When Disney purchased Lucasfilm and announced a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, it didn’t take long for other plans to arise for the beloved franchise. Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were enlisted to pen the screenplays for “standalone” Star Wars films, which at the time were rumored to revolve around Han Solo, Yoda, and Boba Fett. We subsequently found out that Kasdan was working on the young Han Solo movie, for which he enlisted his son Jake Kasdan to co-write when he got sidetracked doing scriptwork on The Force Awakens after initial screenwriter Michael Arndt’s departure. But what about that other standalone film, the one that Kinberg was working on?
Well last June, Lucasfilm enlisted Chronicle director Josh Trank to take the helm of that second standalone, with Kinberg writing and producing. Trank was just beginning production on Fantastic Four for 20th Century Fox, so it would be some time before he could move to Star Wars full time, but Lucasfilm was bullish on the project and set a 2018 release date.
But this April something curious happened. The day that Trank was to appear at Star Wars Celebration alongside Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One director Gareth Edwards, he abruptly cancelled his appearance. It was subsequently announced that Trank was departing the director’s chair, with reports saying his behavior on the set of Fantastic Four led Lucasfilm to lose confidence in his ability to helm the Star Wars pic.
A week after Trank’s departure, we finally learned that his film was to tell the origin story of OT bounty hunter Boba Fett—though Lucasfilm hasn’t officially confirmed this information. We haven’t heard much about the movie in the meantime, and now EW reports that it has been pulled from its 2017 release date and will likely open in 2020, a year after Star Wars: Episode IX. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy remains keen on the project, however, and says the delay hasn’t impacted the studio’s plans too severely:
“It’s still one of the stories that we absolutely want to tell,” she says. “There is a lot of innovative technology in and around what it is we’re doing with that story, so for a lot of reasons, we were comfortable postponing that. But we’re definitely still developing it… We’re trying to get to a point where we’re never rushing for anything.”
EW notes that initial plans for Trank’s appearance at Star Wars Celebration were for the director to unveil a teaser reel for his film, but obviously that didn’t come to pass.
However, in the wake of this delay, Lucasfilm moved up the release of the young Han Solo film, which recently enlisted Phil Lord and Chris Miller to direct. Lest you think this new Star Wars era ends with the conclusion of the new trilogy in 2019, it’s clear that Lucasfilm is not only bullish on its Anthology films, but is very carefully approaching how they’re put together and what kind of talent is bringing them to life. Be prepared, folks: this December begins an indefinite run of new Star Wars movies every year.