Star Wars Widens Galaxy With Two Exciting New Hires

Director J. D. Dillard

Lucasfilm’s precise Star Wars plans now that the Skywalker Saga is over remain unclear. But that doesn’t mean Kathleen Kennedy and company are sitting around twiddling their laser swords. Their deal memo department remains as busy as a droid factory on Geonosis. Truly, we will never know star peace.

The latest news to leak is that J.D. Dillard and Matt Owens have been commissioned to script a new feature film. Deadline is reporting that they believe the project is set on Exegol, the Sith planet seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. This is exciting because that planet sure as heck looked cool (how, exactly, were those giant cement cubes hanging over The Emperor’s lair?) and also because this will be the first Star Wars project in which the primary creatives are people of color.

Dillard is the writer-director of the 2015 Sundance film Sleight, the story of a young street magician who must use his talents to protect his family, and Sweetheart, concerning a young woman washed ashore on a deserted island battling malevolent creatures. It also debuted at Sundance and was released on VOD through Blumhouse late last year.

Dillard also has a credit for “production and technical support” for Star Wars: The Force Awakensand appeared in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker as a First Order stormtrooper (FN-1226, if you are taking notes), so there’s already some connective tissue to the galaxy far, far away.

Owens was an executive story editor and writer on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Luke Cage. The two have not worked together before.

Other than Lucasfilm being run by Kathleen Kennedy, the company has been woefully slow in handing the creative reins to anyone other than white men. The stories may be set “a long time ago” but the fandom is in the here and now, and diversifying the creative pool is long overdue.

It is currently unknown if the forthcoming Dillard-Owens project will be for theatrical release or for streaming on Disney +. (It is also unknown if Dillard will be directing; currently he is just commissioned to create the story.)

Disney +’s The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau, deserves some recognition as first to widen the inclusion tent, with individual episodes directed by Rick FamuyiwaDeborah ChowBryce Dallas Howard, and Taika Waititi.

There are a lot of Star Wars planetoids currently in orbit, so it’s not a bad idea to lay them out in one place. If you want to envision these in a yellow scrawl against the black void of space be my guest.

There are theatrical release dates on the calendar for a trilogy of films: December 16, 2022, December 20, 2024, and December 18, 2026.

These three movies were originally set to be under the creative aegis of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, but that fell through in late October last year when the pair signed a nine figure deal with Netflix. A new creative lead has yet to be announced.

Separate from that trilogy, however, is a trilogy of films that Rian Johnson announced was in development just as Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiered. Since then he’s had a hit with Knives Outand is planning a Knives Out sequel. If I were to going to Canto Bight to make a bet, I wouldn’t expect this project in theaters any time soon.

Additionally, in late September last year, Disney announced a deal between Lucasfilm with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Grand Poobah Kevin Feige. (Marvel and Lucasfilm are both owned by Disney, so a Feige project could be the linchpin for that Goofy podrace against The Incredible Hulk we’ve all been craving.)

The Feige project allegedly has been tailor made for a specific, unnamed actor.

For Disney + there’s also a Rogue One prequel series (a prequel to a prequel, I know) starring Diego Luna reprising his role of Cassian Andor, and then there’s that Obi-Wan Kenobi prequel show starring Ewan McGregor, but production on that has been pushed to January 2021, to a degree of public fanfare.

From the #NeverForget files, let’s light a candle for the third of the cancelled “anthology” films, the rumored Boba Fett project from James Mangold. True heads remember all the way back to 2015 when Josh Trank was in for one of these standalone movies that have all been nixed after Solo: A Star Wars Story failed to make a box office Kessel Run.

It’s an awful lot to think about. To help you do so, here is a 25 minute loop of music from Jabba’s Palace.

Vanity Fair
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