Disney Unleashes ALL The Star Wars!



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…









This Is The Way, This Is The Mandalorian Season Two Trailer.



The trailer for the highly anticipated second season of The Mandalorian has just dropped and, well, it’s rather good…



This first teaser doesn’t reveal any new characters known to be appearing, such as Boba Fett or Ahsoka Tano, but we do see greater involvement from the Empire and a clear sense of Din Djarin’s mission from The Armourer, to reunite The Child with his own kind.

The Mandalorian is really shaping up to be some of the best Star Wars coming out of the franchise since Disney came on board (though that’s not necessarily a high bar after The Rise of Skywalker), and I’ll be glued to Disney Plus when this begins streaming on October 30th (especially now the channel has launched here in Norway).

Will you be tuning in, or are you done with Star Wars? Drop a comment below…


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Spoiler Free Review

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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker comes with so much baggage it actually feels difficult to write a full review after my initial viewing.

I came out with some hugely conflicting feelings, so rather than a fully considered review, this might best be considered a collection of immediate, post-screening thoughts.

The film, of course, is the conclusion not only to this most-recent Disney backed trilogy (comprising The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi), but it also concludes the entire Skywalker saga (preceded by the films in the Prequel and Original trilogies).

Many fans will, I suspect, find The Rise of Skywalker to be a hugely satisfying ending to the nine film cycle, as returning director J.J. Abrams and his team play far safer than The Last Jedi’s controversial Rian Johnson and pack the film to the rafters with many fan-pleasing elements. Perhaps too many.

And this seems to have been done to the detriment of a cohesive movie, as Rise lacks a certain elegance in narrative to play very episodically, with MacGuffins galore leading our heroes from one set piece to the next.

While Johnson seemed determined to use his film to kill off certain elements of past Star Wars films to suggest a new future path, Abrams and co have apparently paid careful attention to the howls of outrage over this approach from the hordes of man babies and over-entitled toxic fans and dialed back on this by making a film about resurrecting the dead. And boy, do the dead rise up in this film. Literally and figuratively.

There are tantalising glimpses of a thematic element, present in all three films of the Disney trilogy, of the Rebellion against the evil Empire spreading out beyond the usual resistance fighters and causing “the people” to find the will to rise up against their oppressors, but it’s almost too casually thrown away here, and not developed strongly enough to add depth to the narrative. A definite missed opportunity which could have given these films a far greater resonance.

It’s also difficult to see that these films were created with a firm road map, rather each feels like a reaction to the previous film, and so this might just be the least satisfying trilogy, thematically and in terms of overall arcs.

The trilogy leads (Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac and Adam Driver) all do excellent work, even when their roles are not developed as well as we might have hoped – yes Finn, I’m looking at you. Personally, I’d like to have seen more emphasis on Boyega, who the camera loves, than on time spent with the introduction of a pointless droid or even (sorry, Bill Dee Williams), the largely irrelevant Lando Calrissian.

The film deals pretty sensitively with the death of Carrie Fisher and just about manages to give Princess Leia/General Organa a useful role and an emotional send-off. No mean feat, under the sad circumstances.

And, as mentioned previously, there are (many) nods to fans of all three trilogies (and event offshoots like Star Wars: Rebels), familiar faces and voices and callbacks, visually and thematically, that this mostly works as a wrap-up of the saga with a big bow on it. And of course, much of this may play well on repeated viewings, but it might have been a stronger film had it concentrated on finding its own identity instead. In fact, I’m not sure I could see the film working for newcomers to the saga, and those resistant to the charms of George Lucas’ creation will find nothing to persuade.

Now all this sounds as if I didn’t have a good time. I did, and will almost certainly enjoy revisiting The Rise of Skywalker. As a fan, I can say it certainly leaves the characters where I might have expected them to end up. And, as with all Abrams films, it moves like a bullet and looks beautiful. There’s also a rather nice coda which plays against the expectations of a vocal area of fandom with a central character, and leaves us with a touching return to the saga’s beginning.

Perhaps the film simply had too much baggage to be the conclusion of over forty years of filmmaking, or perhaps my own baggage won’t allow me to enjoy it for what it is.

Right now, however, I’m satisfied but lacking that triumphant, gleeful feeling something with less reliance on its own past might have left me with.

The Mandalorian – Simply Star Wars *spoiler free review

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If I tell you that the first episode of The Mandalorian – the new high profile, live action Star Wars series helping to launch the Disney + channel – is simple, I trust you’ll understand that I’m complimenting it.

Set five years after the fall of the Empire, as seen in Return of the Jedi, the extremely straightforward storyline of this premiere episode follows the adventures of a Mandalorian bounty hunter (played by Pedro Pascal, though so far he remains firmly under the helmet) hired to round up or exterminate a mark. And for the first 38 minutes, that’s pretty much it.

Carl Weathers crops up, as does (in a much-ballyhooed, sublime piece of casting) existential German film director, Werner Herzog, who appears to be having a blast in his role, plus we meet (sort of) Nick Nolte and Taika Waititi (director of Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit). It’s a heckuva cast for what amounts to a little spaghetti western in space.

What you really want to know is: does it feel like Star Wars? Yes, it does, and it feels like exactly what I had hoped for, Star Wars without the Skywalkers, or Jedi, or the Force (at least so far), and what a lot of fun it is. The Mandalorian comes across as if show creator Jon Favreau and pilot director Dave Filoni are just kicking back and enjoying themselves in the Star Wars universe. They even manage to throw in a deep-cut gag taken from the infamously reviled Star Wars Holiday Special TV show from 1978.

The Mandalorian looks and sounds totally Star Wars too, with some really top notch VFX and creature FX (many of which, I’m overjoyed to say, are practical). Whoever thought we’d live to see a weekly Star Wars TV series with movie level special effects? Not this kid who saw the original movie more than twenty times at the cinema in 1977 and 1978, that’s for sure.

There’s no great human drama, so far, but we get a lot of world-building in just over half an hour (with no necessary Star Wars knowledge needed, but plenty of nods to fans), events are set neatly in place and some intriguing threads are left dangling. We’re offered just enough of what might make the title character of interest (he’s a bounty hunter with a heart of gold), but the main point here is to make us want to come back for more. And if the showrunners can ensure this level of pure enjoyment for the next seven episodes then that won’t be a problem.

Simply put, The Mandalorian is uncomplicated fun.

The Final Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker Trailer

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Okay, I know what you’re here for, so here’s the final Star Wars trailer ever…

Yeah, well, I lied, obviously. This isn’t the final Star Wars trailer ever, Disney have way too much invested into George Lucas’s baby for that, but it is the final trailer for the nine films which will comprise the Skywalker saga.

And in customary J J Abrams style, it looks beautiful, with some really stunning ‘trailer moments’. Let’s just hope he and the crew are able to pull this together for a satisfying film – it comes with rather a lot of baggage, of course, not least the ire of a lot of entitled man-babies who shed copious fanboy blood and fury blood over Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.

Personally, I’m rather excited to see how this all wraps up, and now we’ll find out – after forty two years and eight previous movies. I guess I’ll see you in the queue for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on December 20th…

Rogue One Writer For Disney Plus Star Wars Show

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Tony Gilroy, co-writer of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has jumped aboard the Disney Plus series based on that film’s central character, Cassian Andor.

Variety just dropped an exclusive report, stating that Gilroy would write and direct several episodes for the forthcoming, as yet untitled, live action show for Disney’s streaming channel.

The series will star Diego Luna, reprising his role from Rogue One, and follows Rebel agent Andor in adventures set before the events of that film, in the early days of the Rebellion against the Empire. Alan Tudyk will also return as K-2SO, Andor’s droll droid sidekick.

Gilroy was originally an uncredited writer on Rogue One, and came onto the production to handle extensive reshoots on the film, earning a screenwriting credit in the process. After the reshoots, he is also said to have worked closely with director Gareth Edwards to supervise the editing of the film.

No air date has been set for the show, but previous reports suggest it will launch in 2021. Disney Plus launches in the US and other markets (but not here in Norway, curse you Disney) on November 12th.

The Skywalker Saga Ends – Rise of Skywalker Trailer

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Okay, moving swiftly over that lackluster poster released at the D23 expo this weekend, let’s cheer instead for the minute or so of new footage revealed in this “special look” at Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

..well, it certainly looks lovely, but there are a lot of folks out in internet-land worried that J J Abrams will not bring this nine film saga to anything remotely resembling a satisfying end. Of course it’s internet-land and that’s what internet-land folks do, but still, there’s some substance in those worries.

Love it or hate it, Rian Johnson took some intriguing chances with The Last Jedi (chances I mostly loved, by the way) and many feel that Abrams is more likely to play things safe, as he did with The Force Awakens.

We’ll all find out soon enough, as this final film in the Skywalker saga is due to hit our screens in December. Are you excited, scared or just plain bored? Sound off in the usual places for comments.

Time To Get Excited About Star Wars Again – The Mandalorian Trailer Has Arrived

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The trailer for Jon Favreau’s new live-action Star Wars TV series, The Mandalorian, has arrived, and it looks amazing:

So much to unpack from this: bounty hunting in the Star Wars universe, movie quality special effects, a wonderfully gritty look and, yes, Werner Herzog. This thing looks crazy and crazy good. Even if you’ve found your enthusiasm for all things Star Wars waning in recent years, you have to admit there’s a weirdness to this that Lucas’s (and Disney’s) universe has been calling out for.

Creator, writer, and director Jon Favreau (that’s Happy Hogan to YOU, sir and Madam) has promised The Mandalorian will dig into the “darker, freakier” side of Star Wars and it doesn’t look like he was kidding.

Set after the fall of the Empire (in Return of the Jedi) and before the rise of the First Order (in The Force Awakens), the series stars Pedro Pascal (in the title role), Gina Carano, Nick Nolte (really!), Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, and Omid Abtahi. Yes, and Werner Herzog appears.

Disney have a lot of faith in this show, so much that they’ve already announced Season Two will begin shooting this autumn.

As noted in many other pieces here, because this autumn Disney will take over our viewing habits entirely, the new Disney Plus streaming service launches on November 12.

“Hello There!” – Ewan McGregor To Return As Obi-Wan Kenobi

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Deadline have just confirmed that Ewan McGregor is in talks with Disney to reprise his role as Obi-wan Kenobi.

The actor played the Jedi Knight in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, The Phantom Menace (1999), Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005), and revisited the role as a voice-only cameo in the The Force Awakens (2015).

Now McGregor is close to signing on the dotted line for a new TV series to air on the forthcoming Disney + channel, which will begin streaming later this year.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi series would join two live action Star Wars series already in production, The Mandalorian, from director (and everyone’s favourite Happy Hogan) Jon Favreau, starring Pedro Pascal, and an as yet unnamed prequel series to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, based on the adventures of Cassian Andor and K-2S0, with Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk reprising their roles from that film.

Disney + has a whole slew of other tantalizing shows on their slate, including a comic shop full of Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-in limited series, plus the likes of new productions of High School Musical and a live-action remake of Lady And The Tramp.

While the Prequel Trilogy is widely regarded as, at best a creative misfire (it’s Friday and I’m in a good mood, work with me), McGregor was never less than watchable and did his darndest to bring life to the often risible dialogue. So this possibility seems like a win to me. What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.

The Rise of Skywalker Trailer Is Here!

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If ever there was an instance of me not needing to write a single thing for a piece, I guess this is it – the teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode 9 – The Rise of Skywalker…

Just launched at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, this teaser will be sure to have us all speculating like crazy, I know I already am.

We’ll discuss the film in more detail when a fuller trailer hits, but for now let’s just gear ourselves up for December and the end of the nine film Skywalker saga.  But hey, BILLY DEE WILLIAMS AS LANDO CALRISSIAN, EVERYBODY!

Star Wars opens on December 19th.