Already, the early word on Rogue One is positive so one would be forgiven for thinking that a sequel would be in the works.
After all, it's hit almost 90% of The Force Awakens' ticket pre-sales and it's tracking for one of the biggest openings of the year. So, why no sequel? Well, because there's already a direct sequel and it's called Episode VI: A New Hope. According to an interview with Kathleen Kennedy and John Knoll in the most recent print version of Empire, Rogue One was always intended as a standalone film with a definite beginning, middle and end.
Moreover, in a previous interview with /Film around the time when Rogue One was first announced, Kennedy specifically stated the standalone films "are not being designed to necessarily build new franchises," which echoes her most recent comments.
It makes sense, quite honestly. The main saga with Episode VIII and Episode IX is still there and since there's a Han Solo movie on the way, there's really no end in sight for Star Wars. It was also recently confirmed that Josh Trank's Star Wars film - which was abruptly cancelled in the wake of Fantastic Four - was supposed to focus on Boba Fett and the world of bounty hunters, so it's entirely possible that they may get a new director and take off again.
It's also interesting in the sense that if this is a standalone film, there's the very likely possibility that not everyone is going to make it out alive. In fact, this is something that's been hovering over Rogue One since the first images and plot was released - the idea that the stakes are very real and central characters could be killed off during the film. Remember, there's no sequel for this, right? On that basis, it makes sense.
What do you make of it all? Let us know in the comments!