News

Massive Star Wars Updates: Hayden Christensen Back As Vader, Ahsoka and Lando Series On the Way

Plus, Patty Jenkins' surprise Star Wars movie and everything else we learned from Lucasfilm's epic presentation at Disney's Investor Day.

by | December 10, 2020 | Comments

On December 10, 2020, Disney unveiled its new streaming-focused strategy to investors at a special, online Investor Day. With an aim to hit between 300 and 350 million subscribers to its direct-to-consumer platforms by 2024, the company expects all of its creative silos to produce high quality content for Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and Star – an international streaming component which will serve as the main app in some regions and a Hulu-like component of Disney+ in others.

But as the company itself admitted during the tail end of the roughly four-hour presentation, hitting that subscriber number means leveraging Star Wars for all its worth. Luckily, Lucasfilm was ready to deploy plenty of content from the Galaxy Far, Far Away. In addition to The Mandalorian, the company will produce eight additional shows over the next few years. It also plans to continue making feature films and even branch out into realms where even the Mandalorian cannot tread.

It all represents a lot of content, so let’s take a look at everything we learned from the Lucasfilm presentation at Disney’s Investor Day.


The Book of Boba Fett Arrives in 2021, The Mandalorian Also Set To Return

Pedro Pascal and Grogu in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2, Chapter 14

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm)

At the time of the presentation, it appeared Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy referred to The Mandalorian‘s third season as gearing up for a December 2021 release, but it became clear two weeks later that The Book of Boba Fett will take the series’ place next winter. Set to star Temuera Morrison and Ming-Na Wen as Boba Fett and Fennec Shand, it will be “the next chapter” in Disney+’s Star Wars storytelling.
The Mandalorian will return sometime afterward. Presumably, it will resolve the new conflict between Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff). Also, Giancarlo Esposito previously said fans may learn more about Moff Gideon and his real intentions in season 3.

Diego Luna Is Back in Cassian Andor Series, and We Now Know Its Title: Andor

Although in development for quite sometime, the spy-thriller series staring Diego Luna as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Cassian Andor is finally in production. To celebrate, Lucasfilm unveiled a sizzle reel featuring a look at some of the sets and finally confirmed the series will be called Andor. Set prior to Rogue One, it will see Cassian becoming a valuable Rebel asset and feature actors Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, and Kyle Soller. Genevieve O’Reilly will also appear as Mon Mothma, a part she has played since Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. The 12-episode series will debut on Disney+ in 2022.


Hayden Christensen Returns in Obi-Wan Kenobi for the “Rematch of the Century”

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

(Photo by © Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Also in development for seeming ages, the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series coming to Disney+ will feature Ewan McGregor as the famed Jedi and, in a shocking twist, Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader. Kennedy teased a “rematch of the century” between the two former friends 10 years after Obi-Wan left Vader for dead on Mustafar. This notion would seemingly break one of the longest-standing aspects of Star Wars continuity – the two are not supposed to meet again until their fight on the Death Star – but there are many ways for Obi-Wan to encounter his former apprentice again. Nevertheless, fans of the Star Wars prequels were pleased to hear of Christensen’s return. Under the direction of Mandalorian veteran Deborah Chow, the series will begin production in March of 2021.


Clone Wars Follow-up The Bad Batch Gets a Teaser Trailer

The animated Star Wars: The Bad Batch will continue the tale of the special mission clone troopers featured in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars. As their name suggests, the unit is composed of clones who hatched differently from the rank-and-file troops. Each member of the team is a highly specialized commando, but not exactly predictable or compliant. As glimpsed in the teaser trailer screened at the Investor Day presentation, the program will follow the Bad Batch as they become mercenaries in the early days of the Empire. The series comes to Disney+ next year.


An Extensive Disney+ Roster And An MCU-Style Crossover Event

Ahsoka

Beyond those four shows, which we had some details of before Investor Day, the future of Star Wars on Disney+ was veiled in a mist of rumors and unconfirmed reports. Kennedy dispelled some of that uncertainty by announcing five new titles and one film-length adventure for the service.

  • The Acolyte: The series long in the works from Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland will focus on a character during the final days of the High Republic – a period some 100 years prior to the Skywalker Saga – who comes to know the power of the Dark Side.
  • Ahsoka: One of two series from Mandalorian executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. Rosario Dawson will continue to play the live-action version of the animated Star Wars: Clone Wars favorite following her debut in Season 2 of The Mandalorian. Presumably, she will continue her search for Grand Admiral Thrawn and, one hopes, Star Wars Rebels‘ Ezra Bridger.
  • Rangers of the New Republic: The other series from Favreau and Filoni will follow a group of New Republic soldiers in the same era as The Mandalorian. While Kennedy offered few details about this show, she mentioned it will cross over with other stories in The Mandalorian and Ahsoka and culminate in an “event” at some point in the future. An Avengers-style crossover would be a new thing for Star Wars, so it will be interesting to see how this develops.
  • Star Wars Visions: An anthology series featuring the talents of leading Japanese anime studios. Each of its 10 episodes will be a short film and center on some unique aspect of the Star Wars Galaxy. Think The Animatrix with a healthy heaping of The Force.
  • Lando: Dear White People’s Justin Simien is developing this limited series devoted to everyone’s favorite scoundrel. While it is unclear who will play Lando, a teaser video featuring Lando’s unblemished Millennium Falcon suggests it will go back to the days before he met Han Solo.
  • A Droid Story: The sole film in the Disney+ roster will be an “epic journey” featuring a new hero guided by R2-D2 and C-3PO. It will also be a chance to expand the technological prowess of Lucasfilm’s animation wing and its live action special effects magic.

The Theatrical Future of Star Wars In Taika Waititi’s and Patty Jenkins’ Hands

Though Kennedy spent most of her time talking about Star Wars’s place on Disney+, she did offer some updates on the feature film slate. Taika Waititi is still working on the script to his Star Wars film. “Taika’s approach to Star Wars will be fresh, unexpected, and … unique,” Kennedy said. “His enormous talent and sense of humor will ensure that audiences are in for an unforgettable ride.”

But Kennedy surprised everyone by announcing Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins would direct the next Star Wars feature, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. Set in a what Kennedy called a “future era of Star Wars,” it will tell the tale of the famed X-Wing fighter squadron. In a video Jenkins posted to her own Twitter account, she said the project takes inspiration from her father, a US fighter pilot who lost his life in service to the country. “It ignited a desire to turn all that tragedy and thrill into the greatest fighter pilot film of all time,” she explained. It is slated for release in December of 2023.

Curiously, though, no mention was made of the film trilogy Rian Johnson is reportedly developing for Lucasfilm.


Some Non Star Wars News from the Land of Lucas: Willow, Indy, and an Original

(Photo by © Lucasfilm)

Beyond Star Wars, Lucasfilm is also working on a handful of interesting projects.

First, there is the Willow television series. Spearheaded by Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s Jonathan Kasdan and Arrow‘s Wendy Mericle, it will follow a new generation of heroes and a returning Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) on quest to save the realm. According to unconfirmed reports, Ellie Bamber, Cailee Spaeny, and Erin Kellyman will lead the series as that younger generation of adventurers. Crazy Rich Asians’ Jon Chu will direct the pilot.

Kennedy also confirmed the upcoming Indiana Jones film will be the last. Harrison Ford returns once last time as Dr. Henry Jones Jr. But in a series first, Steven Spielberg will hand the director duties off to Logan’s James Mangold. The choice of director also reflects the sense of finality developing around the project.

But perhaps most exciting project touted is Lucasfilm’s first new concept in decades: the company intends to adapt City of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi for the big screen. The story centers on a young African girl’s quest to restore magic to her forsaken people. While Lucasfilm will always be the Star Wars company, it is refreshing to see them look to new ideas. 20th Century Studios will act as a producing partner on the project.


Lucasfilm’s plans presented by Kennedy suggest a robust future for Star Wars and a big turnaround from the original intention to produce a new Star Wars film every year. Surprisingly, the streaming universe seems a better fit, although, we cannot wait until it is safe to see a Patty Jenkins X-Wing movie in a theater. Nonetheless, it is hard to ignore the hard shift to Star Wars as a home entertainment brand. Of course, we imagine generations of fans clutching their action figures and DVDs will find little to complain about in this expanded, streaming Star Wars future.

January 2021 Update: This report was updated to clarify that The Mandalorian season 3 is not expected in 2021. 


On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Tag Cloud

die hard christmas movies Captain marvel New York Comic Con franchise Spectrum Originals classics adventure Stephen King Hallmark 2019 cinemax Amazon Studios social media harry potter Apple TV+ AMC parents Winners Super Bowl Thanksgiving binge Vudu GLAAD Bravo Box Office cops reviews Toys Avengers jamie lee curtis Syfy Nominations pirates of the caribbean comic VOD king kong what to watch IFC Films PaleyFest south america news Grammys Black History Month Premiere Dates tv talk TCA Winter 2020 YA Baby Yoda hispanic Hear Us Out stop motion casting game of thrones BET Awards crime drama American Society of Cinematographers Crunchyroll BET Starz OWN APB Marvel Paramount Comedy cancelled television Universal Amazon Shudder Lucasfilm A&E green book Rocky Nickelodeon Holiday RT History 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards joker Dark Horse Comics golden globe awards FOX revenge cancelled TV series rotten movies we love BBC dogs mockumentary TV zombie The Arrangement Anna Paquin 2018 YouTube Premium docuseries Pop TV 007 critics Rocketman book adaptation USA Network movie directors twilight blockbuster rom-coms Exclusive Video Peacock The Walt Disney Company stoner australia zombies HBO National Geographic Pet Sematary toronto HBO Max TruTV name the review Warner Bros. hist deadpool The Walking Dead Year in Review Musical transformers Musicals Sundance Now doctor who Walt Disney Pictures Heroines Netflix Fox Searchlight OneApp San Diego Comic-Con 2017 cars james bond ITV Disney Plus CNN spy thriller ABC Mary poppins GIFs ghosts romance Lifetime Christmas movies mutant Showtime sag awards crossover Drama scorecard Music Amazon Prime Video cats Animation TCA 2017 The Witch IFC Food Network police drama Spike slashers sports Pop films razzies video NBC anthology fresh Reality Competition ABC Family blaxploitation Acorn TV psycho Amazon Prime Marathons Best and Worst MTV Star Wars CW Seed Pirates disaster halloween kids Television Critics Association halloween tv cooking Superheroes aliens The Academy Election ESPN Netflix Christmas movies 2020 children's TV werewolf renewed TV shows Biopics kong women comedies award winner streaming black SXSW TV Land SDCC Trophy Talk TIFF rt archives Kids & Family crime Opinion latino medical drama Film Festival space 71st Emmy Awards Ellie Kemper Britbox remakes witnail discovery CMT Hulu Academy Awards Interview saw a nightmare on elm street unscripted FX on Hulu Esquire Rock Epix Awards Tour 72 Emmy Awards Arrowverse Turner Classic Movies WGN TLC Lionsgate YouTube Disney streaming service The Purge Broadway Superheroe X-Men indie Comics on TV Marvel Studios Rom-Com Legendary vampires Apple all-time Cosplay batman technology political drama Summer Endgame Trivia MCU festivals nbcuniversal natural history composers DC Universe italian Certified Fresh dceu spanish language romantic comedy cartoon comics TNT reboot boxoffice The CW Fox News First Look rotten war Creative Arts Emmys sequel DC streaming service universal monsters kaiju Fall TV DGA Writers Guild of America best breaking bad Lifetime TCM CBS All Access anime Countdown adaptation Winter TV cancelled TV shows independent canceled TBS Sony Pictures LGBT USA Tubi FXX miniseries facebook Paramount Plus Elton John Hallmark Christmas movies crime thriller based on movie 45 obituary diversity Watching Series Schedule 4/20 satire dark Paramount Network Extras Polls and Games E3 sequels period drama talk show thriller Holidays 21st Century Fox BBC America Chilling Adventures of Sabrina asian-american LGBTQ elevated horror superhero FX trailers finale 2021 Crackle BBC One laika nfl Marvel Television justice league Pride Month dragons GoT Spring TV documentary fast and furious Television Academy jurassic park spanish monster movies Comic Book Oscars Sci-Fi Disney supernatural Cannes archives Fantasy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt WarnerMedia superman mission: impossible french Shondaland teaser Logo screen actors guild 93rd Oscars spain Adult Swim venice TV renewals cancelled Martial Arts travel Black Mirror Disney Channel dramedy Photos strong female leads worst TCA Awards festival Family Country Mindy Kaling popular japanese History prank series PBS TV One Pixar Tomatazos game show Mary Tyler Moore 20th Century Fox CBS science fiction video on demand dc 24 frames high school PlayStation stand-up comedy ratings docudrama Apple TV Plus worst movies Quiz E! blockbusters SundanceTV Columbia Pictures Valentine's Day ViacomCBS RT21 godzilla Horror Freeform Film Set visit Classic Film Star Trek Disney+ Disney Plus ABC Signature child's play sitcom zero dark thirty telelvision boxing VH1 Reality documentaries Mary Poppins Returns Character Guide criterion Video Games Chernobyl comiccon emmy awards historical drama Women's History Month TCA Emmys Sneak Peek Comedy Central psychological thriller 99% indiana jones Travel Channel theme song toy story chucky quibi heist movie Awards movies Calendar Ovation Tarantino Action First Reviews President Binge Guide Alien nature El Rey Western Sundance TV Funimation Teen Podcast Emmy Nominations Turner Discovery Channel Mystery 2015 BAFTA NYCC free movies comic books cults 2016 foreign robots HBO Go true crime DirecTV Tumblr Cartoon Network ID Brie Larson book Trailer hollywood Mudbound hidden camera Masterpiece spider-man biography versus politics new star wars movies Sundance spinoff YouTube Red VICE MSNBC See It Skip It animated canceled TV shows richard e. Grant football Ghostbusters television DC Comics Red Carpet Christmas singing competition scary movies A24 screenings concert Song of Ice and Fire golden globes serial killer Infographic Nat Geo