Who wants more Star Wars? Well the good news is that judging by the Disney Investor Day announcements there will be plenty to keep us going. On a day that also saw the future of the MCU laid out, Kathleen Kennedy announced the upcoming slate from Lucasfilm, including a Willow series, Indiana Jones 5 and an adaptation of the hit novel Children of Blood & Bone. Oh and she also dropped announcements and updates on 2 Star Wars movies and 10 series!
Granted, Kathleen’s time was short so we didn’t get much information, but I wanted to take a moment to look at what we got and give my initial thoughts on this.
Kathleen Kennedy may have saved some of the best until last, with the announcement of the next Star Wars movie: Rogue Squadron. Directed by Patty Jenkins and set for release Xmas 2023 (so far away!), this will be putting a focus on a group of pilots – Rogue Squadron having been some of the top pilots in the Rebel Alliance following the Battle of Yavin and initially led by Luke Skywalker and taking their name from Jyn Erso and her group of Rebel heroes who sacrificed themselves on Scarif.
I really enjoy stories about the everyday heroes like we got in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars Squadrons and the Alphabet Squadron Trilogy, so this movie sounds right up my alley, but seeing the tweet from Patty Jenkins and having really enjoyed Wonder Woman, I am so excited for this! It’s also worth noting that the era has not been confirmed yet, so this could be during the Galactic Civil War, but it could also be during the Cold War of the Sequel Trilogy, between the 2 wars in the days of the New Republic, or even later in the timeline as the galaxy recovers from the First Order. 2023 can’t come fast enough!
We were also updated that Taika Waititi is in the process of writing his movie, but did not get any more information, just this picture. I must admit that I’ve not seen much of Taika’s work so far – just Thor: Ragnarok and Chapter 8 of The Mandalorian – but I have loved everything that I’ve seen so can’t wait to find out more about this movie, which I imagine will be the 2025 release.
I must admit though that I was disappointed at the lack of mention of Rian Johnson’s trilogy. It certainly feels like the hate-mongers have got their way with keeping him away from Star Wars. I hope it’s more that he is focused on other projects and that his trilogy will be after Taika’s movie, but it would have been nice to have a mention.
The Mandalorian, Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic
The Mandalorian has done a fantastic job of introducing live-action series to Star Wars and the 3ʳᵈ season will release Xmas 2023. But not only will we be getting more The Mandalorian, we will also be getting 2 spinoff shows, Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic, which will both run in the same time as The Mandalorian and culminate in a crossover event.
Now if I was a betting man, I’d guess that Ahsoka will be a spiritual sequel to Rebels and show Ahsoka’s quest to find Ezra Bridger, with her appearance in Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian working as a backdoor pilot for the show as she was searching for Thrawn, who was last seen with Ezra. As for Rangers of the New Republic, I get the feeling that this will be a squad of fighters going around together. While the name “Rangers” has not yet come up, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them also introduced a some point in The Mandalorian – in fact they may have already been introduced through the recurring character of Captain Carson Teva – with a focus on a group of pilots allowing the same technology to be used in this show and Rogue Squadron.
The idea of the 3 culminating in a single event is interesting, but I just hope that it doesn’t feel forced. But as someone who loves the universe connecting, this series of announcements was huge for me.
Next up was the confirmation of the title to the prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I was a big fan of that movie so find myself really excited at the potential Andor has, and the concept art we see in the Sizzle Reel got me so hyped!
I noted that the show – which recently started production – was said to be 12 episodes during the reel, I’ll be interested to see if this is a one-off miniseries, or the first season of a longer limited series – either works for me at this point, but I think that I would prefer a multi-season series that can really show the growth of the Rebellion.
Next up was some further information on the upcoming Obi-Wan miniseries, Obi-Wan Kenobi. I must admit I was a little surprised that the title wasn’t just “Kenobi” to be more in line with Ahsoka and Andor, but that’s a very minor gripe.
Directed by Deborah Chow – who did 2 fantastic episodes in season 1 of The Mandalorian – the show is set 10 years after Revenge of the Sith and the big news from the announcement was the confirmation that not only will Ewan McGregor be returning as the titular Jedi, but Hayden Christensen will also return! This leaves me with so many questions as you don’t get Hayden to just hide him in the Vader suit, so will we be seeing flashbacks, or some form of connection through the Force? I have no idea where this story could be going, but I am so excited to find out!
The Bad Batch
Finishing off the list of series we already knew about, The Bad Batch, the new animated sequel to The Clone Wars received a new Sizzle Trailer.
The Sizzle says that this will be coming soon, and with season 7 of The Clone Wars having ran from February to May, I imagine this show will air at a similar time. I’m a big fan of the clones so I’m looking forward to seeing this, and the tease of Tarkin and what was surely Fennec Shand in the Sizzle gets me even more excited – hopefully she is voiced by Ming-Na Wen, who has experience doing the voice in animation, having voiced Mulan in the 1998 movie.
It looks like the show will pick up just before the end of the Clone Wars, and follow through into the early years of the Empire, with the Bad Batch abandoning the Empire at some point and becoming mercenaries. I’m very interested to see how much of the series is set before Order 66, and feel that a couple of episodes to set up the group as soldiers of the Republic – perhaps bringing back the planned episodes of The Clone Wars that saw the group fight on Kashyyyk – before showing their reaction to Order 66 and the rise of the Empire, with then a few episodes of them fighting for the Empire before leaving.
The next series announced was Visions, which is set to be a series of 10 animated short films from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars. This really excites me as it sounds like something completely different to anything that we’ve ever had before, while the Japanese inspirations have always been there in Star Wars with George Lucas often citing the work of Akira Kurosawa when discussing what he was creating, while the samurai themes have been impossible to miss in The Mandalorian!
Next up was the announcement of Lando, which I must admit I’m a little nervous about right now due to the lack of information. I really enjoy the character of Lando and can imagine that this series is still in the very early stages, but the absence of any mention of either Billy Dee Williams or Donald Glover. Hopefully the announcement of one (or both) will come later down the road, but for now, this is one of the series I’m least invested in.
One announcement that really caught my attention was that of The Acolyte. With Leslye Headland – Emmy Award-nominated creator of Russian Doll – involved as writer, executive producer and showrunner, the show was described as “a mystery-thriller that will take the audience into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era”. It certainly sounds like this will be taking Star Wars down a darker route, and the fact that we are going to a completely different era gets me very excited.
I do just wonder how accessible this will be initially for the casual fan. Will it be clear where this falls in the timeline, and will you be able to follow this without going through all the High Republic stories that are set to release soon?
A Droid Story
Last but not least was the announcement of a team-up between Lucasfilm Animation and Lucasfilm’s visual effects team to create A Droid Story, which will introduce a new hero who will be guided by Artoo and Threepio.
Though I don’t think it was expressly stated, I got the feeling that this was for a younger audience, so I don’t know how appropriate it will be for me, but I’m very interested to see what this team-up produces.
What are you most excited about from these announcements?
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….