2020 hasn’t been the best year for anyone, especially the entertainment industry. As theater chains face an uncertain future, 2021 could look a little different. Last Friday proved just that as Disney’s Investors meeting introduced a gigantic slate of content coming to theaters and Disney+.
After Marvel’s upcoming slate was placed to whet the appetite of the virtual audiences, the Star Wars galaxy was next. After the disappointment of Solo a few years ago, it looks as though Disney is diving back into that vast world in a galaxy far, far away.
Rangers of the New Republic
Stemming from The Mandalorian, Disney is developing two live action Disney+ spinoff series. One is entitled the Rangers of the New Republic. Not a lot was revealed about this series but one has to guess that it could involve Gina Carano’s character, former Rebel-shock trooper-turned mercenary Cara Dune. Not much is known about the New Republic on screen so this will be a fun watch.
Fan favorite character, Ahsoka Tano, made her live-action debut during this season of The Mandalorian. Known for her time in the animated shows, Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels, her live-action appearance was wildly anticipated and actress Rosario Dawson received praise for her representation of the Jedi knight. Rosario Dawson will return in her own series in the same time period of The Mandalorian. Both Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic will culminate with its parent show in a “cinematic story event.” Looks like Disney is taking the Marvel route for its Star Wars content. Here’s to hoping it will be as epic as it sounds.
Coming sooner, Rogue One spin-off series, Andor, stars Diego Luna returning as Cassian Andor in a spy thriller series that’s written by Tony Gilroy. Theater actors such as Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, and Kyle Soller round out the cast as well as Genevieve O’Reilly returning as Rebel Leader Mon Mothma. I loved Cassian Andor as a character in Rogue One and can’t wait to see these earlier adventures of the Rebel warrior.
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Disney found a way to coax Ewan McGregor to return to the role of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for a Disney+ event series. Set eight to ten years after the events of Revenge of the Sith, this series is exploring Kenobi’s exile on Tatooine. What really captured everyone’s attention was that Disney has somehow gotten Hayden Christensen reprising his role as Darth Vader in the show as well. Kathleen Kennedy called this “the rematch of the century”. How they will pull this off is going to be interesting.
The Bad Batch
Disney and Lucasfilm gave a preview of its animated series, The Bad Batch. Set after the events of The Clone Wars, the series follows a troop of clones making their way through the galaxy as mercenaries in the early days of the Galactic Empire.
Other series were announced such as a Disney+ droid series called A Droid Story, a series of Star Wars shorts created by anime creators called Visions. Star Wars got Dear White People’s Justin Simien to into making a Lando spin-off series, although no mention of which Lando we’ll be getting (Donald Glover, are you coming back?). Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland will oversee Star Wars series The Acolyte, a “mystery thriller” about the emerging dark side set during the “High Republic era” of the Star Wars universe (which means we’re getting a Coruscant show!).
Along with Taika Waititi’s own take on Star Wars being announced, there was only one confirmed feature film in the Star Wars announced to be in the works as Wonder Woman director, Patty Jenkins, is directing her own feature, Rogue Squadron, which will be an original story about Rebel fighter pilots as they try to earn their wings.
Star Wars also seems to be looking to the future which seems to be in streaming TV series. Based on the success of The Mandalorian, it’s not hard to see why. I personally think that it is a great place to put the future of this beloved franchise. Not everything Star Wars related needs to be a direct movie for audiences to absorb as we are introduced to new characters and old favorites in that galaxy that George Lucas created the still enraptures the imagination of generations.
What are your thoughts about the upcoming slate of Star Wars content? Are you happy to see that some previously scheduled feature films will be converted into smaller event series?
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