An untitled stand-alone Star Wars film was planned to be directed by Josh Trank from a screenplay by Simon Kinberg. Reports suggested that the film was to center on bounty hunter Boba Fett and was slated for a release in 2018. Trank left the project, however, following troubles on the set and poor reception of his film Fantastic Four, and Lucasfilm's reluctance to continue with him as director.
Disney later announced that a third stand-alone picture was planned for 2020, but neither the Boba Fett focus nor Kinberg's continued involvement were confirmed. However, in May 2019, Disney released its theatrical schedule up through 2027, and no Star Wars film was listed until 2022. This schedule was further changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the next film being slated for 2023.
In 2012, The Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm and began planning the future of the Star Wars franchise. They immediately announced their intention to produce the sequel trilogy, and that announcement was soon followed by news of several stand-alone pictures that were not connected to the core Skywalker family saga. This was confirmed by Bob Iger, the chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, on February 5, 2013. Iger further stated that there would be at least two stand-alone films, one written by Lawrence Kasdan and another by Simon Kinberg. The first stand-alone ultimately became 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, while Kasdan wrote 2018's Solo: A Star Wars Story with his son Jon.
On June 14, 2014, it was announced that Kinberg's film was to be directed by Josh Trank. Reports have suggested that the film would center on the bounty hunter Boba Fett. According to Entertainment Weekly, the story of Trank's film would have focused not only on Fett but also on the menagerie of bounty hunters seen along Fett on Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back–4-LOM, Bossk, Dengar, IG-88, and Zuckuss. Daniel Keys Moran, author of the famous Star Wars Legends short story "The Last One Standing: The Tale of Boba Fett", mentioned in an interview that a Disney employee had been emailing him about the possibility of Lucasfilm adapting his short story into the plot of a Boba Fett-centric film. Trank and a teaser of the film, originally meant for a 2018 release, were scheduled to be featured at Celebration Anaheim on April 19, 2015, but the convention appearance was cancelled and instead reorganized to focus only on director Gareth Edwards and Rogue One. Lucasfilm was reportedly intending to announce the Fett-focused film during the panel, complete with a teaser reel. Shortly thereafter, on May 1, 2015, it was announced that Trank had left the project.
According to Trank, his involvement with the project ended because he wanted to pursue smaller feature films. Media outlets have reported, however, that the decision was made by Lucasfilm due to the troubled production on Trank's critically panned Fantastic Four film. Trank had been vocal about wanting to pursue his own vision for Fantastic Four and claimed that studio meddling had gotten in the way of that. Although Trank attempted to minimize reports of issues between him and the studio, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy reportedly did not believe the spin, and he was let go from his Star Wars film. At the time, Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly: “It's still one of the stories that we absolutely want to tell. There is a lot of innovative technology in and around what it is we're doing with that story, so for a lot of reasons, we were comfortable postponing that. But we're definitely still developing it.”
The 2018 release originally meant for the film was ultimately given to Kasdan's Han Solo picture, directed by Ron Howard. Disney later confirmed that a third stand-alone film would be released in 2020, though neither the Boba Fett focus nor Kinberg's continued involvement were confirmed. Kinberg has continued with Lucasfilm as an executive producer on the television series Star Wars Rebels, and has since been tapped to make his directorial debut with 20th Century Fox's Dark Phoenix for a February 14, 2019 release.
On August 17, 2017, it was reported by The Hollywood Reporter that an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off film was in the works, with Stephen Daldry in early talks to direct. Furthermore, it was mentioned that films about Boba Fett and Yoda, respectively, were still being considered for the future. The Hollywood Reporter reiterated its report about a Kenobi film on May 24, 2018 while also stating that James Mangold, director of The Wolverine and Logan, would write and direct a Boba Fett film. However, in September 2018, Bob Iger said that there would be a "slowdown" on the release of Star Wars films, because he felt there had been "a little too much, too fast." (He reaffirmed this in April 2019: “We will take a pause, some time, and reset … There will be other Stars Wars movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus.”) In October 2018, it was reported that the planned film had been scrapped, with Lucasfilm instead focusing on the Jon Favreau-headed television series The Mandalorian. On February 22, 2019, it was reported by CNBC that Hasbro will see a dip in sales in 2020 with the absence of a new feature, indicating that the film has been removed from its initial schedule. On May 7, 2019, Disney released its 2020-2027 theatrical release schedule, which revealed that Star Wars films are scheduled to hit theaters in 2023, 2025, and 2027, but not 2020.
Notes and references
- Disney To Release 'Star Wars' Spinoffs Based On Individual Characters on Deadline (Backup link)
- /Film Interview: 'Star Wars Rebels' Simon Kinberg Talks Daily Schedule, Internet Rumors and Episode VII on /Film (Backup link)