The Hollywood Reporter broke the news earlier today that Patty Jenkins’ Star Wars film, Rogue Squadron, has been pulled from Disney’s production lineup, citing “scheduling conflicts.”
Sources reportedly said that Jenkins, her team, and Lucasfilm “came to the realization” that her 2022 schedule would not allow for the time it would take to create the first Star Wars film since the critically panned Rise of Skywalker.
According to THR, Disney is waiting to see what Jenkins’ future schedule looks like before putting Rogue Squadron back onto their production schedule. However, we can’t help but wonder if this is a step towards canceling that film after the poor performance of Wonder Woman 1984.
Notes of Trevorrow?
Let’s travel back to 2017, when Colin Trevorrow (of Jurassic World fame) was still set to direct Star Wars: Episode IX. From the outside, things seemed to be proceeding as planned, with Rian Johnson passing the baton to Trevorrow to wrap the sequel trilogy.
Lucasfilm had just gone through a PR disaster after firing the co-directors of Solo, Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The reason given was “creative differences” and rumors swirled that some of the cast had serious problems with the slapstick tone that the two comedy directors were bringing to the project. Replacing Lord and Miller with veteran director Ron Howard seemed to quell the fanbase.
And despite the muted box office performance of Solo (some would say cursed by The Last Jedi), it was still the best opening weekend of Ron Howard’s career.
Episode IX would be a different story…
Trevorrow seemed to be on a tear, with Steven Spielberg personally hiring him to head Jurassic World. While the movie wasn’t exactly a critical darling, the box office delivered a hefty $652 million domestically. Trevorrow was riding high when he tackled his next project: an arthouse film called The Book of Henry.
It flopped. Hard. Both critically and at the box office, Trevorrow’s rising star power seemed to take a hit. After all, as they say, in Hollywood you’re only as good as your last picture.
Lucasfilm cited differing visions for the project and that was that —Trevorrow was off the film. Later, JJ Abrams was announced to make a return, starting with a new approach.
The Rise (and Fall) of Wonder Woman
Patty Jenkins’ original Wonder Woman film managed to do what many DC universe movies could not — it entertained. Raking in a domestic haul of $412 million, it was a certifiable hit. Patty Jenkins was riding high as she began production of the highly anticipated sequel, Wonder Woman 1984.
Unfortunately, the sequel went the opposite direction. Bringing in a meager $42 million domestically, Wonder Woman 1984 bombed. Furthermore, critics generally hated it. Despite the charm of the leading cast, the trendy 1980s backdrop, and the strength of the budding franchise, none of it came together in the end.
And now, her Star Wars project is in limbo. And I have to admit — it’s very difficult not to acknowledge the similarities between Jenkins and Trevorrow.
You’re Only as Good as Your Last Film
Jenkins’s schedule is still loaded. She’ll be tackling Wonder Woman 3 as well as a Cleopatra film. But her future in the Star Wars universe may or may not ever materialize. Is Lucasfilm playing a PR game here to soften the blow of a future cancellation announcement? It’s hard to believe, but the first Star Wars film to be released after The Rise of Skywalker is still an unknown. If it weren’t for the success of The Mandalorian, Star Wars would be a full-fledged dumpster fire at this point.
When it comes to Rogue Squadron, it’s hard not to think of Trevorrow. Of Lord and Miller. Of the canceled trilogy that was to be helmed by the Game of Thrones showrunners.
Currently, the two Star Wars films still known to be in production belong to MCU mastermind Kevin Fiege and critical darling Taika Waititi. No updates on the Rian Johnson trilogy that was announced after The Last Jedi.