The Star Wars universe has set itself up with a blank slate. Now the dust has settled on The Rise of Skywalker's divisive conclusion, there's no obvious path for the franchise to take. While there are multiple Star Wars television shows in production or development, the question remains: what will a major Star Wars movie look like in the future? The president of Lucasfilm may have already leaked the answer.
In an interview for The Wrap, Kathleen Kennedy discussed the future of the franchise, saying "stories have been told within this universe over the last 40-odd years, and there’s now the realization that this is a mythology that actually spans about 25,000 years."
Of course, she's referencing the expansive and mostly non-canon works of the Star Wars Extended Universe, which covers among other things comics, books, and games.
Kennedy specifically mentioned games, which brings to mind Knights of the Old Republic, probably the most prominent example of Star Wars exploring its distant past. These took place 4,000 years before the events of the Star Wars movies we've seen so far, and explored a past Sith threat to the Jedi Republic. Could this be the next step for the franchise at large?
All of the parts of a classic Star Wars film are built into the game: Sith Lord Darth Malak has a secret base, the Star Forge, allowing him to assemble a massive armada against the Republic. However, there's a massive twist. Over the course of the game, the playable character realizes they are in fact Darth Malak's master Darth Revan, brainwashed by the Republic.
It's a plot twist rivaling "No, I am your father" and would make plenty of sense for a movie adaptation, but some things would be lost in translation. Knights of the Old Republic allowed for the character to choose the Light Side path or the Dark Side, which informed the ending. This of course wouldn't be possible in the movie setting, but what good is a flagship Star Wars movie if the Sith win in the end?
Of course, with Kennedy referencing the Star Wars universe stretching 25,000 years in the past, perhaps a game set 4,000 years ago is thinking a bit small. It's possible the next movie will explore the ancient origins of the Sith and Jedi, perhaps the establishment of their orders as we see them.
It's unlikely we'll hear what direction the new movie will truly take any time soon, but series like The Mandalorian and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor series all cover events before the sequel trilogy, so the logical conclusion is the movies will follow suit. The galaxy is wide, and there's plenty of stories to tell, even in the years before the events we've seen so far.