Update 12/18: Along with the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm have announced yet another spin-off series. The Book of Boba Fett is slated for December 2021. The show will follow Temuera Morrison as the title character and Ming Na-Wen as Fennec Shand, his bounty hunter companion, following the immediate events of The Mandalorian season 2. The focus seems to be on Fett retaking the criminal underworld. This entirely new show has been added to the roundup far below.
Original article: Not long ago, it was announced that more Star Wars films were in development, including a project from Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit director Taika Waititi. But it was said those would not be seen for a couple more years, that Lucasfilm’s theatrical projects would take a backseat after The Rise of Skywalker, but more importantly, to their new ventures on Disney+. With The Mandalorian becoming ridiculously popular on the streamer (and with Season 2 about to wrap up), fans have long assumed that this will be the next pivotal home for the franchise in the incoming years. During the Lucasfilm presentation at Disney’s 2020 Investor Day, studio president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that very notion with a whole lively new slate of projects.
Live-Action Star Wars Shows
Joining the already announced Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cassian Andor spin-offs will be 7 more Star Wars programs exclusively streaming on Disney+. These are comprised of both live-action and animated shows. Star Wars ‘gurus’ Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are set to develop two new projects that directly stem from The Mandalorian. The first is Rangers of the New Republic, a series that is presumably about well… its title. The second, Ahsoka, follows Rosario Dawson’s interpretation of the fan-favorite Ahsoka Tano in a quest that fans can safely assume continues the threads of Star Wars Rebels (i.e. the search for Ezra Bridger and Grand Admiral Thrawn). Both shows are confirmed to take place in the same time period as The Mandalorian and considering what has been revealed in Season 2, it’s fair to also assume that Rangers of the New Republic will feature Gina Carano’s former Rebel Shocktrooper, Cara Dune, to some extent.
Production on Andor began just mere weeks ago and one of the greater surprises of the Lucasfilm presentation: the first concrete sizzle real was unveiled. The second Star Wars series lead by a Latin star, Diego Luna couldn’t be more excited to reprise the role of the Rebel spy, and his energy from the sizzle is quite contagious. Andor will be released sometime in 2022, no specific release date has been set.
Alongside those shows, Kennedy announced another that came to no surprise from fans. A new Lando Calrissian series, simply titled Lando, is in the works. The project is in early development with Dear White People and Bad Hair director Justin Simien attached. Nothing was announced in regards to casting. Billy Dee Williams and Donald Glover both have respectively played Lando, though it’s more likely that Glover will reprise his take as young Lando here. But who knows, after dawning the costume again last year, Williams might be up for another jab and another reprisal shouldn’t be completely out of the question just yet.
Next up, The Acolyte will be a mystery/thriller following how the dark side emerged during the end of the High Republic era. The High Republic is a new line of Star Wars content that follows the Jedi Order 50 years before the events of The Phantom Menace. This announcement has got Star Wars fans buzzing for it truly is Lucasfilm’s first live-action project far disconnected from the Skywalker Saga. With the High Republic era set to debut in comics and novels next year, there is no telling of what unprecedented greatness can unfold on a big screen. To cap off the hype, The Acolyte is being developed by Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland who has previously described the series as martial arts focused with a female lead. The first of these series to be developed by a female creative (as far as what’s been revealed).
Even though already announced, Obi-Wan Kenobi was treated with an official logo during the presentation… along with the force-shattering announcement that Anakin Skywalker himself, Hayden Christensen, will return as Darth Vader. He joins Ewan McGregor once more as the two reunite for the first time since Revenge of the Sith. Set 10 years after their last encounter, Kennedy has hyped it as “the rematch of the century.” In a preview that was only available to investors during the event, McGregor said that the most beautiful thing about the project is “that it’s brought me back together with Hayden.” McGregor goes on to confirm that the two will have another “swing at each other”, and that the story will only begin on Tattoine before going on a “rollicking adventure.” Coming off The Mandalorian, series director Deborah Chow also gave her basis for the story: “Just being a Jedi, it’s not safe.” Just how this all fits into the canon, without contradicting Vader and Obi-Wan’s duel in A New Hope, is the biggest mystery. What is crystal clear though: Prequel fans have possibly been never more emotional than now. Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to start production next year and release in 2022.
Star Wars Animation
Lucasfilm has Star Wars: Visions coming in 2021, a series of anime short films from legendary Japanese creators. Kennedy promised 10 “fantastic visions” in total, but no more exact details were given other than the series is meant to be a celebration of the franchise as a whole. Next up another surprise, Lucasfilm Animation is teaming up with Industrial Light & Magic for A Droid Story. This collaboration will prove to be special on all fronts, for none other than R2-D2 and C-3PO will star. Though this time they are guiding a mysterious new hero. No other specifics were given, but this might be geared more for a family audience. Or at least it feels this way when paired with the rest of the slate. Nothing wrong with that, a new droid adventure for the kids is welcomed.
The biggest surprise from animation, the first trailer for Star Wars: The Bad Batch was released. Developed by Dave Filoni, the series follows, “The elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War.” Introduced in the last and final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Bad Batch were met with immediate love. Now with the revived Clone Trooper ‘Echo’ on their team, it seems like the squad is going to dance on the fine line between the Empire and the Rebellion. Many were originally skeptical of this project, but the first trailer will win them over with its stunning visuals and callbacks. Many fans will also notice an animated cameo from Ming-Na Wen’s Mandalorian character, Fennec Shand!
Live-Action Star Wars Films
Moving away from Disney+, Kennedy announced the next Star Wars film that’s going to hit theaters, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron from none other than Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins. Endeavoring to make “the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time”, Jenkins made her own personal announcement in a video that saw her suiting up as an X-wing pilot, walking towards her very-own X-wing starfighter. Most recognize the Rogue Squadron name from famous comic-books and video games. An elite group of starfighters, they are lead by Luke Skywalker between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. After being brought back into the canon, their name was given a new meaning for Luke titled the group in remembrance of the ‘Rogue One’ team who stole the original Death Star plans. Though it doesn’t seem like Jenkins’ film will follow this path.
In a recent interview, Jenkins confirmed that Rogue Squadron will be an original story. “We’re doing something original with great influence from the games and the books”, she said. She continued by giving some assurance, “There’s a lot of things being acknowledged and understood about the greatness of all of those things, but yes, it’s an original story and I’m so psyched to do it.” The film will be the next time fans congregate in a theater on December 22, 2023. The only other Star Wars film that was talked about was the previously revealed project with Taika Waititi. Kennedy said the secretive film would be “fresh, unexpected, and unique.” An unexpected take from Waititi is guaranteed at the least.
What wasn’t mentioned at all is the trilogy Rian Johnson is supposedly working on. The new series from The Last Jedi director was officially announced in 2017. No details were given other than Johnson was set to write and direct the first entry, with the plot being set in an unexplored corner of the franchise with completely new characters. Seeing as this was announced and teased 3 years ago, with no current update, many are now left in disarray. But who knows, Johnson himself assured fans that it was still happening last year – this is either not ready yet or is secretly scrapped.
More Lucasfilm Projects
On top of everything relating to Star Wars, Lucasfilm gave updates on 3 other exciting projects. The first 2 are continuations of previous iconic stories while the last one marks new territory for the studio. First, after many delays and rewrites, the 5th entry in the Indiana Jones franchise is set to start shooting this coming Spring with a release set for July 2022. Logan and Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold is confirmed to take over directing duties from Steven Spielberg, who will stay on as an executive producer. Kennedy also assured that this is the final entry in the series, and it would be fair to assume that this sequel could be one of, if not, Harrison Ford’s last leading role. Ford is going to be about 80 years old when this releases in theaters.
Next up is Willow, a sequel series to the original 1998 film of the same name. Director Ron Howard has previously expressed much interest in bringing back his baby, but instead, he will be serving as an executive producer (as far as that’s been revealed). Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu is confirmed to direct the pilot episode, with Warwick Davis of course returning as the title sorcerer. Joining him will be Ellie Bamber (Nocturnal Animals), Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy), and Erin Kellyman (Solo: A Star Wars Story). The world of Willow will return in 2022 on Disney+.
Finally, Lucasfilm is moving forward with their film adaptation of Tomi Adeyemi’s bestselling novel, Children of Blood and Bone. Unlike everything else aforementioned, this project is in partnership with 20th Century Studios. This West-African YA story is only the first part of a trilogy, with the sequel Children of Virtue and Vengeance already released and the third expected next year. The story follows a young heroine who embarks on a quest to restore magic to her kingdom and forsaken people. Rick Famuyiwa was previously attached to direct pre-Disney’s acquisition of Fox. The script was also adapted by David Magee (Life of Pi). Kennedy gave no other details, but considering how Famuyiwa has a strong relationship with Lucasfilm as a standout director on The Mandalorian, and how Magee also wrote the upcoming live-action adaption of The Little Mermaid, it wouldn’t be shocking if they are still attached. Why Kennedy didn’t announce Famuyiwa during the presentation is odd though. Perhaps as no release date was also given, it may be a bit too early to hype this one.
So this what the current state of Lucasfilm looks like:
- The Book of Boba Fett (2021)
- Andor (2022)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022)
- Rangers of the New Republic (TBA)
- Ahsoka (TBA)
- Lando (TBA)
- The Acolyte (TBA)
- Star Wars: The Bad Batch (TBA, 2021 likely)
- Star Wars: Visions (2021)
- A Droid Story (TBA)
- Willow (2022)
- Indiana Jones 5 (2022)
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (2023)
- Untitled Taika Waititi Film (TBA)
- Children of Blood and Bone (TBA)