Among the chaos of Disney’s Marvel and Pixar content announcements this week, everyone’s favourite sci-fi adventure ethos announced a whopping 10 new pieces of media coming to theatres and streaming over the coming few years. We run down all the new adventures coming from a galaxy far, far away…
We always knew that when the Walt Disney company purchased the rights to Star Wars it was going to be more than just a new trilogy of films. 7 years later, we have that trilogy, two standalone films and are currently 2 seasons into its first ever live action television series The Mandalorian. With the adventures of Mando and his crew selling more subscriptions to Disney+ than ever before, it seemed imminent that we got the heavily rumoured avalanche of new content announced to the public.
There are shows that have been expected and some unexpected announcements to come from Disney’s 4-hour presentation. The biggest of which comes in the form of Obi-Wan Kenobi, a show that has been talked about since the announcement of the initial first season of The Mandalorian.
It follows an aged Kenobi in a period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope with the role being reprised by Ewan McGregor who debuted in the role over 20 years ago. Even bigger, it also marks the return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader since his retirement in 2005. Vader came back in Rogue One and was played by Spencer Wilding and Daniel Naprous, but the return of Christensen will mark a huge event for any fan of the series.
The Mandalorian will also return for a third season, and multiple spin-off shows from that universe will go into production over the coming months. The appearance of Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian was a welcome surprise for long time fans of the Clone Wars animated series, and to further the excitement she will be getting her own self-titled series with Rosario Dawson set to reprise the role.
There’s also Rangers of the New Republic, which some speculate will follow the Pilots that help Mando escape the frost spiders in Episode 10 of The Mandalorian. This speculation is in a rather joking manner, as director Dave Filoni plays one of those pilots in the episode. However, the current synopsis conveys the show “will intersect with future stories and culminate into a climactic story event.” It seems The Mandalorian cinematic universe is forever growing to an ultimate conclusion.
The biggest scale production to date is that of Andor, a show based on the rebels set before the events of Rogue One. With Alexander Skarsgard (Legend of Tarzan) heading the cast of “over 200 people” it is sure not to go quietly into the night.
There are totally original stories in development as well. The Acolyte is described as a “mystery thriller” by producer Kathleen Kennedy set in the High Republic ear, but little more is known about the Leslye Headland (Russian Doll) helmed series. Another exciting prospect is that of Visions, a series of animated shorts created by Japanese “anime” Artists. It will inject a fresh lease of life into the animated canon and will open up the stories to more international creators and audiences alike. It’s the project that is the most exciting of those announced, as it has the potential to be the most innovative Star Wars property to date.
Sticking with animation, the previously announced The Bad Batch received a new trailer and is full steam ahead with its Clone Trooper centred storyline. There’s also A Droid Story, which focuses on our favourite troublemakers R2-D2 and C-3PO and a new companion as they embark on a new mission.
There’s even a limited series order for Lando, although it is unsure if Donald Glover will return along with Alden Erenrich as Han Solo. Although, with Atlanta making a surprise switch to Disney+ for its post-screening binging, there’s no telling what Glover could be cooking up with the people over at Lucasfilm.
Moving to the biggest of hitters, and there have been two feature films announced to premiere in 2023 and ‘24 respectively. The first is Rogue Squadron, which is the name given to the pilots Luke Skywalker flew with in the first two Star Wars films. Directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins, Kennedy said that the film will focus on “a new generation of fighter pilot’s as they earn their wings as they risk their lives in a future era of the galaxy”. It leads to speculation as to how long ago we’ll be exploring this familiar part of the galaxy, as “future era” suggests an all new setting and legendary tale to tell.
The second feature announced had less information to go along with it, but the most exciting thing we learned was that it is set to be written and directed by Taika Waititi. Currently working hard on the production of Thor: Love and Thunder here in Sydney, Waititi helmed the season finale of The Mandalorian and voiced the droid IG-88 in multiple episodes. Kennedy described it as “fresh, unexpected and unique,” as all things Waititi seem to go. There’s no telling where it could go, but expect something great from one of Hollywood’s busiest filmmakers.
While all this content is exciting, one can’t help but wonder where the limit is for Disney and Lucasfilm at this point in time. There’s a certain respect that fans demand from the creators, and it seems as though Disney is trying to honour that as best they can. But can they do that too much? It seems with the reception of the newly dubbed “Sequel” trilogy that it is hard to please Star Wars fans no matter which way you try to go.
J.J Abrams’ films played it too safe, and Rian Johnson went too far in the other direction. You could put this new content dump down to a source of trial and error, as Disney has the money to throw at these productions. But at what point are we making things for the art, or just “milking the goose” to put it bluntly. It’s a question that can only be answered in time, and the results of this new slate of content will tell the tale that we have all been crying for decades; “Make new and original stories throughout the Star Wars universe!” I guess we’ll have to leave that one up to Waititi.
To discover everything Disney announced this week, follow the link here.
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