Of course the new Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker footage from D23 expo excited fans. Why wouldn’t it? There was a fleet of Star Destroyers, and even what appeared to be “Dark Rey.” Anticipation is high for the final, episodic Star Wars film. But…. As much as Episode IX is a swan song for the Skywalker saga, it might very well be the swan song for Star Wars on film, as well. More and more it is beginning to seem that Disney+ will be the true future of Star Wars.

Dark Force Rising
Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.

As much as fans are eager to see The Rise of Skywalker, the bigger Star Wars news to come out of D23 all revolved around Disney’s new streaming service, Disney+. First was the much-desired trailer for The Mandalorian, the first-ever, live-action Star Wars series in the franchise’s history. Then came the release date announcement for the final season of The Clone Wars. Not to be outdone, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy answered many fans’ prayers by announcing that yes, there will be an Obi-Wan Kenobi series, as well. Disney and Lucasfilm are pouring a lot of effort, and capital, in the future of Star Wars on Disney+.

Disney+, not film, is the future of Star Wars

Remember, the next Star Wars feature film won’t arrive for another three years, in 2022. That used to be the norm… until Disney. Beginning with 2015’s The Force Awakens, there has or will be a new feature-length film every year through this December. Now, the franchise is mired with fan complaints about Rian Johnson and a lack of desire to see him direct anything else in Star Wars. On the other hand, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were supposed to be the future of Star Wars. Even they, however, are now the subject of controversy due to fan backlash to the final season of GoT. Where does that leave the film side of the franchise?

Future of Star Wars; The Mandalorian
Pedro Pascal appears in the lead role of The Mandalorian for Disney+. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

There remains a big question mark of whether fans will flock to the theaters after the Skywalker saga ends, and with good reason. Others may argue this point, but there really is little question that the lore of Star Wars is steeped in the original trilogy. Not one, but three, new live-action series for Disney+ are all born of the original trilogy in one way or another. So is the future of Star Wars really its past?

Lucasfilm returns to its roots… on Disney+

The Mandalorian is already heavy with OT references, from Stormtroopers, to Gamorreans, to an IG assassin droid, R5-D4, and more. It’s also set in the aftermath of the original trilogy’s events. Likewise, the Cassian Andor series will obviously occur during the time leading up to Rogue One, the immediate precursor to the events of 1977’s Star Wars. Is the Future of Star Wars really returning to its past, indeed? Take even the Obi-Wan Kenobi series. Granted, it will focus on the prequel actor for the character. Notwithstanding, the series takes place in the time Kenobi spent on Tatooine protecting a young Luke Skywalker…. Exactly how George Lucas introduced us to the character in the first place.

Future of Star Wars
Ahsoka Tano prepare to battle Maul in the upcoming, final season of The Clone Wars on Disney+. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

The future of Star Wars, in now four instances (if you include The Clone Wars), points to periods far pre-dating the sequel trilogy. Not one of them will be available in theaters either, but solely on Disney+. That’s a lot of content. It makes one wonder if perhaps Disney is realizing it made a mistake rushing so many Star Wars projects to film so quickly. Or, to the contrary… did it simply misjudge the desire for a new trilogy with new characters in the first place?

A three year gap gives Kennedy and  Disney president Bob Iger a lot of time to reassess and re-evaluate. In the meantime…. The future of Star wars arrives November 12, on Disney+.

What do you think? Will Star Wars truly live on through Disney+, or will it still maintain its feature film success? Let us know your thoughts below!