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Star Wars Expands the Galaxy With Disney+ Slate

| Dec 11, 2020
Star Wars Expands the Galaxy With Disney+ Slate
Riding high on the success of The Mandalorian, Disney and Lucasfilm announced a packed slate of upcoming Star Wars projects for Disney+ and the silver screen.

During Disney’s Investor Day presentation, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy pulled back the curtain on a long list of new series. The studio has been relatively quiet over the past year—intentionally, not just because of the pandemic—but has not been resting on its laurels, as years of content are in development, taking the Star Wars franchise a little further from the Skywalkers.

Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi, filming next year.
Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader in Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, filming next year. (Deadline)

Kennedy revealed that the long-awaited Obi-Wan series, starring Ewan McGregor, will film early next year for a likely release in 2022. The limited series is set ten years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and will feature the return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. Whether this will be solely in the form of flashbacks or dreams, or if teacher and student will cross paths again, remains to be seen. Deborah Chow, who directed two monumental episodes of The Mandalorian last season, is the showrunner.

The other previously known live-action show, a spin-off from Rogue One starring Diego Luna as Rebel spy Cassian Andor, has officially been named Andor. Production began two weeks ago and appears to be using a traditional approach, more akin to the Star Wars movies than the unique Stagecraft technology employed on The Mandalorian and Kenobi. Luna, who is also executive producer, calls it “the building of a revolution.”

Also previously announced is the animated Clone Wars spin-off The Bad Batch. As introduced in a “backdoor pilot” during its predecessor’s final season earlier this year, the new cartoon will focus on a unique troop of Clone soldiers as the Galactic Empire rises.

In films, Kennedy reconfirmed that Taika Waititi is currently writing the script for his upcoming (but undated) Star Wars film. Like Chow, Waititi won fans over with his directing and acting on The Mandalorian season one, and Kennedy reassured that his signature wit and style will be intact. Before it hits theatres, audiences will see Rogue Squadron from Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, expected to hit theares in December 2023. Jenkins posted a video on her social media, citing her father’s service as a fighter pilot as inspiration for the X-Wing pilot-centric project.

In terms of new projects, Kennedy announced four live-action Star Wars series. Lando will focus on the lovable scoundrel—though neither Billy Dee Williams or Donald Glover was mentioned, making its casting and time frame uncertain. The Mandalorian will see two pseudo spin-offs set around the same time period: Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic, both currently in development. Little is known about the latter, but Rosario Dawson is attached to star as Ahsoka Tano, former padawan of Anakin Skywalker. Dawson brought the character to live action earlier this month in The Mandalorian‘s second season.

The final new series is called The Acolyte. Created by Leslye Headland, it will be “a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.” The High Republic is a new multimedia storyline beginning in January with a series of books and young adult novels, and this series may serve as a conclusion to that timeline. It will also be the earliest tale set in this galaxy to date, taking place long before Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

Rounding out the Star Wars Disney+ slate are Visions, an Animatrix-style anthology of short films from “the world’s best Japanese anime creators,” and A Droid Story, a “adventure film” introducing “a new hero guided by R2-D2 and C-3PO.” The latter is a collaboration between Lucasfilm Animation and Industrial Light & Magic.

Between all of these announcements, Lucasfilm promises to keep Star Wars fans very well entertained. Combined with the rest of the Disney and Marvel projects from Investor’s Day, Disney+ appears to have kicked their original programming into high gear.

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