New details have been revealed about Lucasfilm’s plans for upcoming Star Wars features and TV series. Lucasfilm, a division of Disney that handles the Star Wars properties, has been building momentum over the last few years with live-action shows like The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, helping to put their new streaming service Disney+ on the map. Disney released the latest Star Wars feature trilogy as well, which included Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which were financially successful, but critically mixed.
Created by George Lucas in 1977, Star Wars has continued to expand beyond the original trilogy and prequel trilogy, particularly with animated series, spinoff films, and through other media, such as books, comics, and video games, not to mention merchandise. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy brought in the creative duo of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to join the Lucasfilm team in spearheading the future of their TV arm, specifically for Disney+. Since The Mandalorian debuted, subsequently becoming the franchise’s new flagship property, multiple shows have been announced including Ahsoka, The Acolyte, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as a feature film from Wonder Women director Patty Jenkins.
In a new cover story via Vanity Fair, the future of Star Wars‘ film and TV projects was updated, including new details on the shows currently in production and those that will be released in the coming years. In addition, it was revealed that Lucasfilm is moving away from feature-film trilogies for the franchise and has learned their lesson about recasting legacy characters, as they did in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Also updated were the plans for their feature film slate, including Taika Waititi’s unnamed effort, as well as when fans can expect Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron.
Star Wars TV Show Release Plans
In terms of Disney’s plan for Star Wars TV shows, the schedule will roll out through 2023 and beyond. Obi-Wan Kenobi debuts in May 2022, which will be followed by Andor, which is expected in late summer 2022. The highly anticipated The Mandalorian season 3 does not have a firm release date, but is anticipated sometime in late 2022 or early 2023. Ahsoka has just begun filming and is not expected to debut until 2023, while the more mysterious project, The Acolyte, is still in active development and not expected until much later. Another project announced is a show created by Spider-Man: No Way Home‘s Jon Watts, which is currently in the works under the codename of Grammar Rodeo, which is likened to “Amblin coming of age adventure films.”
Ahsoka Show Will Release In 2023
Ahsoka, starring Rosario Dawson as the titular character, is currently filming with Filoni serving as writer/director on the mini-series, which kicked off production on May 9th, which pushes Ahsoka‘s release date into 2023 after production, post, and marketing. Story details are being kept under wraps, but the hints from her appearances in The Mandalorian season 2 will likely be explored, particularly her pursuit of Grand Admiral Thrawn, a famed Star Wars villain that has yet to receive the live-action treatment. Filoni says that Ahsoka is a continuous story as opposed to being “little singular adventures”, saying that he wants to emphasize the relationship that fans have with her. He also stated that he’s just starting to understand that the kids who watched Clone Wars are now a lot older and that “they’re very excited about all the things they grew up with, as they should be.”
Andor Story Details Revealed
Andor stars Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, the rebel spy character introduced in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and is set for debut later in 2022. The show is obviously a prequel, given that Andor dies at the end of Rogue One, and Luna says that it will get much deeper into the character as well as take on some metaphorical aspects, saying “It’s the journey of a migrant. That feeling of having to move is behind this story, very profoundly and very strong. That shapes you as a person. It defines you in many ways, and what you are willing to do.” Showrunner Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote Rogue One, says that the show will focus on Andor as “being really revolution-averse, and cynical, and lost, and kind of a mess” which will further punctuate his ultimate sacrifice at the end of Rogue One. The story will begin with the destruction of Andor’s homeworld before seeing his new, adopted home become the focus, as it becomes radicalized with The Empire expanding its reach, which in turn puts Andor on the path of blocking them. Rebel leader Mon Mothma, played by Genevieve O’Reilly, will also be a big focus of the show, with her story running parallel to Andor’s.
Spider-Man Director Is Making A Star Wars Show Set Post-ROTJ
Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts was announced as developing a Star Wars show as well, which is currently operating under the codename Grammar Rodeo—a reference to an episode of The Simpsons. The show is said to “take place during the post-Return of the Jedi reconstruction that follows the fall of the Empire” but no other plot details have been revealed beyond that. Watts and writer Chris Ford are the creators and writers for the series, which is currently looking to cast “four children, around 11 to 12 years old” for key roles that liken the show to “a galactic version of classic Amblin coming-of-age adventure films of the ’80s.”
Obi-Wan & Vader’s Rematch Is Part Of Their “Love Story”
The rumored rematch of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in the new series starring Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen, both returning to their prequel roles, is said to be part of their “love story” by director and showrunner Deborah Chow. “For me, across the prequels, through the original trilogy, there’s a love-story dynamic with these two that goes through the whole thing,” Chow says. “I felt like it was quite hard to not [include] the person who left Kenobi in such anguish in the series.” Chow went on to explain that she felt no matter the divide between the two characters, their history and love for one another as brothers and fellow Jedi would still be present in Obi-Wan, saying: “I don’t think he ever will not care about [Anakin]. What’s special about that relationship is that they loved each other.”
The Acolyte Is Setting Up The Phantom Menace & Prequel-Era Jedi
Russian Doll‘s Leslye Headland serves as writer and showrunner for The Acolyte, a mysterious new show that takes place a century before the era of the Skywalkers and isn’t expected to debut until late 2023 or later. Headland says that the series will lead up to that era, particularly in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. “My question when watching The Phantom Menace was always like, ‘Well, how did things get to this point?’ How did we get to a point where a Sith lord can infiltrate the Senate and none of the Jedi pick up on it?,” Headland questioned. “Like, what went wrong? What are the scenarios that led us to this moment?” The show is said to star Amandla Stenberg and is currently in its casting stage with writing mostly complete, with a lean into the newly-created High Republic era. The Acolyte is described by Headland as “a mystery thriller set in a prosperous and seemingly peaceful era, when the galaxy is still sleek and glistening.” She says that the Jedi of this era will be more Renaissance-like, with more polished and prestigious “gold and white” uniforms due to a lack of getting into skirmishes.
Star Wars Won’t Recast Legacy Characters Like With Han Solo
Solo: A Star Wars Story recast Harrison Ford’s Han Solo with a younger actor (Alden Ehrenreich) for an origin tale that ultimately flopped at the box office and was heavily criticized over the controversial casting, not to mention the firing of original directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord, replaced by Ron Howard, who reshot 70 percent of the film. Solo stands as the lowest-grossing live-action Star Wars feature and Kennedy says that they have learned their lesson about recasting legacy actors, saying, “There should be moments along the way when you learn things. Now it does seem so abundantly clear that we can’t do that.” This is evidenced in the use of Mark Hamill, who continues to play Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian, albeit with another actor’s body and the use of deepfake technology to de-age his appearance to fit the timeline.
Rian Johnson’s Star Wars Trilogy Is On The Backburner
Director Rian Johnson directed 2017’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which was a financial success but divided fans and critics alike, taking the foundation that director JJ Abrams laid with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and turning it on its head. Shortly after The Last Jedi was released, a new trilogy was announced to be in the works from Johnson, but news on its development has all but dried up, especially as Johnson has moved on to his Knives Out franchise at Netflix. According to Kennedy, the trilogy has been “Back-burnered” due to Johnson’s other commitments. “Rian has been unbelievably busy with Knives Out and the deal that he made at Netflix for multiple movies,” said Kennedy.
Star Wars Movies Are Moving Away From Trilogies
George Lucas began Star Wars in his serialized format, making the “trilogy” aspect a recurring Hollywood trend. The original trilogy consisted of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, with the prequel trilogy consisting of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. After Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the announcement was made that a new Star Wars trilogy would be made, which became Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. While the new trilogy was a financial success, the lack of consistent storytelling with filmmakers between films caused a wave of criticism, which seems to have informed Kennedy and Lucasfilm to avoid trilogies going forward. “I hesitate to use the word trilogies anymore because Star Wars is much more about persistent storytelling,” said Kennedy.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead Is Officially Joining Star Wars
Obi-Wan Kenobi‘s McGregor openly shared his excitement in returning to Star Wars with the new series and confirmed that Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whom he married this year, will also be joining the Star Wars family. Winstead was rumored to be joining Ahsoka back in January and now McGregor has confirmed it, saying “My partner, Mary, is doing that Star Wars series with Rosario and she’s about to start.” It’s unclear who Winstead will be playing in the show, as it has yet to be made public.
Taika Waititi’s Star Wars Movie Could Be Next To Release
Thor: Love and Thunder‘s Taika Waititi was announced to be directing a new Star Wars film back in 2020, working with 1917 screenwriter Krysty Wilson-Cairns on the project. As of last November, Wilson-Cairns said the script was coming along nicely and that she was committed to the fans in honoring the legacy of the franchise by getting everything just right. Although Patty Jenkin’s Rogue Squadron was announced prior to Waititi’s project, it appears that Waititi’s will likely arrive first, with Rogue Squadron further off. In addition, Kennedy said that she would love to see what Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige would bring to a Star Wars film, but that there currently isn’t anything specific in the works from the mega-producer.
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