By Julie Catherine
It looks like Christmas has come early for Star Wars fans as a slew of new projects were announced on Disney Investor Day. Here’s a breakdown of all the announcements and updates:
Kathleen Kennedy revealed that Petty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman and the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, is on board to helm Star Wars: Rogue Squadrons, the next theatrical release in a galaxy far, far away. The film is described as a story that “will introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy”.
Jenkins spoke of her excitement at the news, stating that “It’s been a lifelong dream as a filmmaker to one day make a great fighter pilot film. As the daughter of a great fighter pilot myself, some of the best memories of my life are of seeing my father’s squadron take off in their F4s every morning, and hearing and feeling the awe-inspiring power and grace. When he passed away in service to this country it ignited a burning desire to one day channel all of those emotions into one great film. When the perfect story arrived in combination with another true love of mine, the incomparable world of Star Wars, I knew I’d finally found my next film. I’m extremely honored and excited to take it on, and grateful to Lucasfilm, Disney, and the fans for extending that thrill to me.”
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had this to say: “Patty has established herself as one of the top directors working in the film industry today. She’s a visionary who knows how to strike the balance between action and heart, and I can’t wait to see what she does in the Star Wars galaxy.”
Rogue Squadron will fly into theaters December 2023.
Untitled Taika Waititi film
Announced earlier this year, Kennedy confirmed that Academy-Award winner Taika Waititi is still in active development. Kennedy described the film as “fresh, unexpected, and…unique,” and describes Waititi as “enormous talent [with an] sense of humor will ensure that audiences are in for an unforgettable ride.”
Officially titled Andor, the Diego Luna led show has begun filming in England and is described as a “tense nail-biting spy thriller”. Alongside Luna, other cast members include Stellan Skarsgard, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Kyle Soller, and Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma. Rogue One scribe Tony Gilroy returns to the franchise as showrunner.
A sizzle reel was released for Andor, highlighting new concept art and interviews with the cast and crew.
Andor will premiere on Disney+ in 2022.
The Ewan McGregor led show, set 10 years after Revenge of the Sith and directed by Deborah Chow, added another major cast member: Anakin Skywalker/ Darth Vader himself, Hayden Christensen. Christensen returns to the role of Vader for the first time since 2005, and will face off once more against McGregor’s Kenobi in what Kennedy described as “the rematch of the century”.
Christensen revealed his excitement at reprising his role, stating: “It was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker. Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan weren’t on the greatest of terms when we last saw them. It will be interesting to see what an amazing director like Deborah Chow has in store for us all. I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.”
Obi-Wan Kenobi doesn’t yet have a release date, but is scheduled to start filming next month.
After making her live action debut in The Mandalorian: Chapter 12 – The Jedi, Ahsoka Tano will finally get center stage in her own series for Disney+. Developed by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni and written by Filoni, the show will star Rosario Dawson in the title role.
Speculation is rampant that this series will continue the story of Star Wars Rebels, and answer the question of what happened to Ezra Bridger after the events of the show.
Rangers of the New Republic
Set during The Mandalorian, Rangers of the New Republic is a new live action spin-off series that will intersect with Mando and “culminate into a climactic story event”.
A live-action series centered around Lando Calrissian was also revealed to be in development from Justin Simien, creator of Dear White People and a massive Star Wars fan. It is currently unclear if Billy Dee Williams or Donald Glover, or both, will reprise their role as Lando.
No release date has been set.
From the mind of Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland comes The Acolyte, a female centric mystery thriller series that will center on “a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era”.
The Bad Batch
First introduced in the seventh season of The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch is a group of experimental and enhanced clones that will explore a changed galaxy in their own animated series set after the events of Revenge of the Sith. A sizzle reel of the series was released today.
The Bad Batch is yet to be given a release date, but it is speculated that the series will arrive in 2021.
Other shows announced at Investor Day include Star Wars: Visions, a series of anime short films, and A Droid Story, in which a new droid is accompanied by C-3PO and R2-D2.
Images courses of Lucasfilm & Disney