The season 2 finale of The Mandalorian left fans with plenty of questions, but none were more pressing than a surprise announcement about something called “The Book of Boba Fett” would arrive in December 2021. Was it the next season of The Mandalorian, switching its focus from Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) to the infamous Star Wars bounty hunter? Or was it its own standalone series? Without a clarifying word from executive producer Jon Favreau or Lucasfilm, speculation ran high across the weekend of December 19, 2020 on the nature of Fett’s new story.

Thankfully, Favreau appeared on Good Morning America December 2020 airing to dispel some of the confusion regarding The Book. Nearly a year later, the series trailer debuted. So let’s take a look at everything we know so far.


It Is a Standalone Series

The Book of Boba Fett keyart

(Photo by Disney+/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Click here to see full poster in a new tab.

Joining him on this new journey will be Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), the mercenary he rescued in The Mandalorian’s first season. Seemingly indebted to him, if even by just her own code of ethics, the pair will continue on as Fett plans his next move.

The only other actor confirmed for the series so far is Jennifer Beals, who briefly appears in the trailer as a Twi’lek. Her purpose in the series remains to be seen – in fact, we’re not ever sure if her appearance is a one-episode guest stint or something longer term. But from her brief moment in the trailer, we’ll suggest she’s running whatever establishment Fett and Shand just walked into.

And if we might indulge in some more speculation, we imagine the other bounty hunters from The Empire Strikes Back — Dengar, IG-88, Bossk, Zuckuss, and 4-LOM — may appear at some point. Also, there may be room to do an episode on Jodo Kast, the imposter Boba Fett who appeared in the Expanded Universe while Fett himself recuperated from his encounter with the Sarlaac.

Come to think of it, revealing how he actually survived his seeming death scene in Return of the Jedi would make for a strong chapter as well. Also, you have to wonder how long before Fett’s actions in Jabba’s palace attracts the attention of Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant), other elements on Tatooine, or even the other Hutts.


The Mandalorian, season 2 poster

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.)

One last speculation: as we suggested earlier, Din Djarin may make an appearance in the series as the voice seemingly emanating from a translator while an Ithorian is on screen at 1:48 of the trailer sure sounds like Djarin. Or, at the very least, Pascal. We also imagine Djarin will be interested in Fett’s activities following the events of The Mandalorian’s second season and whatever agreement he and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) made about the Darksaber.

On the production side, Robert Rodriguez — who directed the episode re-introducing Boba Fett to The Mandalorian’s sector of space — will serve as executive producer with Favreau and stalwart Star Wars creative Dave Filoni. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Colin Wilson will also serve as an executive producers with long-time Star Wars veterans Karen Gilchrist and Carrie Beck taking co-executive producer roles. John Bartnicki will produce and John Hampian serves as co-producer.


It Is Not a Replacement for The Mandalorian

As Favreau clarified during his GMA appearance, The Book of Boba Fett will come before the third season of The Mandalorian, but not replace it; in fact, Favreau said the third season will “pretty soon follow” The Book of Boba Fett in terms of production. Whether or not this means the new season will stream immediately after Fett concludes is anyone’s guess. It is rather clear, however, that The Mandalorian will return sometime in 2022.

The year 2022 appears to be the big one for Star Wars on Disney+ with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor debuting alongside that third season of The Mandalorian. There is also the potential for at least one other live-action Star Wars project to join that group as well.


It Is Part of the Post–Return of the Jedi Timeline

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in The Mandalorian season two

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Alongside the Ahsoka series, The Book of Boba Fett will take place in the era five or so years after Return of the Jedi. For lack of an official name, we’ll call it the New Republic era. In an echo to the early Expanded Universe novels, games, and comics, it is a time when the newly established Republic faces a lot of backlash from Imperial enclaves and plenty of internal tensions the Rebel Alliance set aside to combat the Empire.

That issue will likely be covered more closely in Ahsoka or the third season of The Mandalorian, but it will also factor into Fett as organized crime is constant in the Star Wars galaxy, as is the central government’s inability (or apathy) to police it. We’ll hazard a guess that a show more focused on scum and villainy made a standalone Fett series attractive to Favreau and Filoni as they devised the Mandalorian spinoffs — well, assuming the series is just about Fett becoming the godfather of space. As we’ve already seen, he is a man of his word, and it is possible the resources of the Hutt criminal enterprise could be utilized in some other goal.


Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) in The Mandalorian, season two

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

During the Investor Day presentation, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy mentioned The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and the now seemingly defunct Rangers of the New Republic would culminate in an event. Presumably, Fett will be part of this culmination as well and we wouldn’t be surprised if it is all leading to the liberation of Mandalore. As we’ve seen in The Mandalorian, Kryze is still trying to free it from Imperial Remnant control even as most people assume the planet was, as Fett put it, “turned to glass.” She’s also still trying to be its ruler, which may lead to some conflicts with Din Djarin in the near future.

But if Djarin decides to lead the liberation effort himself, he will no doubt call on Fett to help perhaps even offering the boon of legitimizing him as a Mandalorian. That would be reason enough to barge into Jabba’s palace and kill Bib Fortuna.

Then again, having fulfilled his promise to help Djarin recover Grogu, Fett may be acting on his own. Either way, it is clear The Book of Boba Fett will have a lasting impact on this New Republic era.


It Is Set To Debut in December 2021

The Mandalorian season 2 Boba Fett poster

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

As the next chapter of the New Republic era, The Book of Boba Fett premieres on December 29, 2021. It is still unclear how long The Book will be, although eight episodes is a reasonable expectation; however, as seen with the upcoming Andor, a 12-episode order is also possible.


The Book of Boba Fett premieres on Disney+ on December 29, 2021.

Thumbnail image by Walt Disney Studios

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Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian Chapter 13

(Photo by Disney+/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Ahsoka Tano’s rise to prominence is one of the great Star Wars feel-good stories. Voiced by Ashley Eckstein, the Torgruta was introduced as Anakin Skywalker’s precocious Padawan learner in the ill-received Star Wars: The Clone Wars theatrical film. But across the first five seasons of the subsequent animated series, the character grew from that initial depiction into a strong and dependable Jedi-in-training. Along the way, she also developed a devoted following among viewers who were all dismayed when The Clone Wars was cut short, leaving Ahsoka on a cliffhanger as she chose exile from the Jedi Order.

Thankfully, Clone Wars supervising director Dave Filoni, who is also credited as her co-creator alongside Star Wars originator George Lucas, immediately went from Clone Wars to a new animated series: Star Wars Rebels. There, he introduced an older and somewhat wiser Ahsoka (still voiced by Eckstein) who spent the 15 or so years between the two programs helping the nascent Rebel Alliance (among other things, of course) prepare for their eventual war with the Empire. Her return and consistent presence on Rebels (for a few seasons, anyway) cemented the character as an important aspect of the overall Star Wars story; in fact, the fans even had a rallying cry for whenever she vanished: “Ahsoka Lives.” It got them through Clone Wars’s cancellation, her seemingly climactic confrontation with Darth Vader on Rebels, and her return in that program’s final episode.


STAR WARS: EPISODE III-REVENGE OF THE SITH, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker

(Photo by Merrick Morton/TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Then in 2020, Ahsoka fans received a couple of gifts: a final season of The Clone Wars to wrap up her story during that conflict, and word that she would be coming to the live action TV series, The Mandalorian. The latter become a reality later that year (with Rosario Dawson taking over from Eckstein) followed by a surprise announcement at the Disney Investor Day revealing Ahsoka Tano would be getting her own series. And just to sweeten the deal, the series would eventually join The Mandalorian and other Star Wars series for a crossover event.

Following the announcement, though, word about Ahsoka went pretty quiet until October 2021, when word broke indicating Star Wars prequel star Hayden Christensen would return as Anakin Skywalker, marking the first time the former Jedi Master and his former Padawan will share the live-action screen.

Of course, that moment is still in the future, but just the whisper of it means it is a good time to compile everything we know about Ahsoka so far.


What Will Ahsoka Be Up To?

Thrawn in STAR WARS REBELS

(Photo by ©Disney XD / courtesy Everett Collection)

The series, carrying on from Ahsoka’s appearance on The Mandalorian, will see her continuing to chase down Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn (voiced by Lars Mikkelsen on Rebels). Thrawn went missing during the final liberation of Lothal, just prior to the events of the original Star Wars. But more important than his fugitive status is the person who went missing alongside him: would-be Jedi Ezra Bridger (voiced by Taylor Gray). As mentioned in Rebels’ final moments, Ahsoka made good on her promise to find him and her friends; although it would take her the entire Galactic Civil War to really dedicate herself to the quest.

Except, as Filoni told Vanity Fair, the final scene of Rebels, which saw the Jedi exile in all-white robes and brandishing a staff, may occur after events of her Mandalorian appearance, indicating Ahsoka may also take place before that moment. If that’s the case, then Ahsoka’s search for Thrawn may somehow be unrelated to the search for Ezra. Or, perhaps, she’s chosen not to include the members of Ezra’s Rebel cell. Based on her reticence to train Grogu, we imagine a huge element of the show will be Ahsoka’s unwillingness to be part of a family. It is a nice source of drama as she continues her quest.

And, while we’re speculating, it is always possible we might see Luke Skywalker at some point. Although she’s not a Jedi, we expect the two will cross paths and come to some sort of accord about things; in fact, how could Filoni not show us the moment Anakin’s Padawan and son meet?


When and Where Will It Take Place?

Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace - Coruscant screencap (20th Century Fox)

(Photo by 20th Century Fox)

Ahsoka’s search will be set in the New Republic era five or so years after The Return of the Jedi. As we’ve seen in The Mandalorian, the Republic seems to be taking the restoration of law and order seriously even if it allows Imperial remnants to fester. But with the Outer Rim of the galaxy the stomping ground of The Mandalorian, we expect Ahsoka’s journeys will take her far and wide – from former imperial capital Coruscant, to Lothal, Onderon, and even some new worlds.

We also expect her dealings with Republic officials to be different from Din Djarin’s (Pedro Pascal) more perilous entanglements on The Mandalorian. Or, perhaps, we’ll discover the rank-and-file are as susceptible to the Jedi Mind Trick as their Stormtrooper predecessors. Also, there are higher ranking individuals in the Republic who must remember Ahsoka as “Fulcrum.” One has to wonder if she’ll call on them as part of her quest.


Who’s in the Series?

Rosario Dawson in The Mandalorian Chapter 13

(Photo by Disney+/Lucasfilm Ltd.)

After her debut as the live-action Ahsoka in the second season Mandalorian episode “The Jedi,” Dawson will return as the character. At the moment, it is unclear if any other Clone Wars or Rebels characters will also jump to live action, but it is easy to imagine Thrawn will appear at some point. It’s also easy to imagine Mikkelsen continuing on in the role.

Other potential characters from the animated show who could make their live action debuts in Ahsoka include Ezra, Mandalorian artist Sabine Wren, and Ghost pilot Hera Syndulla (and her son, Jacen). And considering Temeura Morrison’s renewed relationship with Lucasfilm over on The Book of Boba Fett, he could appear as the beloved Clone Captain Rex, who would still be alive at this point in Star Wars history.

But speaking of renewed relationships between Lucasfilm and Star Wars actors, Christensen — also set to appear as Darth Vader on the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series — will appear in the series as Anakin Skywalker. It is unclear how he will appear as Anakin died five or so years prior to the presumed setting of Ahsoka, but a galaxy of flashbacks, Force Ghosts, and a certain timey-wimey Jedi Temple makes his involvement relatively easy to explain. Instead, Christensen’s part in the show further cements Ahsoka’s importance to the overall Star Wars story despite debuting after Lucas completed the Prequel Trilogy.


Related: Everything We Know About The Book of Boba Fett


Who Is Creating Ahsoka?

Jon Favreau (L) and Dave Filoni

The Mandalorian brain trust of Filoni and Jon Favreau continue on with Ahsoka, although Filoni takes the primary writing role while Favreau serves as executive producer. The arrangement totally makes sense considering how central Ahsoka has been to Filoni’s work in the galaxy far, far away.

For the moment, we’ll also assume other members of The Mandalorian crew, like writer Christopher Yost, writer/director Rick Famuyiwa, and fellow directors Bryce Dallas Howard and Boba Fett’s Robert Rodriguez, may also join up, presuming they are free of The Mandalorian’s third season and their own feature film projects, of course.

Production is expected to begin sometime in 2022.


When Will We See It?

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by (c) 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. &TM. All Rights Reserved)

It is unclear when the series will debut, but the Star Wars television production pipeline gives us some clues: The Book of Boba Fett premieres this December with the first season of Andor and the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series seemingly set to debut in 2022. The Mandalorian will also, presumably, return in fall or winter next year which likely puts Ahsoka in a 2023 slot.


Read also: Every Upcoming Star Wars Movie And Series — With Key Details and Dates


Revenge of the Sith

(Photo by Industrial Light & Magic/TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

When Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith arrived in theaters in 2005, it did so on a wave of mixed expectations. On the one hand, fans were frothing to finally witness Vader’s full turn to the Dark Side, something they had been fantasizing about – in some cases – for decades. It had to be awesome, right? On the other hand, those same fans had seen the two previous films in the saga and, well, learned that sometimes it was helpful to hope for the best – but expect a poorly acted CGI-stuffed snooze-fest instead.


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According to the critics, though, George Lucas delivered, and their praise has pushed the movie’s Tomatometer score to a Certified Fresh 80%, making it not just the best-reviewed film in the Prequel Trilogy, but among the best-reviewed Star Wars movies ever.

So, Revenge of the Sith has the high ground – but does it deserve it?



That’s what we’re asking in the latest episode of our podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong, the final in a series of three special episodes in which hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis revisited the Star Wars Prequels to ask – two decades and a divisive set of sequels later – do Episodes I-III actually hold up? And are they even, perhaps, better than we ever gave them credit for? Joining them this week is Dorina Arellano, one third of YouTube’s Whirl Girls, movie and pop-culture fanatic, and co-host of Impolite Truths. Was she as seduced by George Lucas’s foray into the Dark Side as critics were at the time? Tune in to find out.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”



Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:


If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.


Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.


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Attack of the Clones

(Photo by ©Copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.)

Some people just don’t like Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. It’s not that it’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere – nope, we will never let the “I don’t like sand” moment die – though, according to many, it’s a few of those things. It’s more that this story of impending clone wars and doomed romance is – at least in the eyes of its critics – sappy, poorly written, terribly acted, and full of CGI that just doesn’t hold up. (Though there is that Yoda fight.)


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And yet… while legions of Star Wars fans consider Attack of the Clones the worst of any of the theatrically released Star Wars movies, the Tomatometer would beg to differ. In fact, not only does Attack of the Clones sit higher than The Phantom Menace and The Rise of Skywalker, according to the critics, it does so with a fairly decent Fresh score of 65%, with reviews praising George Lucas’s increased focus on action and move away from endless senate chit-chat.

Who is right? Audiences who deemed the film a Rotten franchise lowpoint? Or the critics who gave it a pass?



In the second podcast episode of our three-part special looking at the Star Wars Prequel trilogy, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong hosts Jacqueline Coley and Mark Ellis are picking up their lightsabers and slicing into Attack of the Clones. They’re tackling questions such as: Was Hayden Christensen really that bad as lovesick Anakin Skywalker? Did a totally unfettered George Lucas take his CGI obsession one step too far? And, yes, how good was it to see Yoda finally fight?

Our hosts are joined this week by comedian, actor, and co-host of podcast Blerds N the Hood, Jay Washington.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”


Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:


If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.


Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.


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


Star Wars Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace

(Photo by ©20th Century-Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection)

With the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy complete – satisfactorily or disastrously, depending on where you stand – and an Obi-Wan Kenobi series heading into production for Disney+ with Ewan McGregor returning to the title role and Hayden Christensen back as Vader, fans have been looking back at the once-derided Prequel Trilogy with fresh eyes… and coming out of the experience offering fresh takes.


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There is a growing sense, in some corners at least, that episodes I through III aren’t quite as bad as their reputations would suggest; in other corners, there is even the idea that the Prequels are good. Very good. At the very least, they were cohesive, and popped with awesome set pieces and some memorable characters.

But are some fans looking back with rose-colored glasses at the story of Anakin’s Dark Side seduction? Or has a couple of decades’ distance helped us see more clearly now what got lost in a blur of Jar Jar Binks and “I don’t like sand” and C-span–style senate debates at the time of their release: That the Prequels kinda… rock!?

For the next three episodes of our podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong, hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley will be journeying back to a galaxy not all that far away – the dawn of the Millennium – and asking whether the Tomatometer score is right for each prequel, beginning today with Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Does it really deserve its title as the second-worst reviewed Star Wars movie ever? We’re diving in.



Joined by unabashed Phantom Menace fan, Joseph Scrimshaw, comedian and co-host of the Force Center podcast, our hosts recall the anticipation and excitement that surrounded Episode I’s release, break down the movie’s epic finale, consider the film’s place in the evolution of online fandom, and debate whether this Prequel Trilogy kickoff was actually an indie flick in a blockbuster disguise.

Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”


Check out some more episodes of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong:


If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.


Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.


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


STAR WARS: EPISODE II-ATTACK OF THE CLONES, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi

(Photo by © Lucasfilm Ltd, Twentieth Century Fox)

The arrival of Star Wars: The Bad Batch on May 4 is another step in Star Wars’s growing presence on Disney+. With its offerings on the streamer previously confined to The Mandalorian and the extant feature films and animated series, Lucasfilm stunned fans and investors last December with an ambitious plan to produce as many as 10 television series for Disney+ in the next decade. In addition to its Disney+ roster, the company also intends to make at least three features by 2027.

So yes, there is a ton of new Star Wars movies and new Star Wars series flying our way.

Of course, fans of Star Wars media already knew the fictional galaxy could fuel hundreds of film and shows. They also hope the expansion of Star Wars content means there will be room for Jedi Knight protagonist Kyle Katarn to re-enter the canon.

And canonicity is a big deal for Star Wars. When Disney first bought Lucasfilm, they declared all previous Star Wars comics, novels, games, and cartoons (except for the long-running Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as non-canon “legends” of the Star Wars galaxy. The move was made to offer maximum freedom to the filmmakers involved in the Sequel Trilogy (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and Rise of Skywalker), but it didn’t take long for “Legends” characters and ideas to seep back into programs like Star Wars Rebels and The Mandalorian. And, as you will see in this guide to Star Wars’s streaming and theatrical future below, those senses of canon and continuity are as important to the galaxy far, far away as the Force itself.

Here we’ve gathered everything we know about every Star Wars movie and series coming to streaming and theaters in the next few years, and broken down how they fit into the emerging Star Wars galaxy. Tell us which new Star Wars projects you’re most excited about in the comments.


Disney+ Series


The Book Of Boba Fett

Boba Fett

(Photo by © Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Premiere Date: December 2021

What We Know: Announced in the closing moments of The Mandalorian’s second season last winter, the program will follow Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) as he reclaims his place in the galactic underworld. Whether or not the the series begins from the scene of him taking over Jabba the Hutt’s old palace, which we saw in The Mandalorian, remains to be seen. Along for the ride is Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), who owes a debt to Fett and whose own story seems to be spread across the various Star Wars shows – she is also scheduled to make an appearance on The Bad Batch (with Wen providing her voice). Behind the camera, El Mariachi director Robert Rodriguez – who directed Fett’s full return to Star Wars in a second-season Mandalorian episode – joins executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni as an Executive Producer and creative force in the story. According to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, the series will debut in December, although it is possible the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may delay that plan. That said, filming began in November 2020 and seems to have occurred without incident.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: As with The Mandalorian, the series will continue to develop the post-Empire galaxy in the era between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. But by focusing its gaze on the criminals, it gets to tell a wholly new story. Although, it is easy to imagine Fett’s old brigade of bounty hunters might stop by to wish him well on his new endeavor.


Star Wars Visions

Star Wars Visions

(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Premiere Date: 2021

What We Know: The 10-episode anthology series will feature leading Japanese anime studios as they bring a new spin to Star Wars locations and characters.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: As this is an anthology concerned with the distinctive styles of the participating animation studios, we’re not sure how it fits or even if it will be canon. With Disney+ uploading non-canon content like the Ewoks TV movies and Genndy Tartakovsky’s 2-D Clone Wars series in recent days, there is room for Visions to ruminate on the ideas of Star Wars without being bound to the state of the galaxy or Lucasfilm’s overall plans for ongoing stories. Although, with one of the episodes inspiring author Emma Mieko Candon’s upcoming novel, Star Wars Visions: Ronin, the program may yet prove to be a vital part of Star Wars.


The Mandalorian: Season 3

The Mandalorian, season 2 poster

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.)

Premiere Date: Early 2022

What We Know: Reportedly beginning production in early April, the program will begin a new story as Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) deals with the repercussions of becoming the heir apparent to the throne of Mandalore. Presumably, Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) will not be too thrilled about that development, but will it lead to them fighting for the Darksaber or hashing out some sort of accord? Also, will Djarin finally accept that he must help liberate the planet from the Imperial Remnant? Meanwhile, Grogu begins his training with Luke Skywalker. Although, it is easy to imagine circumstances will lead the Child back to Djarin.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: As the flagship show, The Mandalorian still sets the pace in the post-ROTJ galaxy. With Imperial Remnants still working towards some sort of plan to push back the New Republic – and the New Republic trying to create order in the generally lawless Outer Rim – the stage will eventually be set for the weakened Republic glimpsed in the Sequel Trilogy.


Andor

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: Diego Luna as Cassian Andor (Walt Disney Pictures)

(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)

Premiere Date: 2022

What We Know: One of two programs announced for Disney+ before the platform launched – the other being The MandalorianAndor has been long in the planning. Finally beginning production in November of 2020, the 12-episode series will star Diego Luna as his Rogue One: A Star Wars Story character, Cassian Andor, in a story set five years before the events of the film. Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, and Kyle Soller are along for the adventure, as is Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Montha, a key figure in the Rebel Alliance that the actor has played in Star Wars media since a scene cut from Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. And although Alan Tudyk was originally meant to reprise his role as K-2SO, the actor revealed in January of 2021 that the droid will not appear in the first season.

The series was originally developed by Jared Bush, but Rogue One writer Tony Gilroy is credited as creator. He also serves as showrunner, replacing The Americans’ Stephen Schiff, although his plan to direct the first three episodes was curtailed by the pandemic. Toby Haynes picked up the director chores alongside Ben Caron and Susanna White. Joining Gilroy in the writers’ room is his brother, Dan Gilroy, and House of Cards’ Beau Willimon. Schiff is also still onboard as an episode writer.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Thanks to its place in the timeline – five or so years before the original Star Wars – the program has the opportunity to expose hidden depths within the Rebel Alliance which could set up conflicts in the post-ROTJ era. Also, it could be a chance to establish Star Wars Rebels characters in live action while telling its own story of intrigue and suspense.


Obi-Wan Kenobi

STAR WARS: EPISODE III-REVENGE OF THE SITH, Ewan McGregor, 2005. Credit: Industrial Light & Magic/Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation/Courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Industrial Light & Magic/Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation/Courtesy Everett Collection)

Premiere Date: 2022

What We Know: Growing out of an abandoned Star Wars Story film, the series sees Ewan McGregor return as Obi-Wan Kenobi, the loyal Jedi sent into exile on Tatooine following the conclusion of the Clone Wars and the Old Republic’s descent into Empire. The cast also includes Joel Edgerton, Bonnie Piesse, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Moses Ingram, Sung Kang, Simone Kessell, Benny Safdie, and Maya Erskine. Edgerton and Piesse reprise their Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clone roles as Owen Lars and Beru Whitsun, although they now serve as guardians to a roughly ten-year-old Luke Skywalker. Also set to return: Prequel Trilogy star Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader.

The Mandalorian’s Deborah Chow serves as director and executive producer alongside Kennedy, McGregor, and Tracey Seaward. Joby Harold takes over writing duties from Hossein Amini, who left the project sometime in early 2020. Production on the six-episode limited series is reportedly underway right now.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Set 10 years prior to the original Star Wars film and focusing on a time when everyone presumed Obi-Wan was just meditating in the desert and waiting for Luke to grow up, it may offer some further insights into characters seen on The Book of Boba Fett or glimpsed on The Mandalorian’s various trips to Tatooine. But for longtime fans, the chance to see Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru again may be the program’s biggest gift.


Ahsoka

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by (c) 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. &TM. All Rights Reserved)

Premiere Date: TBD

What We Know: After her debut in The Mandalorian‘s second season, Rosario Dawson returns as the live-action version of the Star Wars: Clone Wars fan-favorite character. Although no plot details are as yet available, fans assume the series will pick up from Rebels‘ closing moments with Ahsoka continuing her search for the long-missing Ezra Bridger. That said, it is always possible that journey has ended and Ahsoka’s only mission is to track down Grand Admiral Thrawn. It is currently unclear how quickly the series will go into production or who will actually run the program. But considering Filoni’s long association with the character, the program may serve as his first live-action production as showrunner.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: In continuing Ahsoka’s story – and possibly resolving Ezra’s – the program serves as both a cap to her animated adventures and the beginning of a new era for the character. As it happens, her voice is heard toward the end of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, suggesting she is one with the Force by Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) time. Answering how she got there may be part of the show’s mission statement, but we’ll be quite happy if it takes another 10 years to reveal how her physical form meets its final end.


Rangers of the New Republic

Rangers of the New Republuc

(Photo by © Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Premiere Date: TBD

What We Know: A third new series from Favreau and Filoni – the others being The Book of Boba Fett and Ahsoka — will follow a group of New Republic soldiers in the same era as The Mandalorian. While Kennedy offered few details about this show during a Disney Investor Day presentation in December of 2020, she mentioned it will cross over with other stories from The Mandalorian and Ahsoka to 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.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: As the program is the most mysterious, the crossover seems to be the most tantalizing element. Will the liberation of Mandalore be saved for it? Or will a larger skirmish with the Imperial Remnant prove to be its focus? Also, considering the state of the galaxy in the Sequel Trilogy, did the Rangers’ mission fail? Definitely a question worth exploring.


The Acolyte

Star Wars: The Acolyte

(Photo by © Lucasfilm)

Premiere Date: TBD

What We Know: The long-in-the-works project from Russian Doll creator Leslye Headland and Lucasfilm story executive Rayne Roberts will focus on a character during the final days of the High Republic – a period roughly a century before the Skywalker Saga – who comes to know “shadowy secrets and emerging Dark Side powers.” The mystery/thriller series will also reportedly feature a martial arts element, so fans of the Star Wars: Masters of Teräs Käsi video game may finally get a chance to be recognized for their loyalty.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: The High Republic is the current focus of Lucasfilm’s publishing initiatives, so the series will presumably import some of its recently introduced novel and comic book characters to the streaming screen. Also, as the era is a fresh period in Star Wars history, it has the room to create new locales and situations free of the Skywalker Saga or even the galaxy as mapped by Favreau and Filoni.


Lando

(Photo by © Lucasfilm)

Premiere Date: TBD

What We Know: Dear White People’s Justin Simien is developing a limited series devoted to charismatic card player and scoundrel Lando Calrissian. While it is unclear who will play the title role, a teaser video featuring Lando’s unblemished Millennium Falcon shown during the 2020 Investor Day presentation suggests it will go back to the days before he met Han Solo.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: That all depends on when it takes place. A focus on the older Lando (played by Billy Dee Williams) could follow up on his promise to help Jannah (Naomi Ackie) find her people and offer us the first glimpse of the galaxy following the destruction of the New Republic and the First Order. A series primarily concerned with young Lando (played by Donald Glover) would be less concerned with lore and, potentially, revel in the fun of being a scoundrel. And, then, of course, the program could be about both things at once – a storytelling device Star Wars has yet to really employ in its live-action efforts.


Movies


Star Wars: Rogue Squadron

WONDER WOMAN, director Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot on set, 2017. ph: Clay Enos/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

(Photo by Clay Enos/©Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection)

Release Date: December 22, 2023

What We Know: First revealed at the 2020 Investor Day presentation, Rogue Squadron will be directed by Wonder Woman‘s Patty Jenkins and focus on a new generation of X-Wing pilots. In a video posted to her Twitter account, Jenkins revealed the story is personal as her father was a fighter pilot who lost his life in service to his country. She also subsequently clarified that the film will honor the Rogue Squadron video games and novels even as it flies off in its own direction.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: That all depends on when the film takes place. For the moment, we’re going to presume Star Wars feature films will continue to move forward from the time of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the new Rogue Squadron forms to aid whatever government replaces the New Republic. That means characters from the Sequel Trilogy like Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) could show up, but don’t rule out another big time-jump to set the film apart from the Skywalker Saga entirely.


Untitled Taika Waititi Star Wars Film

Taika Waititi

(Photo by Jasin Boland/©Marvel)

Release Date: 2025 (Our Guess)

What We Know: Although the industry knew about Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi’s Star Wars project for some time, Kennedy finally commented on it in December 2020, saying his approach to Star Wars will be “fresh, unexpected,” and “unique.”  She also pointed to his talent – which is evident in his films – and his “sense of humor” as two strengths which will set Waititi’s project apart from other Star Wars endeavors. Presumably, it will fill the Star Wars feature film slot Disney is currently holding for 2025; considering he is currently working with Disney on Thor: Love and Thunder for a February, 2022 release, the timing should work out.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Like Jenkins’s film, it all depends on when it is set. With thousands of years of lore available to explore, Waititi could do just about anything he wants – from a story set on the world where sentient creatures first felt the Force to a film set entirely in Ackmena’s (Beatrice Arthur) cantina from The Star Wars Holiday Special. And as Ragnarok proved, he can make just about any Star Wars setting a place of laughs, jeopardy, and thrills.


Rian Johnson’s Star Wars Trilogy: Episode I

(Photo by David James/ © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Lucasfilm Ltd. /Courtesy Everett Collection)

Release Date: 2027 (Our Guess)

What We Know: First announced in 2017, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson is expected to spearhead a new trilogy sometime in the next decade – writing and directing the first film himself. And although he reportedly reaffirmed his involvement as recently as this past February, no additional details are known. Currently, the director is expected to fast-track two sequels to his hit film Knives Out after Netflix paid almost half a billion dollars for the chance to stream them. Of course, that may not prevent his Star Wars trilogy from going forward as Lucasfilm seems happy to wait for him and build out different regions of the galaxy in the interim. Whether he’ll be done telling Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) mysteries in time to make a film to fill the 2027 release date Disney has mapped out for a Star Wars film is anyone’s guess.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Right now, it doesn’t. It’s just an agreement to make a series of movies, and as seen with Lucasfilm’s quick decision to cancel the Star Wars Story anthology of films in wake of Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s underperformance, that deal could dissolve at any moment. See also: the company’s about-face regarding a series of films to be developed by Game of Thrones executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.


A Droid Story

R2D2 C3P0

(Photo by Courtesy the Everett Collection)

Release Date: TBD

What We Know: As Kennedy described at the 2020 Investor Day presentation, the only Star Wars TV movie currently on the Disney+ roster will be an “epic journey” featuring a new hero guided by Star Wars‘ most famous droids, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Although the Lucasfilm president was light on story details, she did mention the project will be a chance for the company’s animation and live-action special effects groups to stretch their expertise to its limits.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Like Visions, the film may also be freed from canon. At the same time, that new hero whom Artoo and Threepio guide could become part of Patty Jenkins’s upcoming Star Wars: Rogue Squadron feature, a subsequent film, or, perhaps, a story set after well after Rey put an end to Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).


Untitled Kevin Feige Star Wars Film

Kevin Feige and Scarlett Johansson (Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

(Photo by Albert L. Ortega/WireImage)

Release Date: TBD

What We Know: Word first broke in 2019 that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was involved in developing a Star Wars film with Kennedy. At the time, Walt Disney Studios Co-Chairman Alan Horn said “it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together.” Like the first episode of the Johnson trilogy, it could end up becoming the Star Wars feature Disney releases in 2027. Then again, Feige’s calendar is much busier than Johnson’s and he’ll likely be deep into planing Phase 6 or 7 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the time the film would need to be shooting to meet that release date.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Not even Baskin-Robbins knows how it will fit into the rest of Lucasfilm’s plans for Star Wars.


Untitled J.D. Dillard Star Wars Project

JD Dillard

(Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)

Release Date: TBD

What We Know: According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sleight director J.D. Dillard and Marvel TV writer Matt Owens (Luke Cage) are developing some sort of Star Wars project for Lucasfilm. In the year since the story first broke, though, no additional details have come to light. And even at the time of reporting, it was unclear if the project would be a Disney+ series, TV movie, or feature film. That ambiguity makes it an even more tenuous project than Johnson’s trilogy.

How It Fits Into the Emerging Star Wars Galaxy: Curiously, Dillard made a brief appearance in The Rise of Skywalker as FN-1226, one of the stormtroopers Rey mindtricks during Chewbacca’s (Joonas Suotamo) rescue. Whether or not this would play into his project is unknown, but it does remind us that many First Order soldiers, stolen from their parents at a young age and conditioned to serve First Order interests, still deserve to be liberated. Well, the ones who survived the Battle of Exegol, anyway.


Which Star Wars projects are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments.

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Thumbnail image: Industrial Light & Magic/TM and ©copyright Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, © Lucasfilml Ltd, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

On February 21, 2020, the long-awaited final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars debuted with a curious story; instead of picking up with Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein) after her decision to quit the Jedi Order, the first few episodes focused on Clone Captain Rex (Dee Bradley Baker) working with Clone Force 99 (all voiced by Baker) to rescue a long-lost Clone Trooper named Echo (also Baker).  The squad, comprised of clones who didn’t grow in the vats quite right, do not follow orders without question, and approach their missions in unconventional ways, much to Rex’s dismay. Little did the fans know, but the story was a dress rehearsal for the next animated Star Wars program: Star Wars: The Bad Batch, debuting this Star Wars Day, May the 4th.

Fans caught a glimpse of the Bad Batch — the squad’s colloquial name among the more regimented clone battalions — much earlier, executive producer and head writer Jennifer Corbett told Rotten Tomatoes recently.

“[Going to series] was more in response to a combination of things because fans got to see the original story reel of the Bad Batch back in 2015 at Star Wars Celebration and there was a great reception [to it],” she explained.

Fans’ enthusiastic response led to featuring Clone Force 99 on Clone Wars once Disney+ picked up that series to complete its overall story and, ultimately, a program of their own.


The new series sees the Bad Batch experience “the transition from Republic to Empire,” as Corbett put it, with the squad — Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Crosshair, and Echo (now a member of the team) — on the wrong end of Imperial concerns and quickly on the run from faces that are familiar (other clones), but now the enemy. And if you’ve been keeping count, it means the cast is primarily comprised of clone characters, which puts Baker in the position of not only being the series’ star, but the majority of its ensemble. His primary credit on the show: “Dee Bradley Baker as The Bad Batch.”

“I look at [the credits] and I can’t believe it. It’s like nothing I’ve been asked to do,” Baker said.

The voice actor, also popular among fans thanks to his performance as Legends of the Hidden Temple’s narrator Olmec and creature characters like Appa and Momo on Avatar: The Last Airbender, has been the voice of the clones since the animated Clone Wars feature film in 2008. Though based on the voice and mannerisms of Temuera Morrison, who played the clones troops in the Star Wars prequels, Baker quickly became the clone voice thanks to his work as characters like Rex and Echo, who became much more individualized as Clone Wars continued.

“It’s just such a fantastic advancement from everything Star Wars that we were able to do with Clone Wars and to be involved with,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll ever get another assignment like this in my life. As a voice actor, you never see a project like this — maybe once in a career.”


“We wanted to push the fidelity of everything all the way through,” added supervising director Brad Rau, who also serves as an executive producer with Corbett. Though a new show, keeping Baker as the voice of the clones and keeping the overall style of Clone Wars was a very conscious decision on a part of the creative staff to maintain the continuity and visually inform the viewer how swiftly after Clones Wars this series takes place. Although, he noted, “we have clonetroopers in our show, and they’re very similar model to The Clone Wars, but they’re a little bit different.”

One difference viewers may notice in short order: the color-coding and personalized augmentation of trooper gear quickly disappears in favor of the uniform stormtrooper monochrome — a swift change as the clone army of the Republic becomes an Imperial military force.

Rau noted that “just seeing the clonetroopers as the forces of our evil army and how their gear, their vehicles, and their equipment has changed to be a little bit less colorful, less individual” changes the relationship to established Star Wars imagery in a way viewers may not immediately recognize consciously, but underscores one of the show’s themes about the transition to Empire.

“It’s interesting when you take an AT-TE tank, one that we’re used to seeing as a good-guy tank, and just strip it off color and paint it this boring gray, and then we’re playing very evil music as it comes marching down the street. And you think, ‘There’s no doubt, that’s a bad-guy tank,’” Rau explained.


Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Lucasfilm)

(Photo by Lucasfilm)

Another sign of the changing attitude with the arrival of the Empire: once the Bad Batch come home to Kamino after the Clone Wars end, they see Admiral Wilhulff Tarkin, not yet the Grand Moff of the Death Star, inspecting the troops and doubting the loyalty of the Bad Batch. The classic Star Wars baddie — played by Peter Cushing in the original film and voiced by Stephen Stanton in his animated appearances — is something of a “big fish” for The Bad Batch, according to Corbett.

“While he’s there to address certain things, I suspect that he’ll be pulled someplace to handle other important matters,” she added.

And once he is called away to those matters (and his destiny aboard the Death Star), a surprising person will take his place in the hunt for the Bad Batch once they make their escape from the Imperial ranks.

Along the way, the Bad Batch also meet a young female clone named Omega (Michelle Ang), whose existence may lead to a new mystery down the road. The character also continues a particular Star Wars animated tradition of introducing kid characters; Clone Wars did the same with Ahsoka and Star Wars Rebels followed suit with Ezra Bridger — to say nothing of Anakin Skywalker’s introduction in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace. To Rau, having a child in the midst of the action is key.

“These are essentially shows for kids,” he explained. “As big kids ourselves that still love Star Wars from when we saw it as kids, we never want it to get too dark; although, there are dark things that happen.”


Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Lucasfilm)

(Photo by Lucasfilm)

The character also changes the dynamic within the squad itself as it is presented with a new set of challenges the clone creators on Kamino never dreamed they would encounter.

“The things that they teach each other are really, really interesting and help keep [the Bad Batch] on their toes,” Rau said. “They’re not always just hitting the target now [and have to think], ‘Oh, wait a minute. When it’s not a military objective, how do we deal with raising this child? We don’t even know how to deal with the galaxy ourselves!’”

Baker added, “It’s a really wonderful thing to see how quickly some of the Bad Batch warm up to Omega, and it really adds an interesting layer to these kind of gonzo, improvisational, special ops soldiers.” To Baker, who has the strange task of keeping all these characters in his mind simultaneously, the addition of Omega adds “the story of what’s playing out, which it’s not just a matter of war and power, but it is [also] human.”

And playing those humans, er, clones, leads to a unique method of recording for Baker. He prefers to run through the script in order and switch between the Bad Batch characters (and any other clones who might be in the scene) live and on the fly.

“Once the specificity of the characters is nailed down, as it is by this point, it’s actually pretty easy for me to jump from one to the other,” he explained. Although he admitted Wrecker, the demolitions expert with a propensity for yelling, does present some difficulty. “When Wrecker gets excited or starts yelling, that brings a physical cost to the voice that I sometimes have to manage a little bit. But other than that, it’s amazingly easy to do.”

Baker is able to record two or three takes of an entire scene before a pause for notes from Corbett or Rau or for a moment to record specific lines to “rearrange the words or the inflection or the meaning of sentences, or add extra efforts, or modify the presence of voice to match what the blocking establishes.”


Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Lucasfilm)

(Photo by Lucasfilm)

And though the series is a showcase of Baker’s talents, it also retains the imprimatur of Clones Wars and Rebels supervising director Dave Filoni, who serves as the show’s creator even as he continues to chart aspects of Star Wars’ live action television efforts.

“The stuff he tells us is fantastic and amazing,” Rau said. As anyone who has heard him talk can attest, he has a rare gift for explaining Star Wars ideas and concepts.

“It’s a master class in writing Star Wars,” added Corbett, who also called Filoni’s involvement “crucial” in the development of The Bad Batch as a series.

The Filoni stamp means the show is also free to move between lighthearted stories and darker tales just like its predecessors, but with one interesting difference: “It’s a combination [of tones] because it is a dark time, but the fun adventures they get to go on and the places that they visit are different because there’s no war happening,” Corbett said.

Indeed, The Bad Batch is unique in that it occurs during a time of galactic peace. Sure, that peace may be an illusion and comes with some brutal hidden fees, but the Clone Wars are over, the Civil War is a decade or so from truly beginning, and the conflicts of the Mandalorian and Sequel Trilogy eras are undreamed of at this point in Star Wars history.


Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Lucasfilm)

(Photo by Lucasfilm)

“At least that’s a positive,” she continued. “But there are other things that they’re encountering in the galaxy that are equally as challenging for them.”

Hopefully, those challenges will thrill viewers and keep The Bad Batch on Disney+ until its eventual conclusion, which both Corbett and Rau alluded they have a plan for, but that discussion is for another time — Clone Force 99 and Omega’s journey is just beginning.


Star Wars: The Bad Batch debuts on Tuesday, May 4 with a special 70-minute premiere, followed by new episodes every Friday starting on May 7 on Disney+.

Updated with new release dates and images.

Whether it’s because the pandemic shut down live-action productions and increased demand for animated shows or that an overabundance of streaming options has exposed a vast pool of new talent and new titles, there’s never been a better time to be an animation fan. New animated series that release starting this year include family-friendly spin-offs of Pixar favorites, revivals of ’90s cartoons, and adult anime series full of action.

With so much to keep track of, we’ve prepared a list of the most exciting shows you should definitely check out when they release. Premiere dates are to be announced except where noted.


Debuted: February 5

Why We Couldn’t Wait: Right on time for the 70th anniversary of the comic strip, The Snoopy Show brings back the titular beagle, as well as the entire Peanuts gang for three new adventures. The whole gang’s here, from Woodstock, to Schroeder and his tiny piano. The show seems to mirror the animation style of the classic Bill Melendez–Lee Mendelson cartoons, which instantly makes this a must-watch.


DOTA: Dragon’s Blood (Netflix)

Debuts: March 25

Why We Can’t Wait: A show based on an insanely popular video game franchise, DOTA is already an exciting prospect, especially when focusing on the high fantasy aspect of the game. Add in the animation studio behind The Legend of Korra and you have show you can’t miss. The series will follow the story of popular character Davion, a Dragon Knight who gets involved in a story larger than himself that includes princesses and dragons. Netflix has had a good track record with fantasy animation, thanks to the success of both Blood of Zeus and Castlevania, so it should be an exciting time for fans of both high fantasy and video games to check out this animated adaptation.


Yasuke (Netflix)

Yasuke

Debuts: April 29

Why We Can’t Wait: Based on the fascinating story of Yasuke, a real man who became the first Black samurai and fought alongside a feudal lord in 16th century Japan. The show comes from LeSean Thomas and stars Lakeith Stanfield as the titular Yasuke. The logline for the six-episode series reads: “In a war-torn feudal Japan filled with mechs and magic, the greatest ronin never known, Yasuke, struggles to maintain a peaceful existence after a past life of violence. But when a local village becomes the center of social upheaval between warring daimyo, Yasuke must take up his sword and transport a mysterious child who is the target of dark forces and bloodthirsty warlords.” The promise of “a Japan of magic and mechs” means this will be more than just a period drama. The studio behind the last season of Attack on Titan is in charge of this show, which has one of the coolest concepts we’ve heard for this year, and a kickass lead voice actor. If you’re a fan of either Samurai Champloo or Afro Samurai, this should be right up your alley.


Star Wars: The Bad Batch (Disney+)

Debuts: May 4

Why We Can’t Wait: Introduced in the excellent last season of The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch is a unique squad of clones that look straight out of an ’80s action movie, the most badass soldiers this side of Coruscant. But they face a bit of a problem — the war is over, clones are being decommissioned, and the Jedi are gone. The action looks stunning, the transition-to-the-Empire setting is fascinating and full of potential, and the trailer is already promising lots of connections to The Mandalorian and the future of Star Wars. While we wait for more Baby Yoda, you might want to keep an eye out for The Bad Batch.


Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. (Hulu)

Debuts: May 23

Why We Can’t Wait: Co-created by Patton Oswalt, this animated show will center around the hilarious day-to-day life of Marvel supervillain M.O.D.O.K. The show seems like Marvel’s answer to Robot Chicken, with stop-motion animation being used to tell very R-rated jokes about the Marvel universe. The first tease showcased a handheld camera style that brings to mind The Office, and it’s been teased that the show will be able to pull characters from the X-Men comics, making this an intriguing new experience for Marvel fans.


Monsters At Work (Disney+)

Monsters At Work logo

(Photo by Disney+)

Debuts: July 2

Why We Can’t Wait: We’ve seen what happened before the events of Monsters, Inc., but what about what happens after? What happens when a society of monsters built on the idea of scaring kids changes to instead entertain kids and make them laugh? And how does Mike Wazowski get famous enough to have fans of his own? Monsters At Work aims to answer these questions with the story of a new worker (Tylor Tuskmon, voiced by Ben Feldman) at the Monsters, Inc. Facilities Team who dreams of becoming a jokester like Mike and Sulley. Many of the original voice actors are back, but what we really want to know is, where is Boo?


Rugrats (Nickelodeon)

Why We Can’t Wait: The original Rugrats helped make Nickelodeon a powerhouse in children’s animation back in the ’90s, thanks to its hilarious characters, progressive views on gender roles, and sharp commentary on adult life viewed from the eyes of toddlers. A reboot has been in the works since 2018, with a new promo featuring the new character designs releasing last year. The logline for the revival reads: “One of Nickelodeon’s all-time biggest hits returns with new adventures following Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Susie and Angelica as they explore the world and beyond from their pint-sized and wildly imaginative point-of-view.”


Marvel’s What If? (Disney+)

Why We Can’t Wait: What if Peggy Carter had been infused with the super-serum instead of Steve Rogers? What if T’challa had become Star-Lord? What if the Winter Soldier had to fight a bunch of zombified Avengers? After more than 20 films, we sort of know how the Marvel universe works, which means it’s time to shake things up! Marvel’s What If? promises to give fans wildly different stories with the characters we know and love, bringing back many castmembers and using animation to tell stories that would be difficult to tell in live-action. While we wait for Phase 4 to hit theaters, this show should get our collective imagination fired up.


Godzilla: Singular Point (Netflix)

Why We Can’t Wait: It seems Netflix is going all-out on a new anime MonsterVerse, with a recently announced Skull Island anime joining the upcoming Godzilla: Singular Point. This show boasts an impressive team behind it, with the studios behind the visually stunning Beastars and the global sensation My Hero Academia joining forces for a hand-drawn/CG animated hybrid following a group of scientists facing down tons of monsters. If that wasn’t enough, the trailer teased the return of classic kaiju monsters like Rodan and Gabara, and also the giant mech and savior of humanity, Jet Jaguar from the 1973 film Godzilla vs. Megalon.


The Way of the Househusband (Netflix)

Why We Can’t Wait: Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: A deadly yakuza who is used to torture and kill without remorse, a man so renowned they call him “The Immortal Dragon,” decides to walk away from his life of crime and become the best househusband around. That’s the premise behind Netflix’s upcoming anime comedy The Way of the Househusband, a show about a former yakuza boss whose entire life is devoted to supporting his wife and taking care of domestic tasks, while frequently running into former rivals and associates.


Unicorn: Warriors Eternal (HBO Max and Cartoon Network)

Unicorn: Warriors Eternal

(Photo by Cartoon Network/HBO Max)

Why We Can’t Wait: Genndy Tartakovsky is one of the most exciting voices working in animation today. Whether it’s with Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, or Sym-Bionic Titan, he’s always pushing the boundaries of what TV animation can do. After going full R-rating with his prehistoric epic, Primal, Tartakovsky is returning to kids’ action animation with Unicorn: Warriors Eternal. The show follows a team of ancient teenage heroes who need to protect the world from supernatural forces. Tartakovsky is a master when it comes to action animation, and he knows when to blur the line between kid-friendly content and darker, more adult content. A show about monsters, dark magic, and ancient warriors seems like a perfect fit for Tartakovsky.


Maya and the Three (Netflix)

Maya and the Three

(Photo by Netflix)

Why We Can’t Wait: High fantasy and mythology-heavy adventures are always at least interesting, and there is a criminally low number of Mesoamerican-inspired shows out there, instantly making Maya and the Three a show worth keeping an eye out. Created by The Book of Life’s Jorge R. Gutierrez, the show is the epic tale of a warrior princess embarking on a quest to recruit legendary warriors and save the world of both men and gods. Mesoamerican mythology is full of potential for epic storytelling, so to see a show take advantage of it and involve warrior princesses and gods certainly peaks our interest.


The Cuphead Show (Netflix)

The Cuphead Show

(Photo by Netflix)

Why We Can’t Wait: Do you like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Do you enjoy old-timey animation and tons of references to Max Fleischer cartoons? Well, we do, so we cannot wait to watch The Cuphead Show. Based on the highly successful and critically acclaimed video game Cuphead, this animated show follows the misadventures of two brothers across a surreal and cartoonish world full of dangers and villains. In terms of pure aesthetics, this is promising to be one of the most unique TV shows of 2021, and if it’s anything like the video game, the story is going to get wild.


Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness (Netflix)

Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness

(Photo by Netflix)

Why We Can’t Wait: The Resident Evil franchise is absolutely massive, and it’s kind of insane we hadn’t got a TV show until now (but now we’re getting 2 of them, and one is animated! The show is taking place after the events of the fourth game and it brings back fan favorites Claire Redfield and Leon S. Kennedy for a new fight against zombies. Plot details are very scarce, but if you’ve played a Resident Evil game before, you have some idea of how this will go, there will be tons of scares, thrilling action, and probably a rocket launcher used to kill the final boss — just how we like it.


Blade Runner: Black Lotus (Crunchyroll and Adult Swim)

Blade Runner: Black Lotus

(Photo by Adult Swim)

Why We Can’t Wait: Produced by anime legend and Cowboy Bebop creator, Shinichiro Watanabe, Blade Runner: Black Lotus is a brand new anime set in the Blade Runner cyberpunk universe, set to feature some prominent characters from the franchise. Even if we don’t know much about the plot of the show, this is an exciting concept. After all, Blade Runner inspired tons of classic works of anime, from Akira, to Ghost in the Shell, and even Cowboy Bebop, so to bring the franchise to the medium it influenced the most seems like a no-brainer. The colorful visuals as well as the epic and complex sci-fi concepts of the original film seem perfectly built for the animation medium, which is limited only by your imagination.


Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai (HBO Max)

Gremlins: Secrets of Mogwai

(Photo by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Why We Can’t Wait: First of all, this animated prequel to Gremlins is written by Tze Chun, who worked on the last couple of seasons of Gotham, another prequel to a popular franchise, and that show was absolutely bonkers. Though we haven’t seen much for Secrets of the Mogwai, we do know that the show will be set in 1920s Shanghai and tell the story of how the old man from Gremlins met a young mogwai called Gizmo. There will be a chase for a legendary treasure, and the promise of “colorful monsters” according to HBO Max, and even an army of evil gremlins, meaning this show has all the ingredients of filling the void left by the Godzilla cartoon from the ’90s, making us incredibly excited to see how this turns out. The series, already renewed for a second season, features a star-studded voice cast including Izaac Wang, Ming-Na Wen, BD Wong, James Hong, A.J. LoCascio, Gabrielle Green, and Matthew Rhys.


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Another Game of Thrones actor joins the Star Wars universe, clips released of Oprah Winfrey’s talk with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Starz will revive Party Down, Apple TV+ gathers star power for anthology series, Michael James Shaw joins The Walking Dead, and more top TV and streaming news.


TOP STORY

Indira Varma Playing Mystery Role in Obi-Wan Kenobi Series

Indira Varma

(Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Indira Varma will follow her Game of Thrones costar Pedro Pascal into the Star Wars universe. Varma, who played Ellaria Sand to Pascal’s The Viper in the HBO fantasy series, has joined the cast of Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, starring opposite Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen.

The series plot and details on Varma’s character are being kept under wraps, Deadline reports, and Disney has yet to confirm the casting yet. But Varma did like a Tweet sent by Kim Cattrall, who was congratulating Varma on the role (whatever that specific role may be).

McGregor and Christensen are playing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in the series, which is set 10 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and before the events of A New Hope.

It’s unlikely that lovers The Viper and Ellaria Sand would reunite in the Star Wars universe, since The Mandalorian takes place after the time of Return of the Jedi during a period in which Obi-Wan Kenobi is dead — a reunion is not impossible, however, depending on Varma’s character and storyline.


Meghan Markle Tells Oprah She Feels Liberated in New Clip from Special Airing on Sunday

Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle and Prince Harry speak to Oprah Winfrey in a special, Oprah with Meghan & Harry, that airs on Sunday at 8 p.m. on CBS. The program’s first teaser released on Wednesday revealed that Markle feels the Palace takes part in the disinformation circulating about the couple.

“I don’t know how they could expect that after all of this time we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us,” Meghan said. “And if that comes with risk of losing things, I mean ― there’s a lot that has been lost already.”

In a second clip released on Friday, Markle lamented not being able to speak for herself previously.

“As an adult who lived a really independent life to then go into this construct that is, um, different than I think what people imagine it to be, it’s really liberating to be able to have the right and the privilege in some ways to be able to say, ‘Yes … I’m ready to talk,’” Markle told Winfrey of previously having to turn down her invitation to be interviewed.


Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Alison Brie, and Merritt Wever to Star in Anthology Series Roar at Apple TV+

Nicole Kidman in March 2020

(Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)

All-stars in front of the camera and behind it: GLOW creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch have gathered a stellar lineup of actresses for Roar, an anthology comedy series based on a book of darkly comic short stories from Cecilia Ahern.

Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Alison Brie, and Merritt Wever will be front and center in the series, the first show to come from Flahive and Mensch in their overall deal with Apple. Kidman and Ahern will also be producers on Roar.


NEW TRAILERS: Thunder Force: Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer Poke Fun at Superhero Tropes

Thunder Force is the team made up of Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer when they get their hands on some superhero powers. Also stars Jason Bateman and Bobby Cannavale. Premieres April 9 (Netflix).

More trailers and teasers released this week:
Shadow and Bone is based on Shadow and Bone and Six of Crows, two books from Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels. The series stars Jessie Mei Li (Alina Starkov) and Archie Renaux (Malyen Oretsev) with Ben Barnes (General Kirigan). Premieres April 23 (Netflix).
Law & Order: Organized Crime welcomes back Christopher Meloni as Detective Elliot Stabler, the role that originated in SVU. Premieres April 1 (NBC).
• Calls is a new mystery series in which every episode consists of 12-minute audio-only phone calls, Stars Pedro Pascal, Clancy Brown, Mark Duplass, Rosario Dawson, Paul Walter Hauser, Joey King, Lily Collins, Nick Jonas, and Judy Greer. Premieres March 19 (Apple TV+).
Made For Love stars Cristin Milioti as Hazel Green, on the run from her controlling tech-billionaire husband Byron (Billy Magnussen), who, she finds out, implanted a monitoring device into her brain. The series also stars Ray Romano as Hazel’s father Herbert. Premieres in April (HBO Max).
• Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse is a Jack Ryan spin-off telling the origin story of John Kelly (Michael B. Jordan), a Navy SEAL who is seeking justice for the murder of his pregnant wife when he discovers a global conspiracy. Jamie Bell, Colman Domingo, Jodie Turner-Smith, and Guy Pearce also star. Premieres April 30 (Amazon Video).
• Jupiter’s Legacy, based on the comic book by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, is about the world’s first superheroes, whose offspring aren’t living up to the expectations their parents had for them. Stars Josh Duhamel, Ben Daniels, and Leslie Bibb. Premieres May 7 (Netflix).
• Bad Trip is a hidden-camera comedy movie co-written by and starring Eric Andre, and also starring Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, and Michaela Colin. Premieres March 26 (Netflix).
• Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal is a documentary using FBI wiretaps and reenactments, featuring Matthew Modine as Rick Singer, the man at the center of the college admissions scandal. Premieres March 17 (Netflix).
• Hysterical is a documentary about the boundary-breaking women of stand-up comedy, including Fortune Feimster, Rachel Feinstein, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Judy Gold, Kathy Griffin, Jessica Kirson, Margaret Cho, Lisa Lampanelli, Wendy Liebman, Carmen Lynch, Bonnie McFarlane, Sherri Shepherd, and Iliza Shlesinger. Premieres April 2 (FX).
• In the South ParQ Vaccination Special, the town’s citizens desperately want the COVID vaccination. Premieres March 10 (Comedy Central).

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CASTING: The Walking Dead: Michael James Shaw Will Play Commonwealth Leader Mercer

Michael James Shaw for BLOOD & TREASURE

(Photo by Kharen Hill/CBS via Getty Images)

Blood & Treasure and Bull star Michael James Shaw will play Mercer in the 11th and final season of The Walking Dead. In the comics, Mercer is a mohawked Marine and a leader at the Commonwealth, where he gets into a romance with Princess and is in the comic through the final issue. (Deadline)

Sissy Spacek and Ed O’Neill will star in the Amazon sci-fi series Lightyears, about a couple who have known for years about a deserted planet buried underneath their backyard. When a young man enters their life, he shakes up their world, including revealing a lot more about that secret planet.

David Oyelowo will star opposite Gugu Mbatha-Raw in HBO Max’s The Girl Before, the four-part adaptation of JP Delaney’s bestselling thriller about a woman who moves into an architect’s beautiful home, but quickly learns he has exacting rules and that the women who lived in the house before her met a tragic end.

Another casting for Showtime’s The First Lady: Dakota Fanning will play Susan Ford, the daughter of Betty and President Gerald Ford, in the anthology series.

Ione Skye has joined the cast of HBO Max’s Made For Love. (Variety)

The Strain and SMILF star Miquel Gomez is joining the cast of CBS’s FBI: Most Wanted, playing special Agent Ivan Ortiz, a former LAPD Gang Unit officer and FBI counter-terror agent. He joins the series in the March 9 episode. (Deadline)

Cobra Kai stars Vanessa Rubio, who plays Carmen, Johnny Lawrence’s love interest and the other mother of Johnny’s mentee, Miquel, and Peyton List, who plays Tory Nichols, Miguel’s ex and Samantha Russo’s rival, have been promoted to series regulars for Season 3 of the Netflix drama.

Unorthodox Golden Globe-nominee Shira Haas will star as Golda Meier in an adaptation of Francine Klagsbrun’s book Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel. Barbra Streisand is producing the series. (Deadline)

Sons of Anarchy alum Theo Rossi will star in True Story, the Netflix limited series starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes as a comedian (Hart) and his brother (Snipes), who have a wild night out in Philadelphia and find their life completely upended. Rossi plays a man who is a super fan of Hart’s Kid, and who follows him around on all his tour stops. (Deadline)

Constance Wu will star with Chris Pratt and Taylor Kitsch in Amazon’s The Terminal List. The conspiracy thriller features Pratt playing Reece, a Navy SEAL whose platoon is killed, leading him and his best friend (Kitsch) to seek vengeance on those responsible. Wu will play a journalist who helps Reece by turning a media spotlight on the conspiracy he’s fighting against.


PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT: Starz Wants to Party Down With a New Revival

PARTY DOWN

(Photo by Colleen Hayes / © Starz / Courtesy: Everett Collection)

It’s time to Party Down at Starz: the network is developing a six-episode revival of the 2009-10 comedy about a Los Angeles cater-waiter team. Rob Thomas and Paul Rudd return as producers, while John Enbom will be showrunner. “At the end of 2019, the Party Down cast and producers were all reunited at a retrospective for the show hosted by Vulture. We had such a good time that we wanted to find a way to get the team back together again,” Thomas said. “The cast is so busy these days that finding a window where we can do it may require trigonometry, but we’re determined to make it happen.” No cast has been set yet, but the all-star line-up of the original series included Ken Marino, Adam Scott, Jane Lynch, Martin Starr, Ryan Hansen, Lizzy Caplan, and Megan Mullally. 

Disney+ is making a live-action remake of Pinocchio, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the voice of Jiminy Cricket, Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy, Tom Hanks as Geppetto, Luke Evans as The Coachman, Keegan-Michael Key as the voice of Honest John, Lorraine Bracco as the voice of a new character named Sofia the Seagull, and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as the voice of Pinocchio. Robert Zemeckis (Forest Gump) will direct the movie and write it with Chris Weitz (American Pie).

Spike Lee is directing a docuseries about New York City for the 20th anniversary of 9/11. NYC Epicenters 9/11→2021½ will air on HBO, and will find the proud NYC filmmaker covering the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, and now COVID, via interviews with more than 200 people. “As a New Yawker who bleeds orange and blue (the colors of New York City), I’m proud to have a ‘Spike Lee Joint’ about how our/my city dealt with being the epicenters of 9/11 and COVID-19,” Lee said. “Over centuries pundits and straight haters have proclaimed NYC was dead and stinkin’, only to be proved wrong. You will lose ya money betting against New York, New York.” (NY POST)

A&E and Lifetime are teaming up for a four-hour, two-hour documentary on Janet Jackson. With the working title Janet, the special will mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Jackson’s first album release in 1982. Janet will take a deep dive into her personal life and career as one of the most successful pop artists of all time, and, of course, all about the scandals involving her family and brother Michael, and the infamous “Nipplegate” Super Bowl halftime show. The special is expected to air in 2022.

HBO Max is in production on 8-Bit Christmas, a retro-feel  movie about a 10-year-old boy, in the 1980s, who wants nothing more than the hottest videogame for the holidays. June Diane Raphael and Steve Zahn play Jake’s (Winslow Fegley) parents, and Neil Patrick Harris plays the adult version of Jake.

Bosch will end with season 7 on Amazon this summer, but star Titus Welliver will star in a spin-off series on Amazon sister streaming network, IMDB TV. Welliver will co-star with Mimi Rogers, a.k.a. Honey Chandler, Harry Bosch’s enemy who he’ll now have to work with in the new series. Madison Lintz will also return for the sequel, playing Bosch’s daughter, Maddie.

After last week’s dismal Golden Globes telecast, the Screen Actors Guild awards folks have decided to air a more modest ceremony for the SAGs on April 4: pre-taped, no host, no red carpet, mini speeches, brief comedy bits, and the whole thing clocking in at just an hour.

The Batman co-writer and Netflix’s Project Power writer Mattson Tomlin will be the showrunner and executive producer on an anime series version of Terminator for Netflix.

SpongeBob SquarePants is getting another spin-off series: The Patrick Star Show. The prequel will find Patrick (Bill Fagerbakke) living at home with his ‘rents, and hosting a TV show in his bedroom.


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Sure, it was a bummer that so many TV productions were delayed in 2020. But that just means 2021 is going to be filled with even more excellent television to distract you from whatever is happening in the real world. High-profile Marvel projects are finally premiering on Disney+ — including WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and more — and long-anticipated seasons are headed back to TV  — American Horror Story season 10, The Witcher season 2 (here’s hoping), and The Walking Dead bonus season 10 episodes and season 11, for example.


Related: The Most Anticipated Movies of 2021


Among the big 2021 TV offerings, there are new superheroes — Javicia Leslie’s debut in Batwoman, the latest Arrowverse addition Superman & Lois — some real-life heroes — Aretha Franklin, The Rock — space-based series, crime procedurals, and much, much more. Check out our list of the most anticipated TV premieres of 2021 — we’ll add new ones as new premiere dates are announced.

Be sure to bookmark this list of anticipated 2021 TV and streaming shows and let us know in the comments which 2021 shows you’re most excited about.


Jan-Mar | Apr-June | July-Sep | Oct-Dec | TBD



January


Starring: Ralph Macchio, William Zabka
Release Date: January 1

It’s the ultimate grudge match! Season 3 offers a three-way feud now that a new sensei lords over the Cobra Kai dojo.

Critics Consensus: By pairing its emotional punches with stronger humor, Cobra Kai’s third season finds itself in fine fighting form.



Starring: Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski, Anna Baryshnikov, Toby Huss, Adrian Enscoe
Release Date: January 8

Season 2 finds poet Emily Dickinson struggling to be published and pinning her hopes on newspaperman Sam Bowles (Finn Jones). Read more: “Dickinson and Hawkeye Star Hailee Steinfeld Relishes Playing Strong-Willed Characters Who ‘Use Their Voice’

Critics Consensus: With stronger writing and a never-better Hailee Steinfeld, Dickinson finds surer footing in its second season without losing any of its strange delights.



Starring: Matthew Goode, Teresa Palmer, Alex Kingston
Release Date: January 9

Witch Diana Bishop escapes to the past with vampire Matthew Clairmont to escape the fallout from their taboo relationship and solve the mysteries of their supernatural existence.

Critics Consensus: Grounded by Matthew Goode and Teresa Palmer’s infectious chemistry and a healthy dose of visual splendor, A Discovery of Witches’ sophomore season makes slipping eras look easy.



Starring: Nicholas Ralph, Samuel West, Callum Woodhouse, Anna Madeley, Rachel Shenton
Release Date: January 10

James Herriot’s books, based on his life as a rural veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire, get the Masterpiece treatment in this seven-part series.

Critics Consensus: With a winsome cast, picturesque setting, and plenty of heart, All Creatures Great and Small is a gentle reminder that good drama can be as soothing as it is entertaining.



Starring: Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Yetide Badaki, Bruce Langley
Release Date: January 10

Shadow Moon rejects his destiny, seeking a quiet life and guidance from the Orishas, the gods of his Black ancestors; meanwhile his dad Odin, the Norse All-Father, persists in pulling Shadow back into the war between gods.

Critics Consensus: Though it’s unlikely to bring anyone back into the fold, American Gods’ tighter focus and strong performances may be enough for fans still holding out hope for a solid finish.



Starring: Gil Carrillo, Frank Salerno
Release Date: January 13

The true story of California serial killer Richard Ramirez, who stalked Los Angeles in the 1980s. Gil Carrillo, then a detective in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the legendary homicide investigator Frank Salerno take viewers step-by-step through the grisly crimes.



Starring: Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris
Release Date: January 15

Avengers Wanda Maximoff and Vision kick off the MCU’s Phase 4 in a series set in idyllic sitcom environments, passing through several decades, and questioning reality.

Critics Consensus: Part loving homage to TV history, part off-kilter mystery, WandaVision is a wonderfully weird and strikingly bold step into the small screen for the MCU — and a perfect showcase for Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany.



Starring: Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Nell Tiger Free, Rupert Grint
Release Date: January 15

From M. Night Shyamalan, Servant’s second season finds Philadelphia couple Sean and Dorothy reeling from the disappearance of the baby they know as their son Jericho and his nanny Leanne, who is part of a cult. Read more: M. Night Shyamalan Teases Four-Season Blueprint for Servant.

Critics Consensus: Servant’s second season serves up a solid — if not always convincing — set of thrills with a better grasp on its dark humor.



Starring: Javicia Leslie, Camrus Johnson, Nicole Kang, Meagan Tandy
Release Date: January 17

Gotham City is getting a new Batwoman: down-to-earth Ryan Wilder stumbles upon the Batsuit, opening up a new destiny for the once-disadvantaged new hero.

Critics Consensus: Batwoman’s second season survives a soft reboot, maintaining the show’s excellence while giving Javicia Leslie plenty of room to spread her wings.



Starring: Jared Padalecki, Keegan Allen, Lindsey Morgan
Release Date: January 21

Texas Ranger Cordell Walker returns home to Austin after two years undercover. The widower must reconnect with his two children and make nice with his new partner, one of the first female Texas Rangers in history.



Starring: Hunter Schafer
Release Date: January 24

The special episode of the HBO hit drama series follows Jules over the Christmas holiday as she reflects on the year. Creator Sam Levinson directed the episode and co-wrote it with star Schafer, who also serves as an executive producer.



Starring: Daveed Diggs, Jennifer Connelly, Sean Bean, Lena Hall, Mickey Sumner, Alison Wright
Release Date: January 25

A new power struggle emerges in season 2, following the arrival of Mr. Wilford (Bean) and a new train in the season 1 finale. A dangerous rift opens, dividing the survivors between their loyalty to Snowpiercer and to Wilford. Meanwhile, Melanie investigates a new discovery that could change humanity’s fate.



Starring: Alan Tudyk, Sara Tomko, Corey Reynolds
Release Date: January 27

A shape-shifting alien crash-lands on Earth and assumes the identify of a doctor in the small town of Patience, Washington. As “Dr. Harry” tends to patients, questions arise about the death of the town’s previous doctor.


February


Starring: Queen Latifah, Chris Noth, Lorraine Toussaint
Release Date: February 7

In this reimagining of the classic series, Queen Latifah stars as Robyn McCall, an enigmatic woman with a mysterious background who uses her skills to defend those with nowhere else to turn.



Starring: Cress Williams, Christine Adams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain
Release Date: February 8

Black Lightning season 3 keyart (The CW)

(Photo by The CW)

The CW’s superhero series sees Jefferson Pierce serve up the final season of Black Lightning’s justice. Based on the DC Comics series, the show holds a 94% Tomatometer score going into season 4.



Starring: Rebecca Breeds, Kal Penn, Nick Sandow
Release Date: February 11

FBI Agent Clarice Starling returns to the field in 1993, six months after the events of The Silence of the Lambs. “[Dr. Lecter] was just a part of the process that is triggering her to go back to the real demons that are in her life,” star Rebecca Breeds told Rotten Tomatoes about her character. Read more: “Clarice Star Rebecca Breeds: Series Is a Step in the Evolution of The Silence of the Lambs Heroine.”



Starring:
Release Date: February 16

From Nahnatchka Khan (Fresh Off the Boat) and action superstar Dwayne Johnson, the story of The Rock’s formative years unfolds in an 11-episode comedy series. Johnson will appear in each episode as the focus and inspiration of the series.



Starring: Joel Kinnaman, Michael Dorman, Sarah Jones, Jodi Balfour, Shantel VanSanten, Krys Marshall, Sonya Walger
Release Date: February 19

Season 1 of the alternate-history drama presented a world in which the USSR beat the U.S. to the moon. Season 2 picks up a decade later when Cold War tensions are at their peak, the U.S. and the Soviets race to control the moon’s resources, and NASA is militarized.



Starring: Tyler Hoechlin, Elizabeth Tulloch
Release Date: February 23

The world’s most famous superhero and most famous journalist together face their biggest challenge yet: being modern-day working parents.



Starring:
Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Josh McDermitt, Christian Serratos, Ross Marquand, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lauren Cohan, Seth Gilliam
Release Date: February 28

The Walking Dead extended its 10th season by six episodes, which will hit in February and see the survivors rebuilding their lives post-Whisperers, while facing several existential crises over their community, their emotional well-being, and humanity overall.  The series will end with season 11, also expected later this year.


March


Starring: Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Daniel Brühl
Release Date: March 19

Mackie and Stan reunite following the events of Avengers: Endgame as Sam Wilson/Falcon and Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, respectively. The bickering superheroes team up in an adventure that takes them around the world, testing their abilities — and their patience. Brühl returns as villain Helmut Zemo.



Starring: Cynthia Erivo, Courtney B. Vance
Release Date: March TBD

Erivo stars in an exploration of Aretha Franklin’s musical genius and career. The series examines the gospel prodigy and outspoken civil rights champion’s impact and lasting influence on music and culture worldwide.



Starring: Iman Vellani
Release Date: Winter TBD

A new Marvel TV hero is on the horizon: Awkward 16-year-old Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American growing up in Jersey City, is a great student, a gamer, fan-fiction scribe, and a massive fan of superheroes — Captain Marvel in particular. Her world changes dramatically when Kamala gets super powers like the heroes she loves.



April

Hemingway: Miniseries (PBS)
Starring: Jeff Daniels
Release Date: April 5

Award-winning filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick take on the life of literary icon Ernest Hemingway. The three-part, six-hour documentary series paints an intimate picture of Hemingway the writer and explores the writer’s limitations and biases as an artist and a man of his time.



Starring: Jessie Mei Li, Archie Renaux, Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, Kit Young, Ben Barnes
Release Date: April TBD

Based on Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse novels, the fantasy series is set in a war-torn world in which a young soldier attracts sinister forces when she reveals a magical power that might unite her world.


May


Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, Richard E. Grant
Release Date: May TBD

The God of Mischief steps out of his brother Thor’s shadow in a new MCU Phase 4 series that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame.


Summer TBD


Starring: Jeffrey Wright, Samuel L. Jackson, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Josh Brolin, Hayley Atwell, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Renner, Paul Rudd, Natalie Portman, Michael Douglas, Michael B. Jordan, Sebastian Stan, Michael Rooker, Tom Hiddleston
Release Date: Summer TBD

Marvel Studios’ first animated series What If… ? reimagines famous events from Marvel films in unexpected ways. The series features a voice cast made up of the MCU biggest stars reprising their roles.


Power Book III: Raising Kanan: Season 1 (Starz)
Starring: Mekai Curtis, Patina Miller, Omar Epps
Release Date: Summer TBD

From creator, showrunner, and executive producer Sascha Penn, the third installment in the Power franchise tells the story of the early years of Kanan Stark, portrayed by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson in the original series.


The Nevers: Season 1 (HBO)
Starring: Laura Donnelly, Ann Skelly, Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Rochelle Neil, Eleanor Tomlinson, Amy Manson, Pip Torrens, Denis O’Hare, Zackary Momoh, Elizabeth Berrington, Kiran Sawar, Nick Frost, Ben Chaplin
Release Date: Summer TBD

Laura Donnelly in The Nevers (screencap)

(Photo by HBO)

Set in Victorian-era London, this 10-episode science-fiction drama series follows a gang of women who manifest unusual abilities, then face relentless enemies as they embark on a mission that could have world-changing repercussions. The series was originally helmed by Joss Whedon, who stepped down in November 2020 after filming wrapped. HBO subsequently issued a statement that the series would premiere in summer.



December

The Book of Boba Fett: Season 1 (Disney+)
Starring: Temuera Morrison, Ming-Na Wen
Release Date: December TBD

The Mandalorian season 2 Boba Fett poster

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

As teased in a surprise end-credit sequence in the season finale of The Mandalorian, the legendary bounty hunter’s journey will continue in The Book of Boba Fett, created by Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau. Read more: “Everything We Know About The Book of Boba Fett.”



TBD


Starring: Michael C. Hall
Release Date: TBD

A 10-episode limited series reunites series star Michael C. Hall and showrunner Clyde Phillips to revive America’s favorite serial killer Dexter Morgan. The series is set to begin production in early 2021, with a tentative premiere date in the fall of 2021.


Star Wars: The Bad Batch: Season 1 (Disney+)
Starring:
TBD
Release Date: TBD

The Bad Batch is an elite squad of clones (first introduced in The Clone Wars) that vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army. Members each possess a singular exceptional skill that makes them extraordinary soldiers. Together the formidable crew take on mercenary missions in this animated series set in the post–Clone Wars era.



Starring: Jared Harris, Lee Pace
Release Date: TBD

The 10-episode series based on Isaac Asimov’s influential (think: Star Wars) science-fiction novel trilogy is from David Goyer, Josh Friedman, and Skydance Television and chronicles the epic saga of The Foundation, a band of exiles who discover that the only way to save the Galactic Empire from destruction is to defy it.


Girls5Eva: Season 1 (Peacock)
Starring: Sara Bareilles, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Paula Pell, Busy Philipps
Release Date: TBD

From Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt writer and co-executive producer Meredith Scardino, the series follows a ’90s one-hit-wonder girl group that reunites to give their dreams one more shot. Tina Fey serves as executive producer.



Starring: Henry Cavill, Anya Chalotra, Freya Allan, Joey Batey, MyAnna Buring
Release Date: TBD

Monster-hunter-for-hire Geralt of Rivia continues his journeys in season 2. Based on the book series by Andrzej Sapkowski, the series follows Geralt as he finds love, battles all forms of beast, and stumbles into relationships that together can loosely be called a family.


Vikings: Valhalla: Season 1 (Netflix)
Starring:
Bill Murphy, Yvonne Mai
Release Date: TBD

From The Fugitive writer Jeb Stuart, the new saga begins 100 years after the original series concludes and dramatizes the lives of famous Vikings including Harald Hardrada and Erik the Red. Vikings creator Michael Hirst serves as executive producer.



Starring: Jeremy Renner, Hailee Steinfeld, Vera Farmiga, Brian d’Arcy James
Release Date: TBD

In another installment of the MCU’s Phase 4, Renner reprises his role as Avenger Hawkeye to introduce another skilled Marvel Comics archer, Kate Bishop (Steinfeld).



Starring: Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Caleb McLaughlin, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp
Release Date: TBD

While David Harbour’s Hopper did not meet his end in the climactic battle of season 3, “It’s not all good news for our ‘American’; he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human… and other,” creators the Duffer Brothers revealed in a press release announcing the start of season 4 filming. “Meanwhile, back in the States, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long buried, something that connects everything.” Read more: “Everything We Know about Stranger Things Season 4.”


Y: The Last Man: Season 1 (FX on Hulu)
Starring:
Diane Lane, Ashley Romans, Ben Schnetzer, Olivia Thirlby, Amber Tamblyn, Marin Ireland
Release Date: TBD

Based on DC Comics’ series of the same name, Y: The Last Man explores a world in which an apocalyptic event has wiped-out every mammal with a Y chromosome, except for one human male and his pet monkey.


Law & Order Organized Crime: Season 1 (NBC)
Starring:
Christopher Meloni
Release Date: TBD

Meloni reprises his Law & Order: SVU role as Elliot Stabler, who returns to the NYPD to lead a new task force following a major personal loss. After a decade away, he must adapt to a changed city, police department, and criminal justice system as he takes on powerful crime syndicates.



Starring: Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon, Joel Edgerton
Release Date: TBD

Based on Colson Whitehead’s 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel for fiction of the same name, this series is helmed by Barry Jenkins and follows a young Georgia woman’s journey to freedom as she escapes on the very literal, very secret underground railroad.



Starring: Brian Cox, Jeremy Strong, Kieran Culkin, Sarah Snook, Matthew McFadyen, Nicholas Braun, Alan Ruck, Hiam Abbass
Release Date: TBD

Succession s2

(Photo by HBO)

Revisit the insanity of the dysfunctional Roy family dynasty after its 2020 Outstanding Drama Series Emmy win. The four grown children of media tycoon Logan Roy (Cox) return to undermine each other as they each grasp for control of their father’s legacy. But he’s not retired yet.



Starring: Beanie Feldstein, Sarah Paulson, Clive Owen
Release Date: TBD

The third installment of the award-winning true-crime anthology series from producer Ryan Murphy returns with the story of Bill Clinton’s impeachment.



Starring: Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Leslie Grossman, Billie Lourd, Evan Peters, Adina Porter, Lily Rabe, Angelica Ross, Finn Wittrock, Macaulay Culkin
Release Date: TBD

The 10th season of Ryan Murphy’s FX horror anthology is expected to premiere in 2021. Us Weekly magazine reports that the season will be subtitled Pilgrim and is scheduled to start filming on February 1 in Provincetown, Massachusetts, with production concluding on March 6.


American Horror Stories, Season 1 (Hulu)
Starring: TBD
Release Date: TBD

Ryan Murphy’s Hulu horror film anthology is also expected this year, and frequent star of Murphy titles Sarah Paulson (ACSAHS, Ratched) revealed that she will direct an episode.



Starring: Donald Glover, Brian Tyree Henry, LaKeith Stanfield, Zazie Beetz
Release Date: TBD

Donald Glover in Atlanta

(Photo by Matthias Clamer/FX)

The third and fourth seasons of the award-winning comedy from the mind of Donald Glover are expected to film concurrently in 2021 as up-and-coming rapper Paper Boi achieves more success.



Starring: Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Kayvan Novak, Harvey Guillen, Mark Proksch
Release Date: TBD

Harvey Guillen, Kayvan Novak, Mark Proksch, Natasia Demetriou, and Matt Berry in What We Do in the Shadows

(Photo by Russ Martin/©FX)

Created by Jemaine Clement, star of the 2014 film of the same name, the series takes place on Staten Island, where the lives of four vampire roommates are filmed documentary-style. Guest stars in this series — where literally anything can happen — have included Clement, Taika Waititi, and Jonathan Brugh, reprising their roles from the film, as well as Tilda Swinton, Evan Rachel Wood, Danny Trejo, Paul Rubens, Wesley Snipes, Craig Robinson, Mark Hamill, Lucy Punch, and more.



Starring: Pamela Adlon
Release Date: TBD

Pamela Adlon in Better Things

(Photo by Suzanne Tenner/FX)

The award-winning FX comedy series centers on a single mom and actress trying to raise her three daughters in Los Angeles.



Starring:
Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner
Release Date: TBD

Ozark

(Photo by Steve Dietl/Netflix ©2020)

Neck deep in a cartel money-laundering operation, financial advisor Marty Byrde (Bateman) and his wife Wendy (Linney) were actively involved in some shocking season 3 murders. The first half of the 14-episode fourth and final season is expected to premiere in 2021, with the second half expected to debut in 2022.


Reservation Dogs (FX)
Starring:
D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, Lane Factor
Release Date: TBD

Cast of FX series Reservation Dogs

(Photo by Shane Brown/FX)

The half-hour comedy series from Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, follows four Native teenagers in rural Oklahoma who both commit crime and fight it.


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

Dark troopers in The Mandalorian season 2

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Updated on Dec. 21, 2020 with information on The Book of Boba Fett and new images released by Disney+.

It is probably no surprise Ant-Man director Peyton Reed would employ the Dark Troopers for maximum terror. But is, in an episode filled with the unexpected, one of the few things viewers of The Mandalorian could have foreseen in the season 2 finale. It is an emotional moment fans will be talking about for some time to come.

OK, and that other scene.

So let’s dive into The Mandalorian “Chapter 16: The Rescue” and consider what comes next for Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), Grogu, Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison). and the rest of our unlikely gang.


The following contains spoilers about The Mandalorian, season 2, episode 8: “Chapter 16: The Rescue.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.


In Chapter 15, Djarin Declared War on Moff Gideon

Giancarlo Esposito is Moff Gideon in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2 Chapter 15

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Djarin and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) freed Mayfeld (Bill Burr) from a New Republic prison planet to help them track down Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) light cruiser with the ultimate goal of getting Grogu back. In the attempt, Djarin was forced to remove his helmet and Mayfeld finally made a reckoning with his old commander. They also managed to get Gideon’s coordinates. After letting Mayfeld go, Djarin sent a message to Gideon declaring war.


A Rescue Plan Proceeds, but the Rescuers Require Rescuing — and the Force Provides

Cara Dune (Gina Carano), Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado) the Mandalorian, (Pedro Pascal), Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackoff) in The Mandalorian, season two.

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Slave I attacks an Imperial Lambda-class shuttle, taking control of it and retreiving its most precious cargo: Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi). To save his own neck, he agrees to help Djarin with rescuing Grogu.

Djarin and Boba Fett recruit Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff) and Koska Reeves (Mercedes Varnado), giving Kryze an opportunity to recover the Darksaber.

The rescue plan takes shape with Kryze reminding everyone to leave Gideon to her: feigning to be the Imp shuttle crew under attack by Fett aboard Slave I, the team infiltrate the cruiser by crash-landing the shuttle in the cruiser’s only launch bay. Kryze, Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen), Reeves, and Dune make their way to the bridge, dispatching any Imps they encounter along the way. But Gideon is not on the bridge.

Djarin heads for the brig to recover Grogu, but first his attempts to  seal the compartment containing the Dark Troopers has mixed success, as one Dark Trooper escapes the bay and gives Djarin a mighty struggle. Fortunately, only the pure Beskar steel can pierce the droid’s armor. Finally defeating the trooper with his Beskar spear, Djarin flushes the rest into space.


The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) , Grogu and Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito) in The Mandalorian season two

Arriving at Grogu’s cell, he finds Gideon brandishing the Dark Saber over the child. After a brief conversation, Djarin agrees to let him go in exchange for Grogu. Gideon claims he already got what he wanted from the youngling: its blood. Nevertheless, the two end up fighting and when Djarin sees the Darksaber cannot cut through his armor, he counters Gideon with the spear: defeating him long enough to put him in cuffs, collect Grogu, and take the Darksaber.

Once on the bridge, Kryze is incensed to discover the Darksaber now belongs to Djarin. As Gideon explains, she can only recover it — and the throne of Mandalore — in combat. Gideon continues to sew doubts just as the Dark Troopers make their way back onto the ship. The group prepares for another fight as a single X-Wing emerges from hyperspace.


Grogu in The Mandalorian season two

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

The X-Wing’s pilot turns out to be the Jedi who Grogu contacted back on Tython and his superior skills make quick work of the Dark Troopers (much to Gideon’s dismay). Arriving on the bridge, the Jedi is revealed to be Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), who agrees to protect the child and train him.

The bond between Grogu and Djarin is strong and the two have an emotional goodbye, complete with Djarin taking his helmet off so the child can see the face of his father. The Jedi departs with the child.

Sometime later, Fett and Fennec make their way to Jabba’s palace on Tatooine. There, they find Bib Fortuna in charge of the Hutt’s former holdings. Fett dispatches the Twi’lek and, presumably, assumes command of the criminal empire.


Luke Skywalker’s Arrival Forever Changes the Path of The Mandalorian, Removing Grogu

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in The Mandalorian season two

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

While we always had Luke on our list of available Jedi, we never really expected Djarin’s path to cross with his; in fact, we’ve always said we were more than happy to keep the Skywalkers out of The Mandalorian‘s quadrant of space. Nevertheless, it was thrilling to see the Jedi at the height of his powers undoing the menace of the Dark Troopers so ably realized by Reed. And since we’re heaping praise on his directing chops, he also gave Luke an incredibly heroic fight scene.

Then there’s Luke’s reveal itself. While many fans online had hoped to see Sebastian Stan take Hamill’s place in this era of Star Wars, a de-aged Hamill appeared for the conversation with Djarin. Although, it is unclear if Hamill was ever on set. It is possible they used an updated version of the same techniques used in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to feature the late Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin and a de-aged Carrie Fisher — a credited body double for “the Jedi” indicates this the case. It is also possible Marvel’s de-aging techniques were used, allowing Hamill to play the part for the key conversation. Either way, we got to see Luke as he appeared nearly 40 years ago and as a full Jedi Master. It makes us wish we could see Hamill and Luke in this period more often.

Just not on The Mandalorian.


Grogu and the Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) in The Mandalorian season two

It is easy to see this as the conclusion to the story creator Jon Favreau first developed before the series proved to be a massive success. While Dave Filoni’s part of the galaxy offered alternative tutors like Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson), Ezra Bridger, and even, as we speculated, Jedi Master Yaddle, delivering Grogu to Luke brings the series back to its initial tone: a program made in the spirit of Return of the Jedi and inspired by kids playing with Star Wars action figures. If The Mandalorian had ever been positioned as a limited series like the upcoming Marvel Studios program WandaVision, this would definitely be a satisfying place to end things — even if Djarin is left alone at the end. Going back to the westerns and samurai films that inspired Star Wars to begin with, it’s thematically consistent for the Mandalorian to go back to his solitary wandering.

But this is no longer the Way for him. In his quest to deliver Grogu to the Jedi, he saw alternative paths and despite his best efforts to be a side character in his own story, Din Djarin will have to face the facts: he is the star with a seemingly unavoidable destiny.


Always Questions Are the Future

The Mandalorian, season 2 poster

(Photo by )

Djarin’s destiny lead us to a number of questions. As does that incredible tease of Boba Fett’s future at the end of the episode. With the program’s initial premise seemingly resolved, its third season is wide open with possibilities.

Is this the end of “Lone Mando and Cub?” A constant criticism of the show has been its wandering nature. Inspired by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s manga series Lone Wolf and Cub, the format allowed the show to take episode-length detours like Chapter 10’s Frog Lady charter or Chapter 6’s prison break. It meant the directors could come on to the show and essentially make large-budget Star Wars fan films while Favreau moved the overall plot along. Nonetheless, Chapter 10 was criticized as filler, and even we wondered how much longer the show could do episodes like it as its own mythology built up. The deason 2 finale seemingly resolves this by severing Djarin from his cub. But considering all the times we heard about their bond — and the marketing slam dunk surrounding Grogu — we doubt it will be too long before they are reunited.

What is the Book of Boba Fett? As the stinger scene came to a close, it revealed “The Book of Boba Fett” will begin in December 2021. Presumably, this will be the program’s third season with a new focus on the infamous bounty hunter as he takes Jabba’s place in the galactic underworld. But is that all we’ll get? Season 2 left Djarin with a lot to process, and we’d hate to go a whole season without seeing him working through it. At the same time, we’d love to see Fett round up bounty hunters like IG-88, Dengar, and Bossk to enact whatever plans he has in mind. We also need to see the infamous crime-ridden world of Nar Shaddaa realized in live action. Also, the instant disdain Kryze and Fett had for one another is worth exploring. Fett’s claim to be recognized as a Mandalorian in Chapter 14 is pretty strong. Perhaps resolving his status — a point of contention which even predates the Expanded Universe — will also be an aspect of the story.

Of course, there is some confusion about “The Book of Boba Fett” being its own standalone series. Until we get a clarifying press release, we will assume it is the program’s next phase.

UPDATE: Favreau appeared on GMA to give a few details, including the news that The Book of Boba Fett is a full series arriving in December 2021.


READ MORE: “Everything We Know About The Book of Boba Fett


Will Djarin and Kryze actually fight? It is curious to see Kryze sticking to the letter of the law this time. Back on Star Wars: Rebels, Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar) was able to hand her the Darksaber without even so much as a verbal sparring session — although, the two women certainly had enough arguments in the past to count as a fair fight. This time, though, it appears she needs to win the Darksaber. It seems Gideon may have undermined her authority in the past by revealing how she came into possession of the weapon. Now, she’s taking no chances. But if Djarin continues to wear his armor after revealing his face to Grogu and Luke, Kryze is now the inflexible adherent to a Way, which only undermines her cause. Will she learn not to be as hidebound or will the two have to fight for the throne? As Sackhoff told us recently, “Just because she thinks that she is the rightful ruler and just because she thinks she’s ready to lead doesn’t mean she is.”

Will Djarin sit the throne of Mandalore? Then again, Djarin’s destiny may be something he definitely doesn’t want: the throne of Mandalore itself. As he was a foundling brought up in the Way of the Mandalore, he is not Mando by blood or a member of one of the clans. It both makes him a good candidate for leadership and someone who will find nothing by conflict in taking on those duties; nevertheless, it seems clear the series is headed toward the liberation of Mandalore and, for the moment, he holds the Darksaber.

Will Gideon weaken the New Republic with the power of his voice? As seen in the finale, Gideon is a threat even when bound. As an ex-ISB officer, it seems unlikely any counterpart in New Republic intelligence will be able to break him; in fact, it seems possible his presence in an interrogation cell could undermine the Republic to such an extent that it sets up in the ineffectual government seen in the Sequel Trilogy. At the same time, Esposito told reporters earlier this year that viewers will learn more about him in the next few seasons: will he use his background as means of weakening his adversaries?

Where is Grogu in the Age of Resistance? Some thirty years after the events of Chapter 16, Luke will neglect to tell Rey (Daisy Ridley) about Grogu. In our reality, there are practical reasons for this — The Mandalorian was only beginning development when Star Wars: The Last Jedi was filmed — but now that we know Luke will train him, the child’s whereabouts in the Sequel Trilogy will have to be accounted for at some point. Of course, this could change if training goes badly — and we know Luke isn’t the best tutor. It is possible events in the short term will drive Luke and Grogu apart; meaning he would never consider the child a Jedi or his pupil.

From a certain point of view, of course.

The Mandalorian season 2 is now streaming in its entirety on Disney+


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

As The Mandalorian nears the end of its second season, Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) must make a difficult choice in his attempt to rescue Grogu. In doing so, he also offers an unlikely opportunity for a former foe. While not as focused on the larger universe as recent episodes, this week once again proved The Mandalorian is more than capable of telling its own tales on its own terms.

So let’s dive into Chapter 15: “The Believer” and discover why writer/director Rick Famuyiwa is overdo for his own Star Wars story.


The following contains spoilers about The Mandalorian, season 2, episode 7, “Chapter 15: The Believer.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.


Last Week, Grogu Was Baby Yoda–napped

Dark Trooper and Grogu in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2 Chapter 15

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Arriving on Tython so Grogu can use Jedi temple ruins to contact a Jedi willing to train him, Djarin encountered Boba Fett (Temuera Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Fett’s main concern is the recovery of the armor Djarin took from Cobb Vanth (Timothy Olyphant) and offered to protect the child in exchange for it. Sadly, Fett and Shand’s help was not enough to prevent the Imperial Remnant from abducting Grogu. Djarin quickly formed a plan to save him, but it requires the assistance of former Imperial sharpshooter, Mayfeld (Bill Burr).


Din Djarin and His Accomplices Use Deadly Force To Hunt Moff Gideon

(L_R): Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen) and Cara Dune (Gina Carano) in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2 Chapter 15

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Instead of the prison break last week’s episode appeared to tease, Cara Dune (Gina Carano) uses her authority as a New Republic Marshal to secure Mayfeld’s release into her custody.

As part of Djarin’s plan, Mayfeld needs to use his knowledge of Imperial codes and procedures to ascertain the coordinates of Moff Gideon’s (Giancarlo Esposito) light cruiser. Once he hears Grogu’s life is in the balance, Mayfeld agrees to assist. Needing direct access to an Imperial terminal, he suggests setting course for the secret mining operation on Morak.

Once on the planet, Hess and Djarin disguise themselves as Shoretroopers to infiltrate a refinery for highly-volatile mineral rhydonium. When attempting to access an Imperial network in the mess hall with the terminal, Mayfeld backs out after noting Valin Hess (Richard Brake) among the officers. The two have history. Desperate to find Grogu, Djarin removes his helmet so the terminal can complete a facial scan. Unfortunately, all of their mucking about attracts the attention of Hess, but the Imperial officer only wants to congratulate them, as they were the only transport team to make it back to base. Things turn sour when Mayfeld darkly reminisces about the Burnin Konn engagement of Operation: Cinder, a mission which led to the deaths of roughly 10,000 troopers. When Hess dismisses the losses, Mayfeld shoots him.

The resulting firefight leads to Hess and Djarin’s escape, thanks to timely assists by Dune, Shand, and Fett. Djarin recovers his armor and Dune decides to let Mayfeld go after seeing him hit one of the rhydonium transports from the Slave I hatch and blowing up the entire Imperial base.

Leaving Mayfeld on Morak, Djarin sends a message to Gideon declaring war.


A Change of a Hardened Heart Suggests Imperial Goons Are Not All Created Equally

Stormtrooper and Shoretroopers in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2 Chapter 15

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Mayfeld’s reappearance here is a surprising change from his more villainous debut last season in Chapter 6, “The Prisoner” — also directed by Famuyiwa. It is, nevertheless, a welcome change as Mayfeld shows a hidden depth under his quips. Concern for the loss of life is not a quality the Empire or the Remnant values, and this growing concern was clearly a key reason Mayfeld walked away from the Imps after Burnin Konn.

As it happens, Operation: Cinder was part of Sheev Palaptine’s contingency plan to cripple the galaxy — Rebels and Imperials alike — should he ever perish. While on its face, it was meant to bring ecological devastation to world like Naboo and Burnin Konn, the high casualty counts were also part of the design. It is doubtful Hess or Mayfeld knew the real reasons for the operation, though, or the other aspects of Palpatine’s plan, the retreat of certain Imperial forces to the Unknown Regions.

Nevertheless, their reactions here illustrates a distinct difference in character. Hess is a true believer in the Empire’s definition of “order,” while Mayfeld was probably a conditional Imp at best. As seen in Solo: A Star Wars Story and intimated by Luke Skywalker’s desire to leave Tatooine, people joined the Imperial military because they are out of options. Typically, the training crushes a person’s spirit and turns them into loyal goons like Hess, but sometimes a moral center survives.

It is clearly the point of Famuyiwa’s script as Mayfeld proved to be more honorable than the other characters he introduced in Chapter 6: “The Prisoner.” It also suggests Famuyiwa has a longer-form Star Wars story of his own to tell. His directorial debut in the galaxy, Chapter 2: “The Child,” was a fabulous self-contained adventure seemingly inspired by the simple question “What if Boba Fett fought Jawas?” Chapter 6, his debut as a writer (with Christopher Yost), continued with the seemingly one-off stories, while introducing a compelling set of miscreants, Mayfeld included. While it is possible he will stay on Morak to help the indigenous population fend off Imps and pirates — a worthy conclusion to his tale — it is also possible Famuyiwa has found a way to highlight the struggles of more common people caught between the never-ending conflicts in the galaxy.

And with Star Wars expanding its television footprint to 19 series(!) in the next few years, we have to wonder if Famuyiwa will apply his craft to, say, Rangers of the New Republic. He is a great a filmmaker, and it’s clear he can do great things in the Star Wars format, so we think it is time to set him loose on a series or a feature film. He is more than capable.

Although, considering Dune declared Mayfeld dead while letting him go, we also have to wonder if he will have to dodge those Rangers in the upcoming series or befriend them.


Questioning The Remnant

Giancarlo Esposito is Moff Gideon in THE MANDALORIAN, season 2 Chapter 15

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

While we ponder Mayfeld’s future in New Republic space, we also have to consider the Remnant’s place in all of this.

Is Another Operation: Cinder Afoot? While Palpatine’s contingency plans were meant to cripple the Remnant and the New Republic in short order, both factions endured. Is the chaos Hess said would soon happen part of another contingency? The forces that will become the First Order and the Final Order are already ensconced in the Unknown Regions by this point, so sacrificing more Imps to hobble the New Republic feels on-point for the Sith Lord. Provided he’s still issuing commands in his bizarre afterlife, of course.

What Is The Remnant’s Command Structure? Expanding on a question we’ve asked before, it is still unclear if these Imperial Remnant enclaves are working in concert or independently of one another. In the Star Wars: Battlefield II campaign, directives regarding Operation: Cinder and other aspects of Palpatine’s contingency are delivered to high ranking Imps via prerecorded holo-messages from the Emperor himself. The secrecy involved suggests Palpatine may have encouraged Remnant forces to splinter as part of the plan to cripple anyone not in the Unknown Regions. At the same time, it is possible Gideon united the factions into one organized Remnant. But even if that is the case, it still leaves us to wonder if Gideon is working at Palpatine’s behest or for his own ambitions.

How Strong Is the ISB? The Imperial Security Bureau definitely gives our heroes pause, but its strength only seems to extend to Remnant controlled zones or specific operations directed by Gideon, himself a former ISB operative. Is the ISB a credible threat? If so, why did the ISB lose track of Djarin and Grogu following the events on Nevarro last season?

Why Did the Terminal Recognize Djarin’s Face? From Mayfeld’s explanation of the terminal system, we expected the facial scan to be another layer of the verification process. If that is true, why did it recognize Djarin’s face? The simplest explanation, of course, is that the scan is just a simple logging system instead of a security function. Which may mean Gideon will use the record of the Mandalorian’s face against him.

Will Djarin Really Carry On Under the Helmet? Although all the Imps who saw his face are dead and Mayfeld choose to ignore what he saw, we can’t help but wonder how Djarin can continue to wear the armor after being seen. On the one hand, he’s seen plenty of Mandos this season who do not live by the Way of the Mandalore. On the other, he’s still a religious zealot who has yet to reconcile the Way with the evidence of his own eyes. Perhaps, like Mayfeld said, Djarin will do what he must to get Grogu back and, after retrieving him, will leave the armor with Boba Fett; in fact, that feels like the right note to end the season on. We’ll know soon enough, though, as next week is the season finale.

The Mandalorian streams on Disney+.


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

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. 


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

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

This week, The Mandalorian gave fans of the old Star Wars Expanded Universe the same sort of buzz it gave Ahsoka Tano fans last week: the thrill of recognition. From using video game ideas to restoring the cool of a fan-favorite character, the episode gave the Star Wars galaxy back a lot of the texture it accrued in the 1990s, but lost when Disney bought the brand.

Also, actor Temeura Morrison, writer Jon Favreau, and director Robert Rodriguez reminded us why Star Wars’ original wearer of Mandalorian armor exuded so much swagger. Now that Boba Fett is once again part of the story, let’s dig into “The Tragedy” and speculate on what these EU callback may mean for the galaxy.


The following contains spoilers about The Mandalorian, season 2, episode 6, “Chapter 14: The Tragedy.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.


A Jedi Encounter Set Their Path

Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson) in THE MANDALORIAN

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Acting on a tip from Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) traveled to Corvus, where he and his child ward met Ahsoka Tano (Rosario Dawson, pictured), a Force-user trained in the Jedi arts. Although she could not train the child — whose name, she informed the Mandalorian, is Grogu — she sent the pair to Tython, where the ruins of an ancient Jedi temple may allow Grogu to contact a Jedi capable of training him. With their business complete, Djarin and Grogu left Ahsoka to continue her search for Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn.


A Tragedy Occurs at the Jedi Temple

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

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Arriving on Tython and reaching the temple ruins with remarkable haste, Djarin places Grogu on a central stone orb. At first, the child seems incapable of doing anything Jedi-like, but after the Mandalorian sees Slave I entering atmosphere, he notices Grogu has established contact with the temple and raised some sort of signal beam/ray shield. Unable to collect Grogu from it, he prepares for another fight.

Descending into the nearby valley, he soon meets his apparent opponents: Boba Fett (Morrison) and Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Fennec reveals Fett saved her from death while Fett reveals … well, not much about how he survived on the sands of Tatooine. The bounty hunter’s greatest concern is the return of his armor and offers to protect Grogu in exchange. Djarin, still adhering to the Way of the Mandalore, believes Fett has lost his right to the armor as he has been unmasked.

The point is academic, though, as Imperial Remnant troop carriers break atmosphere. Djarin, who took off his jetback during the exchange, runs back to the temple ruin to collect Grogu while Fennec and Fett get ready to fight the Imps.

Despite their numbers, the Remnant stormtroopers are overwhelmed by Fennec’s ease with a rifle and Fett’s impressive skill with a Tusken gaffi stick. Djarin, meanwhile, finds he cannot push through the ray shield to get Grogru. Soon, he joins the fight while Fett sees an opportunity to collect his armor from the Razor Crest.

And its a good thing he does as Djarin and Fennec are soon cornered by Imps, but Fett flies over head and uses nearly all of the tricks in his armor to inspire fear in the Imperial ranks. He also uses the rocket on his jetpack to destroy the troop carriers as they retreat.


Giancarlo Esposito in Lucasfilm's THE MANDALORIAN, season 2, Chapter 14

(Photo by © 2020 Lucasfilm Ltd. & ™. All Rights Reserved.)

Moff Gideon (Giancarlo Esposito), observing the scene from his light cruiser in the upper atmosphere, sends down a turbolaser bolt to destroy the Razor Crest and a squad of Dark Troopers to collect the child. The maneuver is successful and Gideon, finally, has possession of Grogu and his Midi-chlorian-rich blood.

Fett proves he is the rightful owner of the armor and a man of his word. Since he failed to protect the child, he offers his services in retrieving Grogu from the Empire. Fennec does likewise and the trio make their way to Nevarro where New Republic Marshal Cara Dune (Gina Carano) tells Djarn where he can find former Imperial sharpshooter Mayfeld (Bill Burr); a key part of the Mandalorian’s rescue plan. Also, because the child has been abducted, it appears she will aid Djarin in springing Mayfeld from prison.


Ghosts of the Expanded Universe

Jedi temple in video game Star Wars: The Old Republic video game

(Photo by BioWare)

From Tython to Fett to the Dark Troopers, this week’s episode proved just how deep into Star Wars lore Favreau and his collaborators are willing to delve for story and action.

Tython is the starting planet for Jedi Knights and Jedi Consulars in the Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. Set thousands of years before the events of Chapter 14, it is still an active hub of the Jedi Order and — at least in that game — the group’s ancestral homeworld. This conflicts with the Sequel Trilogy, which states the ocean world of Ahch-To is the original home of the Jedi, but there’s room for inconsistency when characters are talking about events in antiquity. Clearly, both worlds felt the presence of the Jedi early in the Order’s history.

Also, the Tython seen here is a much sparser world than the one in the game, suggesting Favreau reserves the right to alter EU concepts to better fit his story.

Nevertheless, the callbacks continue with the look of the temple ruin, which more than resembles the Trayus Core on Malachor V; the sanctum Darth Traya escapes to in the latter parts of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II — The Sith Lords. In that Sith shrine, she is able to tell the player’s character, a Jedi in exile named Meetra Surik, about the far future. She even alludes to Boba Fett in her prognostications.


STAR WARS EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Jeremy Bulloch, as Boba Fett, 1980

(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm)

Fett himself, of course, was revived in the Expanded Universe. Despite his apparent death in Return of the Jedi, writer Tom Veitch and artist Cam Kennedy were quick to bring him back in Star Wars: Dark Empire. The comic book series would lead to plenty of post-Return adventures for the famous bounty hunter. But it is important to remember the EU was cursed with various levels of continuity and in the most important tier, the so-called G-Canon (for George Lucas), Fett was still being digested in the innards of the Sarlacc.

It was important, therefore, for Favreau to declare on no uncertain terms that this is, indeed, Boba Fett standing before Din Djarin. In doing so, he restored a lot of the coolness the character lost over the years. Since his major scenes in the Original Trilogy see him failing against an partially trained Jedi and a mostly blind Han Solo, he began to look dopey when compared to Mandos like Kryze and Djarin. But now that we’ve seen him be a capable fighter with nothing but a Gaffi stick, we’re more than glad to see he survived the Pit of Carkoon.

Maybe we’ll even learn how he did it someday…

The Dark Troopers, meanwhile, bring elements of the first Star Wars first-person shooter into canon. Star Wars: Dark Forces was a revelation for fans upon its release in 1996 thanks to its Doom-like format and its nods to the larger Star Wars story. In it, mercenary (and future Jedi) Kyle Katarn stumbles into an Imperial plot to create a new battledroids and powered armor for an elite squad of troopers. Sadly, Dark Forces and its sequels — collectively known as the Jedi Knight series — were dumped from any sort of canonicity when Disney declared the EU a collection of legends. The ships Katarn used, the Moldy Crow and the Raven’s Claw, remained part of the universe thanks to some tabletop games, but Kyle was lost.

The presence of the Dark Troopers several years after the events of Dark Forces suggests Gideon’s resources are far more vast than we’ve been led to believe. They also make the Dark Trooper project an undisputed part of Star Wars history.

All of which adds to the excitement of the episode, particularly for those whose interest in Star Wars was kept alive in the early-to-mid 1990s thanks to the first games and stories emerging from the EU.


Expanded Questions

Jedi Master Yaddle in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

(Photo by 20th Century Fox/Lucasfilm)

Of course, all of these EU elements returning leads to a number of questions about Star Wars history, the shape of things in the New Republic era, and other characters Djarin could meet.

Is Kyle Katarn Back in the Picture? The appearance of the Dark Troopers leaves us wondering how much of Dark Forces is canon. Is there room again for Kyle Katarn? Favreau willingness to use EU ideas suggests he may appear — even if his part in recovering the Death Star plans has been erased from history. If so, he may be a capable teacher for Grogu. Then again, Star Wars: Jedi Knight Dark Forces II gave players the option to make Kyle switch to the Dark Side. If he is back, his nature could be dubious.

How Strong Is the New Republic’s Hold on the Galaxy? Considering the Remant’s freedom to invade an Inner Core world like Tython, the New Republic’s grasp on the galaxy sure feels tenuous. This is largely in line with stories set around the same time in the EU, but it might be something worth exploring on the show; of course, the ambiguous political situation makes The Mandalorian’s ties to Lone Wolf and Cub that much stronger; that series is set in a time when regional daimyos exerted more control over feudal Japan. Nevertheless, Gideon’s apparent might will requires a Republic response at some point.

How Organized Is the Imperial Remnant? Boba Fett’s declaration that “The Empire is back” suggests Gideon may have marshaled more military strength than we previously believed. Is it just a matter of Gideon knowing where Sheev Palpatine kept all of the secret projects? Or, by way of attrition, has Gideon become the heir to the Empire. If that’s the case, is Thrawn on his side or is there still room for conflict within the Imps?

Who Did Grogu Contact? Since the child ended the signal beam of his own accord — or because he was fatigued — did he contact a Jedi? And if so, who? The list of possible teachers is pretty slim. There is Luke Skywalker, of course, Kyle Katarn (if he’s back), Ezra Bridger (if he’s been rescued), and, perhaps, Jedi Master Yaddle (pictured above). This last option is the most intriguing. While she was killed in an Expanded Universe story, her continued existence is possible in the current history. Retiring from the Jedi Council (and any sort of public life) a number of years before the Clone Wars, she may have survived the Jedi Purge. Also, she is from the same species as Grogu. From a narrative standpoint, she would seem the most worthy to train him, at least in Djarin’s mind, and the most convincing reason for Grogu and Djarin to part ways. Although, considering the playful scene at the beginning of Chapter 14, we seriously doubt the pair will ever split up.

Well, once Djarin and his new band of outsiders rescue Grogu from the Imperial Remnant.

Where Is Mara Jade? One last EU thought: the fan-favorite character from the Star Wars EU novels could emerge from the shadows thanks to all of these nods to the old continuity. She could easily be retconned as a Sith Inquisitor and serve as a mighty ally (or foe) for our heroes.


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Rise of Skywalker

(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Lucasfilm)

Remember when J.J. Abrams closed out the universally beloved, not-controversial-at-all Star Wars sequel trilogy with the universally beloved, not-controversial-at-all Rise of Skywalker

Yeah, that isn’t quite how the catch-up scroll reads on the most recent Star Wars flicks. Instead, the trilogy that began with an almost unanimously adored bang in The Force Awakens had divided and inflamed the fanbase by the time it ended. Depending on which side of the chasm you sat, that ending either provided a fantastic twist and return to form, or it was a total betrayal of promising new story threads – and a certain middle film’s director.

In the latest edition of our podcast, Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast from Rotten Tomatoes), we are traveling to a controversial title not so far, far away, and asking who got it right when it comes to The Rise of Skywalker: The fans, who awarded it an 86% Audience Score, or the critics, whose reviews put it at 51% on the Tomatometer – the lowest of all live-action Star Wars movies.

To assist hosts Mark Ellis and Jacqueline Coley as they pick up lightsabers and choose sides – or, you know, give nuanced thoughts in both directions – is Nerdist’s Dan Casey, who’s such an enormous Star Wars fan that he wrote the book on it… literally. (Well, at least one book: 100 Things Star Wars Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die). Will the trio decide that Rise of Skywalker rose to the occasion? Or will they, like so many critics, decide that no amount of Jedi mind tricks can hide a messy story and damaging fan service?

Listen Now:  Spotify |  Apple Podcasts  |  Stitcher  |  TuneIn  |  Google Podcasts | Radio Public | Deezer | iHeart | Art19



Check in every Thursday for a new episode of Rotten Tomatoes Is Wrong (A Podcast From Rotten Tomatoes). Each week, hosts Jacqueline and Mark and guests go deep and settle the score on some of the most beloved – and despised – movies and TV shows ever made, directly taking on the statement we hear from so many fans: “Rotten Tomatoes is wrong.”

If you have a suggestion for a movie or show you think we should do an episode on, let us know in the comments, or email us at rtiswrong@rottentomatoes.com.


Meet the hosts

Jacqueline Coley is an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, with a focus on awards and indie coverage but with a passion for everything, from the MCU to musicals and period pieces. Coley is a regular moderator at conventions and other events, can be seen on Access Hollywood and other shows, and will not stand Constantine slander of any kind. Follow Jacqueline on Twitter: @THATjacqueline.

Mark Ellis is a comedian and contributing editor for Rotten Tomatoes. He currently hosts the Rotten Tomatoes series Versus, among others, and can be seen co-hosting the sports entertainment phenomenon Movie Trivia Schmoedown. His favorite Star Wars movie is Jedi (guess which one!), his favorite person is actually a dog (his beloved stepdaughter Mollie), and – thanks to this podcast – he’s about to watch Burlesque for the first time in his life. Follow Mark on Twitter: @markellislive.


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