June 13, 2023
by Bespin Bulletin

It’s a surprise to be sure, but most certainly a welcome one. Disney has released their updated movie slate and it came with a couple of surprises for Star Wars fans, with the house of mouse announcing three release dates for various untitled Star Wars movies, including two due in 2026!

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Untitled Star Wars movie – May 22nd, 2026

We’ve known Disney were aiming to release a Star Wars movie in December 2025 for years, it was announced back in 2020 with the the belief being it was being held for the movie being directed by Thor: Love and Thunder’s Taika Waititi. However, a lot has changed within those three years, and it’s widely been reported by the trades along with credible journalists that the December 2025 movie had pencilled in the untitled New Jedi Order movie which is being re-written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) following the departure of Damon Lindelof (Lost) and will be directed by Ms. Marvel’s Sharmeen-Obaid Chinoy. It now seems that the December 2025 flick was suffered a five month delay, which is likely due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike.

The feature film was formally announced at Star Wars Celebration in April, with Obaid-Chinoy bringing out Daisy Ridley who announced she was returning to the franchise and that she would be leading the New Jedi Order movie. Little else is known about the film at this time, but in interviews around Celebration, Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, revealed that Steven Knight was due to turn in his draft by mid-May. However the Writers Guild of America began a strike on May 1st, which prohibited Knight from working on the project until the strike was over – which currently does not have an end date in sight. It’s unknown if Knight turned in a draft ahead of the strikes start, but it’s also been reported that Lucasfilm were hoping to begin production on the film in February 2024, with insider Jeff Sneider reporting that Lucasfilm were hoping to begin casting for the film this coming August. Due to this delay, that all seems unlikely and production will likely start much later in 2024, giving Knight and Lucasfilm more time to create a quality piece of work.

Untitled Star Wars movie – December 18th, 2026

It was previously reported by The Hollywood Reporter that the next film due to be released after the Rey Skywalker led New Jedi Order flick was that from The Mandalorian executive producer, Dave Filoni. At the time THR believed the Filoni directed movie, which will act as a crossover event for various television series set during time of The Mandalorian, would release one year later – December 2026. At the time Avatar 4 was pencilled in for that release date, but director James Cameron was quoted in an interview believing the fourth entry in the Avatar franchise would hit cinemas in December 2027, and not December 2026, which would free up the date for Filoni’s movie.

Due to the belief from the trades that the next film to release after the New Jedi Order movie was to be that being helmed by Dave Filoni, it’s a fair assumption that his project is likely taking up the December 2026 spot. The ‘MandoVerse’ flick is expected to shoot at the same studio in which The Mandalorian and the other series tied to it, Ahsoka, The Book of Boba Fett etc., Manhattan Beach Studios, located in California. Production at Manhattan Beach is heavily reliant of the volume, the stagecraft technology used in all the live-action Star Wars series produced by Dave Filoni, which allows for faster and more cost effective productions.

However one thing I think that’s important to note, and might a hint at the December 2026 flick being that of Filoni, is that this film would likely be in production at the same time as the New Jedi Order film releasing in May of 2026. This means that neither movie would have to fight for studio space at Pinewood Studios, London, which is where the Rey Skywalker led flick is due to film. The production of the December 2026 film would also likely crossover over with the movie planned for December 2027 film, which again could be looking to film at Pinewood Studios. Having the December 2026 production taking place in Manhattan Beach Studios makes the most sense and lends to the idea that it is the ‘MandoVerse’ flick being directed by Dave Filoni.

It’s also worth remembering that the original THR report claimed that Filoni’s flick was dependent on when The Mandalorian season four was filmed and released, along with a possible second season of Ahsoka (which has not been green-lit). The Mandalorian season four was due to begin filming in late September, with series creator Jon Favreau having already completed the scripts, but was delayed to an unknown time due to the WGA strike. It’s likely that the season won’t be so far delayed that it impacts the crossover film, with my belief belief being that The Mandalorian season four will release within the first half of 2025.


Untitled Star Wars movie – December 17th, 2027

The last movie that Disney has listed is that of December 17th, 2027. This date has been on pencilled in for a Star Wars movie since 2020, with the belief at the time being that it was for a Star Wars movie being produced by Kevin Feige, which is no longer in development. I think this date will be taken by one of the next two films I’m going to discuss.

I’m not as confident with this date, but signs point me towards it being the long overdue film from Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi. Waititi began writing his untitled Star Wars movie in 2020 alongside 1917’s Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and was originally due to release in December 2025. However that no longer seems to be the case and recent comments from Kathleen Kennedy in April implied that Taika Waititi was now writing the project alone and simply needed a third act to complete his script. Waititi himself said that he’s been working on his Star Wars movie (pre-strike) and was trying to figure out the middle part, likely the second act. The trades have also mentioned that Taika Waititi is hoping to begin shooting his Star Wars movie sometime next year, once he completes work on his next directorial effort, Klara and the Sun, which has yet to begin production and isn’t expected to until late this year or early next, once again being dependent on the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. On paper it seems like Taika Waititi’s film is next in line following the New Jedi Order and MandoVerse films, but there is another…

In April at Star Wars Celebration London, LucasFilm announced that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’s James Mangold will write and direct an untitled Star Wars movie. It was revealed by the writer-director that he was writing his Star Wars movie and Swamp Thing for DC Studios and Warner Bros. Discovery, with the expectation that both of those films would be released by 2028. The Logan filmmaker is set to direct his next film, A Complete Unknown (a Bob Dylan biopic), in August, but principal photography on the production could be, and likely will be, delayed due to the ongoing Writers Guild of America strike. Once production is completed, which if all goes to plan – filming could be completed by November, Jeff Sneider reports that Mangold will move on to writing his untitled Star Wars movie which will follow the first ever Jedi and their discovery of the force. However, it’s unknown if Mangold will focus on the Star Wars movie once filming is complete, or once post-production is complete. Either way, it seems, at least on paper, that Mangold’s Dawn of the Jedi movie, is the furthest away.

Closing thoughts

As a Star Wars fan I am ecstatic that Lucasfilm and Disney are planning to release three brand new Star Wars movies within the next four years, but I’ve been burned before. I think the New Jedi Order and Mando flicks will come to fruition, even if they get delayed due to the WGA strike or for other reasons, they seem like the safest bets from a creative and business standpoint. However I am dubious in regards to the films being created by Taika Waititi and James Mangold, I truly want to see them make it onto the big screen, I’m a big fan of both filmmakers, but I think we’ve all been burned by Lucasfilm and their planned Star Wars movies enough to look at this situation with some cynicism.

I also find it quite surprising that Lucasfilm and Disney once again look to replicate the release pattern of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story, releasing two Star Wars movies in the same year. Solo has a commercial failure, making under $400M on a budget of $200M, it likely lost Disney a pretty penny and is regarded as mistake by the company, particularly by Disney CEO, Bob Iger, who took ownership of the release date mistake and affirmed it was his decision to release Solo in May of 2018 despite Kathleen Kennedy’s pleas to delay it to December 2018, giving Solo a gap of one year from The Last Jedi.

Solo’s failure can’t be pin pointed to just one mistake – there’s a number of them. But releasing Solo just five months after the most divisive Star Wars movie possibly of all time, sandwiching it amongst heavy hitters such as Avengers: Infinity War, Deadpool 3 and The Incredibles 2, and not starting marketing for the film up until three months before release all contributed to films downfall, a film that didn’t have much interest to begin with – but Disney gave it the worst platform to succeed. It’s why I’m shocked that Disney and Bob Iger are looking to replicate this release pattern.

Granted history might not repeat itself and viewers have a larger interest in The Mandalorian and the series surrounding it, so if the December 2026 flick is the MandoVerse crossover event, it could stand to perform well and this possible worry might be made mute.

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