At the big Disney Investor show today the company launched a massive wave of new Star Wars projects – cinema features and TV series for their Disney + service.
Due to its success on Disney + The Mandalorian will gain two spin-off shows: Rangers of the New Republic, and Ahsoka, which will see Rosario Dawson reprise her Jedi character (first seen in animated form during The Clone Wars series), both set in the same timeline as the show that launched them. The Mandalorian will, naturally, receive a third season.
Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy also announced Andor, starring Diego Luna’s Rebel character Cassian Andor, in a spin-off from the film, Rogue One. You can now see the sizzle reel for this show, starring the character we know will ultimately meet his fate retrieving the plans for the Empire’s Death Star:
The Acolyte will be a mystery-thriller from Leslye Headland “that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era”; Lando, is a new event series in early development from Justin Simien, writer/creator of Dear White People (with no announcement yet whether this will star either Billy Dee Williams or Donald Glover, who have played the character in other live-action Star Wars films); Star Wars: Visions, will be an original series of short films from Japanese anime creators coming in 2021.
Droids will be an animated adventure featuring C3PO and R2D2. Kennedy said, “This epic journey will introduce is to new hero guided by our most iconic duo… on a secret mission known only to them. What could possibly go wrong?”
The Bad Batch is a new animated series from The Mandalorian’s co-creator, Dave Filoni, who says the show “follows in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch — a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army — each possess a singular exceptional skill which makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew. In the post-Clone War era, they will take on daring mercenary missions as they struggle to stay afloat and find new purpose.” No release date for this was given, but we do have a sizzle reel to share with you:
Finally, on the Disney + front, it was announced that Hayden Christensen will reprise his role from the Prequel Trilogy as Darth Vader, for the Obi-Wan Kenobi event series starring Ewan McGregor. The series will be set 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, as the Jedi is in hiding and Vader comes to terms with his greatest loss:
Back in the dark of the cinema, JoJo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, fresh off his stint helming multiple episodes of The Mandalorian, will helm his first Star Wars feature film. Waititi has completed his script and locations are being scouted. No further details were forthcoming, but this can’t be seen as anything except exciting.
Rian Johnson’s previously trumpeted new trilogy of Star Wars films failed to make an appearance in the new round of announcements, so it remains to be seen where those films stand beyond the recent news that their release had been bumped back to 2023, ’25 and ’27. Frankly, typing these far-off dates makes me examine my own mortality.
Finally, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, will helm a feature film of Rogue Squadron:
Even the most cynical among us will find this announcement video from Jenkins rather touching:
And that, folks, is all the brand Star Wars news. Basically, between everything here, plus the Marvel, Pixar and Disney announcements, the Mouse House will pretty much own our entertainment needs for at least the next decade or so. As to whether or not that’s a good thing, I’ll let you argue among yourselves.
But one thing is for sure, The Force will be with us for a long time to come…