Last month marked the 10-year anniversary of one of the biggest pop culture moments of our lifetime: when the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion. Instantly, Star Wars was back in a big, big way and the past decade has been all but dominated by it.
From 1977 to 2015, there were six theatrical, live-action Star Wars movies. Since then, there have been another five. And while that near doubling is a huge amount of content, it’s still a mere fraction of the projects we haven’t seen. Projects that either got changed slightly, entirely, or erased off the board completely. Some of these projects might still happen. Most will not. And either way, we thought it was a fun list to compile. So here goes.
Solo by Phil Lord and Chris Miller
While a (pretty good) version of Solo did get released, who could forget the amazing moment we heard Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street directors were going to be making a Han Solo movie, only to have that taken away from us months later? Rumors were the split happened because the company didn’t like the tone the movie was taking or Lord and Miller’s more laid-back approach to directing. Either way, we’ll never know what their version of the movie would have been. At least, in this case, the Ron Howard-directed movie that came out in end was okay.
The Force Awakens written by Michael Arndt
The first person to take a crack at writing Star Wars Episode VII was Oscar winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine). He worked on the project for about a year before leaving, which is when J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over. Not a lot is known about the specifics of the departure (a book about it by long-time Star Wars writer J.W. Rinzler was put on ice by Disney) but his take was said to be more focused on the original trilogy characters, their kids, with different planets, and a more villainous “Jedi Killer” character. Ultimately he still got shared writing credit on the movie so lots of his ideas are in there, but if he’d only written it, it would have been very different.
Star Wars Episode IX by Colin Trevorrow
Rumored to be called “Duel of the Fates,” the man behind Jurassic World was working on the final piece of the sequel trilogy for years before parting ways. Again, not a lot is known about how and why, but it’s largely believed Lucasfilm just wasn’t as excited about the direction the film took, especially after a vocal fan group questioned decisions made in Episode VIII, and a more traditional approach was required. Which is when J.J. Abrams came on board.
An unauthorized, unconfirmed script for the film leaked a few years ago and took the characters in a completely different direction. You can read about it at this link. It was wild. And pretty damned good.
A David Benioff and D.B. Weiss Film
When I was initially compiling this article, I completely forgot about the fact that back in 2019, Disney officially announced the showrunners of Game of Thrones were going to make a Star Wars movie. But yes, that actually happened. They were supposed to make the first post-Rise of Skywalker Star Wars movie scheduled for release in 2022.
However, the news broke almost immediately after Game of Thrones ended, but before the backlash against it really began. Later, when The Rise of Skywalker didn’t live up to expectations, Lucasfilm decided to completely rethink how it was handling movies and this was scrapped. Still, in an alternate universe, we might be lining up to see this movie next month. Rumors are, it might have been about the origins of the Jedi, though that has never been officially confirmed.
Star Wars Detours
The show was done. An animated Star Wars comedy from the team behind Robot Chicken. There was a trailer and everything. But months after Disney bought Lucasfilm, the show was canceled. Why? Because the irreverent, silly tone was not one the company wanted for its new franchise. And so that was that.
Josh Trank’s Boba Fett movie
One of the earliest announcements Disney made after purchasing Lucasfilm was that Josh Trank, director of Chronicle, would be making a Star Wars movie. It happened the same day it was announced Gareth Edwards would also be making a Star Wars movie, which eventually turned out to be Rogue One. Years later we learned Trank’s film was going to star Boba Fett and a trailer had even been cut to announce the news—but then Lucasfilm plugged the plug. Supposedly, that happened because Trank got into some trouble making Fantastic Four, but still, it was very close.
James Mangold’s Boba Fett movie
Though never officially announced either, there was a time when James Mangold—who’s now directing a fifth Indiana Jones movie—was working on a Boba Fett movie. We aren’t sure how far along that got in development, but it was being kicked around, only to be axed after Solo underperformed and forced a reassessment of the whole “A Star Wars Story” model.
Plus, eventually, fans did get a Boba Fett project, The Book of Boba Fett, which was certainly influenced by the development of many of these projects.
An Obi-Wan Kenobi Film Trilogy
At one time, an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie was in development with Billy Elliott director Stephen Daldry but it was put on hold, much like Mangold’s Boba Fett, in the wake of Solo. Recently, one of the film’s writers, Stuart Beattie, explained that the idea was actually for a full Kenobi trilogy.
Lucasfilm refused to let this idea die though and, of course, it evolved into the recent Disney+ series, which was so influenced by the work Daldry and Beattie did, the latter is credited as a writer on the show. So in a way, we got this one. At least part of it.
Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One
Wait! This one happened, right? Well, sort of. Though Gareth Edwards is credited for directing Rogue One, it’s widely known that Lucasfilm was not happy with how his version of the film was going and brought on writer Tony Gilroy to help change it. Early trailers featuring shots and scenes not in the movie give some idea of the differences, but this is an instance where it all worked out. The final movie is good and, of course, the Gilroy partnership has remained fruitful.
A J.D. Dillard Movie
The director of Sleight and Sweetheart was J.J. Abrams’ assistant on The Force Awakens and was said to be developing a Star Wars project of his own. However while promoting his new movie, Devotion, the filmmaker revealed that it’s no longer happening. Another one bites the dust.
Rangers of the New Republic
Two years ago, news first broke of several upcoming Star Wars shows coming to Disney+, most of which would spin off The Mandalorian. They were The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and one called Rangers of the New Republic. While never confirmed, most assumed Rangers was going to star the character of Cara Dune—but when actress Gina Carano was let go by Lucasfilm, this show went away. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said some of its ideas are likely to be weaved into The Mandalorian instead.
A Rian Johnson Star Wars Trilogy
The Last Jedi truly changed everything about the future of Star Wars movies. Before its release, Lucasfilm was so confident in the movie, it announced Johnson would next make his very own original trilogy. Fans rejoiced. But then, when the movie came out and some people were put off by its radical choices, everyone got scared. The follow-up by Colin Trevorrow was scrapped, J.J. Abrams made a lesser sequel, and when fans didn’t universally love that, all movies to come were put on ice. Which includes Johnson’s trilogy.
Now he still says it might happen, but does anyone actually believe that?
Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron
In late 2020, Lucasfilm made a big splashy announcement that Patty Jenkins, the director of Wonder Woman, was going to make a movie about Rebel pilots and even gave it a December 2023 release date. But as time passed and less was heard about the movie, Lucasfilm eventually moved it off its schedule. Most people believe it’s still something the company wants to make but if it happens, it’ll be years.
A Zack Snyder Star Wars movie
Did Zack Snyder ever actually pitch a Seven Samurai-inspired film to Lucasfilm as was rumored? We don’t know for sure. We do know that, if he did, it never got beyond that because his team said he had nothing to do with Star Wars. And yet, we also know the idea itself is actually being made right now...just without the lightsabers. It’s called Rebel Moon, it’s for Netflix, and the fact the idea for this now original sci-fi film is so close to the one everyone heard about leads us to believe it was actually something discussed. Maybe not officially canceled, but passed on, at least.
Star Wars 1313
Star Wars cancelations: they’re not just limited to movies and shows! A video game rumored to focus on Boba Fett was in active production when Disney purchased Lucasfilm. But, eventually, the company behind it, Lucasarts, was dissolved and the game was discontinued. Maybe that was because Lucasfilm assumed they were going to make a Boba Fett movie, so why do a game too?
Star Wars Underworld
We’re putting this last because it was canceled way before Disney bought Lucasfilm, but that almost makes it the granddaddy of them all. Significant work was done on a live-action TV show called Star Wars Underworld, which was scrapped when George Lucas and his team deemed it too expensive for the time. Concept footage from the show even leaked a few tears back. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy reportedly did look at the materials once she took over, but alas it never happened. So Disney’s purchase gave it a new life for a second, only to be shattered again.
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