It's time to come back down to reality. As a child, I too loved tabloids like Weekly World News, with their outrageous claims about celebrity brains being replaced by UFOs. But even as a kid, I also knew these headlines were bogus. As adults, we should all know that similar headlines about supposed instant-remakes of recent Star Wars films are just as credible.
Recently, the Star Wars community has been buzzing about a "rumor" concerning a secret project behind-the-scenes at Disney and Lucasfilm. It goes like this: Lucasfilm and Disney will use archive footage of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher and essentially paint over The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, The Rise of Skywalker, with a Disney+ series that tells a new version of the sequel trilogy. Oh, and just to make it spicy, George Lucas will be brought back to "direct" these CGI franken-Star Wars.
Originating with a YouTuber called "Doomcock," and trumpeted by tabloid outlets like Express, the likelihood that this is going to happen is very close to zero. And all you have to do is follow the money.
Inverse reached out to established leaker Jason Ward of Making Star Wars to get a gut check on these rumors. From The Last Jedi to The Rise of Skywalker, Ward has had early scoops about the future of the franchise for years. He draws from a wealth of sources that he scrupulously keeps anonymous; amounting to a composite of info which you could think of like the Star Wars Deep Throat. He's right more than he's not, and double-checks all his scoops before commenting.
"There is nothing that makes me think anyone has any inkling of reworking the sequel trilogy. In fact, the idea is preposterous," Ward tells Inverse. "Each of the sequel trilogy films is performing rather well for Disney/Lucasfilm financially. To 'erase' those would weaken a consistent revenue stream that is currently being capitalized on."
Before anyone mentions the legions of Last Jedi-haters and the money Lucasfilm stands to make by spinning such a bizarre stunt, allow this to sink in: The Last Jedi made 1.333 billion dollars worldwide. And that's just ticket sales. And that's just ONE of the films in the sequel trilogy. It's easy to come up with correlative figures for home video, merchandise, and other ways the film is commercially licensed. Like many of you, I'm not crazy about The Rise of Skywalker, but it made 1.074 billion while The Force Awakens, somewhat famously, made 2.066 billion.
Inverse reached out to Disney for comment on the remake "rumor," but as of this writing has not heard back. In fairness, there are literally billions of reasons why Disney wouldn't even feel like responding to this rumor.
Disney bean-counters could comfortably believe that the stories of the sequel trilogy were a resounding success. If you think about the numbers, despite what vocal aspects of fandom are saying — one way or another — the larger Star Wars mandate has nothing to do with what YouTubers think.
"The idea of erasing those films would likely anger more fans than it would please," Ward points out. "Can you imagine trying to convince the general public that the films they just saw do not matter? This isn't the Terminator franchise."
The Terminator comparison is especially relevant when you consider how its most recent retcon failed. Terminator: Dark Fate was a box office flop — tangential proof that when movie franchises try to get too tricky with continuity, the audience isn't going to follow it.
Yes, Star Trek and Marvel get away with this kind of crap all the time, but applying those rules to Star Wars doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The mediums matter. Despite its success with The Mandalorian, it remains to be seen if Star Wars will be able to convince a HUGE audience to follow complex in-the-weeds-canon stories on TV. For now, Star Wars is still primarily a franchise anchored by feature films.
There's one more reason these rumors can be dismissed as toxic fandom gibberish. There's literally no reason to think Lucasfilm would disrespect the memory of Carrie Fisher, an actor who placed her faith in J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson to make a certain series of films.
Fisher co-dedicated her final memoir — The Princess Diarist — to her Star Wars co-stars and directors (excluding Richard Marquand). Fisher loved working with Abrams and Johnson. Had she not, she wouldn't have said nice things about them. The snub of Return of the Jedi director Marquand speaks volumes. Fisher wasn't someone who played diplomatic Hollywood games. She was honest and upfront, and she was behind the creative decisions of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. All the way.
"The idea of erasing Carrie Fisher's final films would be a slap in the face to Fisher's legacy," Ward says. "These are the films she believed in and agreed to make with J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson."
The Star Wars sequel trilogy is streaming on Disney+.