’s presence in The Mandalorian, it seems likely that we’ll see more of him in some form in future stories, as well as his famous nephew, Ben Solo. Perhaps we’ll see what Luke was able to build the Jedi Order into in the years before Ben turned to the dark side.

The Mandalorian has hinted at cloning technology and Grogu’s blood and midi-chlorian count playing a role in some sinister plot by the Empire’s remaining leadership. The current run of the Darth Vader comic is exploring Exegol and Palpatine’s plans for it, which we know come into fruition sometime in the original and sequel trilogy gap, and Exegol, as we now know, is the launching pad of the sequel trilogy. It’s where Snoke was created and where Palpatine cloned himself in order to survive, including the clone that would become Rey’s father.

We most recently learned that Palpatine recovered Luke’s severed hand somehow after Darth Vader sliced it off with his lightsaber at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, so perhaps Luke’s DNA will play a role in some sort of cloning experiment, whether as a part of creating Snoke or Rey’s father or something else entirely.

The resilience of the Skywalker story

Furthermore, the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show that is in development for Disney+ is bringing back Hayden Christensen in the role of Darth Vader. So although the Skywalker saga is technically over, it seems there is no escape from the first family of Star Wars. And given the trajectory of the Skywalker saga being the return of the Jedi Order, it seems likely that everything Lucasfilm is doing is setting up for what happens next in the Star Wars timeline.

Looking ahead to what’s next

Perhaps we’ll see Rey searching the galaxy for Force-sensitive children and rebuilding the Jedi Order. Maybe we’ll discover that Luke’s role between the original and sequel trilogies creates a deeper legacy for post-The Rise of Skywalker than we’ve seen yet. Maybe Ben Solo will live, or maybe that’s just me hoping, but as we’ve seen over and over again, almost anything is possible in the Star Wars universe.

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Whatever happens, Star Wars will continue to be a story loved by fans and will continue to fuel endless speculation because that’s the kind of story Star Wars is.