Even though the next Star Wars movie to hit the big screen set a new pre-sale record, it will be the last time for at least a while that fans have to go to the cineplex to watch stories unfold in a galaxy far, far away.
Indeed, after The Rise of Skywalker opens in December, Star Wars films will be taking a bit of a break from the big screen, per Disney CEO Bob Iger. In an earnings call with investors today (via CNET), he said the films will go "into a hiatus," and like the MCU, the House of Mouse is starting to think of these box office juggernauts as "more than just... film franchises."
The timing of this announcement comes after Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss bowed out of their planned trilogy last week. Earlier this fall, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson gave a vague answer about when his planned trilogy would be coming to fruition. Of course, the last Star Wars film to hit theaters was Solo roughly 18 months ago, and it underperformed at the box office.
That's not to say there will be a Star Wars vacuum in the foreseeable future like it's 1984-1998. Rather than movies, Iger said that Disney will continue to explore ways to tell stories for the small screen. This includes the space opera's first-ever live-action series, The Mandalorian, which will premiere next week when Disney+ launches, as well as upcoming spinoff series centering on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Rogue One's Cassian Andor.
It does seem like Disney wants to take some time to reevaluate how it approaches future Star Wars cinema after the Skywalker Saga draws to a close next month. In the meantime, it appears that it will rely on the canon's established characters for the upcoming TV outings. Even The Mandalorian, which will introduce a whole new roster of heroes and villains, is set firmly in the saga's established timeline, meaning it will fill in some of the narrative cracks while telling its own story.
Granted, there's still plenty of Star Wars to go around, but things sure have changed from Disney's original plan for a new movie every year until the end of time. On the upside, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will open in theaters Dec. 20. Be sure to savor the moment.