After More Than 30 Years, the ‘Star Wars’ Story Isn’t Moving into the Future
Disney is telling a lot of Star Wars stories from between trilogies. But will there be any tales taking place after Rise of Skywalker?
For nearly 30 years, the Star Wars story has advanced. Books, novels, comics, games, and movies moved the story forward into the future of the timeline. Now with the end of the Sequel Trilogy and Disney seemingly abandoning that era, that has stopped. What does this mean?
Always in Motion, the Future is
The early days of Star Wars saw a kind of stuttering release of stories. You had the original three movies. Around them, you had a few additional stories that sometimes made progress. Both the old Marvel Star Wars comics and the novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye moved the story forward after Episode IV. After Jedi came out, you got things like the Ewok movies. But they didn’t really move the story forward so much as build around the current timeline.
This is in part because they take place before RoTJ. This means that after Jedi, Star Wars didn’t move forward. Things fleshed out the universe and filled in gaps. But the “story” ended. The Rebels were victorious, and that was it. (The one exception to this was the West End Star Wars games. They DID push the story forward with a ton of lore.) At this point, there was no guarantee that we would ever get more of the Star Wars story.
The Rise of the EU
But everything change when
the Fire Nation attacked in May 1991 when Heir To The Empire by Timothy Zahn was released. This book started what would later be known as the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU). This is now known as Legends. With the release of Heir to the Empire, and its sequel novels (which a dedicated group of fans still consider the true Sequel Trilogy) the Star Wars story was back on. Since then, book after book, game after game, and comic after comic came out continuing the story and moving it by slowly advancing the overall plot and timeline.
Not every novel pushed the story forward, it is true. Take the Glove of Darth Vader. This young adult novel was the second EU book to be published. It takes place 4 years before Heir To The Empire, to which it is not related at all. But despite this, there was always the next book that was coming to move the story on. There was a real sense that the story was moving forward. That there would be major developments in the galaxy and plot. Other books would also come out that filled in past events or side stories. This process really took off in 1999 with the start of the New Jedi Order Series. Until the Disney buy-out in 2012 the EU, and the Star Wars story moved forward thanks to a host of novels in several series that told one overarching story.
Disney Takes Charge of the Story
When the Mouse took over in 2012 it was clear the EU was on its last legs. The final chronological novel in the canon was released in 2013, ending a branch of the story that had been told non-stop since 1991. This didn’t mean that the Star Wars story stopped moving forward though. Indeed, the new canon almost at once started to tell the story again, the story of what happened after Return of the Jedi, the last canon event chronologically after the reboot.
Aftermath, published in 2015, was the first book of the new canon to move the story forward, telling of the events in the, well, aftermath of Return of the Jedi. In 2013, the announcement of new movies and books meant that the Star Wars story would continue.
And so it did. After the reset, the story still kept moving forward for another 5 years. Which books, games, comics, and most importantly the Sequel trilogy, which continued on the “story” of Star Wars, moving forward the overall plot and the state of the galaxy. Moving forward the “end date” of Star Wars. And then with Rey, it all ended.
Since The Rise of Skywalker came out a few years ago now, there hasn’t been any attempt to move the story forward. There are no new novels, comics, games, or movies currently confirmed to be coming out that will progress the story past Rise. As of now, that movie is it. It is the endpoint of Star Wars – where all roads end. With Disney seemingly no longer interested in the Sequel Era, there doesn’t seem a lot of hope that anything will be made to move the story forward. At least not any time soon. And so for the first time since Heir to the Empire in 1991, the Star Wars story isn’t progressing into the future. There is no “what comes next for the galaxy” and no overarching plot that is moving forward. It’s over for now.
That isn’t to say of course that Star Wars is over or that there aren’t stories to tell in the setting. Disney right now seems far more interested in revisiting past events and filling in gaps. Thus we have a fair amount of attention being paid to the post-RoTJ period, with series like the Mandalorian and Book of Boba Fett. There are also books like the Alphabet Squadron Trilogy set in that period.
We are also seeing Disney explore the “Dark Times” era, between Episodes III and IV. Andor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and The Bad Batch are all set here. This is an era ripe for storytelling.
Then we have Disney’s new big push with the High Republic Era, a whole new period of stories. We’ve got books, comics, and upcoming movies and games set here. However, they won’t move the story past the Skywalker Saga.
So while Star Wars stories will continue,the “story” for now, won’t.
Let us know if you want to see the Star Wars “story” continue, down in the comments!