Everything We Learned at Star Wars Celebration: Ahsoka, Andor, and Rey's New Jedi Order

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, Jon Favreau, and Dave Filoni presented details on highly anticipated shows and a new series of films based on a revived Jedi Order led by Daisy Ridley's Rey.

by | April 10, 2023 | Comments


From the distant reaches of Star Wars’ past to its unexplored future, day one at Star Wars Celebration Europe opened with a Lucasfilm live-action panel full of surprises, updates, and a most surprising return. And, after years of dormancy, the new course for Star Wars on the big screen looks brighter than ever. Let’s take a look at what we learned from the event about upcoming Star Wars movies and series.

Monday: Star Wars: The Bad Batch Sets a Third and Final Season While Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 Trailer Teases Global Animation


(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

While Sunday at Star Wars Celebration focused on other aspects of the galaxy’s offerings — including an upcoming update to Disney Parks’ Star Tours ride at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Walt Disney Studios Paris — Monday featured a look at the animated side of Star Wars.

It all began with the news that Star Wars: The Bad Batch will return for a third and final season in 2024. The announcement was bittersweet to all in attendance, but also a relief as season 2 ended on an expectantly down note. Supervising Brad Rau and head writer Jennifer Corbett explained their choice to end this year’s adventures with a more serious and lethal consequences for one of the title characters.

Spoiler Alert: Details about The Bad Batch‘s second season finale follow. Jump to the next section if you wish to avoid spoilers.

“These clones are our family and so many conversations went into this episode from early on,” Corbett said, adding that thought the choice was made some time ago, it still strikes an emotional cord — particularly as the presentation opened with a reel of highlights from season 2, including Tech’s (Dee Bradley Baker, who voices all of the adult clones) tough choice in the season 2 finale.

“It was difficult to write it as well,” she continued. “A lot of this show is seen through the eyes of Omega [Michelle Ang]. But this is also Hunter’s [Baker] worst nightmare. The mission was worth it to them, but for Omega to watch Echo leave, lose their home in the Marauder, and then something definite like losing her brother [was a lot].”

Rau added, “The stakes of this mission were a big deal. If Crosshair needed help — and he didn’t ask for it — they had to try. And that meant crossing into the realm of the Empire they’ve been trying to avoid [and] go to the base of Grand Moff Tarkin [Stephen Stanton]. There had to be some kind of consequence. When we realized it, we were emotional because there was a price to pay.”

According to Corbett, the writing team even tried to talk one another out of the sacrifice, but “it didn’t feel genuine to have a happy ever after.” Additionally, the circumstances that led to Tech’s choice continued the ongoing theme of the Empire’s regard for its rank-and-file troops. “[The Bad Batch] would’ve gotten away had Tarkin not been willing to sacrifice the stormtroopers.”

ech in a scene from "STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH", season 2

(Photo by ©2023 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.)

“Tech also realized either he dies or they all die,” she said.

While fans continue to hope that Tech lives — a possibility that is not completely out of the question — the tone of the producers, Baker, and Ang was nonetheless elegiac.

“It’s difficult for me to say goodbye to any of the clones, but [also] one that has such an established story and one I relate to more than any of the other clones,” Baker said. “I try to console myself with the thought that his sacrifice was intentional and it was what any of the clones would want for their final moments in terms of service … he did his job and he was satisfied with that. And that’s a good thing. I’ll never forget the guy.”

Ang noted that she’s lived with Tech’s apparent demise for a while even if fans only learned about it a couple of weeks back. Nevertheless, the shock still resonates for her. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think we were going to lose someone from Batch,” she said. “The journey Omega and Tech went on was really complete. He got to become the big brother and out of all the team, he got to impart his technical knowledge [to her]. She really absorbed it. But to read the script, the sense that it was happening was really emotional.”

The finale also saw Omega captured by Dr. Hemlock (Jimmi Simpson) and delivered to Mount Tantiss, the secret location of Emperor Sheev Palpatine’s (Ian McDiarmid) ongoing cloning research. Indeed, during an “in production” teaser for the final season screened at the presentation, the Emperor could be seen congratulating Hemlock on his continuing research.

According to the early preview, the remaining Batch members — Hunter, Wrecker, and Echo — will continue their search for Tantiss and Omega, face big monsters in craters, encounter a batch of young clones, while the final season will see a return appearance by Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). For her part, Omega will also do some investigating of her own and, potentially, plot a prison break for the other clones, including prodigal Batch member Crosshair (also Baker), whether he likes it or not.

Star Wars: The Bad Batch returns for one last ride in 2024.

Star Wars: Visions Volume 2 Launches May 4

Returning, appropriately enough, on May the Fourth 2023, Star Wars Visions Volume 2 represents an expansion of the anthology program’s original plan to highlight Japanese animation studios and approaches through the lens of Star Wars. This time, animation studios and filmmakers from around the globe get a chance to bring their spin to the galaxy far, far away.

“It was a huge breath of fresh air to see new characters [and] new settings that we haven’t seen before,” executive producer Josh Rimes said of the first volume. “It was great to see the two fandoms come together: Star Wars and anime.”

“We always crafted Visions from something to be a much larger canvass. What we started seeing with Volume 1 was that each creator was telling a specific take [on Star Wars] that could only come from growing up in Japan,” Rimes’ fellow EP, James Waugh, explained. “It was nuanced and different and we thought, ‘what else could emerge from around the globe?'”

In an attempt to cover as much of the world as possible, the Lucasfilm team — which also includes executive producer Jacqui Lopez — brought together nine studios from across the planet to bring their talents to things like lightsaber duels, racing, and the fundamentals of Star Wars. The studios involved include Aardman (Wallace and Gromit), Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells), and more.

“We have been fans of all of these studios for so long,” Lopez said.  I think it’s a good mix.”

“There are so many different styles,” Rimes added. “Beautiful hand-drawn animation, stop-motion, 3D animation with 2D flourishes.” The diversity and quality of the finished products can be seen in the trailer released during the presentation.

Star Wars: Visions 2 trailer screencap

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Beyond the glimpses seen in the video, the various directors of the short films took to the stage to tease some details of their Star Wars stories.

“Sith” from El Guiri and director Rodrigo Blaas, is something he considers a simple premise: “What if we could use the Force not only fight, but also to make art?” Enter Lola, a Sith apprentice who abandons her master in pursuit of this Force-accomplished art. Her former master, though, is not done with her.

“We want this to be respectful to the mythology, but we want to be bold in our choices,” Blaas said. “Two things were important to us: film language and color. We talked about using the palette of orange to red to yellow to impart hope.” The director also said he wrote the story as an opportunity to showcase “the power of animation” and fulfill the fan-wishes of his own younger self.

“I had this bucket list of designs since I was ten,” he explained. “If I could have this chance, could I design my own lightsaber? Design a sword fight? A speeder bike? Our own version of a X-Wing? We packed it all into 14 minutes.”

Paul Young, director of Cartoon Saloon’s entry — “Screecher’s Reach” — sought to highlight the studio’s distinctive style and wedded it with Star Wars tropes. The result is something he called “a bit of an Irish ghost story with a Star Wars twist.”

Some of the Irish details can be seen in a key location based on the Kerry Mountains near Skellig Michael — the real life location of Star Wars: The Last Jedi‘’s planet Ach-To.

“Ireland is rich in mythology,” Young said. “But to mine into the Star Wars mythology was really appealing.”

The short is also a “Star Wars film with Irish accents, except for one famous American person.” While he could not reveal the identity of the American actor, he was able to confirm Wolfwalker‘s Eva Whittaker lends her voice to the film.

Gabriel Osorio, director of Punk Robot’s “In the Stars,” used the history of his native Chile as inspiration for his tale of “two sisters who lost everything because of an Imperial invasion.”

“It comes from a real story. During the early 1900s, in what is now known as Patagonia, a large portion of the indigenous population were killed by colonists. This is recent history for us, but it is not a well-known story among Chilleans,” he explained. “It was an opportunity to tell a story about resilience and resistance. The Star Wars universe is the perfect place to tell these stories.”

The short also features an innovative use of computer animation and traditional methods, like model making, to give the story a very unique look. To reflect on “the mood of Patagonia,” Osorio and his team created “real backgrounds and 3D-scanned them. It gave us a result that mixes the imperfections of hand-made [things] and nature.”

Screened during the presentation, Aardman’s “I Am Your Mother” comes from director Magdalena Osinska, who wanted to create a tale about a “mother-daughter relationship and motherhood in general, but with a more positive spin [than some Star Wars father-son stories].”

It centers on two Twi’leks, a daughter in the flight academy embarrassed by her mother, a tinkerer of sorts whose ship is criticized by a rival as a latrine. Circumstances force the Twi’leks into an annual race hosted by familiar Star Wars character Wedge Antilles (Denis Lawson).

“I wanted [the main characters] to be aliens because that’s how I felt being from Poland and living in the UK,” Osinska explained.

Being an Aardman production, the film is realized using stop-motion animation, a style the studio keeps alive, but also featured in the earlier history of Star Wars. The holographic dejarik game pieces aboard the Millennium Falcon and certain shots of The Empire Strikes Back tauntauns were realized using the intricate and time-consuming technique.

“And after so many years, we are doing a stop-motion film with Star Wars. It’s like the perfect marriage,” Osinska said.

Click here to open full poster in a new tab. 

Studio Mir’s “Journey to the Dark Head,” from director Park Hyeong Geun, goes for a more historical approach as it features “the first prehistoric war between the Jedi and the Sith.” As he explained via an interpreter, “I wanted to talk about characters who were not recorded or really known.” The pre-history nature of the short means it get to drill down to an essential Star Wars idea, the conflict between good and evil with the main character at a crossroads between the two extremes.

“And you can’t miss out on lightsaber action, right?” he continued. “We’ve prepared a really cool lightsaber action.”

Joking that “Dark Head” used up all the lightsaber fights available to the project, “The Spy Dancer” director Julian Chheng — and animation studio La Cachette — focused on a different sort of action with its main character, a dancer who entertains Stormtroopers on world occupied by the Empire while gathering intel for the planet’s emerging resistance.

“We wanted to pay tribute to the dancers who make the Star Wars world so vivid,” he said. “And World War II era France with dancers like Mata Hari and Josephine Baker, who danced for soldiers, but also gathered information for the French Resistance. Our character eventually changes the course of the war.”

According to the director, the main character’s unique way of dancing both fascinates and scares the Imperial troops. “It’s this blend of pure delicacy and pure strength,” he explained.

The director of 88 Pictures’s “The Bandits of Galak” could not make it as he just welcomed a son into the world, but executive producer Milind D. Shinde bursted with the pride of a new father as talked about the opportunity to infuse Star Wars with the unique traditions of Indian’s ancient culture. “We want to take stories based on the civilization and bring it to the world,” he explained.

To infuse the galaxy with those things, the short takes place on a new world and features a new species. But that planet surrounds a story of siblings and the growth that must occur when one discovers they must protect the other. “We have a brother and sister, [he] becomes a hero because he has to take his sister to a safe place,” Shinde explained.

The reason for their adventure: a previously unseen Sith Inquisitor inspired by Asura, demons of Indian mythology with “green bodies and red eyes” who are “really smart.” Based on the still of the character, we think he may become a classic.

Additionally, Shinde promised the film will incorporate Indian music into the proceedings. “To develop the story from the Indian side is really, really great,” he said. “We wanted to get most of the pillars of Indian cinema into Star Wars.”

Arthell Isom (L) and LeAndre Thomas

(Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Dis)

Lucasfilm itself provides a short, “The Pit,” from director LeAndre Thomas and animation from D’ART Shtajio and studio founder Arthell Isom. Offering few details of the plot, Thomas said the story has its origins in the 2020 protests.

“During the unrest, [there were] signs of Princess Leia with the word ‘resist.’ [But] people forget Star Wars is inspired the world,” he explained. “It’s the never-ending battle between light and dark. It’s the war in the stars. So, it was important to make a story like that.”

The cast includes Daveed Diggs, Anika Noni Rose, and Jordan Cornette.

Finally, “Aau’s Song” from Triggerfish and directors Nadia Darries and Daniel Clarke features a protagonist who, as Darries put it, “engages with the Force through song … and she has to decide what to do with it.”

Clarke added, “Young people healing the land with their voices is something significant for us South Africans.” Beyond the notion of song, the short utilizes vocal performances in a non-traditional way. One example they alluded to: using a childlike “swoosh” sound to denote a spaceship in flight.

“The main theme was nostalgia, to evoke the memory of playing with a toy,” Clarke explained.

The duo also added that although they barely knew each other before working on the short, they are now close friends thanks to going on a Star Wars adventure; a notion mimicked in the plot itself and something will serve as an inspiration to those who watch the film.

Saturday: Lars Mikkelsen Returns as Thrawn When Ahsoka Debuts and More Tales of the Jedi

(Photo by ©Disney XD / courtesy Everett Collection)

“I don’t think I need to tell anybody in this room how talented [Dave Filoni] is,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said during Friday’s Lucasfilm presentation. “I knew that he was studying at [Star Wars creator George Lucas’] feet. I recognized that he also loved film. He talked about movies endlessly. It was just inevitable that he would make the transition to live action.”

That move began with the debut episode of The Mandalorian, which Filoni recalled during Saturday’s Ahsoka-focused panel as a surreal experience. “[The first day] was a guy in a helmet and a pig person. It was a week before I saw a human face and it was Werner Herzog,” he said.

Ahsoka represents the next big step in Filoni’s evolution as Star Wars’ premiere storyteller. The program brings together ideas he has been weaving since Star Wars: The Clone Wars and moves more animated characters from Star Wars Rebels into live action.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead in AHSOKA

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

In addition to star Rosario Dawson continuing on as former Jedi Ahsoka Tano, the program also features actors Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (pictured) as the live-action versions of Rebels’ Mandalorian Sabine Wren and Twi’lek pilot-turned-general Hera Syndulla, respectively, but as revealed in an extended version of the trailer shown during the Saturday panel, Lars Mikkelsen — voice of Rebels’ Grand Admiral Thrawn — will also play the formidable foe in live action.

“It’s wonderful [to be back],” he said after the crowd welcomed him with a truly appropriate amount of applause.

The character, first introduced in Timothy Zahn’s novel Heir to the Empire, has been a fan favorite since his 1991 debut. Filoni, one of those fans who grew up with Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy, acknowledged just “how unique” the character was at a time when Star Wars was just the three Original Trilogy movies, a handful of books, and a long-cancelled Marvel comic.

“He was like Moriarty and Rommel all at once,” Filoni said. “He doesn’t have the Force, but it doesn’t matter. He will trap you.”

The character, and the Ahsoka trailer’s direct invocation of the phrase “heir to the Empire,” is a tribute to Zahn’s work. “I talked to Tim and we’re going to have some follow-ups with him as well,” Filoni added. “We feel privileged to do this, but we want to get it right.”

Ray Stevenson in AHSOKA,

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Thrawn isn’t the only foe Ahsoka will face, though. As revealed in the trailer, Ray Stevenson and Ivanna Sakhno play Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati — a pair of “Force-sensitive” people who appear to be neither Sith nor Jedi; even their lightsaber colors reflect a different thinking. And although both actors appeared at the Saturday panel, neither was willing to say more than the names of their characters and thank the standing Star Wars stunt company for helping them get it the right shape and mindspace to wield lightsabers.

“It enabled me to find the strength that Shin has,” Sakhno said.

Stevenson added, “It’s a blessing [to train].”

“Watching them dance around and not give anything away, I’m so proud,” quipped the notoriously spoiler-adverse Filoni.

Diana Lee Inosanto also returns as Morgan Elsbeth, Ahsoka’s first live action opponent from Chapter 13 of The Mandalorian. Like the others, she avoided providing a lot of detail on her character’s return, but described Elsbeth as “a complicated woman” who is also “frozen-hearted,” but “absolutely loyal to Thrawn.”

As Dawson put it, the strength of the villains — and Thrawn’s ability to maneuver undetected by the New Republic — is a key reason Ahsoka changes tactics going into the series.

“Although she’s not a Jedi, she is driven by that [training]. She’s seeing a threat that no one else is seeing,” she explained. “[Thrawn is] formidable and not someone to take lightly. She has a sense that these foes are not easily dismissed.”

The emerging situation also brings her long-standing quest to find Ezra Bridger— missing since slightly before the original Star Wars’ Battle of Yavin — into focus as well.

“Her relationship with Ezra is very powerful,” Dawson said. “It’s very top-of-mind for her and she feels she can do more.”

Reports indicate Eman Esfandi will play the lost Jedi adept, but no mention of the actor was made at either presentation. Ezra is briefly glimpsed as a holo in the trailer, though, and his visage certainly resembles Esfandi. But until Filoni says something on the matter, it must remain unconfirmed.

No matter who ends playing the character, though, the search for him begins anew and, according to Dawson, “[Ahsoka] brings some remarkable people along with her” to finish the mission.

Rosario Dawson, Natasha Liu Bordizzo and Mary Elizabeth Winstead onstage during the studio panel for Ashoka at the Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

For as much as Bordizzo and Winstead could talk about their characters during both panels with Filoni watching for spoilers, much of the discussion centered on the work required to bring them to life. In Winstead’s case, it was treating Rebels as primary text and relying on Filoni, executive producer Jon Favreau, and Lucasfilm’s Carrie Beck for anything not covered in Hera’s animated exploits.

“Coming to her at this part of her life was a really rich thing for an actor,” she added. “She’s this incredible leader and a maternal figure as well. People come to her for guidance in so many different ways. She’s a leader of armies and everybody’s mom. I felt honored to be playing someone like that.”

Then, of course, there was the makeup.

“It was really transformative,” she said of Hera’s design, which includes painting up green and wearing lekku — the head tails emblematic of the character’s species. “The whole combination of it,” she continued. “I was immersed in everything she is.” Curiously, both she and Dawson revealed that Winstead’s son never once mistook her for someone else while wearing the makeup. And as seen in the photos released during the event, the translation from animation to screen is pretty faithful.

Dawson also said Rebels and Clone Wars are the first place to start when any actor comes to these characters. But for her take on Ahsoka, the animated shows feel like “actual visuals memories to look back on.” She also gave a special mention to Ashley Eckstein, who voiced Ahsoka from the initial Clone Wars theatrical film through all of Rebels.

In fact, everyone felt indebted to the voice casts and animation teams from both shows, with Filoni attempting to mention as many people as he could in one breath.

Bordizzo also said training to be a Mandalorian really helped her find Sabine.

“It was the kind of role that I didn’t want to feel like a fraud when I put on the armor,” she explained. “It should feel like putting on a t-shirt. It took months and months, but I loved it.”

A reference was also made to the character’s longer hair-style in certain shots, but no one took the bait to explain it. Once again: Filoni will avoid comment on anything.

Other recognizable faces confirmed in the trailer include Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma, the actor’s first appearance as the character in the post-Rebellion era — alongside Maurice Irvin as Senator Mawood, Jacqueline Antaramian as Senator Rodrigo, Nelson Lee as Senator Xiono, and Erica Duke as an unnamed Gran Senator — and David Tennant as Huyang, the lightsaber-crafting droid he first voiced on Clone Wars. The special extended version of the trailer at the Saturday panel also offered a few intriguing glimpses of Sabine brandishing a lightsaber to fight Shin and the team encountering a Purrgil, one of the hyperspace-traveling whales last seen when Ezra and Thrawn disappeared in the Rebels finale (and glimpsed in one moment of The Mandalorian’s current season).

Additionally, Filoni confirmed episode directors include himself, Steph Green, Peter Ramsey, Jennifer Getzinger, Geeta Patel, and Mandalorian executive producer Rick Famiyuwa. He also revealed Clone Wars and Rebels composer Kevin Kiner returns to score Ahsoka.

“I needed that music. It’s a throughline from Clone Wars to Rebels [to Ahsoka],” he explained.

And as for Filoni’s next step after Ahsoka? Read on about his first live-action film.

Tales of the Jedi Gets a Second Season

Although Filoni’s journey leads him further into live action, his animated anthology series Tales of the Jedi will return to Disney+. As he mentioned during the Ahsoka panel, he instigated the program because he missed working in the medium and was “jealous” of the work being done by Star Wars: The Bad Batch creative leads Brad Rau, Jessica Corbett, and their team of animators.

The first season focused on specific moments in the lives of Ahsoka Tano (voiced again by Eckstein) and Count Dooku (Corey Burton). Each was self-contained, but illuminating and featured characters like Qui-Gon Jinn as a Padwan (voiced by Micheál Richardson), Jedi Master Yaddle (Bryce Dallas Howard), and Qui-Gon as a Jedi Master (Liam Neeson) getting the chance to be, well, more animated.

Tales of the Jedi was so fun the first time, I decided to do some more,” he said in a statement released during Celebration on Saturday. Presumably, the format will remain the same with, maybe, a focus on different Jedi. Then again, his love for Ahsoka may lead to other stories from across her life.

It is unclear when the series will return, but considering the lead times involved in animation, we expect it may be surprisingly soon.

Friday: Daisy Ridley Returns To Build a New Jedi Order And More

Ali Plumb, Kathleen Kennedy, James Mangold, Dave Filoni, and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy onstage durng the studio panel at Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

While the Friday presentation concerned itself primarily with Star Wars television, Kennedy took the occasion to unveil a new plan for the galaxy far, far away on the silver screen. As she revealed, the Star Wars timeline is broken up into many distinct eras, from the Old Republic to the High Republic to the Galactic Civil War — itself subdivided into several periods — and into the time of the First Order. But several new film projects will explore deeper into the past and further into an exciting future.

The look back will be the purview of director James Mangold and concern the first days of the Jedi Order. According to the filmmaker, “When I first started talking to Kathy about doing one of these pictures, I thought about a biblical epic, a Ten Commandments.” Those thoughts, with the assistance of the Lucasfilm story department, led to a tale of the first person to sense the Force and the founding of the Jedi Order some 25,000 years before the events of the Skywalker Saga.

Of course, as the story is still brewing — and Mangold still has a few things to wrap up with Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny — it is unclear just how quickly this new expansion of the timeline will make it to screens. He subsequently revealed to Collider that the script is being written at the same time as his Swamp Thing film for DC Studios and he is not sure which will “blossom” first.

The future of Star Wars’ cinematic timeline will be guided by director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy — long-rumored to be working on a Star Wars film project with writers like Damon Lindelof and Steven Knight. Finally brought into the light, her movie will tell the tale of a New Jedi Order 15 years after the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

As the filmmaker put it, “I’ve always been attracted to the hero’s journey and the fact the world needs many more heroes. I’ve spent the better part of my life meeting real heroes who fight oppressive regimes. I am attracted to immersing myself in a new Jedi Academy with a powerful Jedi master.”

Daisy Ridley at Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

The identity of that master is one of the most surprising Star Wars returns in recent memory: Daisy Ridley’s Rey. “My heart is pounding. I am thrilled to be continuing this journey,” she said when she took to the stage (after thunderous applause, of course).

Neither director not star mentioned when the picture might be ready for release, but it is possible it will take the 2025 date Disney is holding in reserve for a Star Wars film. Presumably, subsequent films with this new order will continue to carry the timeline forward.

The current Star Wars television timeline will get a film as well, with Kennedy announcing Dave Filoni will make his feature film debut with the “cinematic event” once teased as a crossover for The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and other programs set in the years after Return of the Jedi.

“I get to make a movie!” Filoni said, almost in tears. “The moment is not lost on me.”

“I grew up in a time of the Original Trilogy,” he continued. “I grew up with the Expanded Universe. We’re drawing on a lot of things [from then] and new things that were created in the meantime to tell this epic.”

The story will see the emerging conflict between the Imperial Remnant and the New Republic (as seen on this season of The Mandalorian) reach a crisis point. Based on some of the other things discussed during the presentation — and the Ahsoka panel — it may be worthwhile to refresh one’s memory of Heir to the Empire, the novel that opened the Expanded Universe. Also, it’s worth mentioning that Filoni used the word “unfortunately” at least once during his presentation, which could spell doom for some favorite characters.

New Ahsoka Trailer Sets Series for August

While the bulk of the details on the upcoming Ahoska series are saved for Saturday’s panel focusing only on the show, the Lucasfilm presentation offered a few tidbits.

The series stars Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, the former Jedi voiced by Ashley Eckstein in various shows. Joining her on a quest to find a missing friend is Natasha Liu Bordizzo as Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian voiced by Tiya Sircar on Filoni’s animated series, Star Wars Rebels.

But as glimpsed in the trailer that premiered during the presentation, Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Hera Syndulla, the Star Wars Rebels character originally voiced by Vanessa Marshall. “There was speculation,” Winstead said, acknowledging reports that she would be a green Twi’lek on the series from Filoni and Favreau which brings several of the animated Rebels characters into live action, like Grand Admiral Thrawn, who can be seen from the back in one of the trailer’s intriguing shots.

“The fans supported the animation,” he said of the continued interest in the characters. “The animation team and the voice actresses who played [Ahsoka, Sabine, and Hera] were so fantastic.”

The preview also confirmed Genevieve O’Reilly’s Mon Mothma from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Andor will appear in the series.

Finally, as Filoni pointed out after screening the trailer, Ahoska will arrive on Disney+ in August.

Jude Law Uses the Force in Star Wars: Skeleton Crew

Host Ali Plumb, Jude Law, Ravi Cabot Conyers, Robert Timothy Smith and Kyrianna Kratter onstage during the studio panel for Skeleton Crew at the Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

While we still may not know the name of Jude Law’s character, a teaser for the upcoming series Star Wars: Skeleton Crew reveals he can use the Force. And while he may be a Jedi who survived the purge, we’ll hedge our bets for the moment and assume he is untrained in the Order’s ways.

“I was six years old when this galaxy gripped me and blew my mind,” Law said when he appeared on stage. “I’ve been in preparation [to play this part] ever since.”

The trailer also gave greater credence to co-creator Jon Watts’ desire to make an Amblin-style story in the Star Wars universe — complete with a space-faring take on the suburban neighborhoods from E.T.: The Extraterrestrial and Poltergeist.

“[Jon] really got the tone,” Kennedy, who also produced E.T., said. “While kids were in those movies, they weren’t just kids’ movies.”

The trailer reiterated the premise Watts and co-creator Chris Ford first detailed at last year’s Celebration: A group of kids leave their world in a spaceship and must find their way home. Along the way, they encounter Law’s character, who may or may not have their best interests at heart.

Jude Law onstage during the studio panel for Skeleton Crew at the Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

“It’s dangerous out in the galaxy,” added Filoni, who acts as an executive producer on the program, which is also set in the New Republic segment of the timeline.

The show’s creators could not make it to London for the presentation, but sent a video that revealed they are shooting actual spaceship models with FX legend Jon Knoll — not that he necessarily agreed to be seen on camera. Watts directs the episodes alongside fellow filmmakers David Lowery, Jake Schreier, The Daniels (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Bryce Dallas Howard, and Lee Isaac Chung.

Somehow, the team managed to shoot the entire series without any casting besides Law ever being confirmed. Filoni and Favreau, also an executive producer on Skeleton Crew, revealed three of the show’s young actors: Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Kyriana Kratter, and Robert Timothy Smith.

Each said their love for Star Wars began with their fathers — naturally enough — with Cabot-Conyers adding that his first onesie as an infant had Star Wars logos on it.

“By the time Return of the Jedi came out, I was 11 or 12, the ages of my fellow castmates,” Law said. “I feel like they’re teaching me a lot.”

The series will debut later this year, presumably after Ahsoka finishes its (hopefully) initial run.

The Acolyte Sets Up the Villain’s Story in 2024

Ali Plumb, Kathleen Kennedy, Leslye Headland, Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, guest, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen Fernandez, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean Charles Chapman, and Joonas Suotamo attend the studio panel for The Acolyte at Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

For Russian Doll’s Leslye Headland — who cited the Star Wars Special Editions as life-saving — creating The Acolyte is a “dream come true.”

The program, set in the waning days of the High Republic, stars Amandla Stenberg on a journey into darkness — the one that will lead to the Jedi’s decline and the Galactic Civil War 100 years later.

“When I pitched Kathleen the show, I wanted to tell the story from the perspective of the villains — I don’t know what that says about me,” Headland said with a laugh. “But I pitched Frozen meets Kill Bill. What became apparent was that we’d need to set it between the High Republic and the prequels. This is when the bad guys are outnumbered. They are the underdogs.”

Indeed, the trailer screened for the Celebration audience was filled with Jedi. Some, like Lee Jung-jae’s Jedi Master, wear the white robes in vogue during this era. Others, like Carrie-Anne Moss’ character, are in the more traditional brown. But no matter their fashion sense, the Order is full of confidence and joie de vivre even as the approaching dangers start to make themselves known.

Because the program takes place in an era of peace, Headland said she went back to the films of Akira Kurosawa, martial arts Wuxia epics, and “stories about lone warriors” for inspiration.

Amandla Stenberg and Lee Jung-jae onstage during the studio panel for The Acolyte at the Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

Stenberg, who came to Celebration dressed in one of Padme Amidala’s (Natalie Portman) costumes from Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, praised Headland as the creative force behind the program.

“I am in love with Leslye’s work. She has a really emotional, profound way of approaching the darker parts of ourselves in a style of magical realism. For a show like this, that style is so perfect,” they said.

In addition to the style, Headland also has a sense of whimsy, as she was escorted onto the stage by one of the show’s characters, Kel Naka, a Wookie Jedi Master played by Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca in the more recent films).

“I am beyond excited,” Suotamo said. “Since I was a kid, I wanted to be a Jedi.” Recalling the moment he was called to play the part, he shouted something in the Wookie language, Shyriiwook, that presumably means “yes.”

Jodie Turner-Smith, whose character may be acting outside of the Order’s precepts, called it both “exciting” and “nerve-wracking” to join the Star Wars saga. “It’s a character I’m originating, but it still felt like I had big shoes to fill.”

Manny Jacinto said that when that sort of nervousness struck on set, he would shout “We’re doing Star Wars, baby!”

Through an interpreter, Lee added, “My heart is jumping because I’m with the Star Wars family.”

The Acolyte will debut in 2024.

 Season 2 of Andor Only Has One Way Out

Dolly Alderton, Tony Gilroy, Kathleen Kennedy, Diego Luna, John Gilroy, LukeHull, Michael Wilkinson and Nicholas Britell onstage during the Andor studio panel at the Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

Executive Producer Tony Gilroy and stars Diego Luna, Adria Arjona, Kyle Soller, Andy Serkis, Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, and Joplin Sibtain took some time out to bask in the love of an appreciative audience and reveal they are, in Gilroy’s words, working hard to “finish out proudly.” According to the producer, the second (and final) season is on the same schedule as the first, which means it will debut in or around August of 2025.

“If you know your ending, it really helps,” he added. “We know where we’re going, and it means we can go full force.”

Luna introduced a teaser to demonstrate “that we’re actually working.” Every major character who survived returns, although the sped-up timescale – every three episodes will add up to one year in Cassian’s (Luna) remaining four – leaves doubt as to when some of the startling images occur. But it is clear the Rebellion will be in full swing as both Cassian and Cyril Karn (Soller) get glam-ups and more conflicts break out across the galaxy. Gilroy put a cheeky spin on things by adding, “Everyone in this room knows where we’re going. We make that happen.”

And though it is unclear if Serkis’s appearance on stage means his character survived the prison break, his “one way out” refrain became a running theme throughout the presentation.

A Mandalorian Tease

John Favreau, Dave Filoni and Rick Famuyiwa onstage during the studio panel for The Mandalorian at Star Wars Celebration 2023

(Photo by Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney)

Favreau and Filoni also offered the audience an extended glimpse of next week’s episode but swore the crowd to secrecy. Joined by fellow executive producer Rick Famuyiwa – who also directed the final two episodes of the season – he added that “the story is starting to culminate.”

“It’s been an incredible season. It was exciting and fun to make it,” Famuyiwa said. “Examining this idea around culture and what the title means. It’s been great. Can’t wait to see what happens when these last few come out… Things we’ve been building over the last two seasons and [in] Book of Boba Fett, when we get to [episodes] seven and eight, we will see some resolution. ”

The group also discussed Ahmed Best’s appearance as Jedi Master Kelleran Beq, the character who rescued Grogu during the Jedi purge.

Favreau recalled seeing “the outpouring of appreciation” for him at the 2019 Star Wars Celebration in Chicago when the opportunity for the role came up. “He [also] created this character for Jedi Temple Challenge. He works with younglings! Who better?”

“It should be someone who cares as much about Star Wars as we do. There was no one better than Ahmed,” Filoni added.

Mads Mikkelsen Claims to Be the Good Guy in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

While Star Wars ruled Friday’s Lucasfilm presentation, Kennedy made time to feature one final trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, a film that Harrison Ford claims will be “my final ride as Indiana Jones.”

The preview shed some more light on the plot. Goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) re-enters Dr. Henry Jones Jr.’s life just as he gets ready to retire – an event coinciding with the 1969 moon landing. In a seeming echo of Raiders of the Lost Ark, she asks about the titular dial, an artifact said to reverse the flow of time. Mads Mikkelsen’s Colonel Voller also wants the dial to undo Hitler’s “mistakes.”

Although Indiana Jones movies are pretty straightforward in regard to Nazis, Mikkelsen couldn’t help but claim his character is the good guy. Or, at least, “in his own mind.”

“He’s a liar,” Kennedy retorted.

Before running a six-minute clip from “the dead center of the movie” – a chase across Tangiers – director James Mangold mentioned the return of John Rhys-Davies’ Sala, adding that he is “not the only person from the grand old adventures who might make an appearance.” Let the speculation begin!

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny comes to theaters on June 30.

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