New Star Wars movie in the works with ‘Sleight’ filmmaker

As Lucasfilm maps out the next phase of Star Wars movies, executives are grappling with this question as development moves ahead: Which characters and stories justify theatrical releases and which should arrive exclusively on streaming platform Disney+?

The Hollywood Reporter learned Friday that a new Star Wars project is in the works: J.D. Dillard, best known for writing and directing the sci-fi thriller Sleight, and Matt Owens, a writer on Marvel shows Luke Cage and Agents of SHIELD, have been tapped to develop it. But insiders say it is undecided whether the project will be for the big screen or for the highly prioritized streaming platform.

Plot details, character details and setting details are unknown and are being kept in the murky underworld of Exegol. It is unclear whether Dillard would direct should the project move forward. The Dillard project is understood to be unrelated to a Star Wars film pitch by Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige and potential work from Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

Disney and Lucasfilm appear to be shifting gears on the franchise to help boost Disney+, with Disney chairman Bob Iger saying earlier this month that Star Wars’ foreseeable future was in television, with theatrical movies going on a hiatus. The next theatrical film remains on the release calendar for Dec. 16, 2022, with other entries planned in Dec. 2024 and Dec. 2026.

While Rise of Skywalker has grossed $1.07 billion globally since its Dec. launch and will likely end its run as the sixth highest grossing film worldwide of 2019, the trendline for Star Wars films at the box office has declined during the Disney era since 2015’s Force Awakens’ $2.07 billion haul. The 2018 spinoff film Solo, in particular, grossed $392.9 million and led Iger to concede last September in a New York Times profile that "we might’ve put a little bit too much in the marketplace too fast."    —Hollywood Reporter