6 Star Wars movies that got postponed, or canned

Chris Tilly

With Patty Jenkins’ proposed Star Wars movie Rogue Squadron dropping off Disney’s release schedule this week, we’re looking back at other Star Wars projects that got postponed, or worse still, canceled.

Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in October 2012, much has happened in the world of Star Wars, with some stories continuing in film or TV, and others ending before being given a proper chance.

The Skywalker Saga was completed via Episodes VII-IX, while more recently the studio has pivoted to streaming via the likes of The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

But there have been casualties along the way, with multiple movie projects rumored or announced, only to then be delayed, or even canned. With the following six examples.

Rogue Squadron

During the Walt Disney Investor Day Event in December 2020, Rogue Squadron was announced thusly: “The next Star Wars feature film will be Rogue Squadron – directed by Patty Jenkins. The story will introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.”

Patty Jenkins was then quoted as saying: “It’s been a lifelong dream as a filmmaker to one day make a great fighter pilot film. As the daughter of a great fighter pilot myself, some of the best memories of my life are of seeing my father’s squadron take off in their F4s every morning, and hearing and feeling the awe-inspiring power and grace.

“When he passed away in service to this country it ignited a burning desire to one day channel all of those emotions into one great film. When the perfect story arrived in combination with another true love of mine, the incomparable world of Star Wars, I knew I’d finally found my next film. I’m extremely honored and excited to take it on, and grateful to Lucasfilm, Disney, and the fans for extending that thrill to me.”

But while Christmas 2023 was announced as the release date, Rogue Squadron dropped off Disney’s production schedule last year, and now the film’s future looks uncertain.

Another George Lucas Star Wars trilogy

When Disney purchased the rights to Star Wars, they also bought from George Lucas what Disney CEO Bob Iger called “a pretty extensive and detailed treatment for what would be the next three movies; the trilogy.”

Outlines were then assembled. Acclaimed screenwriter Michael Arndt put together a treatment. Concept art was created. But then it became clear that the studio was heading in a different direction, with Lucas telling Cinemablend in 2015: “The ones that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn’t really want to do those. So they made up their own.”

More recently, Lucas spoke to James Cameron about where his trilogy would have taken the story, and how it would have focussed on midi-chlorians and the Whills.

“Everyone hated it in Phantom Menace [when] we started to talk about midi-chlorians,” Lucas explained, as reported by The Independent. “There’s a whole aspect to that movie that is about symbiotic relationships. To make you look and see that we aren’t the boss. That there’s an ecosystem.

“[The next three films] were going to get into a microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the ones who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force.

“Back in the day, I used to say ultimately what this means is we were just cars, vehicles for the Whills to travel around. We’re vessels for them. And the conduct is the midi-chlorians. The midi-chlorians are the ones that communicate with the Whills. The Whills, in a general sense, they are the Force.”

Duel of the Fates

Written by Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, Trevorrow was set to direct Episode IX: Duel of the Fates, the concluding instalment of the Skywalker Saga. Then he left the project in 2017, and it transformed into The Rise of Skywalker.

That original script leaked online however, meaning we know how the trilogy was previously planned to conclude.

The film finds Kylo Ren tracking down an ancient evil called Tor Valum, who teaches him to absorb another’s life-force, before Ren strikes him down.

The script ends with Rey fighting Ren on a planet called Mortis, where Ren uses this new power to very nearly kill her. But Rey fights back by embracing both sides of the Force, and therefore finding balance. Paving the way for the Resistance to win.

Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon

Zack Snyder’s next movie is a sci-fi epic for Netflix called Rebel Moon. But the writer-director originally planned it as a Star Wars story, and even took it to Lucasfilm.

As The Hollywood Reporter explains: “Rebel finds its origins in a Star Wars pitch the filmmaker developed a decade ago. It was a more mature take on the universe created by George Lucas and didn’t move beyond meaningful conversations after The Walt Disney Co. acquired Lucasfilm in 2012.”

Rebel Moon stars Charlie Hunnam, Sofia Boutella, Ray Fisher, Djimoun Honsou, and Anthony Hopkins as the voice of a sentient battle robot, while the official synopsis is as follows…

When a peaceful colony on the edge of the galaxy finds itself threatened by the armies of the tyrannical Regent Balisarius, they dispatch a young woman with a mysterious past to seek out warriors from neighboring planets to help them take a stand.

Solo Sequel

2018 movie Solo: A Star Wars story was envisioned as the start of a trilogy, with star Alden Ehrenreich contracted to appear in two more Han Solo movies.

At the time, Ehrenreich told Screenrant that he wanted each Solo movie to be a standalone story – like the Indiana Jones movies – rather than following an overarching plot like the previous Star Wars trilogies.

However, the Solo movie underperformed at the box office, and in March 2020, screenwriter Jon Kasdan said in a Tweet: “Don’t think anyone’s pursuing a Solo sequel at the moment,” before adding “I think a feature – at this point – would be a tough sell.”

Nevertheless, a #MakeSolo2Happen has been building online, so the fans – at least – still want to see this one happen.

Rian Johnson Star Wars Trilogy

In November 2017, StarWars.com announced that The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson would be making a brand-new trilogy, the first of which he would also write and direct.

The statement said that the new films would be “separate from the episodic Skywalker saga,” and “introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.”

But that was fully five years ago, and while Johnson has frequently said he’s still working on these movies, he’s also been busy with the Knives Out franchise.

However, just last month, he issued an official update, telling Empire: “I’ve stayed close to [Lucasfilm President] Kathleen [Kennedy] and we get together often and talk about it. It’s just at this point a matter of schedule and when it can happen… It would break my heart if I were finished, if I couldn’t get back in that sandbox at some point.”

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About The Author

Chris Tilly is the TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Newspaper Journalism, and over the last 20 years, he's worked for the likes of Time Out, IGN, and Fandom. Chris loves Star Wars, Marvel, DC, sci-fi, and especially horror, while he knows maybe too much about Alan Partridge. You can email him here: chris.tilly@dexerto.com.