With the highly anticipated release of Obi-Wan Kenobi slated for Friday, Disney is wasting no time in getting Star Wars fans excited for what awaits them in the future.
On Thursday, Disney kicked off Star Wars Celebration, a four-day fan event in Anaheim, with a number of teaser trailers, release dates, casting announcements, and even a live performance of the new Obi-Wan theme conducted by composer John Williams himself. (Though the proceedings began with a live choir rendition of his “Duel of the Fates,” the latest sign of rampant prequel nostalgia.) While there was some news about non–Star Wars projects that Lucasfilm has in the works, much of the focus of the opening Lucasfilm Studio Showcase was on the many Star Wars series that the studio is preparing for Disney+.
The massive success of The Mandalorian has helped cause a seismic shift within the studio in recent years, as the leading creative minds at Lucasfilm are turning their attention away from the big screen to build an interconnected universe of TV shows to stream. Although Harrison Ford was on hand to help tease the return of Indiana Jones to theaters for the first time in more than a decade (remember when it looked like Shia LaBeouf might be getting the keys to the franchise?), this much was made clear: The future of Star Wars is in television.
More details will likely continue to surface as Star Wars Celebration continues, but here are the biggest announcements to come out of the Thursday launch.
Six years after the premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor is getting his own Disney+ series, and it won’t be far behind Obi-Wan Kenobi. The upcoming show will begin with a two-episode series premiere on August 31 and will run for 12 episodes. (Not only does that make it the longest season of any live-action Star Wars—or, for that matter, Marvel Studios—series to date, but it was also announced that a 12-episode follow-up will begin filming in the fall.) Set five years ahead of the events of Rogue One, in which Andor and Jyn Erso led a group of rebels on a mission to steal the plans of the original Death Star (and sacrificed themselves in the process), Andor will explore Cassian’s backstory as he starts his journey toward becoming a rebel hero.
While Andor himself makes only a few brief appearances in the show’s two-minute teaser, our first look at the series paints a picture of the formative years of the rebellion against the Empire. Fearful civilians watch as stormtroopers invade their homes, while future Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma (played by the returning Genevieve O’Reilly) feels the eye of the Empire watching her every movement. Though the teaser reveals little of the plot, it provides a taste of the series’ darker tone—keeping it in line with the stylistic feel of Rogue One—and Disney describes it as a “tense, nail-biting spy thriller.” Along with Andor and Mothma, there are glimpses of Stellan Skarsgard’s original Rebel leader Luthen, as well as a character named Maarva (Fiona Shaw), who ends the ominous teaser with a message of hope for the nascent rebellion: “People are standing up. That’s what a reckoning sounds like.”
With the majority of Star Wars series centering on bounty hunters or Jedi, most of whom were featured in either the original or prequel trilogies, the relative newcomer Andor has long seemed like an odd choice as a face of the franchise compared to beloved Star Wars characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka Tano, or Boba Fett. But the first look at Andor is a promising one, and—as evidenced by Obi-Wan as well—the non-anthology filmless, nearly two-decade time period between Episode III and Episode IV offers plenty of rich narrative potential as Lucasfilm continues to tell stories in the gaps of the Skywalker Saga.
Skeleton Crew Announcement
In 2023, Jude Law is coming to a galaxy far, far away.
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the start of the four-day event, the Oscar-nominated actor, who most recently starred as the young, hot Dumbledore in the latest (lackluster) Fantastic Beasts entry, has been unveiled as the star of Skeleton Crew. The series was created and is executive-produced by director Jon Watts and writer Chris Ford, who previously worked together on Spider-Man: Homecoming, and within Lucasfilm the show has been described as a “galactic version of classic Amblin coming-of-age adventure films of the ’80s.” Details about the show’s plot have been scarce, and even Law’s role remains a mystery, but—as first reported in Vanity Fair’s recent Star Wars TV preview—the story will take place in the reconstruction era that follows the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, setting it at the same time of The Mandalorian.
Fellow executive producer Dave Filoni added that while Skeleton Crew will star kids, it’s “as much for kids as The Clone Wars.” Given how dark Filoni’s acclaimed animated series could be at times, make of that what you will.
The Mandalorian Returns and Other Lucasfilm News …
The success of Filoni and Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian is a big reason Disney and Lucasfilm have plunged the Star Wars brand deeper into the world of TV, and the story of Mando and Grogu is far from over. Picking up where the duo left off when they hijacked Boba Fett’s middling series right from under him, the third season of The Mandalorian will arrive next February instead of following the pattern of previous seasons and premiering in the fall. Book of Boba Fett intrusions notwithstanding, the series returns after a more-than-two-year hiatus and appears to be headed toward a resumption of the growing drama around Bo Katan and the Darksaber, as well as the Mandalorian throne that comes with it. In a teaser shown to those in attendance but not released online, Din Djarin references his removal of his helmet, saying, “I’m going to Mandalore so that I can be forgiven for my transgressions.”
News on the Ahsoka front is considerably lighter, with little information revealed about Rosario Dawson’s return as the Clone Wars star. Though it doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that the series entered production earlier this month, Lucasfilm did confirm that the show will join The Mandalorian on Disney+ some time next year:
And even though the ongoing event in Anaheim centers on Star Wars, Disney and Lucasfilm couldn’t resist the temptation to promote some other major projects coming down the pike. Fifteen years after the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fifth installment of the iconic franchise will premiere on June 30, 2023, and there’s already a first-look image of the upcoming James Mangold–directed film. It’s not as exciting as it may sound; it’s just Ford walking across a bridge in a dark cave, probably doing his best to avoid another on-set injury.
Also making a return is Warwick Davis, who will reprise his role as Willow Ufgood for the first time since the actor starred in Willow in 1988. The original fantasy story was created by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard, and Howard is back as an executive producer, with Jonathan Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) and Wendy Mericle (Arrow) serving as showrunners. The upcoming series had already been announced by Disney, but it now has a release date of November 30, as well as its first trailer:
Almost 20 years after the dramatic conclusion of George Lucas’s prequel trilogy in Revenge of the Sith, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen will soon reunite as Obi-Wan and Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi. It’s telling that a rematch in the rivalry that helped fuel the success of the Star Wars franchise 45 years ago will not arrive on the big screen, but on Disney+. As the growing slate of Star Wars TV shows comes into focus, the future of the franchise looks promising—though its state of saturation is at an all-time high.