The reaction to Rogue One will certainly go a long way in influencing Lucasfilm’s decision process. Disney has downplayed the spinoff’s commercial expectations, but the film is still poised to be a very successful tentpole. Per the first box office projections, Rogue One is on track to earn $130 million domestically in its opening weekend, which would be a great start. Considering the movie is of high quality and generates substantial word-of-mouth, it should end its run as one of the biggest films of 2016, opening numerous creative opportunities. The point of the anthologies is to show that the universe is larger than the core story, and they’ll hopefully strike a chord with people.
Kennedy told EW that she intends to sit down with a group of trusted individuals in January 2017 to take an overview of the franchise as a whole and determine which films they’d like to make next. Obviously, the story group will be involved with these meetings, but also the writers and directors of the movies that are part of Lucasfilm’s own “phase one.” It will be interesting to see which projects are announced, since there’s no shortage of possibilities. Rumors of spinoffs about Obi-Wan Kenobi and Boba Fett refuse to die, and new Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich is said to be locked in to a three-picture deal with the studio. It’s plausible announcements will be made during Star Wars Celebration 2017, which takes place in April.
Some fans may consider it blasphemous if Star Wars went on without the generational tale that’s defined it to this point, but the plethora of new canon materials proves that the franchise doesn’t need to rely on a single family to tell compelling stories. Rogue One is an intriguing test for the widespread appeal of the Star Wars brand, and all signs are pointing positive thus far. If the first anthology is a hit, it’ll allow Lucasfilm to truly stretch their imaginations by crafting movies that don’t necessarily have to tie in with familiar elements and radically go off in new directions. Time will tell, but Kennedy certainly has the right idea.