While all of us are still basking the glow of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker wrapping up the initial series of films, there will be more. Perhaps we won’t get more films (right away) with characters like Rose Tico, Finn, or Rey. Yet, in 2022 Disney has a hard-release date for a Star Wars film, but no one knows who is involved or what it’s about. In a recent profile of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, she revealed that the next film is being developed, though no announcements about writers or directors will come until January. In saying goodbye to “the Skywalker Saga,” the Star Wars franchise now has to chart a brand-new course through the cosmos without any of the familiar, nostalgia-laden elements from past films. But what will it be? No one knows, but here are five possible stories for the next Star Wars movie in 2022.
The Next Star Wars Movie In 2022 Will Almost Certainly Be Something Brand New
Image via Lucasfilm
The passion fans have for the original and prequel trilogies is something of a double-edged lightsaber. It means that there is a passionate interest in whatever they do. Yet, as The Last Jedi backlash and the first reactions to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker show, that passion can backfire. So many Star Wars fans are angry when the latest movie doesn’t match their expectations for it. Last time, fans who felt the film “disrespected” the original trilogy characters were incensed. This time, fans are angry that characters like Rose Tico are sidelined or about Kylo Ren’s fate. (Though, at least those latter ones started The Rise of Ben Solo fundraiser for Adam Driver’s arts non-profit.)
So, whichever direction the next Star Wars movie in 2022 goes, it will have to blaze a new path through the stars. Original characters and an original story seem to be the smartest choices, but also risky ones. Will fans show up for a Star Wars film that doesn’t really feature anything familiar? While folks love The Mandalorian for being a new, original story, it does feature many hallmarks of the original films. From the obvious ones, Stormtroopers, to deep cut references to things like “Life Day” from the Star Wars Holiday Special.
The Next Star Wars Movie in 2022 Could Be Set In ‘The Old Republic’
Image via Lucasfilm
The most likely setting for the next Star Wars movie in 2022 is probably “The Old Republic.” In A New Hope, Ben Kenobi kicked off an entire ocean of imaginative stories when he said that the Jedi were guardians of peace and justice in the old republic for a thousand generations. The Republic we saw in the prequel trilogy was one that was already in decline. Still, it’s an era that fans are clamoring to see since Bioware dived into it with their series of Old Republic role-playing games. I doubt they will tell the specific story of Revan, the Jedi turned Sith Lord. Revisiting that beloved story in a film sets them up for the kind of mixed fan reaction the sequel trilogy endures. Nonetheless, there are countless stories that could be told set in that era.
The Space Pirates Strike Back!
Image via Wookieepedia
Of course, the next Star Wars movie in 2022 could go in a completely different direction. Instead of focusing on the Jedi and the Republic, it could be out the galaxy’s outcasts. A crew of space pirates on a harrowing adventure is a common formula in film. From Firefly to Guardians of the Galaxy, this is a formula that works. The new films could follow a group of people that match the archetypes of the characters in the original trilogy. Yet, instead of making them central to the problems of the entire galaxy, this adventure could be smaller in scope. Despite it’s poor performance at the box office, Solo showed that you can tell an engaging and entertaining Star Wars story about personal stakes instead of the fate of all the galaxy.
The Origins of the Jedi Could Be Explored in the Next Star Wars Movie in 2022
Image via screengrab
David Benioff and D.B. Weiss stepped (ran?) away from their proposed Star Wars trilogy. After they left, however, a rumor circulated that the story they were hired to tell was about the origin of the Jedi order. While those of us disappointed with their work in the final season of Game of Thrones are glad they left, perhaps the idea still lives on at Lucasfilm? Using the setting of Skellig Michael island, Ach-To in the films, they could delve into a lore-heavy, mystical examination of the Force and how the Jedi Order came to be. While this seems like a story that is best left to fans’ imaginations, it does seem like one that the folks at Lucasfilm would be interested in putting down somewhere. The old Legends material delved into this, but the story itself wasn’t spectacular. They might want a second bite of that apple.
Visiting the Unknown Regions (and Maybe the Chiss?)
Image via Lucasfilm
The greatest character to ever come out of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (all apologies to Mara Jade stans) is Thrawn. Timothy Zahn created the blue-skinned, red-eyed Chiss tactician for a post-Return of the Jedi trilogy of books. Since then, he’s brought the character into the official canon through a new trilogy of books and in the animated Rebels series. While his story will continue in the books and a future animated series, his people could see themselves on the big screen.
The Chiss species lives outside of the known Star Wars galaxy in what’s called “the Unknown region.” They have space travel, technology, and even Force users (which they call, according to the book Thrawn: Alliances, “Skywalkers”). So, it’s possible that we could get a film set in their corner of the galaxy. Or perhaps a story about how a Chiss or group of them discovered the area of Star Wars space we already know. Though, this one seems to be a longshot. Both because this seems like a part of the universe left to other media, there’s no immediately apparent story, and everyone would have to be blue with glowing red eyes.
The Next Star Wars Movie in 2022 Could Introduce a Live-Action Legends or Expanded Universe Character
Image via Lucasfilm
The next Star Wars movie in 2022 should be something completely brand-new. However, they do have a rich catalogue of characters from the expanded universe of books and animated series that might transition to the big screen. The one fans most want to see is the character created for The Clone Wars series, Ahsoka Tano. She was Anakin Skywalker’s padawan learner and instrumental in the early days of the Rebellion. While much of her story has been told, there are plenty of gaps a feature film could fill in. Other characters, like the aforementioned Revan or others from the countless comics and novels published since could make an appearance.
Though, with Lucasfilm creating content for Disney+, these characters might be best saved for films or limited series on that platform. Rogue One’s Cassian Andor and Obi Wan Kenobi are already getting their own series. Also, unlike feature films, these titles remain in the Disney+ library, meaning they will serve as constant draws for Star Wars fans new and old to sign up for the service. Still, characters from these series might show up on the big screen, either as central characters or guest stars. Whatever the next film will be, we’ll find out more clues in January!
What do you think the next Star Wars movie in 2022 will be about? Share your thoughts, theories, and best guesses in the comments below.
Featured image via Lucasfilm
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.