By George Bate and Julie Catherine
The main event of D23 Expo 2022 finally arrived Saturday, and with it come new trailers, announcements, and more from some of the biggest and most anticipated upcoming titles from Disney. Fans from around the world gathered for the event to celebrate Star Wars, Marvel, Avatar, Willow, Indiana Jones, and more.
Originally scheduled to be a two hour panel, the event ended up clocking in at just short of 180 minutes, and Disney put every second to use to show off their upcoming movies and shows. Here’s all the highlights from the Star Wars portion of the Lucasfilm showcase.
Kathleen Kennedy kicked off Lucasfilm’s presentation by welcoming the cast of Andor onto the stage. There’s so many exciting projects on the horizon in a galaxy far, far away, but Andor will arrive the soonest with its three-episode debut on Disney+ schedule for September 21.
The show stars Diego Luna as the Rebel hero he first played in Rogue One, but Luna was once again quick to state how different his character is here compared to the spin-off movie. On his character’s dramatic change, Luna said:
“You won’t believe Cassian is capable of what he does in Rogue One.”
Luna was joined on stage by his co-stars Adria Arjona, who plays an on-and-off again love interest Bix, Kyle Soller, who plays the villainous Syril, and Genevieve O’Reilly, who returns to the fold as Mon Mothma.
Luna does not only star in the new series – he is also an executive producer, meaning the actor played a significant role behind and in front of the camera.
More broadly, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy went on to describe Andor.
“There’s two seasons of 12 episodes. At its heart, it’s really a 24 episode spy thriller.”
Going off of that, Luna reiterated the cinematic feel of the series.
“This is a 12 episode film. It’s a gigantic film.”
The final trailer for Andor was shown to attendees and released online shortly after. Check it out here:
THE BAD BATCH
After the cast and crew of Andor exited the stage, on came Dave Filoni, first discussing animation. Filoni famously began his career at Lucasfilm by working in animation for over a decade before largely to live action. The Pittsburgh native played a huge role creatively for The Clone Wars, the fan favorite series set in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and has since overseen the creation of spin-off series like The Bad Batch and the upcoming Tales of the Jedi.
As fans will remember, The Clone Wars was cancelled in 2012 but revived on Disney+ in 2020. As this is a Disney -centric event, Filoni began by crediting the parent company’s streaming service.
“I got to finish The Clone Wars thanks to Disney+.”
The Bad Batch centers on a group of unique clones that were first introduced in season 7 of that show, and Filoni was on stage to reveal that the series will debut on the streamer on January 4, 2023. The release date of The Bad Batch had become a topic of conversation among fans in recent days, with release dates in September and October spotted on company websites before being quickly taken down. Fans now know just how long they have to wait until season two.
No new footage of The Bad Batch was shown.
TALES OF THE JEDI
Filoni and Kennedy then went on to discuss Tales of the Jedi, with the former calling it an origin story of both Ahsoka Tano and Count Dooku. Some of the Ahsoka-centered episodes were shown to fans at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim in May of this year. A reaction to that footage can be found here.
All 6 episodes of Tales of the Jedi are streaming on October 26, 2022, and an official trailer was released as well.
The footage for Tales of the Jedi primarily showcases Ahsoka and Dooku, but there are also quick glimpses of Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Anakin, Mace, a mysterious dark side user, and even Yaddle.
Staying on the stage, Filoni went on to discuss what he’s currently working on on the live-action side of Star Wars. Filoni has had such a presence in the writers’ rooms of both The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, and looks set to take center stage with Ahsoka, a new series focusing on the character he created with George Lucas that premieres next year.
Filoni described his work on Ahsoka as a character and the show more broadly.
“The character has found new legs with the work we’re doing…Right now I was working on Ahsoka…I was actually shooting yesterday.”
New in-production images from the series showing Rosario Dawson in the title role were also released.
The next series highlighted was the upcoming Skeleton Crew, which will connect with The Mandalorian era of shows. As announced at Celebration in May, Jude Law will star in the series and Jon Watts, who helmed the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man trilogy, serves as writer and director. Watts was joined on stage by co-creator and writer Chris Ford.
The series was described by its creators as relatively low level and relatable, particularly to children.
“Skeleton Crew is a show about a group of kids who get lost in the Star Wars galaxy…it is set in the New Republic.”
Skeleton Crew is set during the same time period as The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and The Book of Boba Fett, and Jude Law recently hinted at the possibility of some surprise appearances in the show.
The first look at Jude Law from the series was also released. The image shows a smiling Law facing off against some gatekeeper droids that were first seen guarding Jabba’s palace in Return of the Jedi.
No footage of Skeleton Crew was shown, but Watts and Favreau confirming the series is currently in production.
Of note, Kennedy concluded this portion of the presentation by calling Skeleton Crew “phenomenal.”
The center of the Star Wars galaxy at present is arguably the journey of Din Djarin and Grogu in The Mandalorian, a show that fans were hoping to hear (and see) more from as season three is scheduled to release next year. Luckily, Lucasfilm did not disappoint.
Director and writer Rick Famuyiwa was welcomed on stage for the panel. Famuyiwa has directed three episodes of The Mandalorian so far, but now takes on the role of executive producer alongside Favreau and Filoni.
Famuyiwa praised George Lucas and said he went to film school because of Lucas. The executive producer also discussed his love for the franchise and the impact it has had on his life.
“This has been a dream of mine since I saw the first film, A New Hope, which was the first movie I saw in the movie theater.”
The cast of the series came on stage shortly afterwards, including Pedro Pascal, Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sackhoff, Emily Swallow, and Amy Sedaris.
Sedaris generated the biggest laughs of the panel as she sarcastically spoke about her obliviousness of everything Star Wars. Sedaris will return as Peli Motto in Season 3 after most recently appearing in The Book of Boba Fett.
Emily Swallow, who was interviewed by The HoloFiles regarding earlier seasons of The Mandalorian, will return as The Armorer in Season 3.
One of the most wholesome moments of the presentation occurred when star Pedro Pascal ran across the stage to hug creator Jon Favreau.
Meme king himself Giancarlo Esposito was also on stage and gave an incredibly passionate speech about the Star Wars franchise and how much the fans mean to him.
“I left off in this place of terror…a place of vulnerability…Wondering what is going to happen to me?”
Finally, The Mandalorian Season 3 teaser trailer was officially released. This was the same footage shown exclusively to fans attending the Mando+ panel at Star Wars Celebration.
Check out the new trailer here: