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Next Star Wars film in the decades-old franchise set to include a surprise star in Skywalker story

In the final dramatic scene of the 2019 epic Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker, the heroine reaches down into the desert sand, pulls out two light sabers, and declares to the galaxy she is Rey Skywalker.

Played by English actor Daisy Ridley, 30, she stands as a powerful reminder on Tatooine that there will be another film and another story in the franchise, which launched in 1977.

But, despite Disney+ delivering several live-action, spin-off series over the past few years, the next feature film has not been approved for production, with the earliest reportedly scheduled to debut in December, 2025 – six years after The Rise of Skywalker.

A new hope?

According to the latest update in Variety, Hollywood heavyweight studio bosses have been scrambling to produce and develop screenplays for the next Star Wars, but all have hit various stumbling blocks.

Two movie projects in the Lucasfilm franchise – Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron and an untitled project from Kevin Feige – have been shelved by the studio.

Enter Oscar-winning New Zealand director, writer and actor Taika Waititi.

We all know he has been working on a script since 2020, and is no stranger to Star Wars as he directed The Mandalorian season 1 episode Chapter 8: The Redemption, as well as voicing the series character IG-11.

After the 2022 Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration panel, boss Kathleen Kennedy confirmed Waititi’s movie was next in line (after being approached in 2020 to start putting pen to paper).

“We have great talent that we’re working with – people who care so deeply about what the next iteration of Star Wars is and about getting people back into movie theatres, so we can really come out with a bang,” she told GamesRadar at the time.

Sources tell Variety that Waititi “continues to work on the script” and will most likely also have a part in it.

Again, he’s no stranger to playing roles in his films.

Versatile Waititi

Waititi also wrote and directed the 2022 superhero action flick Thor: Love and Thunder, starring Chris Hemsworth.

He reprised his role, playing the old Kronan warrior god Korg (who also appeared in Ragnarok, Avengers: Endgame), and with a heavy New Zealand accent, introduced some comic relief (as did Russell Crowe playing Zeus).

In 2021, he briefly appeared as a rat catcher near the end of The Suicide Squad, and during an earlier flashback that marked the live-action debut of the comic book villain.

 

In 2019, he won his first Oscar for best adapted screenplay for the feature film Jojo Rabbit, and had a part playing an imaginary Adolf Hitler.

After winning a BAFTA in the same category, he explained why he didn’t want a big-name celebrity cast as Hitler – to prevent the casting choice from being “a distraction” and from being “used as a marketing tool”.

“If it was a big celebrity playing Hitler, I think that would’ve taken away from the heart of the story about the kids,” Waititi said.

“All the posters would’ve just been ‘Will Smith as Hitler!’ and it would’ve been a distraction.”

So what’s his Star Wars plan?

In an exclusive June 14 interview with GamesRadar last year, Waititi didn’t talk plot lines. He talked characters.

“I don’t think that I’m any use in the Star Wars universe making a film where everyone’s like, ‘Oh great, well that’s the blueprints to the Millennium Falcon, ah, that’s Chewbacca’s grandmother.”

But hardcore Star Wars fans love their galaxy figures – the rebellious Jedi Knight Skywalker clan, Obi-Wan Kenobi in his ghostly scenes, Yoda (always), regular throwbacks to Han and Chewy in the Falcon.

And what about the evil Empire builders like Darth Vader and the dreaded Sith Lord.

“That all stands alone, that’s great,” Waititi says.

“I would like to take something new and create some new characters and just expand the world, otherwise it feels like it’s a very small story.”

And what would his character be? There are literally more than 25,000 total characters to choose from across the films, video games, novels and comic books.

He likes costumes, so maybe a Storm Trooper, a furry wookie, a cousin of the shiny, gold droid C-3PO? Or the much-maligned Jar Jar Binks?

star wars

Stars of The Rise of Skywalker at the Star Wars Celebration at Wintrust Arena in 2019 in Chicago. Photo: AAP

Big reveals at UK convention

Lucasfilm has divulged very little about Star Wars cinema, but Variety reports the studio will begin to unveil its plans for the future at the Star Wars Celebration convention in London on April 7.

The big stars will be there.

Ewan McGregor (Obi Wan), Hayden Christensen (Anakin), Ian McDiarmid (Sith Lord), Joonas Suotamo (Chewy), Rosario Dawson (spin-off series Ahsoka) and young Vivien Lyra Blair, who played a young Princess Leia in Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Lucasfilm will set up panel talks to showcase current projects and ones that will make it to the big screen.

For now, Variety says its message to Star Wars movie fans is this: Patience, you must have.

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