Last month, it was announced that the upcoming Star Wars film Rogue Squadron had been removed from Disney’s release calendar. In 2021, the film was removed from Disney’s production schedule after alleged scheduling conflicts with the film’s intended director, Patty Jenkins.
Fans are left to wonder: “What does this mean for the film?”
Excitement for the Rogue Squadron movie has been palpable since the film was announced back in 2020. There are few properties within Star Wars that have the kind of rabid fan base as Rogue Squadron. The squadron made its first official appearance in The Empire Strikes Back where they were referred to as the “Rogue Group.” This group of elite fighters also appeared during the final battle at the end of Return of the Jedi.
Despite an appearance in the original trilogy, the squadron did not firmly establish itself in the canon until 1996’s X-Wing: Rogue Squadron written by Michael A. Stackpole. In this novel, our modern conception of an elite group of fighter pilots led by the legendary Wedge Antilles was born. The novel was a huge success and spawned a total of nine sequels. While the books are certainly a huge part of the franchise’s enduring legacy within the fandom, the release of the videogame Star Wars: Rogue Squadron in 1998 firmly cemented Rogue Squadron as a cherished group within the Star Wars mythos.
That game spawned two sequels and those three “Rogue Squadron” games are consistently ranked as examples of the very best Star Wars video games ever made. The book series remained successful until the final volume was released in 2012 when Star Wars was purchased by Disney. Since then, Rogue Squadron has been relegated to the limbo world known as Legends where once beloved canonical works wait to see if their stories will be reintegrated into the new mythology.
Obviously, fans were thrilled when Patty Jenkins’ film was announced because this meant that these treasured stories would once again be canonical. Not to mention that Jenkins was saying all the right things when asked about her approach to the film. She told reporters that she planned to use the books and the video games as inspiration and that she hoped to make “the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time.” Encouraging words to say the least.
So, now that the film has been removed from Disney’s release calendar, should “Rogue Squadron” fans panic? If the recent news surrounding Rian Johnson’s planned Star Wars trilogy is any indication, then maybe those fans can put their fears to rest.
All the way back in 2017, Disney announced that Rian Johnson, fresh off directing “The Last Jedi,” would be creating his own trilogy of Star Wars films. Cut to 2022, and that trilogy has still yet to begin production. Many fans feared the worst, however, in a recent interview with Empire, Johnson revealed that he still has conversations with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy about the trilogy. In fact, Johnson says that he would be “heartbroken” if the films never came to be and that the only barrier has been in scheduling the films and their production. Kennedy herself has said in many interviews that the films are absolutely still happening, just not for an indeterminate amount of time.
While the removal of Rogue Squadron from the release schedule might have felt like the final nail in the coffin for some fans, Johnson’s recent interview gives those fans a faint glimmer of hope. If his trilogy, announced all the way back in 2017, is still happening, then Rogue Squadron almost certainly is as well. The impassioned multitude of fans clamoring to see their beloved pilots on the big screen will simply have to wait a bit longer than they had expected.
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