For a while it seemed like Star Wars had run its course. The prequel trilogy may have made money, but it did little to add to the legacy. Then came JJ Abrams and The Force Awakens.
Loved by both critics and fans, the seventh episode in the series rejuvenated the franchise, making a new generation of stars and becoming one of the highest grossing films of all time.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the ninth episode in the series, will be released just before Christmas this year, when two big questions will be answered. First, fans will find out how this epic nine film story concludes. Second, industry insiders will determine which franchise is bigger: Star Wars or the Avengers?
Records to Fall?
Betway are currently offering 4/7 that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker takes more than the previous installment, The Last Jedi. Even at odds-on, this seems like good value.
Though Solo, the last Star Wars spinoff movie, did not perform as expected, interest in the main Star Wars films, the so-called Skywalker Saga, remains fervent. Producers promise that Episode IX will definitely be the end of the story. Since that story began in 1977, multiple generations will be energised to turn out to see it.
Whether or not The Rise of Skywalker breaks total box office records is another question. Star Wars: The Force Awakens remains the top-grossing film ever in the US, but sits in fourth place when global takings are included. While the US record may be there for the taking, Star Wars is less popular internationally, particularly when compared to more recent franchises like the Avengers and Avatar.
Betway have set odds of 11/2 on Episode IX overtaking those juggernauts.