BY ALEX GILSTON MAY 4, 2023
Every 4th of May we celebrate the monumental history of one of the most beloved Sci-Fi franchises of all time. Since Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012 the amount of Star Wars media has increased tenfold; arguably for better and for worse. But what can Star Wars fans look forward to in the future travelling to a Galaxy far far away?
The introduction of Disney’s exclusive streaming service, Disney+, Lucasfilm lent further into the TV side of the universe with its first live action show The Mandalorian. Since then there have been another two seasons of The Mandalorian, an Obi-Wan show - which bridged the gap for that character between the prequel and original trilogy - and Andor; the origin story of the rebel hero from Rogue One. The quality of these shows hasn’t always been major - with the exception of The Mandalorian season 1, and Andor - but fans have a lot to look forward to both on Disney+ and in the cinema.
Ahsoka - the follow up to animated series Star Wars Rebels - is first up. After her live-action debut in season 2 of The Mandalorian, Ahsoka Tano is set to lead her own show. It’ll be a continuation of the Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau “MandoVerse” but it’ll also be bringing other beloved characters from Star Wars Rebels. Mary Elizabeth Winstead will be playing ace pilot Hera Syndulla, Natasha Liu Bordizzo is Mandalorian Sabine Wren, and Lars Mikkelsen will be reprising his role as the tyrannical Grand Admiral Thrawn; who we last saw being forced into deep hyper-space by Ezra Bridger. Hayden Christensen will also be re-reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker and Darth Vader; which is sure to be emotional whether it’s flashbacks or Ahsoka confronting her former Master as a force ghost.
The MandoVerse is expanding further in autumn with new series Skeleton Crew. A lot less is known about this series but it is set in the same time as The Mandolarian and Ahsoka. It follows a group of kids trying to find their way home across the Galaxy with none other than Jude Law as their guide. At Star Wars Celebration the directors of all the episodes were announced. The show's creator Jon Watts of the Marvel Cinematic Universe fame. Bryce Dallas Howard who has proved herself to be great in the directors chair with The Mandalorian. Minari director Lee Isaac Chung, and also David Lowery who recently directed the new Peter Pan live-action film for Disney. Lucasfilm have also, amazingly, nabbed freshly Oscar adorned directing duo The Daniels.
Into 2024 we will have season 2 of Andor, which will connect the dots from season 1 up to the beginning of Rogue One. If the first season is anything to go by then these final episodes of Andor are going to be incredible. The Acolyte will also be arriving in 2024, giving fans a first live-action look into the High Republic. This takes us back 50 years before the events of The Phantom Menace, and is set at the end of The High Republic. The show will traverse the rebuilding of the Sith in the shadows which eventually leads to Palpatine taking over with the Empire all those years later. There’s an absolutely stellar line up, including Amandla Stenberg, Jodie Turner-Smith, Daren Keen, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Squid Game’s Lee Jung-jae.
The last film in the Star Wars universe was the end of the Skywalker saga, The Rise of Skywalker. Since then there have been many stories about new films in development. Taika Waititi was reported to be helming his own film, and according to Kathleen Kennedy he still is, although details of that are still firmly under wraps. Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, Game of Thrones creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, and Lost creator Damon Lindelof were all, at some point, meant to be making films but all disintegrated and development. It’s safe to say after the sequel trilogy and Solo: A Star Wars Story - both of which had their own production problems - Lucasfilm has been wary of committing anything to the big screen for fans. That is until Star Wars Celebration where three new films were announced.
First of all Dave Filoni will helm his first feature film to conclude the so-called “MandoVerse”. Assumedly some kind of Endgame level crossover where characters from The Mandalorian, Boba Fett, Skeleton Crew and Ahsoka come together to face off against a big bad (Grand Admiral Thrawn maybe?). James Mangold, who is directing Indiana Jones 5 will take on a film chronicling the discovery of the Force and the first ever jedi. Not much Star Wars media has ever gone so far back so it’ll be interesting to see the origin of the very pinnacle of the franchise.
Finally Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, an Academy award winning documentary maker, will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film which will continue on past The Rise of Skywalker. Daisy Ridley is confirmed to be returning as Rey as she starts to form a new Jedi order. Here’s hoping this offers out a second chance for the characters who were served so badly in the sequel trilogy’s final film.
Of course considering Lucasfilm’s recent history there’s no guarantee any of these films will actually get made, but it’s good to get excited all the same. All in all there’s a hell of a lot to look forward to from Lucasfilm and the Star Wars universe. Here’s hoping that the quality will be something worthy of the biggest franchise of all time.