While for most, this 4-day weekend was a celebration of Easter, for those of us who love a galaxy far far away, this instead represented the 2023 edition of Star Wars Celebration. Lasting 4 days and taking place in London, this edition came at an interesting time for Star Wars fans, as the latest season of The Bad Batch had just ended, while season of The Mandalorian was in full swing. However, things were looking much bleaker on the movie front, as anything previously announced or rumoured appeared to have fallen through.
Now unfortunately I was unable to get tickets to go myself, but another year of diligently watching the Star Wars Celebration Live stream on YouTube (and relying on Twitter live tweeting from those present for anything of importance, which was as usual kept off the live stream as Lucasfilm continued to show they only care about their fans who have money), I’ve collated together the big news about what will be coming to our screens over the coming years, along with some of my own commentary. So let’s have a look:
After all the rumours and recent disappointments, I don’t know if anyone was hoping or expecting any announcements here, but Kathleen Kennedy did indeed announce 3 new movies. While we don’t know much at the moment, we know the following:
- James Mangold will be directing a story about the first Jedi! Said to be set 25,000 years before the Skywalker Saga, it has been described as a biblical epic. Everything about this news gets me excited! The tale of the first Jedi is always going to be of great interest to a fan like myself, while I’ve loved James Mangold’s movies Logan and Ford v Ferrari, while the description of a biblical epic certainly sounds right for this kind of story.
- Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy is directing a story about the New Jedi Order, set fifteen years after The Rise of Skywalker. Daisy Ridley is confirmed to be returning as Rey. OK, this has me cautiously optimistic. I don’t know much about Obaid-Chinoy and the only work of hers I have seen were her 2 episodes in Ms Marvel, which were OK. I’ve not hidden the fact that The Rise of Skywalker seriously disappointed me and tarnished my involvement of Star Wars, but a continuation of Rey’s story cold go long way to helping get things back on track. I’m thrilled to have Daisy Ridley coming back, now I’m keeping my fingers crossed for John Boyega to also return as Finn, now as a Jedi!
- Dave Filoni is directing a story about the New Republic vs the Imperial Remnant, which will draw together all of the live action series that he and Jon Favreau have been working on. Kathleen Kennedy has said that this is likely 6-7 years away. Now this for me is the biggie! The student will finally become the master, and I can’t wait to see it. While I have had some issues with individual parts of the “Mandoverse” so far, as one big story I have really enjoyed it, and can’t wait to see how Skeleton Crew and Ahsoka tie in to this. Not only that, but by being a conclusion to all these series, the build-up will mean that the audience is clearly there, compared to those who say that there was no need for a Han Solo origin story. What really interests me here is the knowledge that this is 6- years away. You would not expect Lucasfilm to want a big gap between this and the series that it is continuing on from (probably 2 years as an absolute maximum, likely less), so even if we soon start reducing to just 1 “Mandoverse” series per year, that still suggests we have a fair few seasons left of Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew, and The Mandalorian, as well as perhaps more The Book of Boba Fett or another as-yet unannounced series…
Of course, as has generally been the case with Lucasfilm under Kathleen Kennedy, we could hear half a year from now that Mangold and Obaid-Chinoy have left their products due to creative differences and that Lucasfilm has decided to stick to streaming series and shelved Filoni’s movie, so it’s up to you how excited you want to get about these announcements. Once stung, twice as shy. And we’ve been stung a lot…
So where better to start than with Ahsoka, which will release in August. While those at the panel got a slightly longer trailer, there was still more than enough to get me excited, and I think that the show looks great. It very much looks like a sequel to Rebels with returning characters including Sabine Wren, Hera Syndulla and Thrawn (Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Lars Mikkelsen respectively), while David Tennant also returns as his character Huyang from The Clone Wars and Chopper also appears set to win over fans as other live action droids have managed to do. I’m now highly interested in the role that Thrawn and Morgan Elsbeth will have in this season (I’m assuming this is not just a one-and-done) as the trailer certainly seems to make the new characters Baylan Skoll & Shin Hati look like the main antagonists. I must admit that I am a little nervous about the portrayals of Hera and especially Sabine, but I have been impressed by Winstead in other movies I have seen her in, and I just remember how I had the same worry about Rosario as Ahsoka, a feeling that was gone in seconds when I saw her appear, so I’m sure that it will be the same here, but I’m also thrilled to see Mikkelsen return as Thrawn after getting such an iconic voice in Rebels. Last bit of news here is that Kevin Kiner will be doing the score and I’m thrilled to see him finally getting a promotion to live action, which I hope is just the next step to a movie (my money is on him scoring Filoni’s movie). We’ve already had Ahsoka’s theme make it into live action, so I’m desperately hoping that Thrawn’s theme transfers over as well!
Sticking in the Mandoverse, and we got a bit more information on Skeleton Crew. Filoni described the premise of the show as a group of kids looking for Star Wars adventure but they get in over their heads in the galaxy far, far away, which combined with the description of it being “Amblin-esque” makes this sound like the Goonies in space, though I have also heard previously that it is darker and similar to Stranger Things. Apparently a trailer was shown to those in attendance, but I haven’t heard many details, though apparently Jude Law’s character has been confirmed as a Force-user, while the children of the main cast were also introduced to the crowd and the directors announced.
Not much news about Andor season 2, which is no giant surprise as it is still some way off, but a release date of August 2024 has been confirmed and those present were shown either a trailer or a sizzle reel, I didn’t honestly see much about this one in the live tweets.
And last but certainly not least for live action, is The Acolyte. As well as the above new title card, we were given plenty of details about the show. Due for release in 2024, the show will be at the end of the High Republic era, and as such there will be oh so many Jedi! Many of the main cast were introduced to fans, while Joonas Suotamo has been confirmed to play a Wookiee Jedi and Rebecca Henderson will be playing an adult version of a character who will familiar to readers of the High Reublic books: Vernestra Rwoh. Personally, that excites me despite never having read any of the High Republic so far, I just wish that such attention to existing stories in other media had been paid during the creation of The Rise of Skywalker. However, the difference here is clear: creator Leslye Headland is clearly a huge fan who not only enjoys but understands Star Wars, and if this show is as successful as I expect, then I think she has every chance of becoming a regular contributor. Why am I so confident? Well those present got to see footage, and everyone was so positive about it, which considering how far out we are is very impressive, while people were quick to note the variety of aliens and the sheer number of Jedi. Oh and we also got confirmation that this was filmed on sets and locations rather than the Volume, which after Andor gets me very excited.
Moving onto the animated series, and we got confirmation that Tales of the Jedi will be returning for a second season, but no news as yet on how long the series will be, when it will release or who the season will focus on. The Bad Batch was also confirmed as returning in 2024 for a third season and, as I expected, this was confirmed to be the final season of the show. Those at the panel were shown some footage as soon as the live stream finished, which confirmed the return of Fennec Shand, but also the arrival of Wolffe.
And finally we have Star Wars: Visions volume 2, where we were treated to a trailer and poster. Unlike season 1, which was entirely done by anime studios, volume 2 has a wide variety of animations, and some are certainly grabbing my attention more than others. I fully expect this to be another mix of shorts that I either absolutely love or find very much not for me. We’ll find out soon enough, though, as volume 2 will release on May 4ᵗʰ.
What do you think of all the news? Were you at Celebration? I’d love to hear your stories!
Thanks for reading. May the Force be with you….
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2 thoughts on “Star Wars Celebration 2023”
I’m very excited for all of these projects; I’ve been working on my own Celebration reaction post. Woo-hoo!
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Thanks for reading, Can’t wait to read yours!
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