Game of Thrones may be ending, but that doesn't mean the men who created it are calling it a career. Those in front of the camera, like Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner, and Maisie Williams are not the only ones moving on to other hit genres like romantic comedies (Clarke's next film is Last Christmas with Henry Golding) or massive franchises. (Turner and Williams both have X-Men films in the pipeline to come out in the next year.) Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will make the next Star Wars movie, and the next two after that as well.
To say this is a big deal is an understatement. There are few franchises out there that rival Game of Thrones in terms of popularity in the fantasy genre. There's the Wizarding World, there's Lord of the Rings, there's the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and there's Star Wars, and that's about it. Perhaps just as importantly, Star Wars is at a crossroads. The final chapter in the Skywalker Saga, Episode IX, The Rise of Skywalker, arrives at the end of 2019, the conclusion of a nine-part franchise 40+ years in the making.
But despite an attempt or two to create spinoffs trilogies like Solo, Lucasfilm hasn't shown which direction the franchise will go next. It's an open slate.
Back on May 7, a few days after May 4 and "Star Wars Day," Disney put out a press release announcing the upcoming slate of films that have been plotted out through 2027. Most of the near-term stuff was merely a little bit of push and shoving around of release dates for already-confirmed properties. But once the calendar got out to the outer reaches with 2022, three "Untitled Star Wars" films were listed, for Dec. 16, 2022, Dec. 20, 2024, and Dec. 18, 2026.
This was a little surprising for two reasons. The first was that though Lucasfilm has hinted there would be a year off from Star Wars in 2020, no one anticipated a three-year hiatus, nor did they expect an every-other-year schedule. The reason for that is two trilogies were currently greenlit, one by Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, and one by Benioff and Weiss.
Most fans figured this trilogy was Johnson's because he has the time to be working on one, while Benioff and Weiss were tied up finishing Game of Thrones. But now, that turns out to be incorrect. The trilogy that Disney has confirmed release dates for, which will supposedly intersperse between theoretical Avatar sequels on the alternating years, is one brought to the screen by the Game of Thrones duo.
This leaves fans with many questions. Where is Johnson's trilogy? (Will it replace the often-mentioned, never-arriving, always-multiplying Avatar sequels once Disney realizes no one is interested in them?) What is Benioff and Weiss' trilogy about?
Can the men who made one of the darkest TV series that killed off most of its characters on the way to the finish line be the ones to carry a franchise steeped in hope forward? December of 2022 can't get here soon enough with some answers.