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For the first time since Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced that a new trilogy of films was on the way, Star Wars is facing a truly uncertain future on the big screen. The Skywalker Saga that began in 1977 is set to conclude next month with The Rise of Skywalker, and beyond that, we simply don't know what Star Wars story we'll go to the movies for next.
According to a new report, it's also not clear at the moment who the key guiding creative forces in Star Wars will be after the Skywalker Saga wraps up, but The Hollywood Reporter's sources have some ideas, and some of them are already deeply embedded in the franchise's present.
The new THR report comes on the heels of a Rolling Stone interview in which Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy explained that she and her team are presently discussing the "endless possibilities" available to them in terms of where Star Wars goes from here. Kennedy is not prepared to announce anything about the franchise's future at the moment, but according to THR that may be because Kennedy might not actually be the key force charting that future. Her contract is reportedly set to expire in 2021, likely before any new Star Wars films hit the screen, and whether she decides it's time to depart or Walt Disney Company head Bob Iger decides for her, that could potentially mark the time of a changing of the guard at Lucasfilm.
It's important to note that Kennedy herself has made no remarks that would suggest she's preparing to leave, but whether she stays with the company or not, she's begun assembling a kind of inner creative circle at Lucasfilm that could have major implications for the future of Star Wars storytelling. According to THR's sources, The Mandalorian creator Jon Favreau is now in position to be a key voice charting the next steps in a galaxy far, far away, thanks to both his success with the Disney+ streaming series and his built-in fanbase thanks to years spent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Other key players already embedded at Lucasfilm are Michelle Rejwan, the current senior VP of live action development and a key producer on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Dave Filoni. Filoni is a Lucasfilm veteran and key luminary in the studio's animation department, where he oversaw the success of The Clone Wars (under the wing of George Lucas himself) and Star Wars Rebels. With The Mandalorian, Filoni transitioned into live-action directing for the first time, and his level of experience plus his deep connection to the fandom places him in a prime position.
Then there's Kevin Feige. The longtime president of Marvel Studios and architect of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is showing no signs of slowing down over on the superhero side of things, but he's also set to begin dabbling in a galaxy far, far away. The recent news that Feige is developing a Star Wars project of his own has led some to speculate that he's doing more than developing a single story, and THR's sources note that Feige's billion-dollar track record at Marvel puts him in a position of leverage with Iger.
Even with all of this in mind, though, it's important to note that at the moment the only things that seem certain in Star Wars' near future are unfolding on the small screen, thanks to The Mandalorian and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+. We likely won't learn more until sometime after The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20.