Ever since The Rise of Skywalker in 2019, Disney has struggled with getting more Star Wars movies off the ground. In the years since, Lucasfilm has had a nasty habit of announcing things for the series and then not making them, if they ever actually existed at all. And it all dates back to December 10, 2020, where Disney’s Investor Day livestream saw a plethora of new Star Wars projects get revealed.
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In another galaxy, perhaps one not so long ago or far, far away, we’d be watching one of those projects right now. Star Wars: Rogue Squadron was revealed to be in the works during that stream, and with a release date of December 22, 2023. The film seemed promising at the outset: Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins was said to be at the helm (this was weeks before Wonder Woman 1984 came out, mind), and the logline teased a film focused on a young crew of starfighter pilots in a “boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill ride” that would bring the franchise into “the future era of the galaxy.” As if that weren’t enough, it was borrowing the title from the beloved Rogue Squadron sub-series of games, even though it would be telling its own original story.
All the pieces seemed to be in place for “Top Gun, but Star Wars,” but things gradually began to fall apart. In late 2021, news broke that Rogue Squadron had been delayed so Jenkins could get a third Wonder Woman movie off the ground over at Warner Bros., along with Paramount’s Cleopatra movie. Disappointing, but fairly standard as these things go, and it left the possibility open that another director could step in if she ended up having to exit the project. The following year, Rogue Squadron was pulled off Disney’s schedule entirely, with Jenkins explaining that she agreed to come back to the movie once Wonder Woman 3 was in the can. But despite her best efforts and leading lady Gal Gadot’s insistence, Wonder Woman 3 is no longer a thing at all. As for Cleopatra, Jenkins is now just producing it while directing duties belong to The Falcon & the Winter Soldier’s Kari Skogland.
By December 2022, Jenkins was now fully focused on actively developing Rogue Squadron, though she acknowledged that it might not ever happen. Its status continues to be unclear; it sounded like it was dead dead back in March, but Kathleen Kennedy later told IGN it may still have a chance at life. Either way, it’s a very complicated series of events for a movie that started out with a lot of goodwill. But it’s not the only Star Wars project to suffer from this: we still have no real clue what’s going on Taika Waititi’s movie, while films previously announced to be at work by Kevin Feige, Slight director J.D. Dillard, and Rian Johnson are all in various stages of non-existence. (The odds of Johnson’s trilogy happening get slimmer by the year.) Even the newest trilogy of films to be directed by James Mangold, Dave Filoni, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won’t feel like real things until they get Blu-Ray releases.
Time will tell if Rogue Squadron becomes an actual movie we see, or at the very least an eight-episode Disney+ miniseries. Given how successful Top Gun: Maverick was last year, it’s not hard to imagine how thrilling it’d be to watch X-wing and TIE Fighter pilots go at it on the big screen. Until that day comes, there’s always Star Wars Squadrons.
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