J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens will debut on December 18th and kickstart a new slate that rotates between trilogy installments and standalone anthology films with each new year. It’s clear on the surface how these stories will differ from each other — while the trilogy films will continue the main storyline centered around the Skywalker family, the anthology films feature new characters in separate stories in the galaxy far, far away. In terms of substance, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy went into further detail in a recent interview.
Speaking with /Film, the head of the House of Star Wars first explained that the anthology films “can be a wide variety of genres inside the Star Wars universe,” not unlike Marvel’s approach to its cinematic universe — Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a political thriller, Ant-Man is a heist film, Guardians of the Galaxy is a space opera, etc. While she said this is true of Star Wars to “a certain extent,” Kennedy wouldn’t go too far in linking these approaches.
So far, Gareth Edwards is helming Rogue One, while Phil Lord and Chris Miller are attached to the Han Solo movie. Given the variation in filmmakers and their respective casts, the anthology films have “a different sensibility” than the trilogy. This is reinforced by the fact that they are not necessarily prequels or franchise builders. Kathleen explained:
It just so happens to be Rogue One is the precursor to New Hope and, yes, this Han Solo idea but I would not argue that we are setting up any kind of prequel notion with these standalone movies. I think that’s so far just coincidence. And to be perfectly honest, we have changed the order of those at the last minute, so that’s not the intention at all.
Kennedy and her Lucasfilm family are still busy mapping out this new path for Star Wars. The Theory of Everything’s Felicity Jones is leading the pack of Rogue One, while Lord and Miller’s film reportedly auditioned thousands for the role of young Solo. There’s also at least one more standalone that needs a director and cast.