Culture

Rumors Swirl: Will Disney Scrap the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy?

Disney promotional image of "The Mandalorian."

The Star Wars sequel trilogy — The Force Awakens (2015), The Last Jedi (2017), and The Rise of Skywalker (2019) — left a sour taste in the mouths of millions of fans. Disney had managed to remove some of the magic that made Star Wars so immersive and engaging, replacing the depth and mystery of the original trilogy with a hackneyed retread of the story elements and merchandising. Worst of all, the trilogy destroyed the character of Luke Skywalker and then lurched back and forth between a new direction (The Last Jedi) and an empty conclusion (The Rise of Skywalker).

According to new rumors, however, Disney is moving in a totally different direction, and Jon Favreau, the director of The Mandalorian, is laying the groundwork to scrap the sequel trilogy entirely (as fans like myself and PJ Media’s Bryan Preston have suggested).

YouTuber Overlord DVD teased out the rumors with Hollywood screenwriter Kamran Pasha. According to Pasha, there has been an ongoing “civil war” within Disney between Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, and Favreau, whose Mandalorian arguably delivered on the empty promises of the sequel trilogy. While Kennedy will remain at Lucasfilm until October and she will step down with honor, Favreau has won the civil war and will lead Star Wars in a more promising direction.

“One of my close friends is one of Jon Favreau’s inner-circle crew members,” Pasha told Overlord DVD last month. “He told me directly last year that Mr. Favreau hated The Last Jedi, and essentially had contacted Disney himself and said, ‘Can I help you fix this? I love this property, can I help you fix this?'”

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He referred to a recent article in The Atlantic from Spencer Kornhaber. Kornhaber argues that The Mandalorian resurrected the magic of the original trilogy. “By the end of Season 2, a critical consensus had emerged: It was the best live-action Star Wars product to arrive since the early 1980s. … As The Mandalorian’s laconic and lethal hero travels from one planet to the next, the sublime feeling of immersion that laced Lucas’s early movies reemerges. To watch the show and then look back at the sweep of Star Wars history is to understand where that feeling comes from—and why most of Hollywood’s hero-driven, special-effects-laden fantasies never attain it.”

“This article now reveals which vision has won,” Pasha said, suggesting that Disney CEO Bob Chapek may have coordinated the Atlantic article.

Both Pasha and Overlord DVD explained that, even though it seems Kennedy has lost the battle for the future of Star Wars, she will be allowed to step down with dignity because she still holds a great deal of clout in Hollywood circles.

Overlord DVD claimed that he will not spend any money on a Star Wars movie or TV show until a few conditions have been met: Kennedy is no longer in control of the franchise and “the sequel trilogy cannot stand in terms of canon. We cannot live with Luke Skywalker having that fate. That’s got to be decanonized. My sources have said that that’s the long-term goal.”

Pasha responded, “I’ve heard it separately.” He said a “good friend of mine” who was “able to leak to me the script for Colin Trevorrow’s Episode IX that was never filmed” also confirmed that the artistic forces at Disney plan to erase the sequel trilogy.

“He sends me this DM: ‘I just want to let you know. I’m hearing that Dave Filoni has a plan, specifically to erase the trilogy. It’s already been seeded,'” Pasha recalled.

He said Filoni, the director of the TV show Star Wars: Rebels (2014-2018), “has a plan to erase this entire trilogy and we’re watching it play out.”

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He pointed to The Veil of The Force, which the Jedi Ezra Bridger enters in episode 13 of season 4 of Star Wars: Rebels. The veil is a mystical dimension of The Force that connects all of time and space. It can show someone flashbacks of past events and events that have yet to occur. It does seem as though the veil could provide a storytelling device to alter the potential future of Star Wars and prevent the sequel trilogy.

Overlord DVD mentioned rumors that “The Mandalorian, Raiders of the New Republic, Ahsoka,” and other Star Wars shows will present “a common storyline that builds to a crescendo that is a big deal.”

“Well, what could be a bigger crescendo than changing history, thwarting Palpatine’s plans and erasing this sh*t smear of a sequel trilogy from canon?” the YouTuber asked.

Both Overlord DVD and Pasha urged fans to remain patient — Hollywood works in terms of years and even decades. While fans want the sequel trilogy erased now, the process of fixing Star Wars will take time. Yet both of them heartily agreed that it will be worth the wait.

As I explained last December, the sequel trilogy was “supposed to be the epic climax of the Skywalker Saga, a story with internal consistency, fascinating characters, and a redemptive moral arc.” Yet each film botched the promise of the project.

The Force Awakens largely rehashed the story of Star Wars: A New Hope, down to the major plot where a plucky hero has to blow up a massive weapon that destroys whole planets. The movie introduced new characters, but it featured far too many of the original characters and echoed the original story too closely, while removing some of the explanation and emotional resonance that made the first movie work. Perhaps most importantly, while the original Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker was arguably overpowered, he made his fair share of mistakes and had very human weaknesses. The strong female character Abrams created to fulfill Luke’s role, Rey (Daisy Ridley), appeared to have few-to-no weaknesses. Heck, she barely needed any training, throughout the whole trilogy!

The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker only compounded the mistakes of The Force Awakens. The sequel trilogy veered off course, with the second film easily killing off the mysterious key villain, Supreme Leader Snoke, and the third film attempting to brush him away. In fact, the third film treats the entire First Order (the big threat of the first two sequel films) as an afterthought.

The sequel trilogy also undermined the logic of the first six movies in important ways. The Last Jedi presented Luke as a disheartened failure, disappointing fans and causing them to question the original films. The Last Jedi also completely dismissed the key mysteries set up in The Force Awakens, only for The Rise of Skywalker to provide weak answers for those mysteries. The Last Jedi also changed the laws of Star Wars physics by turning lightspeed into a weapon. If lightspeed could have been a weapon, every space battle in the entire saga is essentially pointless because small fighters could have just used lightspeed to destroy larger ships.

Worst of all, The Rise of Skywalker effectively dismantles the heroic ending of The Return of the Jedi by bringing back Darth Sidious. Throughout the prequels, characters describe Anakin Skywalker as “The Chosen One,” the man whose destiny it is to destroy the Sith. In Return of the Jedi, Anakin does destroy the Sith — by killing Darth Sidious. Yet if Darth Sidious survives, then Anakin is not the Chosen One and the first six movies make less sense.

While the sequel trilogies severely undermined the logic of Star Wars while superficially retaining some of the original trilogy’s plot points, The Mandalorian kept the spirit of the original trilogy with almost an entirely new cast of characters — with the sole exception of Luke Skywalker’s impressive arrival in the last episode of season 2. The Mandalorian reintroduced the mystery and grittiness that made the original films so alluring, and this series shows that Favreau understands the true heart of Star Wars.

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Disney will never entirely scrap the sequel trilogy, but if Favreau truly has won the Star Wars “civil war,” future TV series’ may pave the way for an alternate canon, removing the sequel trilogy by changing the future of the franchise. While the Favreau-Filoni rewrite is merely a rumor at this point, millions of fans are hoping for confirmation.