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Star Wars began on the big screen, and naturally that is where the franchise flourishes best. The announcement that Rogue Squadron (presumably the next film set in the galaxy far, far away) has been delayed is disappointing, but it’s not like there won’t be any Star Wars storytelling going on while we wait to see what happens with Patty Jenkins’ movie. The interconnected books, comics, and games of Star Wars will continue, but it is television that will truly hold the line while the movies figure themselves out.
We’ve been here before — the ships still fly.
When the prequel trilogy ended it looked like Star Wars itself was once again ending too, but that was not to be. The animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars came along in 2008, and after a theatrical release that was not given a warm welcome, the show moved to it's intended base of operation on television. Fans who were dubious about the series eventually came around, as the show got better and better over the course of five seasons. A man named Dave Filoni (now a legend) worked directly with George Lucas to create this show, and we all got to know and cherish a young padawan named Ahsoka Tano. This was well before Lucas sold Star Wars to Mickey.
The series was canceled after five seasons, but Netflix came to the rescue and made a sixth season possible. Filoni then went on to create another animated wonder, Star Wars Rebels. Fans weren’t getting new movies, but there was a ton of lore being added to the mythic galaxy that they loved so much. The batteries kept being recharged, and Star Wars fervor continued to run high. It may have been missing from theaters, but the Force was strong on the small screen.
Then, of course, the sale to Disney took place. More movies were announced, a brand new trilogy of blockbusters was made, and Star Wars was once again bigger than ever. The first live-action TV project finally happened with The Mandalorian, and in the middle of all of it, a miracle: OG Star Wars TV series The Clone Wars even came back to finish properly with Season 7.
Now that the sequel trilogy has concluded, Star Wars is once again absent from cinemas. Rogue Squadron has been delayed, and though there are more movies being developed by Taika Waititi and reportedly Marvel’s Kevin Feige, none (as far as we know) are anywhere close to production. There’s been no news whatsoever in years about the new trilogy that Rian Johnson was supposedly creating either; but it's never been officially axed.
Does this leave the Force out of balance? The movies are the chosen ones, they are supposed to be the cornerstones of the fanbase! No one need worry. If the force remained strong in 2008, then there’s no doubt that the light will prevail now. Fans can thank Disney+ for that. In 2008, we had one animated series that had to fight to get fans to take it seriously. In 2021, the small screen is about to pop like the Millennium Falcon blowing a power coupling.
At the very end of this year, The Book of Boba Fett will hit the service. Next year will see the return of both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Star Wars: Andor is likely to debut next year, and another season of the animated Star Wars: The Bad Batch is coming too, and Season 3 of The Mandalorian is confirmed. Production is just ramping up on Star Wars: Ahsoka, where the once-derided, now beloved former padawan will continue her journey in live action. The Force has a sense of humor.
This is barely scratching the surface, as plenty more shows are being developed right now. The year 2022 will be packed, and 2023 will likely be the same. The small screen Star Wars experience is different, but the style of filmmaking and the heart of the story is the same. It's just in the living room, not the cineplex.
Star Wars will return to cinemas. It’s only a matter of time, and for all we know Kathleen Kennedy will announce something that is already in production on Disney+ Day or at the D23 fan expo later this month. Rian Johnson could be neck deep in a Knights of the Old Republic trilogy right now for all we know. Always in motion is the future. Rogue Squadron may take a little longer to assemble, and the other movies on the docket may take some time too.
Nevertheless, the spark will remain lit.