(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Although executive producer Tony Gilroy often describes Andor as a simple adventure story, it is filled with incredibly weighty implications as Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) runs from the worst day of his life into the service of the Rebellion. And, as Gilroy promised back in August, the series is thrilling despite knowing exactly where the title character will end up on his final day; in fact, season 1 finale “Rix Road” underscores how tense an hour of television can be even if you know the main character is safe from any lethal jeopardy.
Spoiler alert: The following reveals details about the season 1 finale of Andor. Stop reading here if you wish to avoid spoilers.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
In between those thrills, though, is a program rooted in the human cost of a Rebellion and the toll of tyranny. While Gilroy may avoid making any real world comparisons, the notions espoused throughout the first season certainly resonate — if even just in the context of Star Wars and its Imperial Era. And in the season 1 finale, these ideas ring out as loudly as a hammer into anvil as they join up with the thrills in a one last creative burst before the series disappears for a time to make its second and final season.
So let’s take a look at the finale to examine some of those deeper implications for the Rebellion, Cassian, and the galaxy.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Setting the tone for the finale was a voiceover from the dearly departed Karis Nemik (Alex Lawther, pictured above in episode 6, “The Eye”). Cassian finally listened to the younger man’s manifesto and heard some important thoughts from the deceased rebel. None of it may strike a chord in the minds of Star Wars fans quite like Karis’ final thought: “Try.”
In the binary thinking of the Jedi and the Sith, “try” is an improper concept. “Do or do not” are the only options and, for many, this duality is the best way to approach Star Wars and life itself. But Andor is a series about those without the certainty of the Force; those trying to deal as best they can within an oppressive system and those gleefully empowered to dole out the cruelty required to preserve the Empire. Yoda’s (Frank Oz) credo is an unhelpful statement in those circumstances because, as presented, it only offers complete failure against the odds and the sleep Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw) refers to in her last testament.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
But trying to push against the boot of the Empire, trying to find the leaks (as Karis put it), and trying to upset the balance do not require binary concepts of success or failure. Trying simply is and, in its small way, Karis’ parting thought introduces a nuance that will be essential for Cassian going forward. And, thanks to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we know he will continue to try until his last moment.
Beyond Cassian, though, the episode is rife with people trying to accomplish things. Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) is trying to prove he was right. Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) is trying to bring Cassian in alive, while Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), Vel (Faye Marsay, pictured above), and Cinta (Varada Sethu) are trying to kill him. Even on Coruscant, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) is trying to find the best way out of her predicament. Although, we imagine the choice she makes here starts her path to Yavin IV more than any other decision she’s made thus far.
It is then fitting that so little is actually resolved in the finale. Ferrix is still under Imperial rule. Cassian’s sister is still missing. Mon Mothma’s troubles are still her troubles, and Dedra is still without her big win. Nevertheless, seeing Cassian’s friends escape offers some satisfaction.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Despite both Soller and Gilroy suggesting Syril may yet switch loyalties, his trajectory in the final set of season 1 episodes form, in a perverse way, a fascist fantasy in which a devoted but unremarkable loyalist gets to be the hero.
Sure, his chief aim of capturing Cassian and recapturing his former stature fail, but a secondary objective becomes reality as he rescues Dedra (pictured above, second from right) from the mob on Rix Road — something even she has to admit to and offer thanks. Granted, it remains to be seen how far that gratitude will extend, but we would not be surprised to see Syril in an crisp and self-tailored ISB uniform next season. Then again, Syril could become Dedra’s secret shame and her man on the ground for investigations outside the purview of the Bureau.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Either way, Syril (above right with Alex Ferns as Sergeant Mosk) gets something he wanted: to stand by her side. It remains to be seen if this a romantic, interpersonal notion or a boyish fantasy about being a good soldier. Our conversation with Soller earlier this month suggests the latter is more likely, but Dedra’s response to Syril outside the ISB headquarter suggests she sees other layers to his stated devotions; in fact, we doubt she is pleased to be tied to him in any capacity. And considering the failure of the Ferrix operation, she may literally end up shackled to him next season.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
On a more emotional level, few things in the series so far are as devastating as Cassian saying goodbye to his friends. Despite Bix’s (Adria Arjona) statement that he will always find them, there is a certain finality to the moment. Everyone may just be devoted to sparing B2EMO’s (Dave Chapman) feelings as he already lost so much, but we are inclined to believe this is the last time Cassian sees any of them.
Why? He immediately leaves the airfield to confront Luthen and present him with a choice: kill him or take him in. Presumably, this was the outcome Luthen always wanted. As Luna mentioned to us when we spoke with him two weeks ago, Luthen always saw Cassian as a key asset and the success of the Aldhani mission largely depended on his presence — and that’s despite the qualities Vel and Cinta already brought to the team. Getting Cassian to commit to the cause was always going to be preferable to liquidating him.
But what finally pushed Cassian to offer himself entirely to the Rebellion? His experience in the Narkina 5 prison complex definitely helped as it made the mindless cruelty of the Empire as palpable to him as its more focused and direct malice. Nemik’s manifesto definitely contributed. Maarva’s final speech also pushed the needle as her words incited everyone on Rix Road. And Bix’s condition may have also been a factor, but we suspect Cassian would’ve sought out Luthen even if he had not spotted him on Ferrix.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Cassian’s turn to the Rebellion being the cumulative effect of events since he killed the Morlana security officers is a more rounded and compelling thing than had it been one singular moment like, say, seeing Bix executed or the garrison killing everyone in town. It may be less dramatic in terms of Star Wars storytelling, but it is nonetheless satisfying and realistic for the character to go on a journey and determine his course in a less reactionary way. And, let’s face, Cassian has done little else but react since he first encountered Luthen (pictured).
Joining up with Luthen presents its own challenges as he was willing to give up the unseen Rebel Anto Kreegyr to maintain his contact in the ISB — to say nothing of his willingness to eliminate Cassian had things worked out differently. But that sort of ruthlessness is something we saw in Cassian when he first showed up in Rogue One, so perhaps it is a trait Luthen refines in his newest recruit.
The connection between Luthen and Cassian is one of the show huge thematic ideas, expressed most sharply in Luthen’s episode 10 speech, during which he mentioned being condemned to use the Empire’s weapons and burn his life for a sunrise he will never see. The latter feels like a forward echo of Cassian’s own final moments as he watched a sunrise, of sorts, and burns for the sake of future without Imperial oppression.
It will be interesting to see how this tie plays out in Andor‘s second and final season.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Loss may be a central part of Andor‘s second season as events will only become more perilous for the emerging Rebellion. Mon Mothma (pictured above left), despite all her efforts, will have to abandon her life on Coruscant, and we suspect Perrin (Alastair Mackenzie, pictured above right) and Leida (Bronte Carmichael, pictured above center) will be lost as a result. The tension between Vel and Cintra throughout the season 1 finale suggests their bond is already fractured and may crack entirely in the months ahead. Luthen is unlikely to make it to the Battle of Scarif and, more likely than not, Cassian will only find more loss if he ever tries looking for his sister again.
Although, isn’t it interesting the way that quest — the program’s inciting incident — fell by the wayside? As a matter of Star Wars storytelling, a missing sister is always found. But Andor plays familiar chords in different ways and with unusual instruments, so his sister may prove to only be another source of emptiness as he commits himself to the cause. That said, we would still love to know why the Kenari are so rare and suspicious in the Imperial Era.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
But not all will be loss as Cassian will inevitably encounter K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) and the Rebellion itself grows in strength. The droid may be the most direct version of Luthen’s tendency to use the enemy’s tools — and an inverse of Cassian contributing to the construction of the Death Star — but he is also a source of humor and, strangely enough, good spirits even as the darkest days lay ahead for the still-forming Rebellion.
In the meantime, we can look back at the first season of Andor for all the depth it adds to the conflict, the way it depicts those devoted to the Empire, and how one man can find the will to fight tyranny thanks to those who are more outwardly courageous. Whether or not this means Cassian himself will prove to be that courageous prior to the Scarif mission is anyone’s guess.
Emmy-winning Squid Game actor Lee Jung-jae joins Star Wars: The Acolyte cast. Netflix expands the Gears of War universe with a live-action movie and animated series. Édgar Ramírez will star in season 2 of anthology series Dr. Death. SNL alum Sasheer Zamata has joined WandaVision spinoff Agatha: Coven of Chaos. An Indiana Jones TV show may be in Disney+’s future. Chris Rock will make history at Netflix with first live stand-up comedy event. Stephen King’s It will get the prequel treatment at HBO. Plus, trailers for The Witcher: Blood Origin, FX’s sci-fi drama Kindred, and the second and final season of Carnival Row on Prime Video, and more of the biggest news in TV and streaming from the past week.
(Photo by Christian Black/Disney+)
Star Wars: The Acolyte, Disney+’s upcoming entry in LucasFilm’s constantly expanding universe, has found its cast. Joining Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), who was previously announced as starring in the series, are Squid Game alum Lee Jung-jae, The Matrix‘s Carrie-Anne Moss, Manny Jacinto (The Good Place), Dafne Keen (His Dark Materials), Jodie Turner-Smith (Queen & Slim), Rebecca Henderson (Inventing Anna), Charlie Barnett (Russian Doll), and Dean-Charles Chapman (1917).
The Acolyte is, per the official press release, being described as “a mystery-thriller that will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes, but the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated.”
Russian Doll‘s Leslye Headland created the series, serves as the showrunner and executive producer, and will direct the pilot episode. The series is currently in production in the U.K.
The Acolyte will stream exclusively on Disney+.
(Photo by Netflix)
Get your coalition ready, Gears of War is coming to Netflix.
In a bit of news that lines up with the 16th anniversary of the premiere of the first release in the popular video game series (which has sold over 40-million copies), the streamer has announced a new live-action film adaptation and animated television series is in the works. Get ready to go to battle a bunch of mutant monsters.
The monsters we’re referencing, specifically, are known as the Locust Horde, and it is the common enemy the Delta Squad faces in the video games. Disgraced sergeant Marcus Fenix is the leader of this rag-tag crew, and their battles for survival amid the hostile landscape of planet Sera face a constant uphill battle.
Netflix is partnering with The Coalition, the game developer behind Gears of War, on both projects. No further details have been released, thus far.
The Witcher: Blood Origin’s new teaser previews the Elven battle to come and showcases the fight skills of Michelle Yeoh’s stoic sword-elf Scian, who is on a quest for a magical stolen blade. The four-part special event Witcher prequel series also stars Minnie Driver (as Seanchaí), Laurence O’Fuarain (as Fjall), Sophia Brown (as Éile), Mirren Mack (as Merwyn), Lenny Henry (as Balor), Jacob Collins Levy (as Eredin), Lizzie Annis (as Zacaré), Huw Novelli (as Callan “Brother Death”), Francesca Mills (as Meldof), Amy Murray (as Fenrik), Nathaniel Curtis (as Brían), Zach Wyatt (as Syndril), Dylan Moran (as Uthrok One-Nut), and Joey Batey (as Jaskier). The Witcher: Blood Origin launches on December 25 on Netflix.
More trailers and teasers released this week:
• Carnival Row season 2 finds Orlando Bloom and Cara Delivigne returning to the series, after a 3-year wait, in the show’s second and final season. Get ready for more gritty fae-folk action. Premieres February 17. (Prime Video)
• George & Tammy stars Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain as country music legends George Jones and Tammy Wynette. What more do you need to know? Premieres December 4. (Showtime, Paramount+)
• The Noel Diary follows novelist Jacob Turner (Justin Hartley) who returns home to settle his mother’s estate at Christmastime, only to discover a diary that holds secrets to his own past. Premieres November 24. (Netflix)
• Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage documents the life of the Broadway icon, through all her artistic ups and downs, and the journey that led to her fulfilling a lifelong dream: playing Madison Square Garden. Premieres December 9. (Disney+)
• Kindred is based on Octavia Butler’s seminal sci-fi novel of the same name and tells the story of Dana, a young Black woman who finds herself jumping back and forth in time, from a slave plantation to present day. She struggles to fit in with her new enslavement, until she returns to life in L.A. where she lives with her husband Kevin, a white man. Created by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Watchmen) and starring Mallori Johnson, Micah Stock, Ryan Kwanten, and Gayle Rankin, the series premieres December 13. (FX on Hulu)
• Best in Snow is a festive competition series hosted by Tituss Burgess, that will find contestants to recreate Disney’s most iconic characters, using nothing but snow. Premieres November 18. (Disney+)
• Hip Hop Nutcracker is a hip hop reimagining of the classic ballet tale hosted by Run DMC’s own Rev Run. The special stars Caché Melvin, Allison Holker Boss and Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Comfort Fedoke, Du-Shant “Fik-shun” Stegall, Viktor White, BDash, and Kevin “Konkrete” Davis. Iconic dance talent Mikhail Baryshnikov guest stars along with the Jabbawockees and more. Premieres November 25. (Disney+)
• Lady Chatterley’s Lover is an updated adaptation of the classic erotic drama starring Emma Corrin, Jack O’Connell, Ella Hunt, and Joely Richardson. Premieres December 2. (Netflix)
• Dragon Age: Absolution is an original animated series inspired by the popular video game series. The series is set in the games’ Tevinter and features an ensemble of new characters inspired by Dragon Age lore, including elves, mages, knights, Qunari, Red Templars, demons, and other special surprises. Premieres December 9. (Netflix)
For all the latest TV and streaming trailers subscribe to the Rotten Tomatoes TV YouTube channel.
(Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Two-time Emmy nominee Édgar Ramírez (The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, The Undoing) will star in the next installment of Peacock’s anthology series, Dr. Death. He will play visionary surgeon Paolo Macchiarini whose innovative organ transplants have seduced the global medical community. Following the “Miracle Man” storyline from the most recent third season of Wondery’s Dr. Death podcast, Paolo’s charming persona begins to develop cracks after investigative journalist Benita Alexander (who is also his fiance) approaches him for a story. The line between personal and professional begins to blur, as a group of doctors halfway across the world make some shocking discoveries of their own, calling everything about the “Miracle Man” into question.
Sasheer Zamata, best known for her work on Saturday Night Live, has joined the cast of Disney+’s highly-anticipated WandaVision spinoff series, Agatha: Coven of Chaos. The character details are being kept close to the vest by Marvel. Her addition to the program is the show’s latest casting news, with Aubrey Plaza, Heartstopper‘s Joe Locke, Ali Ahn, and Maria Dizzia having previously been reported. Kathryn Hahn will reprise her WandaVision role as villainous witch Agatha Harkness. (Deadline)
Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon–centered Walking Dead spinoff series has added Clémence Poésy and Adam Nagaitis to the cast. Poésy will play Isabelle, the member of a progressive religious group who joins forces with Daryl on his trek across France. Nagaitis steps into the role of Quinn, a British black marketeer and nightclub owner in post-apocalyptic Paris. (Variety)
Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen Netflix series (which will take place in the same universe as his movie of the same name) has cemented its main cast: Theo James, Kaya Scodelario, Daniel Ings, Joely Richardson, Giancarlo Esposito, Peter Serafinowicz, and Vinnie Jones. (Variety)
Vikings and Raised by Wolves star Travis Fimmel will join the cast of HBO Max’s Dune: The Sisterhood prequel series as Desmond Hart, a charismatic soldier with an enigmatic past. (Variety)
Killing Eve alum Sandra Oh has joined the cast of HBO’s drama series The Sympathizer, opposite Robert Downey Jr. Kieu Chinh and Nguyen Cao Ky Duyen have also been added to the series and all three will appear in recurring roles. (THR)
Lin-Manuel Miranda will play the Greek god Hermes in Disney+’s upcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.
— Disney+ (@DisneyPlus) November 7, 2022
FX’s Fargo has cast Dave Foley (The Kids in the Hall) as a series regular in season 5. He’ll be playing Danish Graves, the in-house counsel and prime adviser to self-made billionaire Lorraine Lyon (Jennifer Jason Leigh). (Deadline)
Gotham Knights has added Lauren Stamile and Damon Davoub in heavily recurring roles, playing Lincoln and Rebecca March, in the CW’s DC comics-inspired series that transpires after Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered. (Deadline)
The Wonder Years will feature guest stars Wayne Brady (who will play Melvin, Bill’s insufferable older brother), Tituss Burgess (who will play a drag performer named Lonnie), Donald Faison (who will play Terrence, Cliff’s gregarious frat brother and realtor), Phoebe Robinson (who will play Lillian’s younger sister Jackie) and Bradley Whitford (who will play Alan, Dean’s music teacher), among others, in season 2 of the ABC comedy. (Variety)
The Spiderwick Chronicles has added Momona Tamada and Alyvia Alyn Lind as recurring characters in Disney+’s live-action adaptation of the popular book series. (Deadline)
(Photo by © Lucasfilm)
An Indiana Jones TV show reportedly may be in Disney+’s future. Disney and Lucasfilm have discussed a variety of options regarding a small-screen series that follows everyone’s favorite whip-wielding archaeologist, sources close to the matter have told Variety. The entertainment trade publication also reports that writer has yet to be tapped for the project, meaning there are no further details regarding where and when this project would fall on the Indiana Jones timeline, or if it would be a prequel, sequel, or spinoff. The project wouldn’t be the first TV show about Dr. Jones to hit the air. From 1992-1993, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (which starred Sean Patrick Flanery and Cory Carrier as the hero during different times in his life) aired on ABC, with four TV specials airing between 1994-1996 on The Family Channel, the network now known as Freeform.
Chris Rock is about to make history as the first artist to perform LIVE on Netflix!
The legendary comedian, writer, director, and actor’s newest comedy special will premiere live — globally — in early 2023 on Netflix! pic.twitter.com/U8ozz2BLV1
— Netflix (@netflix) November 10, 2022
Chris Rock will make history as the first artist to perform live on Netflix. The actor, writer, director, and comedian will take the stage in the company’s first-ever live, global streaming event. It is scheduled to stream in early 2023. This will be Rock’s second stand-up special at Netflix. The first of which, Chris Rock: Tamborine, hit the streamer in February 2018. The company’s 2022 Netflix Is a Joke festival was the streamer’s biggest live, in-person event, selling more than 260,000 tickets, featuring over 330 comedians performing 295 shows across Los Angeles.
Production has begun on HBO’s True Detective: Night Country, starring Jodie Foster who also executive produces the latest installment in the anthology series. The series also stars Kali Reis, John Hawkes, Christopher Eccleston, Fiona Shaw, Finn Bennett, Anna Lambe, Aka Niviâna, Isabella Star Lablanc, and Joel D. Montgrand. Issa López (Tigers Are Not Afraid) serves as showrunner, writer, director (all episodes), executive producer. Logline: “When the long winter night falls in Ennis, Alaska, the eight men who operate the Tsalal Arctic Research Station vanish without a trace. To solve the case, detectives Liz Danvers (Foster) and Evangeline Navarro (Reis) must confront their pasts and the dark truths lying underneath the Arctic ice.”
A TV series adaptation of Good Night, And Good Luck, the 2005 movie directed by and starring George Clooney opposite David Strathairn, who played newsman Edward R. Murrow, is currently in development at AMC Networks. Jonathan Glatzer will executive produce and show-run the six-episode series, with Clooney taking an executive producer role. While it’ll be inspired by newsman Murrow’s story, Glatzer said in a statement, they’ve “expanded the world to show how the division and hysteria of the times seeped into every aspect of daily life.” According to the press release, the series “follows Sy Steingartner, a young cameraman for [Edward R.] Murrow’s ‘See It Now,’ who is forced to juggle his admiration for Murrow with his own ambition. With the CBS brass pushing an anti-Communist Loyalty Oath on Murrow and his staff, Sy has an opportunity to rise straight to the top, but only by betraying his mentor in the process. With wit and keen observation, the series confronts how we respond to chaos and the values that pull us through.”
(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)
Get ready for more Pennywise the Clown. A prequel series to Stephen King’s It, is now in development at HBO Max. Welcome to Derry, the working title for the project, is set to take place in the 1960s and explore the timeline leading up to Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation, IT: Part One. After years of speculation regarding the origin of King’s iconic monster, it is said that the prequel series will delve into the origin story of everyone’s favorite demonic, child-eating clown. Muschietti will executive produce the series, along with Barbara Muschietti and Jason Fuchs. Fuchs and Brad Caleb Kane will serve as co-showrunners. And, if the project moves forward to a series order, Andy will step in to direct the first episode. (Variety)
Forever, based on Judy Blume’s groundbreaking 1975 novel, will be reimagined by executive producer Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends, Black Lightning) for Netflix. The updated project will explore “an epic love story of two Black teens exploring romance and their identities through the awkward journey of being each other’s firsts.”
Netflix is bringing reggaeton to the platform in the form of Neon, a new eight-episode comedy series from creator Shea Serrano, with Max Searle serving as showrunner. The series will star Tyler Dean Flores, Emma Ferreira, Jordan Mendoza and Courtney Taylor will star. Neon will follow three friends who move from small town Florida to Miami to follow their music industry dreams of making it in the world of reggaeton.
Fox has ordered Universal Basic Guys/The Hoagie Bros. (wt), an all-new animated series from Adam and Craig Malamut (Sports Friends, Game of Zones, The Champions). In the program, brothers Mark and Hank Hoagies suddenly find themselves unemployed when the Glantontown Hot Dog factory switches over to automation. Thankfully, their hometown put a Universal Basic Income program in place, granting everyone in Glantontown $3,000 a month, no questions asked. Now, Mark, Hank and the rest of their pals have once again found themselves living as kids in the summertime, chock full of free time and stupid ideas. As the press release states, “this is a show about men trying to find purpose in a world where they’re no longer needed.
This Is Us alum Mandy Moore will star in and executive produce Hulu’s Twin Flames which tells the true story of two women seduced by the online teachings of a couple who preach that everyone has a soul mate called a “Twin Flame” and must do whatever it takes to be with that person. (Deadline)
Queen of the Jungle is a Latinx family drama currently in development at AMC. It centers on the estranged granddaughter of the Cortez family, which owns the largest eco-luxury hotel real estate empire in Costa Rica. After her grandfather dies, she unravels her family’s dark past. (Deadline)
Social media star Benito Skinner is developing Overcompensating, a comedy series inspired by his 2018 comedy stage show, at Amazon. Singer-songwriter Charli XCX will provide music and executive produce. (Variety)
Subscribers of Peacock’s Premium Plus service will soon have 24/7 access to their local affiliate NBC station through the streamer’s homepage. Officially launching on November 30, the livestream channel will be available across all 210 affiliate markets, and will present NBC’s full lineup (all in real-time), including local news, sports, and weather, along with favorites like TODAY, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and NBC primetime programming. Customers looking to upgrade can learn more at http://peacocktv.com/Local.
A 24-foot piece of the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger was discovered in the waters off the coast of Florida during production of History Channel’s new series The Bermuda Triangle: Into Cursed Waters. This marks the first major find of the shuttle’s wreckage in more than 25 years.
“The significance of this large section of Challenger’s structure was readily apparent,” said underwater explorer Mike Barnette, who led the team that made the discovery. “We recognized the necessity of bringing this find to the immediate attention of NASA. The site, which is outside of the Bermuda Triangle off the Florida coast, marks the loss of seven brave astronauts — fellow explorers — and the Challenger disaster was a tragic setback for America’s space program. But from this horrific event, important lessons were learned that have ultimately led to remarkable advances in space exploration.”
The full exploration will include expert commentary from Mike Ciannilli with NASA’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance, and will be chronicled as part of the six-part series, which will premiere on Tuesday, November 22 at 10 p.m. on The History Channel.
Spoiler alert: The following contains plot details for Andor episode 10, “One Way Out.” If you haven’t watched the episode and wish to avoid spoilers, stop reading here.
Nevertheless, the experience is a formative one for Cassian and, as Luna shared with Rotten Tomatoes when we spoke with him about the episode, the beginning of a pivot for the character as he moves inexorably closer to the sunrise depicted in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Beyond that, the actor also discussed how the script read, what guest star Andy Serkis brought to the story as Kino Loy, and the struggle Cassian continues to face despite his awakening in the last few episodes.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Erik Amaya for Rotten Tomatoes: Episode 10 was just phenomenal. Did it read that way in the script, or did it start to feel that way when you’re actually there on set dramatizing a prison break?
Diego Luna: Definitely on the page you could tell, s—; this point is really important. But also, I had the same feeling reading [episodes 3 and 6]. I think those, because it’s the big move and it’s the closing of something. It’s the learning [moment] and the meeting or the goodbye with the character.
But first, I knew on page that this was really important in order to shape Cassian Andor, to understand where it comes from, where the commitment comes from, where the clarity comes from. The learning in that prison is “you can’t go back.” Once you know life means so little to them, once you know that they’re willing to sacrifice anyone because you are nothing to them, it triggers something [in Cassian].
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
The prison truly reveals something to him?
Luna: I believe that everything about that prison makes you understand the complexity and the size of the Empire. It’s this idea of the best prison is where you [the prisoner] are the most productive, and the less of a unique individual. [Outside, it’s] this thing that they can’t ever take away from you, that you are unique, that you are specific, that you are who you are. Well, over in the prison, you are just a number. You’re just another white suit building something that is worth a lot and means a lot, but not to you, and you’ll never get to experience [that meaning].
This idea of a prison goes against every image you’ve made of prisons. It’s perfectly clean. They need you healthy, strong. They need you to believe. They need to lie to you. They need you to believe in that little number you see there every day, [your release date]. They build this fantasy of a way out that doesn’t exist; therefore, you’re always working for them. That whole place shows you how much can you be dead while you’re alive.
For me on the page it was like, this is the moment. The end of [episode] 10 is the moment when he does that jump. He’s never going to be afraid of jumping anywhere ever again.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
And shooting the episode?
Luna: I can do all the work I have to do to understand who my character is and make the choices I have to make. I can analyze the pages, but something happens when you get on set and you find an actor in front of you portraying a character that is supposed to mean something to you. So much of this story is about who he meets on that journey that gets him to the place where he is willing to sacrifice everything. That can be on the page, but there’s a piece of it that doesn’t come until someone portrays that role.
I didn’t know until I met Andy Serkis how important it was going to be for Cassian to see the possibility of transforming, to see someone waking up [after they] created so many barriers as Kino had. If you can go through that and touch what’s there, if you scratch and find the real person there, he can turn and become as committed as needed in order to bring change. Seeing that capacity we all have portrayed by this man, that’s the example Cassian witnesses there. He finds a way. That’s a moment where he thinks, There might be something in me that can make me trigger things and [turning] someone that was so against me and what I wanted to do and what I wanted to put together here with this bunch of people.
That is something Cassian learns of himself in that prison that I think helps him think big, think he could put together a team. He can do what then we see him do in Rogue One at the end where he puts together a team to support the decision Jyn Erso [(Felicity Jones)] made.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Although we know he will ultimately stand his ground, this slightly younger Cassian has a tendency to run from things. So it’s interesting to see him running again, but just by the necessity of the situation, it is a victory. Is this the beginning of him running toward something as opposed to running away?
Luna: Definitely. Yeah, and also, it’s different. You have to remember he is a spy at the end. He confronts in a different way, and [in that mode] you learn not be around when you’re not needed, and learn from what you see and move on. It’s a different mentality. In a rebellion, you need the frontal soldiers, definitely, but you also need [someone like Cassian] being a spy. It’s a different thing, and you can tell by looking at Luthen Rael [Stellan Skarsgård]. The first thing Luthen says is, “I came for you. Now we have to run. I got what I needed from here. It’s not about us showing them how it’s done. It’s about us disappearing from the breach. Let’s get out of here.” That’s how everything starts, and he’s learning from the best.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Luthen has that amazing scene in this episode in which he says, “I burned my life to make a sunrise I’ll never see.” It feels so resonant considering where Cassian ends up. Is he at a place where he can contemplate burning himself for something, or is there still a ways to go for that?
Luna: Not yet. Not yet. There’s still a lot to go. I think this season is about an awakening to find the clarity and the commitment, but there’s still doubts. There’s still a struggle to, again, let everything go.
When we find Cassian [as a child], he already comes from losing everything. When you see a community of young people in the middle of the jungle, you go, “Well, there’s loss involved, definitely, here. They’re starting from scratch. What is this?” Then you see that everything is taken away from him again and he rebuilds his life. We find him on Ferrix with a mother that chose him and the absence of the father that chose him.
So, he’s a guy that’s perpetually been forced to let everything go. And here he is again being asked to do that, but now for a reason. Now consciously, now not to escape, not to hide, but to confront. But again, it’s a struggle for someone that actually, finally, builds relationships, has a mother, has a beautiful, fun and lovable droid that is with him and follows him everywhere; has friends that lend him stuff, that still believe in him even though he owes everyone something. That’s why I think that prison is so, so crucial. He ends up in prison just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong moment, not even because of what he has done. No one knows who he is. No one cares.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Is he aware that the Aldhani operation allowed the Empire to extend the prison system, extend sentences, and create the perpetual workhouses?
Luna: Definitely. He realizes he’s been participating in something without actually choosing that is changing the game. Maarva [(Fiona Shaw)] says that. It doesn’t even have to get to as far as the prison. When he comes back, Maarva says, “What happened on Aldhani has changed my perspective on what am I going to do with my years to come. Whatever I have left of life, I’m going to fight and dedicate it and remind these people that change is possible and change will come.” The beauty is that after the prison, that changes [for Cassian, too.]
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Before, decisions were made in terms of surviving or moving out of the way when things are going to get bad — or being in one place where he thought he was doing one thing and it ended up meaning something else. This season is also about growing up. It’s like designing your future. You have to build what’s there for you. You have to choose. It’s about choosing. It’s about having the freedom of choosing, of making a choice, and not being just forced, and that just comes with the consciousness of what you are capable of. I think that doesn’t come [for Cassian] until the prison.
The first three episodes of Andor are out in the wild, streaming on Disney+, and the program clearly continues the viewpoint of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the show’s executive producer, Tony Gilroy, who wrote the film. The galaxy here, however, is a little colder, grayer, and wetter. The streets and gantries Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) walks are grimier and, somehow, more complicated than the mainline Skywalker Saga. His is a world where the good guys can do bad things, the Empire is not a monolith, and (so it seems) even a kidnapping can lead to a net good.
And though the first three episodes represent a nearly complete adventure, it is only the beginning of Cassian’s journey. We may know the end of his path, but as the following analysis of the debut episodes illustrates, there is still plenty to discover about the title character and his relationship to the galaxy far, far away.
Spoiler alert: The following reveals details about the first three episodes of Disney+ series Andor. If you have not watched the episodes and want to avoid spoilers, stop reading here.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
In the end, it was a smart choice to debut the program with the first three episodes. Although we’re reluctant to say it felt like a movie, the episodes certainly feel like a single unit of story. As Gilroy put it back at Star Wars Celebration, the episodes cover “the worst day” of Cassian’s life and a pretty good reason to enlist with an apparent Rebel — it means a quick way off of Ferrix — but the plot point may not have been as effective had these first episodes been released across three weeks.
Certain questions we had in the first episode — like whether or not Bix (Adria Arjona) was also Kenari and if Cassian had the part he offered her contact — are quickly answered in the subsequent installments. Would those questions have proved more intriguing if we had to wait an extended period of time to learn the answers?
(Photo by Des Willie/Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Meanwhile, the way these three episodes work as their own story arc suggests the rest of the season will do the same, with the next three concerning wherever Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) takes him and the remaining six episodes after that also breaking into three-episode increments. Sure, each episode leads Cassian closer to become a true Rebel agent, but building it in four three-episode arcs comes with a certain aesthetic satisfaction.
George Lucas’s initial idea for an extended story universe consisted of a 12-film cycle; although, as details of his quickly-sketched plan emerged, it became clear that the idea more resembled the James Bond pictures than a tightly-plotted saga with every fourth film devised as, essentially, a Star Wars Story to fill in info on the Jedi and other aspects of the universe. Based on all the available material on the subject, what we now call “The Skywalker Saga” didn’t come into crystal clear view until the 1980s. At that point, largely thanks to the Original Trilogy, the notion of a three-episode structure seemed the most natural way to plan a Star Wars tale — or, really, any film saga. Thus, the saga was expected to be a trilogy of trilogies.
So, we’re not overly surprised Andor is utilizing a similar structure, but we may have to wait until episode 6 to determine if the first season is using the format effectively.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Although various Star Wars Expanded Universe novels and video games have explored the presence of corporate entities in the galaxy (Star Wars: The Last Jedi also alludes to them being the real winners in a prolonged conflict), Andor feels like the first time the relationship between private companies and the Empire is really being explored (although, it is always possible Star Wars Rebels touched on this as well). As Sgt. Linus Mosk (Alex Ferns) says in episode 2, “Corporate Tactical Forces are the Empire’s first line of defense.” That is a very compelling new wrinkle to the Imperial Era.
As established in episodes 1 and 2, Ferrix is in the Morlani system, a part of the Preox-Morlana Corporate Zone. The Preox-Morlana Corporation, apparently headquartered on Morlana One, not only mines resources for the Empire, but acts as an administrative and law enforcement body on the Empire’s behalf within the zone. This is a fairly new approach for Star Wars, where Imperial garrisons are plentiful and Emperor Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) enjoys showing off the might of his army. It nevertheless reflects an understandable reality within Imperial rule; why send all the necessary personnel, munitions, supplies, and officers to patrol a work site when the company directly in charge of the work will do it for you? As the Empire is an acknowledged fascist state, its close ties to industry should be a bigger deal. And though Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) botches his big operation on Ferrix, it will be interesting to see if the Imperial Security Bureau follows up on his hunch about Cassian.
Also, it should be said, that Karn is the worst kind of fascist: a true believer. Or, at least, the first three episodes suggest to us that he truly believes in the concept of order as outlined by Imperial propaganda. As we mentioned in our Andor preview, Soller said there is a “question mark” over the character’s head, and his apparent devotion to the Empire could curdle across the series.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Another good thing about releasing three episodes at once: we get the full picture of Kassa’s (Antonio Viña) departure from Kenari.
As Fiona Shaw, who plays retired scrapper Maarva Andor, mentioned when Rotten Tomatoes spoke to her about the series, “We begin to understand that she is Cassian’s mother. But, of course, they’re a strange pair because she wasn’t always Cassian’s mother.”
And while it is unclear if we’ll get more flashbacks to their time together on Ferrix, the circumstances of Kassa’s displacement from Kenari is a big deal for his older self, as evidenced by the search for the sister he left behind.
It leads to a couple of big questions: What happened on Kenari? And why are people from that world so unusual? At Celebration, Gilroy said Cassian’s homeworld was strip-mined by the Empire — or was it the Preox-Morlana Corporation? — and that the series would begin with Cassian seeing his second world colonized in a similar manner. Also, was Kassa part of a kidnapping somehow turned good?
From the glimpses we saw in the flashback, Kenari seems to be devoid of adults — perhaps they all went to fight in the Clone Wars? That conflict is clearly still happening when Maarva and Kassa meet. The ship they both investigate happens to be filled with CIS (or Separatist) soldiers who appear quite willing to kill the local population. Then again, so do the Republic soldiers — and even Maarva and her husband, Clem Andor (Gary Beadle), for that matter! But considering it is a CIS ship that crashes, will the Old Republic cruisers in orbit turn around and just firebomb the planet to eliminate any perceived threat? Will that leave Kassa as the presumed only survivor of Kenari, who happens to dislike the Republic and the Empire?
We asked Shaw if Maarva senses a difference between the Republic and the Empire. She said, “There’s always somebody annoying them, and they don’t really care what the name of person who is annoying them. Somebody is interfering with their freedom.”
So, it is possible any galactic government will be met with the same disdain by both Andors. But does it mean the Republic committed some sort of war crime above Kenari? We doubt Gilroy would ignore the possibility, but the more likely answer is an eventual appearance by Imperial Star Destroyers in the Kenari system during the 15-year gap between the flashbacks and the present-day story.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Meanwhile, Kassa grew up to be the exact sort of man Luna suggested he would be — someone incapable of the sacrifice he ultimately makes. Although Luna’s charm makes him inherently likable, Cassian is a troubled young man. As Arjona suggested at the D23 Expo two weeks ago, there is some unpleasant history between Bix and Cassian despite her willingness to help him. It is clear he owes nearly everyone in town something, be it credits or a favor.
“No mother would be pleased if their son doesn’t pay back the money [he owes],” Shaw said of the man we meet in these first episodes. “I think she’s vulnerable because he tells her one thing and she feels it’s not entirely the truth. She doesn’t know who knows what.”
She also noted that while Maarva instigated the original lie — that he is not from Kenari — to protect him, it’s Cassian’s attempt to find out the truth about his sister that leads to their troubles in the first trio of episodes.
“There are all these circles of trust, which is very much what the series is about. It’s about trust and distrust, betrayal, shock of betrayal, and the hope that some good values can exist in between all of that,” she added.
But beyond those obvious differences in the character between film and series, there is one other thing we want to point out about Kassa of Kenari: killing Preox-Morlana security officer Verlo (Stephen Wight) messed him up. It is a huge contrast from the callous way he offs his contact in Rogue One, and we think his regret about the incident will inform him for the next nine episodes. At some point, he will pivot, and we expect that change will be one of the most tragic things about him.
Also, we can’t help but think Kenari is, in some way, a tip-of-the-hat to Kenner, the former Cincinnati-based toy company that made Star Wars toys throughout the late 1970s and ’80s.
To wrap up this exploration of Andor‘s first three episodes, we have a few newly-arising questions and some observations:
— While we may not meet K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) this season, Cassian’s rapport with droids is established via Maarva’s helpful assistant, B2EMO (Dave Chapman), an interesting character as it has reservations about lying to Maarva about Cassian’s whereabouts and activities. Is K-2’s candor ultimately the result of working for a constant liar?
— Why doesn’t Kassa like his own reflection? It is easy to think why Cassian might dislike his own visage, but what could he have done as a boy to inspire such self-loathing? As mentioned in Rogue One, Cassian has been in the fight since he was eight, so it is possible Kassa has already committed some dark thing that can only be righted by an ultimate sacrifice.
— Did Timm Karlo (James McArdle) deserve to die? Sure, he was jealous of Cassian’s casual way with Bix and suspicious of the guy’s intent. Sure, he called down the fire from Preox-Morlana security. Also, he seems to treat Bix as possession more than a person. But was it necessary to kill him? Consider this more of a philosophical brain teaser about Star Wars morality.
— In episode 2, Bix takes off her jacket in a suggestive manner and is seen dressing the morning afterward. It is a surprising depiction of intimacy in the Star Wars universe, which tends to tone down physicality (certain kisses notwithstanding) for something more ethereal. It is consistent, though, with Gilroy’s assertion that his characters are fully-drawn characters.
— Episode 1 features the first on-screen use of the BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) calendar in a live-action Star Wars project. It is particularly useful here as it is, essentially, a countdown clock to Rogue One, which happens in close proximity to the original Star Wars film and its climatic Battle of Yavin.
— The interesting juxtaposition of Cassian’s exploits as a young adult with Kassa’s misadventures as a child and Rael and Maarva taking Kassa off-world suggests the past 15 years of his life marked the start of a sort of second childhood. It also suggests that childhood is well and truly over.
Andor, the long-awaited Star Wars series starring Diego Luna as his breakout Rogue One: A Star Wars Story character, arrives Wednesday on Disney+. The second of two shows announced for the service back in 2019, it took much longer to develop and produce than The Mandalorian. It is something different, while also still firmly a part of the Star Wars universe.
Viewers who aren’t plugged into the latest Star Wars news and rumors online may be going into the series with a different set of expectations, so we’ve put together a dossier of the five most important things to know about the show before you watch.
(Photo by ©Lucasfilm 2016)
Although Star Wars is known for doing prequel stories, one of the major points the cast and crew of Andor often reiterate is that it is set before Cassian Andor’s appearance in Rogue One — five years to be precise. Now, considering the events of Rogue One, it is clear why it has to be a prequel story — spoilers for those who have not seen the movie – Cassian dies alongside Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) on Scarif after they successfully transmit the Death Star plans to the Rebellion.
The definitive status of Cassian’s final days has been something Andor executive producer Tony Gilroy has been discussing ever since he took over development duties on the program. Last July, he told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that, ultimately, the fact people know how Cassian dies is not important to the series.
“We’re all going to die and we’re all in a prequel,” he said, adding that knowing how Cassian dies does not prevent people from enjoying Rogue One on repeat viewings. “If you love it, because you’re watching it again, you’re invested in it.”
(Photo by Walt Disney Pictures)
Of course, Cassian’s ultimate sacrifice is itself a starting point for the series.
“This guy gave his life for the galaxy, right? I mean, he consciously, soberly, without vanity or recognition, sacrificed himself. Who does that?” Gilroy asked in a Vanity Fair article earlier this year. So, as opposed to Star Wars’ tradition of putting its heroes in physical jeopardy, the series explores the why of Cassian’s choice.
And, as Gilroy told the audience at Star Wars Celebration in May, that question will also lead up to moment he shoots his informant at the beginning of Rogue One.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
The first 12-episode season will cover one year of Cassian’s life — the fifth year prior to his Rogue One choice, to be exact. “I’m going to challenge everything you think about Cassian,” Gilroy said at the TCA press conference. And as he told us at Celebration, “[When] you see Cassian in the five years before Rogue One, you wouldn’t believe he was capable of what he did [in the film].”
“It’s about him being really revolution-averse, and cynical, and lost, and kind of a mess,” Gilroy said in the Vanity Fair article.
This particular year, five before the Battle of Yavin (or BBY as the Star Wars calendar would have it), is a big one for the Empire. As Gilroy explained, the Empire is expanding. Its ultimate weapon is nearing completion. And just as Cassian’s homeworld was destroyed, Gilroy said, “we see another planet that’s completely taken apart in a colonial kind of way.”
Considering the scope of the series, it is unclear if this world is one we’re yet to see or Ferrix, the planet Cassian appears to call home in the first three episodes. There, we meet Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) and Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw) — Cassian’s mother — among others in a fully-realized Star Wars community. The sights and sounds of the town Cassian wanders will feel familiar to those who’ve grown accustomed to Tatooine settlements or spent time at the Black Spire Outposts in the California and Florida Disney parks. But a key difference will also become apparent, and that contrast may be the reason it becomes, as Gilroy teased, “radicalized.”
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
As Shaw noted when we spoke to her recently, there are plenty of reasons for the “industrial community” on Ferrix to become radical. “Like everybody else outside the powerful Empire, they’re not well off. They just survive,” she said. Nevertheless, there is some symbiosis as the people mine resources and sell recovered system from older ships back to the Empire.
Of Bix, Arjona told reporters in August that she is “bold, yet really deep inside, she’s incredibly loyal and compassionate and cares a little too much for the people around her.” At the D23 Expo in September, she added that her loyalty to Cassian may also have an aspect of “broken trust” to it.
Shaw, meanwhile, told us Maarva is “a very old, very sick person” when viewers first meet her in the series, but it will soon come into focus what a “strange pair” she and Cassian really are.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Although Cassian takes up the greater part of the screen time across the first three episodes, he is not the only character viewers will become familiar with. In terms of established characters, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) provides not only a link to the mainline Skywalker saga and the animated Star Wars Rebels, but also a vital look into politics on the galactic capital–world, Coruscant. Beyond that, Mon Mothma’s part in the program represents a major chance to further develop her as a character. At a press conference in August, O’Reilly mentioned “each time we’ve met her, we’ve met this kind of composed, regal, dignified woman,” but Andor offers a “story [that] is so very different … she is still that very dignified senator, but for the first time, we get to see the woman behind the role. We get to see a private face of Mon Mothma.”
As Gilroy told Vanity Fair, “Her story will run parallel to the title character, whom we know will eventually become one of her key agents,” but he subsequently told fans at Celebration that it might be “some time” before the two characters actually cross paths.
Also, as teased in the various trailers, Forest Whitaker will return as Saw Gerrera, another character whose life ended in Rogue One. Of course, thanks to appearances in Rebels, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order video game, we know he is a particularly active Rebel whose tactics generally seem on the outs with the emerging structure of the Alliance. Perhaps this appearance will cement why the organization and he remain at odds.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Another character we expect to become important is Syril Karn (Kyle Soller), a security officer in the employ of the business concern near Ferrix. One of the big questions we expect viewers to ask is whether or not he is a true believer in the cause or a career-minded opportunist. The Empire and its adjuncts seem to feature both types in equal numbers, and as Soller suggested in August, he could be in for some soul searching.
“[He has] a big question mark over him,” the actor said. “He could go either way. He could go into the Empire. He could go into the Rebel Alliance. And he’s got a lot of gray area.”
The question of loyalty is something we can also ask of Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), a member of the Imperial Security Bureau primed to be a major thorn in Cassian’s side. Although, from our earlier glimpses of her, we’re more interested in her being a window into the Empire’s security apparatus. Gough herself noted the ISB is a “male-dominated world” during a press conference last month, but Dedra is “incredibly ambitious and meticulous” in her aims to raise through the Bureau’s ranks.
“She sees [what others] are missing [and] what is happening,” she added.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Of the two antagonists, Gilroy said, “They’re regular people. They go to work. They compete at work. They are careerists. They are insecure. They are vulnerable. They are complicated. And they’re a huge part of our show.”
Luna added, “It is quite unique to have the chance to visit this universe with this amount of attention to detail and with this intimacy.”
And though it may seem strange to devote time and care to the bad guys, Gilroy told Rotten Tomatoes during Star Wars Celebration, “I treat [all my characters] the same.” He has to love them even if they fall to dark side, adding, “if you’re going to write fifteen-hundred pages or 24 episodes of a show, you better have some really important people on the [opposing side].” He also said it is “pretty complicated to be in the Empire.”
(Photo by Des Willie / Lucasfilm Ltd.)
The Star Wars series on Disney+ have become famous for their use of a technology Lucasfilm calls “StageCraft,” but is known elsewhere as The Volume. It is, essentially, a giant wrap-around television which allows an empty soundstage or partially built set to become a full Star Wars environment. This generally creates a convincing sense of Star Wars scope and makes Star Wars television a more financially feasible proposition.
So, naturally enough, Gilroy did not use it for Andor. Although, he insists the choice was down to location and the availability of the StageCraft tech.
“We were making our show in London [and there was no Volume available],” he explained at the TCA press conference in July. “The technology is extraordinary. My God, it’s going to become a larger and larger force in all filmmaking.”
Another concern: the workflow did not allow the production to jump between locations and a Volume stage.
“Believe me, there are some things we wish we could’ve done on the Volume and they might’ve been simpler [to film],” he said.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
And though it may be a practical concern, it also leads to a show that maintains the slightly darker Star Wars feel of Rogue One.
“The width and breadth and ambition, visual ambition and traveling ambition of the show is huge,” Gilroy added. “I mean, we have 211 speaking parts.”
Shaw also appreciated having a fully-realized set to interact with: “[It] was just stupendous that it was so real and so entirely textured — strange plants that get watered very rarely under a strange window that is made out of a bit of a spaceship against walls that are made out of metal and lots of screws and a door that has very modern opening, but actually vaguely works. And outside, there are gullies and gutters and chutes and water spouts all made from all metal.”
Although she mentioned spending some time on a green-screen stage, she said it was “very inspiring to be around” the sets.
(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Lucasfilm Ltd. /Courtesy Everett Collection)
While the first season expands on Cassian’s life five years before its end, the second season will pick up the pace. Gilroy said at Celebration that season 2 will cover the final four years of his life, but, as he later explained to reporters in July, “every three episodes will move one year closer [to Rogue One].”
In terms of real-world practicality, Gilroy mentioned this plotting occurred because the program’s directors shoot in three-episode blocks. Also, there is a narratively satisfying resonance in every three episodes being a mini-story onto itself. Granted, it remains to be seen if Andor’s first year will use a similar structure.
The change in pace also means fans of Rogue One robot K-2SO, pictured above and voiced by Alan Tudyk, will have to wait to discover how and when he linked up with Cassian.
“It’s a story that, ultimately, we have to [tell] and we’re really are eager to tell, and we have a very interesting way, we think, to do it.” Gilroy teased.
(Photo by © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Lucasfilm Ltd. /Courtesy Everett Collection)
Also, if we can speculate, it is possible the second season may see guest appearances from other established Star Wars characters like Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) and live-action versions of the Rebels characters (who are starting to be cast thanks to the in-production Ahsoka series).
Gilroy seems to like his corner of the Star Wars galaxy to himself, but these five years of Cassian’s life coincide with the Rebellion ramping up into a force capable of attacking Scarif in Rogue One and the Death Star in the original Star Wars. So, it may yet prove to be a galaxy of star cameos for Cassian Andor.
Andor, a darker tale in the Star Wars saga, is a prequel to 2016 film Rogue One, which stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso and Diego Luna as Cassian Andor. Where that entry in the universe revealed Jyn Erso’s youth and recruitment to the Resistance, the new Disney+ series tells Cassian Andor’s transformation from post-war survivor to rebel spy. On whether he maybe has a friendly rivalry with fellow Star Wars universe member Pedro Pascal (The Mandalorian), Luna says he “couldn’t have a rivalry with that man — he’s just pure love…It’ll be the opposite. I’m sure we’re going to go out and get drunk and talk about the experience and how crazy it is sometimes.” Showrunner Tony Gilroy and the writing team kept the cast grounded in the story “that just happens to be in a galaxy far, far away,” Adria Arjona, who plays Bix Caleen, told Rotten Tomatoes correspondent Naz Perez. Luna, Arjona, and fellow cast members Genevieve O’Reilly (“Mon Mothma”), Kyle Soller (“Syril Karn”), and Denise Gough (“Dedra Meero”) revealed their favorite ‘Star Wars’ moments and more when Rotten Tomatoes caught up with them.
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is, in his way, the breakout character from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Introduced as one of the Alliances more ruthless spies, his belief in its mission to end Imperial oppression leads him not only to sign up with Jyn Erso’s (Felicity Jones) plan to raid Scarif and retrieve the Death Star plans, but face the end of his life to ensure the data gets off planet and into the hands of the Rebels.
At Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy also referenced his bravery when she introduced the cast and producers of the upcoming series.
“I think what’s remarkable is the sacrifice that Cassian Andor makes for the galaxy,” she said when asked why the company choose to return to the character. “And I’m going to add to that the way Diego Luna plays him.”
Indeed, Luna’s charm is another good reason to spend more time with the character in Andor. But considering his status as a Rebel spy, we’ve built our own dossier on the series — complete with quotes from some of the cast and producers — to get a better handle on who he is before his mission begins and, potentially, what it means to focus on a character whose last moments have already been written.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Forming the first half of a 24-part novel for television, the first 12-episode season of Andor will tell the tale of Cassian Andor’s shift from migrant refugee to revolutionary. As creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy explained at Celebration, “those [first 12] episodes will take us one year closer” to his Rogue One fate. The second season, “will take the story over the next four years.” He subsequently added that the overall story will — if they’re creatively successful — give scenes in Rogue One a “deeper significance.”
The starting point for the series also means Cassian’s lovable if blunt droid, K2-SO (Alan Tudyk), will be missing from the first season. This is a slight change from where the program was in 2019. At that year’s Star Wars Celebration, Tudyk appeared on stage to talk up the program. But as it developed, the pair’s first meeting shifted to the second season. Gilroy eventually said moving their meeting to a later part in the series happened for “multiple story reasons.”
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Season 1, meanwhile, sees Cassian already displaced from his homeworld by the Empire, and he soon sees his second planet falling under its grip. As Luna told Vanity Fair in a June 2022 cover feature, “[The planet is] completely taken apart in a colonial kind of way. The Empire is expanding rapidly. They’re wiping out anybody who’s in their way.” The echoes of the Empire’s previous influence on his life will also be seen via flashback — one of which appears to occur in the trailer, provided the boy in the yellow-gold tunic is Cassian.
Viewers will also see Cassian spill more blood to achieve his goals. Although, as Luna told Vanity Fair, those goals are quite selfish as the series begins. Describing the character as a “ducker and diver,” he said Cassian is motivated by the rage his displacement at the hands of the Empire harbored within him. But he is also a fairly nihilistic lad at this point, so even the notion of rebellion seems pointless to him. At the same time, as he says in the trailer released on August 1, stealing from the Empire is easy because — 15 years on — there already a “fat and satisfied” regime. That willingness to abscond with Imperial property will make him a valuable asset even if he doesn’t believe in the Rebel cause just yet.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
The series will also focus on Mon Mothma, the enigmatic Rebel leader introduced in Return of the Jedi (as played by Caroline Blakiston) who went on to lead the New Republic in the Expanded Universe novels and games set after that film. In the early 2000s, Genevieve O’Reilly was cast as a younger Mon Mothma for a scene in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith meant to establish the earliest form of the Rebel Alliance, but it was cut. Nevertheless, the actor returned as the character in Rogue One and voiced her on Star Wars Rebels. She returns once again in Andor as almost a parallel story to Cassian’s through the first season. In fact, although their tales cross, they will not meet during the initial 12 episodes.
Instead, she is still on Coruscant attempting to build an opposition while in a Galactic Senate under the electric thumb of Emperor Sheev Palpatine (a presumably unseen Ian McDiarmid). As she puts it in the recent trailer, she feigns to be “an irritant” to mask her true goals. And her efforts there will make her a key part of the events leading up to the Death Star’s destruction.
“It’s such a gift to come back to this role. As actors, we join something for a series or a play. You invest in a character for maybe three years if your lucky,” O’Reilly said during the Celebration presentation. “I played this woman nearly 17 years ago. And to come back and investigate her now with Tony’s writing and alongside Diego Luna, I feel so lucky.”
The series will also lend some time to the Empire. As glimpsed in the August 1 trailer, Game of Thrones’ Anton Lesser and Under the Banner of Heaven’s Denise Gough will feature as Imperial agents. Gilroy subsequently told reporters at the Summer 2022 Television Critics Association press tour that the pair are members of the Imperial Security Bureau — the agency tasked with quelling any possible rebellion. Of course, with that pressure heating up, these agents may be off their footing. “It’s pretty complicated to be in the Empire in this period of time” Gilroy told Rotten Tomatoes when we asked him about depicting Imperial oppression at Celebration. “And that’s a really interesting thing to explore.”
During the TCA event, he further amplified how the Imperials fit into Andor. “As dark as [the characters] are, it’s also a work environment. They compete. They are careerists. They are vulnerable. They are complicated.” The suggestion: a greater sense of the antagonists as people than Star Wars often allows.
“It’s interesting to see this angle on these very dark characters,” Luna added. “As Tony is saying, you’ll see them and they brush their teeth, too. It is quite unique to visit this universe with this amount of attention to detail and intimacy.”
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Since the series takes place five years prior to both Rogue One and the original Star Wars, the look and feel of the galaxy will be familiar. It is a dark time across the stars and even as the Empire builds pristine fortresses and factories, it is a grimy, sweaty time. And that look is faithful replicated in the stills and trailers Lucasfilm and Disney have released so far.
It is also a time in which the Rebellion is in the minds of more than Mon Mothma. Thanks to animated series and at least one video game, we know other characters are also trying to build a strong resistance to the Empire. Also, for further triangulation of other events, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) left Tatooine just five years prior and the Bad Batch fled the destruction of the Kamino cloning facility another four years before even that. The point: Cassian could very easily run into Wrecker, Hera Syndulla, “Fulcrum,” or other characters populating the galaxy just before the Battle of Yavin.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Meanwhile, his base of operations — according to Luna, anyway — is the planet he fled to. It’s name is still unknown, but the glimpses of it in the trailer will remind fans of the Yavin IV moon and its lush vegetation. That bio-resource may be the real reason for the Imperial colonization effort. Of course, that could be Cassian’s original home and the more developed world of stone structures is the place to which he fled.
And since Mon Mothma’s story will be told in the series, we expect to see a lot of more Coruscant, the Imperial capital world. Considering the way it was depicted in the Prequel Trilogy, we assume an even greater level of inequality will be on display, with the top floors of skyscrapers reserved for Imperial cronies and the lower floors housing (or not) the underclasses. The few glimpses of the planet in the trailers suggest as much.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Luna returns as Cassian. As mentioned, the character will be a lot more self-centered than the man we saw in Rogue One. He will be as ruthless, though, and the change in his reasoning for his action will be a major part of his arc.
“[When] you see Cassian in the five years before Rogue One, you wouldn’t believe he was capable of what he did [in the film],” Luna told Rotten Tomatoes at Celebration, adding that he felt illustrating the character’s journey from selfishness to a truly selfless act is important. “It reminds us what we are all capable of, you know? It doesn’t matter how far you feel from actually being part of change. I like it because I always feel, with Star Wars, that it ends up being very pertinent and, today, we live in a world that needs us involved. And this is a story about that awakening.”
O’Reilly returns once again as Mon Mothma. Although, her situation in the Celebration teaser seems the most dire as she notes the eyes of the Empire are everywhere and even her body language speaks to an unprecedented level of surveillance regarding her actions.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, and Kyle Soller are also set to appear with Forest Whitaker returning once again as renegade rebel Saw Gerrera — a character he first played in Rogue One at the end of his life, but has since reprised (earlier in his timeline) in Rebels and the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game. Skarsgård and Arjona will be upfront in the first episode as Cassian must confront them on the worst day of his life. According to Gilroy during the Celebration presentation, Skarsgård’s character, Luthen Rael, is a Rebel leader — but the writer also noted the description is something of a company boilerplate, suggesting there may be a great deal more to the character. The August trailer sees him using disguises and wigs and the character himself notes that he has been “hiding too long.” Arjona is also, presumably, a member of the Alliance (or soon to be) as her world seemingly comes under the boot of the Empire. And if the subtitles on the teaser are to be believed, Shaw’s character is called Maarva.
From the look things in both previews, Soller’s character appears to be a member of a local defense force — although the earlier shot of him in an Imperial research or detention facility suggests the defense he mounts may ultimately failed.
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Much like Rogue One itself, Gilroy (pictured above left with Luna) enters the story in its second chapter. Jared Bush originally developed the series with The Americans’ Stephen Schiff set as showrunner. The rigors of development ultimately changed those plans and Gilroy was invited to assume control. Schiff is also still onboard as an episode writer with Gilroy’s brother, Dan Gilroy, and House of Cards’ Beau Willimon joining them in the writer’s room.
And although the Star Wars universe lends itself to more binary notions of light and dark, Gilroy suggested a certain level of ambiguity will be part of the series.
“I treat everybody the same. I love all my characters. I don’t care who they are,” he explained. “I lived through all of them, and if you’re going write 1500 pages or 24 episodes of a show, you better have some really important people on the distaff side of the show.”
Although Gilroy intended to direct the first three episodes, the Covid-19 pandemic altered his plans with Black Mirror’s Toby Haynes picking up those duties. Ben Caron and Susanna White also serve as episode directors. Executive producers include Kennedy, Gilroy, Luna, and Sanne Wohlenberg. Appearing at Celebration, Wohlenberg told us the events of the series will naturally draw “parallels to the real life, to the real world.”
“That’s why the audience finds such connections to those stories,” Wohlenberg said. “And that’s why they’re always relevant and a real gift.”
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Originally meant to premiere on August 31, the series will debut on September 21 with its first three episodes. The remaining nine will stream weekly on Wednesdays. Also, as Gilroy explained at Celebration, the second season, also planned to be 12 episodes, will begin shooting in November. At the summer TCA press tour, he offered one further detail on Season 2: every three episodes will comprise an event in each year of Cassian’s life between the first season and his first scene in Rogue One. “The four blocks in the second half will be one year in Cassian’s life. “It’s just fascinating,” he said. “We get to take the formative forging of Cassian in the first twelve episode and take that organism and run it through the next four years [of his life] in a really exciting fashion.”
“I really didn’t think I would be playing this character again,” Hayden Christensen says reprising the role of Darth Vader, the Dark Side iteration of Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars prequel films. “He’s got a lot of anger,” the actor says of Vader’s emotional state in Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, which finds Ewan McGregor also returning to his Star Wars prequels role. Rotten Tomatoes host Naz Perez also tries to squeeze some scoop out of Christensen about Vader’s potential appearance in upcoming series Ahsoka, which stars Rosario Dawson as the Jedi from Star Wars animated series and the role she played in The Mandalorian.
(Photo by Lucasfilm)
One of the appeals of a prequel series like Obi-Wan Kenobi is the way it can offer new depth to events, conversations, and encounters depicted in films like the original Star Wars. In Obi-Wan’s case, shedding new light on the interactions between Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen) and Ben (Ewan McGregor) before their final meeting on the Death Star. Some worried about it taking the emphasis off their duel on Mustafar (as seen in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), while others hoped it would rework seeming discontinuities between Episodes III and IV — like nearly everything Ben says in the 1977 film — into something more streamlined and clear.
Did the series, then, illuminate the films or add to the confusion? With the finale now available, let’s take a look at how it informs the Skywalker Saga overall and, of course, what it may offer to Star Wars in the future.
Spoiler alert: The following discusses details from the plot of Obi-Wan Kenobi “Part VI.” Stop reading here if you wish to avoid spoilers.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Perhaps the most successful expansion to the lore depicted in the series was establishing a relationship between Ben and Princess Leia Organa (Vivien Lyra Blair). Going back to the original Star Wars, there was always the dichotomy between her formal plea to Obi-Wan, as seen in the holo-recording Luke (Mark Hamill) discovers, and her reaction when he tells her Ben Kenobi is on the Death Star. For one thing, it was always assumed “Ben” was a name he only used on Tatooine — or, perhaps, the name he was born with before becoming a Jedi — and not necessarily something Leia or the Rebellion would recognize.
Then tension between what Leia (Carrie Fisher in the films) did or did not know was further compounded when the Sequel Trilogy revealed she named her son Ben. From the standpoint of those available live-action stories, it seemed strange that she would name him after a man she never really met.
Obi-Wan removes those issues by introducing the idea that they did, in fact, go on an adventure together. Now, her reaction in Star Wars makes more sense, as does her decision to name her child after him. Of course, we’ll admit a lot of its success comes down to the performances. McGregor’s effortless Obi-Wan and Blair distinguishing herself as a 10-year-old Leia is ultimately the dynamic the program soared upon. And, it’s probably no accident that it is the most satisfying of the show’s plots or that both character are now richer for the narrative exercise. In this respect, the series definitely added to the older films.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
As we mentioned previously, a lot of criticism regarding the series prior to release centered on Vader’s versions of events in the original Star Wars. When he first realized Obi-Wan is on the battle station, he murmurs that he has not felt Obi-Wan’s presence “since …” When the two later meet near the hanger bay, he says when he left Obi-Wan, “I was but the learner, now I am the master.” Add in a comment to Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) about the presence of his old master and you get the feeling Vader and Ben’s last encounter was the fiery fight which left the Sith Lord more machine than man. Subsequent media and even Revenge of the Sith made this interpretation more concrete and Obi-Wan, as a concept, lived in the space of Vader’s “since …” to justify its apparent breaking of established lore.
As it turns out, it is easy to re-evaluate Vader’s references as separate incidents. But Obi-Wan seems to resolve the mention of being “a learner” in Part V with Vader admitting he still had something to learn in regards to his need to win and Obi-Wan’s ability to use it as a distraction. Although, in light of the finale and subsequent events, we’ll argue that circle is not actually complete. Vader still needs to win their fight on the Death Star and Obi-Wan uses it effectively to distract his former pupil from noticing Luke and Leia.
It is an interesting way to resolve a potential break in the lore. It also changes the nature of Vader’s verbal sparring in the final Death Star duel. Instead of his boast being a truthful claim, Obi-Wan further underscores the blind spots in Vader’s thinking and, perhaps, the very notion that learning ever ends. Whether this was worth adding these two new encounters to the story is, of course, open to debate.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
We like to take jabs at Obi-Wan for being a liar. He’s good at it. But one of the Obi-Wan finale’s most compelling moments comes when Vader himself claims he killed Anakin himself. And, as it happens, it reframes much of what Ben tells Luke about the Dark Times into something almost approaching the truth.
OK, sure, he still fibs a bit by implying Vader and Anakin were two separate people. When Luke calls him on it in Return of the Jedi, he still clings to the notion that Vader and Anakin are, in some way, different and separate. We’ll argue his penchant for dad jokes in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and a continuing weakness for droids say otherwise, but we’ll also give Ben this much after the final episode of Obi-Wan: Vader left him no other option but to accept his friend was truly dead.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Although underplayed within the context of the story — it is more about Ben reconnecting to the Force and bonding with Leia, after all — it is a powerful shift in how the characters perceive things. As long as Vader or Ben still see recognize Anakin Skywalker as living, then his redemption is possible. But after their muted duel on that unnamed planet, both are now committed to the idea that Anakin is dead. That directly impacts how Ben and Yoda (Frank Oz) regard Luke’s training and Vader’s reaction to Luke when he acknowledges him as his father. Luke was able to redeem him, of course, but even up to that moment, Ben thought such a thing was impossible.
As it happens, that also re-contextualizes the meaning of Ben calling his former padawan “Darth” in the original film. At that time, it was just meant to be the character’s first name, but now, it is absolutely meant as a term of derision. Although, we freely admit that’s a charitable interpretation as Alec Guinness — playing Obi-Wan in the Original Trilogy — absolutely meant “Darth” as a first name.
Curiously, the tension between where Vader starts and Anakin ends has been baked into the character since Star Wars creator George Lucas decided in 1979 (or thereabouts) that Vader and Luke’s father were one-and-the-same. And though Obi-Wan may offer a definitive answer from Ben’s point of view, it is still possible to debate Anakin’s culpability in events — like the massacre at the Jedi Temple. And, perhaps, that ambiguity is for the better.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Meanwhile, the series also appears to offer a few new expansions beyond deepening the dynamics of direct players in the Skywalker Saga. Reva’s (Moses Ingram) ability to step back from her rage (by not murdering a child) suggests a possible longevity for the character in subsequent Star Wars outings. As the program always maintained, she was never fully Sith — even if her devotion to revenge could easily lead her to the Dark Side. Redemption was always a possibility and though we’ve only seen one step in that journey back to the light, her attempts to atone could lead in some compelling directions.
Similarly, Roken (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) seems poised to take on a role in either the Rebellion or the continuing effort to keep Force-sensitive children away from the Empire. We also imagine Haja (Kumail Nanjiani) would be along for this ride as he continues his own, quirky redemption. Of course, the sense that they will return comes, in part, from just how under-utilized they ended up throughout the series. Their stories are only hinted at, and if Star Wars loves anything, it is to take those glimpses of characters and spin them into exhaustive stories.
Which isn’t to say any of them will pop up on, say, Andor — we imagine that series already has enough to juggle — but there are many, many stories to tell in the galaxy and only so many actors in our world to center them around.
Or, maybe, their uncertain futures speak to a second season of Obi-Wan?
(Photo by © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved./courtesy Everett Collection)
Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson, pictured above right with McGregor in Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace) shows up in the episode’s final moments to illustrate that Obi-Wan has conquered another step in his own Jedi training — or, at least, that whatever mental block had partially disconnected him from the Force had finally fallen away. Over in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, such an appearance in the program’s final moments would serve as a season 2 announcement. The deceased mentor’s comments, in particular, speak to another adventure. And while it is easy to dismiss that as evidence of Ben’s second apprenticeship under his old master — the one in which he learns how to defy death — it could also lead in some unexpected directions. Beyond a possible reunion with Roken, Haja, and Reva, consider these other plots left hanging:
• Vader tells Emperor Sheev Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) that probes have been dispatched to pick up Ben’s trail. Since we know the search will be fruitless, did Vader give it up? Or did it lead to some other event which left the Sith Lord believing Obi-Wan would be no further threat? Also, Palpatine’s probing question about Vader’s commitment reintroduces some doubts about Anakin’s “death.” Granted, these ideas could just as easily lead to a limited series focused on Vader.
• In Part III, Ben tells Leia he has distant memories of a brother. This might be the most tantalizing of questions to leave in the air and, quite possibly, a way for Qui-Gon to further instruct his former apprentice. Tracking down Kenobi’s origins — according to accepted continuity, he was born to a human family on Stewjon and quickly taken for training by the Jedi — could offer the character greater depth. Alternatively, the search for the missing Kenobi sibling could lead right back to the Lars homestead.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
• During Return of the Jedi’s development, Owen Lars (Joel Edgerton in the limited series) was meant to be Obi-Wan’s brother. The idea survived several script revisions, but was cut from the final film. The idea entered public consciousness via that film’s novelization. Lucas finally dropped the idea in the Prequel Era when he made Owen and Anakin step-brothers, but there’s no guarantee the Lars family is in anyway native to Tatooine. Also, various Star Wars stories of more dubious canonicity saw Obi-Wan referring to his forgotten brother as “Owen.” Tying in this old Star Wars idea — and making Anakin and Obi-Wan brothers in yet another way — is a possibility, but there might be more value in going somewhere completely new with Ben and his lost sibling. And considering how he declares himself free, taking up another quest while Luke continues to grow up as “just a boy” seems like the best use of his time.
Or, perhaps, he and Qui-Gon can just spend the next decade building his new home on the other side of the Jundland Wastes.
(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
Star Wars Celebration, the four-day geek prom devoted to the Galaxy far, far away took Anaheim, California by storm over the Memorial Day weekend. And while one of its major intentions is to celebrate the fans (there was even a fan-focused disco), it is also the place for Lucasfilm to debut new details and previews about its upcoming projects. They even reveal new projects from time to time.
Naturally enough, Rotten Tomatoes was there with the fans, gasping as the Celebration Stage offered the new peeks and surprises — like a mini-concert from Star Wars composer John Williams. And we kept a detailed journal of everything we learned, including new shows, release dates, and trailer sneak peeks. It was definitely a hectic four days filled with the unexpected. Thursday, for example, gave us Jude Law’s entrance into the Star Wars universe…
Jude Law will star in 'Spider-Man: No Way Home' director Jon Watts' new Star Wars series #SkeletonCrew.
The series will debut in 2023. pic.twitter.com/rLXJR9nen0
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) May 26, 2022
One of the biggest surprises to come out of Celebration 2022’s first day was the news that Jude Law would be headlining one of the upcoming Star Wars shows. Previously known by the codename “Grammar Rodeo,” Star Wars: Skeleton Crew will tell “a story about a group of kids — [each] about 10-years-old — from a tiny planet who get lost in the Star Wars galaxy,” according to executive producer Jon Watts. “They’re trying to get home.”
The show will take place in roughly the same time period as The Mandalorian – and, as it happens, Mandalorian producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will serve as executive producers on the series. Also onboard: Spider-Man: Homecoming writer Christopher Ford.
“It stars kids, but it’s not a kid’s show,” Ford said.
Filoni was quick to amend that, indicating it will be similar in some ways to Star Wars: The Clone Wars, although, he added “but we cut people’s heads off [on that show].”
It is unclear who Law will play or what his relationship will be to the kids lost in space, but pre-production on the program has begun with Ford and Watts saying the show will air in 2023.
Andor, the direct prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, has been long in the works. But fans were delighted to learn the most important bit of intel about the series: it will debut on Disney+ August 31. Additionally, like Obi-Wan Kenobi, the first two episodes will stream that day.
“I think what’s remarkable is the sacrifice that Cassian Andor makes for the galaxy,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said when asked why the company choose to return to the character. “And I’m going to add to that the way Diego Luna plays him.”
As previously reported, the series takes place five years prior to Rogue One.
“Those [first 12] episodes will take us one year closer,” creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy said during the presentation.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Shooting on the second season begins this November. Like the first, it will occur over 12 episodes and, as Gilroy explained, “it will take the story over the next four years and the last scene will walk viewers into Rogue One.”
In terms of theme, Luna said, “It’s about us. It’s about the power we have.” But as the program will also see Cassian in a more selfish mode. The actor said the show is also a chance to “go as far as possible from that amazing man who sacrificed everything for the cause.”
When Rotten Tomatoes spoke with Luna after the presentation, he told us “[When] you see Cassian in the five years before Rogue One, you wouldn’t believe he was capable of what he did [in the film].” He felt illustrating the character’s journey from selfishness to a truly selfless act is important. “It reminds us what we are all capable of, you know? It doesn’t matter how far you feel from actually being part of change,” he explained. “I like it because I always feel, with Star Wars, that it ends up being very pertinent and, today, we live in a world that needs us involved. And this is a story about that awakening.”
“And just, as an actor, I find it fascinating — the opportunity to answer all the questions that the film doesn’t answer,” he added.
During the panel, he also mentioned his excitement to shoot season 2: “The beauty is, there’s no way they will kill me,” he joked.
Beyond the chance to define Cassian in a greater way, Andor offers further opportunities to present the oppression of the Empire. When we asked executive producer Sanne Wohlenberg about it, she said there is a pressing story reason to include scenes of Imperial troops mistreating people. “I think when you’re telling the story in the world where the Empire is an oppressive political dynasty, then you have to depict it because you are [also] building a rebellion,” she explained. “You have people on a course to stand up for themselves. So, you have to get a sense of the world that people are living in to understand their actions.”
Gilroy, meanwhile, teased that “it’s pretty complicated to be in the Empire in this period of time” when we asked him about Imperial oppression. “And that’s a really interesting thing to explore.”
The show also features actors like Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, and Stellan Skarsgård, who plays a Rebel Leader called Luthan Rale – although, Gilroy checked himself when he described the character that way, suggesting it may be more complicated than Lucasfilm is letting on.
(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
But one indisputable member of the Rebellion Alliance appearing in the series is Mon Mothma, played once again by Genevieve O’Reilly.
“It’s such a gift to come back to this role. As actors, we join something for a series or a play. You invest in a character for maybe three years if your lucky,” O’Reilly said. “I played this woman nearly 17 years ago. And to come back and investigate her now with Tony’s writing and alongside Diego Luna, I feel so lucky.”
She later told us that there are “endless” possibilities to investigate the character as she navigates the halls of power in the Imperial Capital. She also mentioned one of the great aspects of Star Wars is the way “the epic and the intimate walk side by side, holding hands” within its setting.
The group unveiled a teaser poster and trailer. The latter will remind Rogue One fans of that film’s grittier feel as overcast forest worlds face the threat of Imperial oppression and the music of composer Nicholas Britell takes point.
(Photo by Matt Kennedy / Lucasfilm Ltd.)
In all the lead-up to the premiere of Obi-Wan Kenobi, the series held back one key detail – Princess Leia Organa would play a important part in the tale. Now played by young actor Vivien Lyra Blair, she proves to be a formidable presence whether disobeying her adoptive mother, escaping her duties as a princess, or taking charge from Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) himself. Blair received a warm reception during the surprise screening Thursday night and in a brief moment onstage afterward. Will she also prove formidable should she meet Darth Vader (Hayden Christensen)? Time will tell.
McGregor, meanwhile, told us that while the Dark Side is in ascendancy during the series and it is, indeed, seductive, he never contemplated what it would mean for Obi-Wan to fall.
“He’s never been tempted over there,” the actor said. “I think he’s suffered from the seeing the power of it. He’s lost his brother to the Dark Side and Order 66 destroyed his way of life and all of his other friends. [Even] his spirituality, his ability to explore the Force has ended because the Inquisitors are tracking down the last of the Jedi.”
“He was always kind of by the book in the Prequels,” he added. And though the episodes available so far see him closing that book, it is clear a fall to the Dark Side is not a chapter Obi-Wan will ever read.
Christensen, meanwhile, said with a laugh that it is “hard not to be seduced by the Dark Side.” The sentiment was echoed by both Rupert Friend, who plays the Grand Inquisitor, and Moses Ingram, the actor behind the headstrong Second Sister also known as Reva.
“I have fun,” Ingram said. “It was really dope to be out there and put on that suit and to be able to layer a character in that way.” She added series director Deborah Chow would play music on set to enhance that feeling of power for the Inquisitors. “You can feel it,” she said.
When we spoke to Chow, she mention the legacy of the Prequels and what people know about Obi-Wan in the Original Trilogy comes with a certain weight and responsibility to navigate in telling this tale. Nevertheless, she and writer Joby Harold keyed in on the fact the setting of the series is “a very different period for the characters in their lives.”
She continued, “What was really interesting to explore is that they’re not exactly the same characters they were in the Prequels or going into ‘A New Hope.'” That realization became a “fascinating” aspect of the development and, as we’ve already seen with the first two episodes and the realization that Obi-Wan was not aware of Anakin’s continued existence, it will lead to unexpected discoveries.
Returning to Anakin and Vader in Obi-Wan also brought up some memories of the Prequels for Christensen. His first film in the series, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, turns 20 this year and while it is not the most beloved on the critical front, he is glad the fans have always been there for it. “It’s amazing to have these films continue to live on and find new generations of fans and have them be very vocal about their passion for [the movie],” he said.
Willow Ufgood makes his triumphant return this November in a full Willow series. Warwick Davis reprises the role with fellow feature film castmate Joanne Whalley also returning as Sorsha. Although, as the teaser trailer suggested, her situation may not resemble where we last saw her. But, as Whalley put it, “I’ve got Sorcha’s sword in my hand again, it’s incredible!”
Meanwhile, her daughter Kit (Ruby Cruz) trains to be knight despite her title as princess. She also joins a fellow knight-in-training, Jade (Erin Kellyman), and kitchen maid named Dove (Ellie Bamber) on a quest to find Willow.
Granted, the trailer suggests there will be much more to the quest once they find him.
Ron Howard returns as an executive producer with his Solo: A Star Wars Story cohort Jon Kasdan taking the creative reigns. Following the presentation, Rotten Tomatoes asked Kasdan about the one other bit of Willow lore out in the wild: the Chronicles of the Shadow War series by George Lucas and Chris Claremont. The novels took the story of Elora Danan and Willow in a wild direction and Kasdan said that while there will be some nods to them, the series will follow a different path.
“Chris Claremont is a brilliant guy and X-Men writer. He had a fantasy novel in his head and George wanted to be involved in that. It was a way to continue this story at the time.” he explained. “but they’re not the story we’re telling.” Kasdan suggested that, just like the way Lucas regarded the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels, he “wouldn’t have felt like he would’ve been [beholden to the Shadow War]” had he made a Willow sequel. Nevertheless, the series will “honor the legacy of the characters” and the novels will always be part of the larger lore if not part of the show’s continuity.
Kellyman added that while the show may not have the expansive lore of Star Wars and its rich history of novels, it still has “a lot of history to it” thanks to the inferences in the first film and the fans’ refusal to ever let that world vanish completely. She also said the series features a certain relevance to current, real world dilemmas. But thanks to “the fantasy twist,” the viewer may not see that relevance until they are deep into the characters’ journey.
Cruz agreed, saying, “I think it’s going to be really relatable, really powerful.” She also felt that though the lore is pretty much limited to the original film, that it was important to “keep the heart of Willow alive … it’s this out-of-this-world sort of experience, but also the humor and the comedy was so eighties and so relevant to that time.”
Describing her character as a “firecracker,” she teased, “There’s so much to Kit that even she doesn’t even know in the beginning.”
And what of Willow himself? “In one way, it felt like no time had passed at all,” Davis said when asked about getting back into costume after all this time. “We were on set, I was like, ‘yeah, I know how we do this.’ It’s what I wanted to do for years: be back here, again, playing this character and that was so exciting.” He admitted — just like any other job — there were challenges, but the notion of “how thrilled people were gonna be to see this again” really helped with “difficult conditions, tiredness, and what have you.”
“The audience at the end of this is going to really dig the whole thing,” he added. “Even though we made this for the smaller screens, it’s still got a very cinematic epic kind of feel to it.”
Willow debuts November 30 on Disney+.
(Photo by ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.)
“I’m so excited about Willow!” Filoni said as he took the stage.
Although there was always some hope The Mandalorian’s third season would debut before the end of the year, Favreau and Filoni made it clear we will have to wait a little longer to see the next volume in Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu’s journey. But there was barely a moment to process the news as the pair unveiled a look at the coming season. A teaser trailer featuring glimpses of a Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) in yet another fantastic robe were tempered by some dark tidings. Djarin has been exiled from the Children of the Watch and must still answer the problem posed by Bo-Katan Kryze (Katee Sackhoff), but as he put it towards then end of the trailer, “I’m going to Mandalore so that I may be forgiven for my transgressions.”
(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
Sackhoff joined the pair on stage to announce about her status in the Star Wars galaxy: “I have unfinished business.” We presume that means winning the Darksaber from Din Djarin. But considering the scenes in the trailer — which even see her sitting on a throne very similar to the one on Mandalore — it is still possible she may join his cause in the end. Well, once he truly identifies it.
The trailer also confirmed the return of Imperial scientist Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi), proving the Remnant is not done looking for the youngling in Djarin’s care. And speaking of Grogu, the common tongue may soon be his.
According to Favreau, production has wrapped and the program is in the editing room, but as Disney subsequently confirmed, it will return in February next year.
(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
Favreau and Filoni offered more details about the upcoming season on Saturday with an hour-long panel devoted to the series. Well, when Filoni and Favreau get on stage, it is also about not giving details! The pair are known for their intense level of secrecy – Mandalorian Armorer actor Emily Swallow told us they gave her no indication she would be a recurring character – but they lifted the veil for an extended version of the sneak peek from Thursday. The additional material gave glimpses of more Mandos, including Paz Viszla with heavy gun in hand. It also offered fans in attendance a look at Mandalore’s ruined capital city.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
And though missing from the teaser video, Giancarlo Esposito offered us an inkling of where Moff Gideon is and what he’s doing.
“The assumption is he’s in jail or behind bars or cuffed. And he has to try to free himself [from who he was]. It’s such a mental analogy for what life really is: to see things a different way,” he teased. “But no, he won’t do that. He doesn’t want to do that. He wants to be able to help people through his investigation of who this Child [is].”
Earlier at the panel, Esposito also suggested Grogu may, somehow, reach to the “Child” inside of Gideon. But, as Esposito later told us, Gideon is still assured of his convictions that his way is correct. Or, as the actor put it “I have great ideas and you don’t.”
Sackhoff, who also spoke to us after the panel, also inferred the how and why of her choices on the Imperial cruiser in the season 2 finale.
She had “a very, very clear goal in Season 2 and for, whatever reason, she goes against it,” the actor said. “I think fans of Clone Wars and Rebels are questioning why she wouldn’t have accepted [the Darksaber] … but I think that it would be fair to say that she is second guessing herself.”
How that relates to the glimpses of her in the tease seemingly on Mandalore remains to be seen.
(Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd.)
Pascal, meanwhile, expressed to us one regret in switching from the Razorcrest to the refitted Naboo starfighter: “One has a bathroom and the other doesn’t.” But he also said, “as long as it has a perfect little pod for Grogu, then I’m good.”
Carl Weathers also returns in the new season as both Greef Carga and as an episode director. And though he could not say more about the character beyond his fondness for fine clothing when we talked to him, he was able to discuss the advantage of making television with technology like the StageCraft volume, which brings the wide vistas and alien landscapes of Star Wars to the production’s soundstages via immense, computer controlled projection screens.
“I’ve been directing in television and film since 1993. This technology takes you into a completely different place,” he said. “Emotionally, psychically, psychologically, [and] visually, of course, you’re impacted by it.” He recalled the tough days of genre filmmaking when acting against special effects meant looking at a laser pointer spot or a golf ball; a game of pretend that could lead to inconsistent reactions among performers.
Now, “everybody is seeing the same thing and experience what they experience. And it also allows the audience to experience it as you [the performer] are experiencing it. There’s no seem in there in terms of the impact. So I love it. I absolutely love it.”
The panel also revealed one bit of behind-the-scenes news: Rick Famiyuwa, director of the series’ second episode and several since – Chapter 6: “The Prisoner” being one of the most memorable – is joining Favreau and Filoni as an executive producer.
“The first film I saw in the movie theater was Star Wars and seeing it without any idea of what I was going to see,” he recalled. “And with that first moment with the crawl and the Star Destroyer, my life was changed. This has always been a dream of mine to tell stories in this universe, so it was an honor to do the second episode and stay around ever since.”
He also declined to give any hints about the upcoming season, which prompted Favreau to say, “and that’s why you’re an executive producer!”
(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
As we mentioned earlier, part of the Favreau and Filoni way is secrecy even in the face of casting news in the trade papers. So when Natasha Liu Bordizzo finally walked out on stage to crowd of fans now completely sure she is playing Star Wars Rebels favorite Sabrine Wren, a certain level of relief washed over her.
“I can finally say I’m in the show, which is also really, really cool!” she told us after her brief appearance at the end of The Mandalorian panel, which dedicated a handful of minutes to the upcoming Ahsoka series.
(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
Speaking about the secrecy involved in shooting Ahsoka, star Rosario Dawson told us about relatives still unsure she was in a Star Wars series until the Vanity Fair cover dropped. She also said there was some concern regarding whether or not she could share filming began on her birthday.
“Then I see that Dave and [the Star Wars Instagram account] posted a picture of his hat on the chair. And I was like, Oh, thank goodness. I can at least say that we started,” Dawson said.
Both Dawson and Bordizzo take over the roles from Star Wars Rebels voice actors Ashley Eckstein and Tiya Sircar, respectively. In reference to the decision to recast the characters for their jump to live action, Filoni said, “I set everything back to zero and had to be open to everything that’s going to be required,” he explained. Those requirements include how the performers’ silhouette look on camera and their ability to deal with the strain of long make-up applications and stunts. “I have to find the people who are that person right then and there,” he continued. “What’s strange, and it’s true for everyone here, you write this and look through the camera and there they are … There’s a chosen one and we find them.”
Favreau and Filoni also offered the tiniest bit of footage which seemingly confirmed Rebels character Hera Syndulla will appear and that Sabine and Ahsoka are finally going to find Ezra Bridger following his disappearance some seven years previously. At the very least, his face was glimpsed in a mural presumably made by Sabine, one of the most artistically-minded of Mandalorians, in a moment which seemingly recreates the final scene from Rebels.
The tease represents just a few weeks of shooting. When asked about filming the series during the panel, Filoni said he was “very happy” with how it was going. He also joking clarified that “no one knows where it’s filmed” — a reference back to the Thursday panel, during which Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy mentioned their studio space is somewhere in Manhattan Beach, California.
The producers had one additional surprise for fans: a fully-realized live action Chopper — the irascible droid from Rebels voiced by Filoni himself (a secret he kept until the final Rebels episode) — who wheeled his way onto stage and possibly beeped-and-booped some of the spoilers Filoni has worked so hard to hide. The droid’s appearance, like Bordizzo’s, confirmed he will also appear in the program; a further strengthening of its ties to Rebels.
For Dawson, the series is a culmination of a long process to bring her into Star Wars. The project was in development for some time before it was announced and Lucasfilm took note of the fan campaign to turn her into the Jedi exile. She also noticed the campaign via a specific piece of art which imagined her in the role. “I loved the image Boss Logic did and posted it with the hashtag ‘Ahsoka lives.’ So when [Dave] and Jon started working on it, they had me in mind. And [when I talked to them about it] they had drawn more images of me as this character.” The will of the Force was definitely on her side. And although she expressed her interest in it for many years, nothing was guaranteed until that meeting with Filoni and Favreau.
“It’s been such a thrill to bring this character to life,” she said. “And feel the energy of the people who wanted to see her come to life.”
Ahsoka will stream sometime next year.
The Bad Batch Sets Fall Return
Fans of Star Wars: The Bad Batch were thrilled to learn the program will return this Fall for a second 16-episode season. Sometime has passed since the destruction of the clone facility on Kamino and Squad 99 continues to adapt. There uniforms are brighter (except for the helmets) and while they are still learning how to live without Republic support, they have a new mission. As Echo puts it in the trailer screened during the panel, “There are others out there who need our help.” We’re going to assume he means other clones abandoned by the Empire or still under their sway via the control chips. Commander Cody is, sadly, one of those clones still chipped and serving the Empire and — as the video revealed — Crosshair will team up with him for some mission.
The Batch, meanwhile, will make their way to Coruscant, where Omega will encounter Emperor Sheev Palpatine. But for her, the big issue is strengthening her cobbled together family even if Tech is more interested in continuing to adapt. “That’s what soldiers do,” he says in the trailer, which also features glimpses of Rex, Gungi — a Wookie youngling from Clone Wars — wielding a lightsaber, Fennec Shand, and plenty of Star Wars action.
The preview, a slightly longer version than the one released online, pleased the crowd.
But the panel was also a chance to celebrate the work accomplished in the program’s first season. Emerging from an animatic of an abandoned Clone Wars episode screened at Star Wars Celebration 2015, the Bad Batch became an irresistible set of characters to follow when the opportunity arose to tell a story set in the immediate aftermath of Order 66. And, as it turns out, Squad 99 was a favorite idea of George Lucas.
As writer and story editor Matt Michnovetz explained, “George had this idea of working with defective clones.”
At that moment, voice actor Dee Bradley Baker – who voices all of the clones on the series – broke in as Wrecker to correct him: “We’re not defective, we’re enhanced.”
Michnovetz accepted the correction, saying “Enhanced clones with special skills.”
Head writer Jennifer Corbett continued the story, saying the response to the animatic at Celebration 2015 led to the three-part Bad Batch story in the final season of Clone Wars and, eventually, The Bad Batch as a series. And as that post-Order 66 timeframe crystalized in development, it led to exploring “how they navigate the galaxy when they’re not soldiers anymore [despite] being born and bred to be that.” Complicating matters further was the inclusion of Omega, a female clone (voiced by Michelle Ang) who immediately adopts Squad 99 as her, to quote Corbett, “space dads.”
Baker said one of those adoption moments from the first episode stands out as one of his favorites across the season overall. “[It’s] the cafeteria scene where Omega plops herself down and sees herself as one of them so sweetly and innocently,” he explained. “And the food fight that commences from that, I love it, too!” The actor also noted the real-life parallels to the Empire’s implementation of fascist policies, but that even as the series enters the Dark Times, “it’s also about optimism and making your world better around a kid … that’s a very Star Wars concept.”
Despite the rise of the Empire, the second season will still see it utilizing Republic gear — even as it rushes to phase out the clones with the conscription Stormtrooper program. So expect Republic cruisers and gunships to still chase the Bad Batch.
That sense of using found material also plays out in the soft redesign of the Batch’s armor. As seen in a clip screened during the panel and on a poster given to attendees, the colors of are brighter and more varied – except for Wrecker, who sticking with his greytones for the most part – and replacements pieces indicate the group are picking through the rubble of the Clone Wars to maintain their equipment.
According to executive producer and supervising director Brad Rau, “we iterated to get that kit-bashed feeling, which is really where they are [in their everyday dealings].” But the reinvention of their costumes also indicates they are “in a middle ground on the way to becoming something new.”
Omega, visibly older in the clip, has what Ang referred to as “a little protection” – a new suit and a light helmet. The brief scene also revealed her ability with the energy bow has improved considerably.
The changes are a deliberate contrast to the Imperial clones, who are now “devoid of color,” as Rau put it. “You’ll see more of that.”
Rau, Ang, and Baker treated the crowd to a live script reading. The scene, from episode 108, sees the Batch trapped in a powering-up starcruiser engine and highlights Baker’s ability to switch between the five Bad Batch clones (including Crosshair) on the fly. It was a remarkable thing to see.
“Part of what makes it easy is the great writing we have on this show,” Baker said. “Without it, we don’t have the clarity of purpose.” His comments led to a big round of applause for the show’s production team. Rau highlighted the work of executive producer Athena Portino, who schedules out all of the writing, design, and production work.
And speaking of thanks, Filoni also briefly appeared on stage to congratulate the team. They all worked for him on Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels and though he is still involved in The Bad Batch, the project was seen as an opportunity for the rest of the group to step up as he moved into live action spaces with The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Ahsoka. “I love this group,” he said. “[And] something important to us at Lucasfilm is legacy, passing on what you know.” For Filoni, The Bad Batch proved his team is not only capable, but a key part of that Lucasfilm legacy.
Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi Joins The Animated Pantheon
Noting a certain jealously over how great Star Wars: The Bad Batch looks, Filoni returns to animation with the upcoming anthology series, Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi, as announced Saturday. The six animated shorts – utilizing the style Filoni first developed for Clone Wars and the upgraded animation techniques of The Bad Batch — take a look at various Jedi as they face the challenges of the Prequel Era galaxy. That group includes, among others, Ahsoka, Count Dooku (when he was a Jedi), Qui-Gon Jinn, and Yaddle.
Three of the shorts will focus on Ahsoka, naturally enough. One revolving around her pre-padawan days screened for attendees of the Star Wars Celebration panel. Filoni said he “raised her since she was fourteen” and knows “key things” about her. One key thing may be the influence of her mother (voiced by Janina Gavankar), who, in the short, encouraged her not to be afraid before going on a hunt. Things turn out, well, not quite the way anyone expects, but it seems she really took her mother’s words to heart. Filoni was keen to depict Ahsoka’s mother as mothers tend to get the short shrift in Star Wars despite their importance.
And although the Ahsoka short shown was lighthearted, Filoni warned it is not necessarily the overall tone of the program. “Some of these are dark,” he said. “Some of these I watched later and was like, ‘Wow, what was I doing?’” They also utilize fewer lines of dialogue than one might expect. Filoni pointed to animation legend Hayao Miyazaki as an inspiration for Tales’ somewhat slower pace and contemplative tone.
Of the other Jedi, Filoni teased Dooku made the choices he did “for the right reasons” and his padawan, Qui-Gon (voiced by one of Liam Neeson’s sons while he voices the older Qui-Gon), is forever in search of the “selfless truth of things.”
To complete the continuity of style between Filoni’s earlier animated shows and Tales of the Jedi, Clone Wars composer Kevin Kiner will score all six shorts.
Tales of the Jedi will debut on Disney+ later this Fall.
Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures and New LEGO Tales Are On The Way
Most Star Wars products are aimed at a family audience, but shows intended more directly for younger children are not just a rich part of the brand’s overall history — see the Ewoks and Droids cartoons — but an echo of Star Wars‘s original intention to emulate the Saturday movie serials, which were themselves primarily intended for children. In more recent times, LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures and the earlier seasons of Clone Wars and Rebels appealed to the younger demographic, and tradition continues with two new programs announced at Celebration.
Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures takes viewers to the High Republic as a group of Younglings “learn valuable skills needed to study the ways of the Force and become Jedi: compassion, self-discipline, teamwork, patience, and friendship.” Presumably, they will also face of the challenges befalling the Order during that time period, if in a less intense way. Series staff include executive producer James Waugh, supervising director Elliot Bour, executive producer/showrunner Michael Olson and consulting producer Lamont Magee. The program is eyeing a Spring 2023 premiere on Disney+ and Disney Junior.
LEGO Star Wars also returns with LEGO Star Wars Summer Vacation. Premiering August 5, 2022, the special stars the voices of “Weird Al” Yankovic, Yvette Nicole Brown, and others from previous specials as Finn arranges a surprise vacation for his friends Rey, Poe, Rose, Chewie, BB-8, R2-D2, and C-3PO aboard the Halcyon following the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. But his plan goes awry when he’s separated from the group.
The creative team includes writer and executive producer David Shayne, director Ken Cunningham, and executive producers James Waugh, Josh Rimes, Jacqui Lopez, Jill Wilfert, Keith Malone, Jennifer Twiner Mccarron, and Jason Cosler.
Star Wars Visions To Return In 2023
And to compliment the upcoming animation slate, a panel looking back at Star Wars Visions on Sunday revealed a second set of shorts will debut on Disney+ next Spring.
The first volume took various Star Wars characters into new and unexpected directions as Lucasfilm worked with some of the top anime studios in Asia. This time around, Visions will include contributions from India, South Africa, Spain, France, Japan, Chile, and California. Unfortunately, no other details were released – including whether or not Season 2 will see any of the anime studios returning or if any of their stories will carry on in a second short. Nevertheless, we imagine the second volume will be as startling as the various animation teams comb even further into the reaches of the Star Wars galaxy.
While the story of Star Wars thrills and entertains fans around the world, the story of making Star Wars is an equal thrill for those who become enchanted by the how of it all. From George Lucas’s earliest plans for a Flash Gordon film to the StageCraft system used to create alien worlds in the Disney+ shows, the magic behind making the Force possible is every bit as compelling. And with Lawrence Kasdan’s upcoming documentary series, Light + Magic, the magicians at the Lucasfilm special effects company Industrial Light and Magic become the stars themselves.
As Kasdan mentioned at Celebration on Friday, “I’ve been around these movies for a long time – more than 40 years – and I’ve known these people for a long time but never really understood how it happened. ILM is a house of geniuses and George Lucas had a vision to bring them all together. He, with John Dykstra, brought them together and created a place that has been unmatched in 50 years.”
A group of ILM legends including Dennis Muren, Joe Johnston, Phil Tippet, Rose Duignan, and current ILM Executive Vice President & General Manager Lynwen Brennan both told their stories within the series and assembled on the Celebration Stage to tease some of the goings on at ILM. But no recollection exemplifies the place better than the day Dykstra was repeatedly dropping a refrigerator with a forklift. Duignan, setting the scene, asked Johnston if he was in the hot tub that day. He replied in the affirmative.
“There was a group in the hot tub and I saw John Dykstra lifting and dropping an old refrigerator with a fork lift just as George, [producer] Gary Kurtz and one of the Fox executives rode up in a limo and, then, they just drove right away,” she recalled. The incident occurred shortly after ILM hunkered down to produce shots for the original Star Wars after spending half their budget building all the technology they would need to accomplish the task. “That’s when we became known as ‘the country club,’” she added.
Johnston, who mentioned his job finished early so he could be in the hot tub, asked “I thought [sound designer] Ben Burtt was recording those refrigerator drops?”
This new information, 45 years on, came as surprise to Duignan. “I’m glad there was a reason for it!” she said, adding that she wished she could’ve told Lucas and the other executives the reasoning for it.
According to Brennan, the hot tub may be gone, but the sense they can always find a solution to any technical hurdle is still a core part of the ILM sensibility.
“It comes from a place that a story point needs to be told and a director like Jon Favreau is pushing you [to do the best work] and a boss like Kathleen Kennedy, who doesn’t have ‘no’ in her vocabulary. I love that that spirit is still there,” she said.
That spirit, along with a rebellious streak which remains to this day, was also at the core of what Kasdan wanted to share with viewers.
“I want people to watch the show and see problems can be overcome and they can be inspired in the moment and people will support them,” he said. “If just a few people get that out of this show, it’ll be great.”
Light + Magic debuts July 27 on Disney+.
The Star Wars Movies Will Have A “Relationship” When They Return
Although the weekend revolved around the television shows, Star Wars films are still in development — with Taika Waititi’s untitled project likely the first to see release. It will also likely set the stage for the next handful of films to follow. Kennedy told us there will be a consistency of era in the upcoming movies, spurred on, in a way, from the Disney+ shows staying within the span of years between Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. “[It] give us an opportunity to expand further out when we start doing the movies and we can really build off the timeline that’s specific to the movies,” she said, adding “there certainly will be a relationship just like the previous sagas.” Reports indicate the planned films will take place after the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Meanwhile, the company is investigating two specific eras before the days of the Skywalkers. “The success of the publishing around the High Republic [helped us] realize we can expand in that era as well,” Kennedy said. The publishing initiative, set roughly 100 years prior to The Phantom Menace, centers on challenge to the Jedi Order that will, eventually, set the stage for their diminished powers a century later. The upcoming Disney+ series The Acolyte will take place during those turbulent days.
And Old Republic fans will be pleased to hear there are discussions about that even more ancient time. Kennedy said it is, in part, the reasoning behind an upcoming remake of the first Knights of the Old Republic video game. “All of those stories are in discussion because, in a way, games and animation and live action, it’s all blending anyway.” She mentioned the Monkey Island games also come up in those discussions of utilizing Lucasfilm games as source material. “Eventually you want those things to relate to one another,” she said. “People have invested a lot of time and years in their love of this. And we recognize that and understand that and want to build on that.”
Favreau, for his part, is happy to stay in the years between Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “I think part of what’s given us so much creative freedom and so much running room is that we are occupying a 30-year span that has been explored in other media, but is pretty clear [filmwise],” he told us. And although the Sequel Trilogy spells out future events for some of the groups and characters in his toybox, he still sees a lot of freedom to “introduce or reincorporate characters that are preexisting [and] catch up with other characters.”
Between The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and Skeleton Crew, Favreau said the choice was really to “double down” on the time period. Of course, understanding that it is an era between film trilogies, he also knows a culmination is on the distance horizon. Thankfully, he still has 25 years between Din Djarin (Pascal) and Grogu’s current adventures and Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) awakening within the Force.
(Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
The first day of Celebration also featured a birthday party of sorts for legendary composer John Williams, who turned 90. And after he treated the audience to live renditions the Obi-Wan Kenobi and Indiana Jones themes, Harrison Ford appeared on stage to say Williams will indeed score the archeologist’s fifth motion picture adventure.
“I’m proud of the movie that we made,” Ford said. “So I’ll be seeing you around campus.”
The film is due for release June 30, 2023.
— Rotten Tomatoes (@RottenTomatoes) May 26, 2022
And It All Happens Again Next Year!
Although Star Wars Celebration generally skips a year — notable exceptions aside — Rupert Friend took to the Celebration Stage one last time on Sunday afternoon to announce the next show will be in less than year. Star Wars Celebration 2023 takes place April 7-10 at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London, UK.
If you think you’ve heard a pinched British lilt sneaking into Ewan McGregor’s voice in trailers for new Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re not alone. The Scottish actor explains to Rotten Tomatoes correspondent Naz Perez that he’s been studying audio recordings of Alec Guinness from the original trio of Star Wars films to create a progression in his own performance to the Ben Kenobi we first met in the 1977 film. McGregor’s costar Moses Ingram also tells us about her Inquisitor Reva role, and director–executive producer Deborah Chow describes experiencing the power of Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader firsthand on set.
(Photo by 20th Century Fox)
Flash Gordon meets Hidden Fortress meets Dune, 1977’s Star Wars was formed by George Lucas as an innocent, serial tribute to the entertainment of his formative past. But for everyone else, it was the future, changing the movie culture landscape on every level: How and what gets made, how they’re released, and, yes, how they’re merchandized. A space opera for all ages, Lucas closed out this original trilogy with the biggest twists (Empire Strikes Back) and the cuddliest endgame battle (Return of the Jedi).
Over 20 years later, Lucas returned with the prequel trilogy that went deep into Force mechanics and far towards space politics. And nearly another 20 years after that, the so-called sequel trilogy started up, reuniting old friends and plot devices for the nostalgic blockbuster touchstone The Force Awakens. That was followed by the foundation-shaking Last Jedi, and the action-packed fan service machine The Rise of Skywalker, which is now the second-lowest–rated Star Wars film, according to the Tomatometer.
With the 42-year spanning Skywalker Saga now complete, we’re ranking every movie in the franchise! This means all theatrical releases (including spin-offs like Rogue One and The Clone Wars), but leaving off the TV stuff. Apologies to The Mandalorian. Star Wars Holiday Special, you know what you did. Now, kick back with some blue milk (or green, if you’re watching space carbs) and crank up that holo-phonograph of “Jedi Rocks” because here comes the best Star Wars movies by Tomatometer! —Alex Vo
MORE: The complete Skywalker Saga is now on Disney+… Check out the 100 Best Movies on Disney+
(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
UPDATE (4/11/22): Although it is unclear how many episodes he will director, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Peter Ramsey will direct at least one episode, THR reports.
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.
(Photo by Disney+/Lucasfilm Ltd.)
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.
(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.
(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 know — thanks to The Book of Boba Fett — that the two have crossed paths, but how could Filoni not show us the moment Anakin’s Padawan and son first met?
(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.
(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. Natasha Liu Bordizzo will be joining her in the series as Sabine Wren, the Mandalorian artist and demolitions expert from Rebels originally voiced by Tiya Sircar. 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 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 return 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.
(Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
In January 2022, THR reported that Birds of Prey and 10 Cloverfield Lane star Mary Elizabeth Winstead has joined the cast. In February, the site revealed Ray Stevenson will also be part of the ensemble. Their roles are still shrouded in mystery, but Stevenson previously voiced Gar Saxon, a Rebels character who possessed the Darksaber (now an important artifact on The Mandalorian) shortly before the Rebellion went to open war. It is possible he may return to the part via flashback, but it is equally likely he will play all new character. Ivanna Sakhno is also numbered among the cast, but like Winstead and Stevenson, it is unclear who she will play.
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. In April, THR confirmed one director: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse co-director Peter Ramsey. It is unclear how many episodes he will direct.
Production is expected to begin sometime in April.
(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. No matter its release window, the program is expected to begin production in April.
If there’s one thing we can definitely look forward to in 2022, it’s that a slew of new and returning TV and streaming series are set to grace our screens. We checked in with the networks and streamers to find out what shows they have lined up, and then consulted a crystal ball to guess at a few titles that are expected, but not yet confirmed. Read on to find out which upcoming shows we’re can’t wait to see as we kick off the new year.
We’ll update this list as more TV and streaming shows are confirmed for 2022 and trailers are released, so bookmark this page and check back often!
Updated September 23, 2022
Recommended: The Most Anticipated Movies of 2022
Premiere Date: preview December 7, 2021; time slot premiere Jan. 4, 2022
Description: Based on the experiences star and creator Quinta Brunson’s mother had as an elementary school teacher, this is a mockumentary sitcom on ABC about teachers and staff at an underfunded Philadelphia public school.
Critics Consensus: Abbott Elementary earns top marks for its empathetic yet sidesplitting critique of the U.S. education system, plus some extra credit for a deftly handled will-they-won’t-they dynamic.
Why we were looking forward to it: The “it’s funny because it’s true” storylines about what teachers have to go through are more honest and heartfelt than most TV shows about educators. The series also magically finds a way to be amusing when talking about serious things such as struggling to find a rug for a classroom or fixing broken toilets. In addition to Brunson, cast members include Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Chris Perfetti, Lisa Ann Walter and Sheryl Lee Ralph. –WF
Premiere Date: preview Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021; time slot premiere Tuesday, Jan. 4
Description: Created by Insecure and Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Phil Augusta Jackson, the NBC comedy focuses on friends who unpack the ups and downs of life at a wine bar.
Why we were looking forward to it: It’s like Friends, but with a wine bar instead of Central Perk? The ensemble comedy stars Nicole Byer, Justin Cunningham, Aaron Jennings, Echo Kellum, Grasie Mercedes and Carl Tart as Los Angeles-based young professionals who always have time to “wine down” together. After nearly two years of not being able to see your own friends on a regular basis, this could become appointment TV for those looking for someone to always be there for them. –WF
Premiere Date: Tuesday, Jan. 4
Description: From Superstore creator Justin Spitzer, the workplace comedy set in Detroit’s auto industry tells the story of new Payne Motors CEO Katherine Hastings (Ana Gasteyer), a savvy leader who has no knowledge of cars, and the employees under her guidance struggling to change with the times.
Why we were looking forward to it: Gasteyer (People of Earth) is good for a guaranteed laugh and leads a solid ensemble cast. –DD
Premiere Date: Tuesday, Jan. 4
Description: The saga of the Pearson family comes to a close as the hit drama catches up to the future lives of the Big Three — Kevin (Justin Hartley), Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kate Pearson (Chrissy Metz) — while tying their experiences to those of their parents, Jack and Rebecca (Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore).
Why we were looking forward to it: The biggest broadcast TV hit of the past decade will surely wrap up with plenty of tears, giving us 18 episodes to prepare for the inevitably emotional ending. –JB
Premiere Date: Thursday, Jan. 6
Description: Based on the true story of Mamie Till-Mobley, the six-episode series tells the story of a young Chicago mother whose 14-year-old son is killed in 1955 in the Jim Crow South.
Critics Consensus: Women of the Movement enlivens the tragedy of Emmett Till with solid storytelling and a deeply moving pair of performances by Adrienne Warren and Cedric Joe.
Why we were looking forward to it: Humanizing the tragedy of Emmett Till’s death brings one of history’s injustices to the fore. It’s a true-crime story that is timely, needed, and now available to stream on Hulu. –DD
Premiere Date: Sunday, Jan. 9
Description: This remake of the ’80s classic stars Nicholas Ralph as veterinarian James Herriot at the start of his storied career in rural Yorkshire in the 1930s.
Why we were looking forward to it: In a world full of…you know, all of this, nothing goes down as easy as comfort TV about a handsome young Brit who takes care of animals in the English countryside. –JB
Premiere Date: Sunday, Jan. 9
Description: Zendaya returns to her Emmy-winning role as Rue for a new season that takes a somewhat darker turn as the high school student continues to struggle with her addiction and falls into the deep end of the drug world.
Critics Consensus: As willfully provocative as ever in its second season, Euphoria still isn’t for all tastes – but when its addictive ingredients are mixed just right, the results remain intoxicating.
Why we were looking forward to it: Backed by a talented ensemble of young actors – Hunter Schafer, Sydney Sweeney, Angus Cloud, Maude Apatow, Alexa Demie, and on – Zendaya puts her versatility on display (for stark comparison, see her also in 2021 films Spider-Man: No Way Home and Dune), proving once again why she is one of the brightest stars of her generation. –DD
Premiere Date: Tuesday, Jan. 11
Description: When a supernatural event shakes her hometown of Port Oswego to the core, Naomi (Kaci Walfall) — a confident, comic book–loving teenager — sets out to uncover its origins. As a mystery about her own past also emerges, she tries to navigate high school life and the Multiverse itself.
Why we were looking forward to it: As Naomi is a relatively new comic book character, the production team has a relatively free hand to move her story in just about any tone or direction. But as her powers have a Multiversal component, we’re already looking forward to her crossing over with the established CW heroes. Once her world is properly established, of course. –-EA
Premiere Date: Thursday, Jan. 13
Description: Surviving the events of The Suicide Squad, Peacemaker (John Cena) returns to ensure freedom rings, no matter who has to die in the process. But his latest assignment may force him to grow up a little and make a friend or two.
Critics Consensus: John Cena’s still in solid form as Peacemaker, leading a bloody good time that gives writer-director James Gunn full permission to let his freak flag fly.
Why we were looking forward to it: As a writer, James Gunn has an amazing talent for turning D-list superheroes into beloved characters and Peacemaker is his greatest challenge yet. Will he and Cena turn the character from a one-note joke into the best streaming service hero? Seeing them accomplish that task is reason enough for us to watch it. –-EA
Premiere Date: Sunday, Jan. 16
Description: Comedian and singer Bridget Everett plays Sam. A “true Kansan” on the surface, she struggles to fit her hometown’s mold. But singing is her saving grace, and it leads her on a journey to discover herself — and a community of outsiders who don’t fit in and don’t give up.
Critics Consensus: Led by a captivating Bridget Everett, Somebody Somewhere explores the human condition with tenderness, grace, and warmth.
Why we were looking forward to it: The HBO comedy may not have all the bells and whistles of something like Succession or Game of Thrones, but it offers a different kind of humor (and actors) than the prestige channel usually showcases. Other actors in the series include Mike Hagerty, Jeff Hiller, Danny McCarthy and Mary Catherine Garrison. –WF
Premiere Date: Thursday, Jan. 20
Description: Frank Wild (Stanley Tucci) touches off an international crime story when he loots an undersea treasure belonging to Spain. The task of retrieving the stolen wealth falls to young diplomat Alex Ventura (Álvaro Mel).
Why we were looking forward to it: From Alejandro Amenábar – writer-director of Certified Fresh films Open Your Eyes, The Others, and Oscar-winner The Sea Inside – the series boasts an international cast led by Tucci and Clarke Peters as the lawyer who opposes him, picturesque locations shot by award-winning cinematographer Alex Catalán, and an engaging tale of, yes, international maritime law. –DD
Premiere Date: Friday, Jan. 21
Description: Part one of the fourth and final season of the Emmy-winning crime drama will hopefully answer the question of how far Jason Bateman’s Marty and Laura Linney’s Wendy will have to go to survive with their new allies in the drug cartel world — or if they even will.
Why we were looking forward to it: Either way, we’re hoping for one bloody, batty showcase of a final season. –WF
Premiere Date: Monday, Jan. 24
Description: The latest series from Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes chronicles the glitz and the “new money” of the rising classes in 1880s New York City.
Critics Consensus: Julian Fellowes’ brand of upstairs, downstairs intrigue makes a seamless transatlantic transition in The Gilded Age, with an outstanding cast making the travails of the rich a compelling watch.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Look, this show has Christine Baranski playing a stubborn and proud “old money” New York City aristocrat and Cynthia Nixon as her not-so financially secure sister. As if that wasn’t interesting enough to those who love period dramas, the cast also includes Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector as a recently wealthy couple attempting to become part of polite society and other actors like Denée Benton, Taissa Farmiga and Jeanne Tripplehorn. –WF
Premiere Date: Wednesday, Jan. 26
Description: Based on the Dark Horse comics, Resident Alien follows a crash-landed alien named Harry (Alan Tudyk) whose secret mission is to kill all humans. In season 2, Harry is once again stranded on Earth where he must confront the consequences of having failed his people’s mission to destroy the human race. On his new quest to protect the people of Earth, Harry struggles to hold on to his alien identity as his human emotions grow stronger by the day.
Why we’re looking forward to it: It’s a silly, outlandish, fish-out-of-water story that somehow comes with an effective amount of heart. Honestly, we’d probably watch Alan Tudyk watch paint dry. He’s that good. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, Jan. 28
Description: A murder mystery comedy about a high school reunion afterparty that goes awry uses the narrative device of telling each episode from a different character’s perspective of what happened that night.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Jam-packed with comedy superstars — Tiffany Haddish as the detective on the case; Sam Richardson, Zoë Chao, Ben Schwartz and Ilana Glazer as some of the suspects — the Apple TV+ comedy is created by Christopher Miller and offers a unique take on the Agatha Christie “whodunnit” trope. –WF
Premiere Date: Friday, Jan. 28
Description: Based on the beloved characters and adventures of Critical Role’s first live-streamed tabletop role-playing game (RPG) campaign, The Legend of Vox Machina is an animated fantasy-adventure series for adults that follows Vox Machina, a band of misfits with a fondness for boozing and brawling. In a desperate attempt to pay off their mounting bar tab, these unlikely heroes end up on a quest to save the realm of Exandria from dark magical forces.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Critical Role jumps from the live-streamed role-playing game realm into the animated one. The fan-funded project will bring show creator Matthew Mercer and his talented voice cast together, with help from the folks at Titmouse Animation, for a rollicking new cartoon adventure. –AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, Feb. 2
Description: The comedic limited series tells the so-called true story behind the release of history’s first-ever viral video in history: the sex tape of Pamela Anderson (Lily James) and Tommy Lee (Sebastian Stan).
Why we’re looking forward to it: In addition to the star-studded cast — which also includes Seth Rogen as the schlub who discovered the tape and Nick Offerman as the porn impresario who helps him distribute the tape — the stunning character transformation photos alone were enough to pull us in. –JB
Premiere Date: Thursday, Feb. 3
Description: In season two of HBO Max’s original science fiction series, Android partners Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim), along with their brood of six human children, join a newly formed atheistic colony in Kepler 22 b’s mysterious tropical zone. But navigating this strange new society is only the start of their troubles as Mother’s “natural child” threatens to drive what little remains of the human race to extinction.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Raised by Wolves was one of HBO Max’s most-watched shows when it first premiered. And it’s one of the most original, jaw-dropping, mind-bending sci-fi shows to hit television in quite some time. No wonder Ridley Scott put his stamp of approval on it. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, Feb. 4
Description: Reacher follows Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson), a veteran military police investigator who has just recently entered civilian life. Reacher is a drifter, carrying no phone and the barest of essentials as he travels the country and explores the nation he once served. When he arrives in the small town of Margrave, Georgia, he finds a community grappling with its first homicide in 20 years. The cops immediately arrest him and eyewitnesses claim to place Reacher at the scene of the crime. While he works to prove his innocence, a deep-seated conspiracy begins to emerge, one that will require Reacher’s keen mind and hard-hitting fists to deal with. One thing above all is for sure: they picked the wrong guy to take the fall.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The previous attempts at bringing the Jack Reacher novels to life didn’t fully deliver on the overpowering nature of the hero. From the looks of things, the show will bring the size, the power, the drama, the sex appeal and a plethora of punches. It looks like a lot of fun. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, Feb. 11
Description: The limited series based on the New York magazine article about a twentysomething con artist stars Julia Garner, Anna Chlumsky, Katie Lowes, and Laverne Cox.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The first project officially created and written by Shonda Rhimes as part of her expansive overall deal with Netflix, this series about a narcissistic con artist who duped a crowd of too-cool-for-school New Yorkers into believing she was a rich trust-funder could easily be an addictive binge-watch. –WF
Premiere Date: Sunday, Feb. 13
Description: This serialized one-hour dramatic analogue of the ’90s sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air leans into the original premise: Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision set in the present day, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions and biases that were impossible to fully explore in a 30-minute sitcom format, while still delivering swagger and nods to the original show.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Will Smith has been on an authenticity tour recently, stripping away the preconceived notions about his identity built up over the decades. Bel-Air will surely follow suit. And with newcomer Jabari Banks in the lead role, it’ll be intriguing to see how the story, which was inspired by Smith’s own journey, will be told for modern audiences. –AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, Feb. 20
Description: The middle eight episodes of the final season will see “many of our heroes fighting imminent hellfire under Reaper attack; while others battle Mother Nature’s torrential wrath in Alexandria. For all, their world is literally crashing down around them. Meanwhile, life in the Commonwealth is not as idyllic as it seems. For some, hope will be renewed. Others will be pushed past the point of no return. One truth holds tight: Lives hang in the balance with each decision drastically changing their future, their chances of survival, and the state of each community.”
Why we’re looking forward to it: The last eight episodes of the massive 24-episode final season will see the original story of zombie apocalypse survivors draw to a close — though its characters will live on in original movies and spinoffs like the episodic anthology Tales of the Walking Dead, which premieres this summer. –JB
Premiere Date: Monday, Feb. 21
Description: A spin-off of The CW’s All American, the sports drama follows that series’ character Simone (Geffri Maya) as she pursues her dream of being a tennis star while living the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) experience at Bringston University. The series also stars Peyton Alex Smith as elite baseball player Damo, and Kelly Jenrette as Simone’s Aunt Amara Patterson, a journalism teacher and activist. The series is from writer and executive producer Nkechi Okoro Carroll and executive producer Greg Berlanti.
Why we’re looking forward to it: All American, now on its fourth season and with a Certified Fresh season 1, has provided broadcast TV–variety wholesome, topical entertainment about the Black experience since 2018. We’re eager for more in its spin-off. –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, Feb. 24
Description: Netflix has Tudum, but NBC will always have dun-dun. The granddaddy of the crime procedural franchise is being revived for a 21st season.
Why we’re looking forward to it: From the ripped-from-the-headlines stories and the concept that crimes always get solved and tried within an hour, Law & Order — and the other shows in its vast franchise — is captivating programming. Coming back more than a decade after its cancellation, the new take on the series will see returning cast members like Anthony Anderson, as well as new ones like Jeffrey Donovan, Camryn Manheim, and Hugh Dancy. –WF
Premiere Date: Friday, Feb. 18
Description: Tits up. The love-her or love-to-hate-her Midge Maisel returns to Amazon Prime Video and attempts to find her own way to shake up the business after she was dumped from being the opening act for Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain).
Why we’re looking forward to it: If ever there were an English-language show that needed subtitles, this would be it. The fast-talking, hat-loving, mediocre-parenting Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) and her manager Susie (Alex Borstein) are devising new plots for the up-and-coming comic’s success story while Midge figures out how to live with her parents (Tony Shalhoub’s Abe and Marin Hinkle’s Rose). In short, a lot of conversations are had. And they all happen at quite a gallop. –WF
Premiere Date: Friday, Feb. 25
Description: A new Norsemen saga is upon us. Taking place around 100 years after the Ragnar Lothbrok legacy, which was explored in the History Channel series, this new adventure dramatizes the exploits of some of the most famous Vikings who ever lived, including Leif Erikson (Sam Corlett), Freydis Eriksdotter (Frida Gustavsson), and Harold Sigurdsson (Leo Sutter).
Why we’re looking forward to it: Vikings helped change the game with how historical fiction can succeed on television. Packed with riveting performances, gritty realism, and a hack-and-slash genre element, the series attracted fans from all walks of life. Netflix’s sequel looks to be tapping into that same aesthetic, and we are here for it. –AP
Premiere Date: Monday, Feb. 28
Description: Executive producer, writer, director and star Pamela Adlon’s all-too-realistic tale of a Los Angeles mom raising three opinionated kids on her own is all grown up and ending with its upcoming fifth season. According to the press release, the last chapter of the series will focus on “the road ahead” as Adlon’s Sam Fox “navigates three daughters, each coming of age; the challenges of her chosen career; and her mother’s increasing signs of aging (as well as her own).”
Why we’re looking forward to it: The last season, which aired in 2020, gave Sam some closure as she severed the lingering financial ties to her ex-husband (Matthew Glave’s Xander) — and the residual anger that Sam was holding onto as a result of that arrangement. Now free from that constant reminder and with her kids at or nearing adulthood, can Sam finally make some time for herself? –WF
Premiere Date: Thursday, Mar. 3
Description: Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. Hulu’s limited series The Dropout, the story of Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried) and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye?
Why we’re looking forward to it: Elizabeth Holmes put a spell on Silicon Valley, and the world, when she claimed to have created a groundbreaking blood-testing technology. It was all one big lie, and her downfall is a fascinating story worth deep exploration. We expect powerful performances from Seyfried and the rest of the cast, which includes the likes of Naveen Andrews, William H. Macy, Laurie Metcalf, Alan Ruck, and Sam Waterston. –AP
Premiere Date: Thursday, Mar. 3
Description: Based loosely on the adventures of “gentleman pirate” Stede Bonnet (Rhys Darby), an aristocrat who abandoned his life of privilege for the high seas, the comedy depicts what happens when Bonnet and his crew cross paths with feared pirate Blackbeard (Taika Waititi).
Why we’re looking forward to it: From creator David Jenkins (People of Earth), the series features a stacked cast also including Fred Armisen, Leslie Jones, Kristian Nairn, and more. –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, Mar. 3
Description: Jean-Luc Picard and the ragtag crew of La Sirena travel back in time to the 21st century to fix the timeline – with a bit of help from the god-like Q (John de Lancie) and a Borg Queen (Alice Krige).
Why we’re looking forward to it: Aside from the fact that Sir Patrick Stewart is still keen on playing the iconic character, the new season will continue the trend of reuniting familiar faces from Star Trek: The Next Generation’s past. With Brent Spiner, who played Lt. Commander Data, the Enterprise’s android officer for three decades, and Whoopi Goldberg reprising her role as the Enterprise’s wise, former bartender, it’s looking like Picard’s next adventure is going to be a doozy. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, Mar. 4
Description: The eight-episode The Boys–inspired anthology series expands the universe of Prime Video’s hit superhero program. Oh, and it’s animated. The series will feature stories by Awkwafina, Garth Ennis, Eliot and Ilana Glazer, Simon Racioppa, Justin Roiland and Ben Bayouth, Andy Samberg and Aisha Tyler, and Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.
Why we’re looking forward to it: An animated companion piece to The Boys will not only bring more context to that world, but it should hopefully take the leash off entirely, giving audiences some diabolical Rick and Morty–style craziness as we wait for season 3. –AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, Mar. 6
Description: The nearly two-year-long Droughtlander is ending as we return to Claire and Jamie Fraser (Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan), Brianna and Roger MacKenzie (Sophie Skelton and Richard Rankin), and young Ian (John Bell) on Fraser Ridge. Tension on the ridge will come in the form of new characters Tom, Allan, and Malva Christie (Mark Lewis-Jones, Alexander Vlahos, and Jessica Reynolds).
Why we’re looking forward to it: While the pandemic has truncated the sixth season — it’ll be just eight episodes — the already-ordered seventh, premiering in 2023, will consist of a super-sized 16. –JB
Premiere Date: Sunday, Mar. 6
Description: Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, the series dramatizes the professional and personal lives of the players and coaches that made up one of sports’ most successful teams.
Why we’re looking forward to it: With a large and talented ensemble cast – including John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah, Jason Clarke, Adrien Brody, Gaby Hoffman, Tracy Letts, Jason Segel, Julianne Nicholson, and on – a story straight from the record books, and a pilot directed by Adam McKay (The Big Short), how can it lose? –DD
Premiere Date: Tuesday, Mar. 8
Description: Another based-on-a-true-crime scripted limited series with an all-star cast, this one is based on the 2011 murder of Betsy Faria. Renée Zellweger plays Pam Hupp, Betsy’s best friend who was insistent that Betsy’s husband Russ (portrayed by Glenn Fleshler) was responsible.
Why we’re looking forward to it: With the first episodes directed by My So-Called Life’s Scott Winant, the stranger-than-fiction turns in this story that are based on exhaustive Dateline NBC coverage have the tantalizing appeal of shows like Tiger King with Zellweger completely changing her appearance to play the part of Hupp. Other stars include Josh Duhamel, Judy Greer, Katy Mixon, Gideon Adlon and Sean Bridgers—WF
Premiere Date: Friday, Mar. 11
Description: The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey stars Samuel L. Jackson as Ptolemy Grey, in the series adaptation of Walter Mosley’s best-selling novel, as an ailing man forgotten by his family, by his friends, and by even himself. Suddenly left without his trusted caretaker and on the brink of sinking even deeper into a lonely dementia, Ptolemy is assigned to the care of orphaned teenager Robyn, played by BAFTA Award nominee Dominique Fishback (Judas and the Black Messiah). When they learn about a treatment that can restore Ptolemy’s dementia-addled memories, it begins a journey toward shocking truths about the past, present, and future.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Jackson is stepping out of the MCU bubble to tackle a tale full of emotion, which he pretty much always delivers. And with Fishback stepping up as his co-star, with a supporting cast featuring Cynthia Kaye McWilliams (Real Husbands of Hollywood), Damon Gupton (Black Lightning), Marsha Stephanie Blake (When They See Us), Walton Goggins (Justified), and Omar Miller (The Unicorn), this one sounds like a series worth paying attention to. –AP
Premiere Date: Tuesday, Mar. 15
Description: Depicting several chapters in Dwayne Johnson’s life, Young Rock explores the ups and downs of growing up in a professional wrestling family.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Certified Fresh season 1 captured our hearts with stories of Johnson as a child (Adrian Groulx), a teen (Bradley Constant), and a young man (Uli Latukefu) struggling to find his way in the world with Johnson himself appearing as a fictionalized version of his current superstar self. Would we like some more? Yes, please. –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, Mar. 17
Description: Based on the popular DC comic, the series is set in war-ravaged Manhattan in a near future when civil war tears at the country.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Ava DuVernay directs the first episode of the four-part limited event series from Roberto Patino (Westworld) with Ernest R. Dickerson (The Walking Dead) taking the reins for the remaining three. Rosario Dawson and Benjamin Bratt star. –DD
Premiere Date: Friday, Mar. 18
Description: The limited series based on the hit podcast dramatizes the fall of WeWork and the eccentric personalities that caused the company’s failure.
Why we were looking forward to it: The series stars Oscar winners Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as Adam and Rebekah Neumann, the central figures behind the rise and fall of one of the world’s most valuable startups. Part of overall deal with Apple TV+, The Office writer and producer Lee Eisenberg co-writes, executive produces, and serves as showrunner of the series alongside Drew Crevello (The Grudge 2). –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, Mar. 24
Description: The long-awaited third season of creator-star Donald Glover’s Emmy-winning FX comedy was filmed mostly in Europe, with FX offering the logline that it finds “Earn (Donald Glover), Alfred (Brian Tyree Henry), Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) and Van (Zazie Beetz) in the midst of a successful European tour, as the group navigates their new surroundings as outsiders, and struggle to adjust to the newfound success they had aspired to.”
Why we’re looking forward to it: Who knows what exactly will happen to Glover’s Earn as he manages his cousin Alfred’s (Brian Tyree Henry) music career abroad? They were last seen flying to Europe for a tour after Earn planted a gun in a rival’s bag just as they were going through TSA. Earn’s so far been taking a “learn as we go” tactic to his job. But will things change once the group leaves their Georgian roots? –WF
Premiere Date: Friday, Mar. 25
Description: The second season of the Shonda Rhimes-produced Regency-era bodice ripper will focus on eldest son Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), who was previously reluctant to marry into high society as his family expects him to.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The first season made a star out of Rege-Jean Page, who played Anthony’s eventual brother-in-law, Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings. It also caused a flurry of thinkpieces regarding the complexities of colorblind casting and consent in sex scenes. With Page no longer in the series and with the writers perhaps becoming more conscious of these other matters, it will be interesting to see how fans respond. Cast members also include Sex Education’s Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma. –WF
Premiere Date: Friday, Mar. 25
Description: Based on Min Jin Lee’s 2017 historical fiction, this is an immigration story that deals with racism and forbidden love that’s told in Korean, Japanese, and English. It could find an audience for those who watched AMC’s The Terror: Infamy.
Why we were looking forward to it: Created by Soo Hugh, who worked on the first season of The Terror, this is a beautifully colored love story that follows four generations of a Korean immigrant family. –WF
Premiere Date: Monday, Mar. 28
Description: In the 26th century, humanity fights a protracted war against aliens known as The Covenant. And at the center of the “deeply drawn personal stories with action, adventure and a richly imagined vision of the future” is enhanced super-soldier Master Chief John-117 (Pablo Schreiber).
Why we’re looking forward to it: The look of Halo is compelling, and its seeming serious-mindedness and personal stories may prove to put the program a step ahead of other live-action video game adaptations. At the same time, it will be interesting to see Schreiber contain his usual expressiveness in Master Chief’s armor and helmet — or if the series will feature the character outside of his iconic costume. —EA
Premiere Date: Tuesday, Mar. 29
Description: Inspired by the true story of the infamous “texting-suicide” case, the limited series explores Michelle Carter’s relationship with Conrad Roy III, the events that led to his death, and her later conviction of involuntary manslaughter.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Hulu has a winning formula for dramatized true-crime series (Escape at Dannemora, The Act). And with the streamer’s The Great star Elle Fanning leading the cast and a ripped-from-the-headlines tragedy, the series seems like a can’t-miss. –DD
Premiere Date: Wednesday, Mar. 30
Description: Oscar Isaac stars as the titular Marvel superhero comic vigilante, who suffers from dissociative identity disorder. “The multiple identities who live inside him find themselves thrust into a deadly war of the gods against the backdrop of modern and ancient Egypt,” reads the official description of this latest Marvel Disney+ series.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Sorry, we thought it was self-explanatory once we used the words “Oscar Isaac” and “Marvel superhero” in the same sentence. Obviously we’re tuning in. –JB
Premiere Date: Thursday, Mar. 31
Description: The HBO Max series is inspired by Julia Child’s (Sarah Lancashire) extraordinary life and her long-running television series, The French Chef, which pioneered the modern cooking show. Through Julia’s life and her singular joie de vivre, the series explores a pivotal time in American history – the emergence of public television as a new social institution, feminism and the women’s movement, the nature of celebrity and America’s cultural evolution. At its heart, the series is a portrait of a loving marriage with a shifting power dynamic.
Why we’re looking forward to it: While it’s easy to see how, aesthetically, the series may draw comparisons to The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Mad Men, the real kicker here is the true-to-life subject matter Julia will delve into. Lancashire’s performance, alone, is reason enough to check this one out. In fact, remember her name: it’ll surely be in all the noteworthy awards conversations next year. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, April 15
Description: Outer Range centers on Royal Abbott (Josh Brolin), a rancher fighting for his land and family, who discovers an unfathomable mystery at the edge of Wyoming’s wilderness.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Josh Brolin doesn’t do a lot of television, so his move to lead this Western-themed family drama brings a ton of clout. On the surface, the move feels reminiscent of Kevin Costner’s decision to star in Paramount+’s Yellowstone. But dig just a bit deeper, and it’s clear there is some sci-fi craziness going on here. Something tells us Outer Range will be one to watch. –AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, April 17
Description: An hour-long drama, the series reframes history through the stories of America’s First Ladies. Season 1 focuses on Michelle Obama, Betty Ford, and Eleanor Roosevelt
Why we’re looking forward to it: That cast! Oscar winner and series executive producer Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) stars as Obama with Gillian Anderson (The Crown) as Roosevelt, and Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit) as Betty Ford. The series also stars Kiefer Sutherland (24) as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Aaron Eckhart (Wander) as President Gerald Ford, and Dakota Fanning (The Angel of Darkness) as the Ford’s youngest daughter Susan. Cathy Schulman (Crash) executive produces and serves as showrunner with Susanne Bier (The Undoing) directing all of season 1. –DD
Premiere Date: Monday, April 18
Description: Everything has been set in motion for Bob Odenkirk’s Saul Goodman to completely break bad in the sixth and final season of Better Call Saul. Gus Fring’s entanglement with Nacho (Michael Mando) and Lalo Salamanca (Tony Dalton) is heating up. We’ve gotten a taste of Kim Wexler’s (Rhea Seehorn) dark motives. And the Breaking Bad timeline is right around the corner. As Dalton explained to Collider, the final season is “out of control.”
Why we’re looking forward to it: Better Call Saul has proven itself a worthwhile, thoroughly engaging successor to Breaking Bad. With Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould commanding the ship, the prequel series will surely go out with a bang, leading this tragedy to a satisfying, and probably ultra-violent, conclusion.–AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, April 20
Description: A second season of Russian Doll. What a concept!
Why we’re looking forward to it: Things seemed pretty finite for the first season finale of Netflix’s Russian Doll, which saw Natasha Lyonne’s Nadia and Charlie Barnett’s Alan each caught in endless time loops and working together to save themselves. But fans have gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the next season comes. –WF
Premiere Date: Thursday, April 21
Description: Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) is living her best sober life in Los Angeles while moonlighting as a CIA asset. But when an assignment brings her overseas and she witnesses another murder, more international intrigue follows.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Initially intended as a limited series, season 1 was so successful – check out that 97% Certified Fresh Tomatometer score – HBO Max was compelled to bring Cassie back for more adventures in international murder mysteries. –DD
Premiere Date: Friday, April 22
Description: A followup to the Hugh Grant–Ben Whishaw miniseries A Very English Scandal, this program with slightly different verbiage for its title stars Claire Foy and Paul Bettany embroiled in one of the 20th century’s most complicated divorces.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The actors play the Duke and Duchess of Argyll in this three-episode miniseries. The couple’s 1963 divorce, which is mentioned in the first line of both of their Wikipedia bios after their names, was known for exposing salacious photographs as well as accusations of forgery, theft, violence, drug use, and secret recordings. It’s a good holdover until The Crown returns. –WF
Premiere Date: Sunday, April 24
Description: Barry is finally returning after two years. After attempting to leave his hitman life behind, season 2 ended in a fit of violence sparked by the betrayal of Barry’s (Bill Hader) former handler Monroe Funches (Steven Root), which led to Gene Cousineau’s (Henry Winkler) discovery of who Barry really is. Trouble, most certainly, is right around the corner.
Why we’re looking forward to it: With season 3 in the can and scripts completed for season 4, it’s clear Hader and company have an end-game in mind. Hader has directed five of the eight episodes in season 3 of the Emmy-winning dark comedy, and we can’t wait to watch them. —AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, April 24
Description: Created and executive produced by Robbie Pickering (Mr. Robot) and based on Slate podcast “Slow Burn,” the series tells the true story of celebrity Arkansan socialite Martha Mitchell, wife to Nixon’s loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell. Martha is the first to publicly connect President Richard Nixon to Watergate, which unravels both her life and his presidency and forces the Attorney General to choose between his wife and his president.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Executive produced by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail and directed by Matt Ross (Captain Fantastic), Gaslit’s cast is a dream: Julia Roberts as Martha Mitchell, Sean Penn as John N. Mitchell, Dan Stevens as John Dean, Betty Gilpin as Mo Dean, Shea Whigham as G. Gordon Liddy, and on. The title has “Emmys” written all over it. –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, April 24
Description: Based on the Walter Tevis novel and the 1976 David Bowie film, the series follows a new alien, Oscar-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) as Faraday, who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future. Naomie Harris (Moonlight) stars as scientist and engineer Justin Falls, who faces a race to save two worlds.
Why we’re looking forward to it: We love a fish-out-of-water story, especially when the fish is an alien. Seriously, though, this is a drama, and we’re eager to see how Ejiofor stacks up against Bowie as lead alien. –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, April 28
Description: Detective Pyre’s (Andrew Garfield) devout faith is tested as he investigates a brutal murder that seems to be connected to an esteemed Utah family’s spiral into LDS fundamentalism and their distrust in the government.
Why we’re looking forward to it: We’re getting major True Detective vibes from this one. Hailing from Academy Award–winner Dustin Lance Black (Milk, When We Rise), and inspired by the true-crime bestseller by Jon Krakauer, it’s pretty obvious this one will be the subject of many conversations. Considering Garfield’s emotionality as an actor, and the supporting ensemble (Sam Worthington, Denise Gough, Wyatt Russell, Billy Howle, Gil Birmingham, Adelaide Clemens, Rory Culkin, Seth Numrich, Chloe Pirrie, Sandra Seacat, and Christopher Heyerdahl), the team putting this one together is top-notch. Expect the series to be so, as well. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, April 29
Description: Based on the 2013 novel by Lauren Beukes, the metaphysical thriller stars Elisabeth Moss as a Chicago reporter who finds her reality shifting as she hunts her attacker following a brutal assault.
Why we’re looking forward to it: We can’t say no to Moss, who won an Emmy for her role as Offred in Hulu’s dystopian fantasy The Handmaid’s Tale and whose performance in Leigh Whannell’s 2020 horror feature The Invisible Man is largely responsible for the film’s Certified Fresh 92% Tomatometer score. –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, May 5
Description: Maybe they are gonna be famous for ten-hundred years? Peacock renewed the musical comedy created by Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Meredith Scardino. A release date has yet to be set.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The delightful but also very, very dark musical comedy about members of a ’90s girl group who are figuring out fandom in the present day has a 98% Tomatometer score and is adored by fans and critics who also love executive producers Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s other works. But will the nostalgia-hued jokes and digs at the music industry get old in a second season? –WF
Premiere Date: Thursday, May 5
Description: Oscar winner Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) stars as novelist Michael Peterson in an eight-episode limited series. Based on Netflix’s true-crime docuseries about Peterson’s role in the mysterious death of his wife Kathleen, portrayed here by Toni Collette (Hereditary), the series is executive produced by Antonio Campos (Martha Marcy May Marlene) and Maggie Cohn (American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace).
Why we’re looking forward to it: The dream team of Firth and Collette in the principal roles of this sordid tale are quite enough to recommend it. –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, May 5
Description: Captain Pike (Anson Mount), Number One (Rebecca Romijn) and Spock (Ethan Peck) continue their bold journey 10 years prior to the events of the original Star Trek.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Executive producer Akiva Goldsman promises the show will return to Star Trek’s episodic roots with the Enterprise seeking out new lifeforms, civilizations and stories of the week. We can’t wait to see that format return, while also building on the character work that the top-billed trio began in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery. –EA
Premiere Date: Monday, May 9
Description: Candy Montgomery (Jessica Biel) is a 1980 housewife and mother who did everything right – good husband, two kids, nice house, even the careful planning, and execution of transgressions – but when the pressure of conformity builds within her, her actions scream for just a bit of freedom. With deadly results.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The always wonderful Melanie Lynskey co-stars with Biel in this five-episode series about murder in the suburbs. Considering the talent of the cast (Timothy Simons, Pablo Schreiber, and Raúl Esparza also star) and that of the creative team involved – three-time Emmy nominee Robin Veith (Mad Men, The Act) wrote the pilot script and executive produces alongside Nick Antosca (The Act, Brand New Cherry Flavor) – this is a five-night event that will surely scratch that true-crime itch. –AP
Premiere Date: Thursday, May 12
Description: The Emmy-winning HBO Max comedy starring Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder will be back for a second season.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Plot details are scarce, but there should definitely be some falling out from the first-season cliffhanger that saw the two women reconcile their awkward and abusive mentorship — just before Einbinder’s Ana is reminded that she sent all the dirt she had on Smart’s Deborah to British producers who are totally going to use that information to their own advantage. –WF
Premiere Date: Friday, May 13
Description: Adapted from Sarah Perry’s award-winning bestselling novel, the drama stars Claire Danes and Tom Hiddleston and follows newly widowed Cora (Danes) who relocates from Victorian London to the small village of Aldwinter in Essex, lured by a local superstition about a creature known as the Essex Serpent.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Victorian period costumes, mythical beasts, Danes and Hiddleston, drama. Put a kettle on — we’re in! –DD
Premiere Date: Friday, May 13
Description: Creator David E. Kelley’s adaptation of the Michael Connelly novel The Brass Verdict stars Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller, an iconoclastic idealist, who runs his law practice out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car.
Why we’re looking forward to it: A spin-off of the 2011 movie starring Matthew McConaughey, it’s nice to see a story of a dedicated attorney who wants to help the people of Los Angeles instead of Kelley’s other legal dramas about fast-talking attorneys in power suits who maybe also have co-ed bathrooms. –WF
Premiere Date: Friday, May 20
Description: Spanning space and time, Night Sky follows Irene (Sissy Spacek) and Franklin York (JK Simmons), a couple who, years ago, discovered a chamber buried in their backyard which inexplicably leads to a strange, deserted planet. They’ve carefully guarded their secret ever since, but when an enigmatic young man (Chai Hansen, The Newsreader) enters their lives, the Yorks’ quiet existence is quickly upended … and the mystifying chamber they thought they knew so well turns out to be much more than they could ever have imagined.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Over the past few years, Prime Video has been racking up an intriguing lineup of science fiction programming. With powerhouse actors Spacek and Simmons stepping into the starring roles, we expect some epic performances. And considering the subject matter of the series, Night Sky sounds like a tough show to pass up. –AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, May 25
Description: Ewan McGregor returns to the Star Wars universe as the younger version of the iconic character in a new series helmed by Deborah Chow.
Why we’re looking forward to it: He is our only hope, after all — and he’s going to reunite with Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. –JB
Premiere Date: Vol. 1 drops on Friday, May 27; Vol. 2 premieres on Friday, July 1
Description: While David Harbour’s Jim Hopper is trapped in Russia and facing dangers both human and not, the kids of Hawkins, Indiana, will find a secret long buried in the town during the sci-fi series’ fourth season.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Aside from holding out hope that Hopper and his dad bod might find a way back to adopted daughter Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), there’s the fun of seeing which stories in the sci-fi genre this series will pay homage to now. Judging by the trailer released during the show’s panel at Netflix’s Tudum event, a haunted house seems involved. –WF
Premiere Date: Tuesday, May 31
Description: Anchored by guitarist Steve Jones’ memoir, Lonely Boy: Tales from a Sex Pistol, Pistol offers a fascinating new perspective on the story of iconic punk outfit, The Sex Pistols. Pistol moves from West London’s council estates, to Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s notorious Kings Road SEX shop, to the international controversy that came with the release of Never Mind the Bollocks, which is frequently listed as one of the most influential albums of all time.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Danny Boyle guides the creative vision of the series. With the Oscar winner directing, it’s easy to see how his unique filmmaking style can bring to life the unbelievable, unabashed, unflinching story of The Sex Pistols. Nevermind the bollocks, indeed. –AP
Premiere Date: Thursday, June 2
Description: Seth MacFarlane’s epic space adventure series returns exclusively as a Hulu original series. Set 400 years in the future, The Orville: New Horizons finds the crew of the U.S.S. Orville continuing their mission of exploration, as they navigate both the mysteries of the universe and the complexities of their own interpersonal relationships.
Why we’re looking forward to it: When The Orville first hit Fox in 2017, comparisons to Star Trek flooded the internet, and for good reason. It delivered on the positive vibes of the original series, while sprinkling in McFarlane’s signature humor. Now that the series has moved to Hulu, we’re unsure if the sci-fi program will change all that much. But given the audience’s hunger for new shows of this ilk, it’s pretty evident that McFarlane’s Trek sendup is in good shape. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, June 3
Description: As the struggle between the Boys and the Seven continues, Congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) uses worries about Supes to her advantage. Meanwhile, Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), the first superhero, enters the fray.
Why we’re looking forward to it: In its second season, The Boys continued to be wicked smart, grotesque in its humor, and very dark despite its bright-looking world. The addition of Ackles’s character — who has a surprising connection to the departed season 2 character Stormfront (Aya Cash) — should lead to a few more twists and maybe another exploding whale. And what season of The Boys would be complete without Hughie (Jack Quaid) covered in entrails? While you’re waiting for the new season, animated spin-off series Diabolical will be available earlier in the year. –-EA
Premiere Date: Wednesday, June 8
Description: Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) is a 16-year-old Pakistani American from Jersey City and Captain Marvel’s biggest fan. The aspiring artist, avid gamer and fan-fiction author has always struggled to find her place in the world — that is, until she gets superpowers like the heroes she’s always looked up to.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Marvel’s latest batch of superheroes — the new Black Widow, Kate Bishop in Hawkeye — is filled with strong women, so we’re extra excited for a teenage hero who can hang with the rest of them. –JB
Premiere Date: Friday, June 10.
Description: The alternate history of the space race makes its way to the 1990s, where political destinies may be forged. But the Soviets may also find a new destiny with spies at NASA. Meanwhile, the Mars landing leads to a further divergence from our reality and, potentially, a very different turn of the century.
Why we’re looking forward to it: With each season, the gap between our 20th century and that of show’s becomes greater. But beyond the fun of alternative history – imagine the Soviet Union making it to the 2000s – are the gripping characters, the occasional shocking departure, and, now, the generational storytelling. –-EA
Premiere Date: Friday, June 10
Description: From creator Steven Knight, the gangster series reset the genre for British TV, as it told the story of World War 1 veteran Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and his violent Birmingham crime family.
Why we’re looking forward to it: As the Shelby family saga comes to a close, the British series’ cast and storyline remain as robust as ever. –DD
Premiere Date: Sunday, June 12
Description: Dark Winds is a psychological thriller that follows two Navajo police officers, Leaphorn (Zahn McClarnon) and Chee (Kiowa Gordon), in the 1970s Southwest as their search for clues in a grisly double-murder case forces them to challenge their own spiritual beliefs and come to terms with the trauma of their pasts.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The Western noir series is an adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s awesome Leaphorn & Chee book series. Rainn Wilson also stars as a character named Devoted Dan, who, by the sound of it, is a real degenerate. And it’s executive produced by George R.R. Martin and Robert Redford. Let the brooding weirdness begin. –AP
Premiere Date: Thursday, June 16
Description: The Old Man is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Thomas Perry. It centers on Dan Chase (Jeff Bridges), the titular “old man,” who bailed on his CIA career decades ago and now lives off the grid. When an assassin (Gbenga Akinnagbe) arrives and tries to take him out, the old operative learns that to ensure his future he now must reconcile his past.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Jeff Bridges hasn’t done much television throughout his nearly six decades as an actor, so his decision to headline the program is an exciting one. John Lithgow and Amy Brenneman are supporting players here, and their involvement builds our excitement even more. Given FX’s high standard for storytelling, we’re expecting top-notch performances and nail-biting intrigue week in and week out. –AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, June 22
Description: After putting a stop to 1963’s doomsday, the Umbrella Academy return home to the present, convinced they prevented the initial apocalypse and fixed this godforsaken timeline once and for all. But after a brief moment of celebration, they realize things aren’t exactly (okay, not at all) how they left them. Enter the Sparrow Academy. Smart, stylish, and about as warm as a sea of icebergs, the Sparrows immediately clash with the Umbrellas in a violent face-off that turns out to be the least of everyone’s concerns. Navigating challenges, losses, and surprises of their own – and dealing with an unidentified destructive entity wreaking havoc in the Universe (something they may have caused) — now all they need to do is convince Dad’s new and possibly better family to help them put right what their arrival made wrong. Will they find a way back to their pre-apocalyptic lives? Or is this new world about to reveal more than just a hiccup in the timeline?
Why we’re looking forward to it: Based on the Gerard Way-created comic series of the same name, Netflix’s genre-bending program has proven itself a worth binge for fans of the original source material and newcomers who are aching for an enjoyable (albeit totally oddball) viewing experience. After the time-travel craziness of season 2, we expect things to get even weirder once the program returns. After all, the stranger things get for the Hargreeves clan, the more fun it is to watch. –AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, June 26
Description: We have no idea what’s in store for Westworld’s fourth season, which is exactly how the producers of the sci-fi killer-robot series like it. Will it finally come to war between humans and AI? No idea.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Confirmed returning cast includes Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy, Ed Harris as the Man in Black, Thandiwe Newton as Maeve Millay, Jeffrey Wright as Bernard Lowe, and Aaron Paul as Caleb Nichols. The previous three Certified Fresh seasons have us hooked for life apparently. –DD
Premiere Date: Tuesday, June 28
Description: Following the shocking death of Arconia Board President Bunny Folger, Charles, Oliver & Mabel race to unmask her killer. However, three (unfortunate) complications ensue – the trio is publicly implicated in Bunny’s homicide, they are now the subjects of a competing podcast, and they have to deal with a bunch of New York neighbors who all think they committed murder.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Three reasons: Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez. If season 1 proved anything, it’s that this here is a trifecta of talent to be reckoned with.
The show is a smart, humorous take on the whodunnit formula that gives a wink at the audience while expanding on its unique character storylines and overarching mystery. Oh, and don’t forget the hummus. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, July 1
Description: Based on the best-selling novel by Jack Carr, the series follows James Reece (Chris Pratt) after his entire platoon of Navy SEALs is ambushed during a high-stakes covert mission. Reece returns home to his family with conflicting memories of the event and questions about his culpability. However, as new evidence comes to light, Reece discovers dark forces working against him, endangering not only his life but the lives of those he loves. Constance Wu, Taylor Kitsch, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Riley Keough, Jai Courtney, and Patrick Schwarzenegger also star.
Why we’re looking forward to it: From Zero Dark Thirty to The Tomorrow War, Chris Pratt has proven his on-screen charisma works quite well in military fatigues. With the involvement of Carr, who serves as executive producer alongside Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), this one will surely bring the espionage drama fans of Prime Video’s Jack Ryan series have been yearning for.–AP
Premiere Date: Tuesday, July 12
Description: In the shocking season three finale, Nandor (Kayvon Novak), Guillermo (Harvey Guillen) and Nadja (Natasia Demetriou) left Staten Island to go their separate ways while Laszlo (Matt Berry) stayed home to care for the creature that clawed its way out of the chest cavity of the deceased Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch) — aka Baby Colin. This season, the vampires return to Staten Island to find their mansion on the verge of total structural collapse — and with no money to repair it. Nandor’s eternal search for love finally yields results, and Nadja finally realizes her dream of opening the hottest vampire nightclub in the Tri-State Area. Laszlo struggles with the question of nature versus nurture as he tries raising Baby Colin to be anything other than an energy vampire. And even Guillermo finds himself on a powerful emotional track that touches on his love for his family, and for others.
Why we’re looking forward to it: After last season’s cliffhanger, the comedy (based on the feature film by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi) threw multiple wrenches into the mix, leaving our heroes’ fates in limbo. It’s uncertain how things will stack up. But given the show’s knack for casting epic guest stars, quirky story twists, and its deep love of the horror genre, we can’t wait to sink our teeth into what’s coming next.–AP
Premiere Date: Friday July 28
Description: On their 10th wedding anniversary, Noah and Emma head to a Yucatan resort to relax and reconnect. But their marriage is put to the ultimate test when they become immersed in a mysterious unsolved crime.
Why we’re looking forward to it: You had us at Palm Springs‘s Cristin Milioti and The Good Place‘s William Jackson Harper, to be honest. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday July 29
Description: Paper Girls follows four young girls who, while out delivering papers on the morning after Halloween in 1988, become unwittingly caught in a conflict between warring factions of time-travelers, sending them on an adventure through time that will save the world. As they travel between our present, the past, and the future they encounter future versions of themselves and now must choose to embrace or reject their fate.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan’s comic books sounds like Back to the Future meets Stranger Things, but with a female-heavy cast and a rougher edge. Sign us up. –AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, August 3
Description: From Co-Creators and Executive Producers Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi, Reservation Dogs is a half-hour comedy that follows the exploits of Elora Danan (Devery Jacobs), Bear Smallhill (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis) and Cheese (Lane Factor), four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma. After the death of the fifth member of the Reservation Dogs, the crew took to stealing, scheming and saving in order to vicariously fulfill his dream of reaching the exotic, mysterious and faraway land of California. But after a promising start to their criminal endeavors, the plan went bust. The gang disbanded, with everyone trying to forge their own paths.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Filmed on location in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Reservation Dogs broke all sorts of barriers for Indigenous representation on television, both in front of and behind the camera. In its first season, the show appeared on 80+ critics’ year-end best lists, won The Gotham Award for “Breakthrough Series – Short Form,” won two Independent Spirit Awards, was honored as one of AFI’s Television Programs of the Year, and is nominated for a Peabody Award. All those accomplishments aside, the show’s smartly written, well-executed, and constantly hilarious. That’s a lot to live up to, but we’re sure season 2 will rise to the occasion. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, August 5
Description: Imprisoned for more than 100 years, the personification of dreams escapes confinement and must put his broken kingdom back in order. But some of his former subjects may have other ideas.
Why we’re looking forward to it: In development as a film or television show for nearly three decades, a faithful adaptation of the beloved comic book (with input from writer Neil Gaiman) is more than any fan could hope for. Now, it just remains to be seen how faithful it will really be. Also, we can’t wait to see Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie’s take on Lucifer. Yes, that Lucifer. –-EA
Premiere Date: Wednesday, August 10
Description:In its third and final season, the Locke siblings will continue to reconcile their father’s mysterious death, as they seek out the magical Keys that unleashed an array of evil forces bent on taking possession of them, once and for all.
Why we’re looking forward to it:Season 3 is set to delve further into the horror elements that made the graphic novel series from Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez so appealing. With the secrets of the Demon Key still waiting to be unlocked, now’s the time for things to get dark. — AP
Premiere Date: Friday, August 12
Description: Batter up! Amazon Prime Video worked with Abbi Jacobson and Will Graham on a televised series loosely based on the 1992 sports film about an all-female baseball league during World War II. While director Penny Marshall’s film — which starred Geena Davis, Tom Hanks and Lori Petty — had memorable characters, this show will feature new ones and start with the formation of the league in 1943 and go through the struggles to keep it going.
Why we’re looking forward to it: While the movie was beloved, it only could do so much to talk about important topics like racial discrimination and martial abuse (both of which it did well). This series plans to take on important issues like injuries and sexual awakenings. Jacobson stars, as do Chanté Adams, D’Arcy Carden, Roberta Colindrez, Kelly McCormack and Nick Offerman. Hopefully it will do better than the original series adaptation of the film, which only lasted for five episodes. –WF
Premiere Date: Thursday, August 18
Description: Orphan Black superstar Tatiana Maslany stars as the titular character, a.k.a. Jennifer Walters, a lawyer who specializes in “superhuman-oriented legal cases.” Jameela Jamil plays supervillain/frequent rival Titiana, and Mark Ruffalo and Tim Roth are set to appear as their film characters Hulk and the Abomination, respectively.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Anyone who’s seen Maslany’s amazing transformation into more than a dozen clones on Orphan Black is eager to see what the Emmy winner does next. –JB
Premiere Date: Wednesday, August 24
Description: Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) and Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) bought the Wrexham Red Dragons, the third oldest professional football club in the world. It is a Welsh team in the town of Wrexham and the team is currently on the brink of dissolution. Welcome to Wrexham is a docuseries tracking the dreams and worries of Wrexham, a working-class town in North Wales, UK, as two Hollywood stars take ownership of the town’s historic yet struggling football club.
Why we’re looking forward to it: It’s a wonder it has taken this long for Reynolds and McElhenney to work together. Tapping into some real-life Ted Lasso energy, the duo put their acting duties aside to try and make something out of this team. Does it matter that they have absolutely no experience managing a football team? Probably. But that’ll just be part of the fun. –AP
Description: The Patient is a psychological thriller from the minds of Joel Fields and Joe Weisberg (The Americans) about a therapist, Alan Strauss (Steve Carell), who’s held prisoner by a patient and serial killer, Sam Fortner (Domhnall Gleeson). Sam has an unusual therapeutic demand for Alan: curb his homicidal urges. The series also stars Linda Emond, David Alan Grier, Laura Niemi, and Andrew Leeds.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The talents of Carell and Gleeson are enough of a reason to tune in, but considering this project hails from the brilliant minds of Field and Weisberg, it’s clear that things are going to be well-written, full of twists, and all kinds of messed up. We’re in. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, Sep. 2
Description: In the Second Age of Middle-earth — roughly 6,000 years before The Lord of the Rings — the Free Peoples contend with the Dark Lord Sauron as he sways some to his side, makes war with a noble sea-faring race, and crafts Rings of Power.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The Second Age is a largely untapped era of J.R.R. Tolkien’s world filled with conflicts, epic stories, and the chance to see Sauron in physical form. It’s the best period for a Middle-earth television series, and we hope it defies prequel expectations. —EA
Premiere Date: Friday, Sep. 9
Description: Following the shocking results of the All Valley Tournament, Terry Silver is positioning Cobra Kai as the dominant dojo in the valley. With John Kreese behind bars and Johnny Lawrence traveling to Mexico to fix things with Miguel, Daniel LaRusso turns to an old friend for help.
Why we’re looking forward to it: When Cobra Kai first premiered, many wondered if anyone actually wanted a Karate Kid sequel series. Five seasons later, the martial arts-infused drama has proven its worth. Somehow the lives of Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence are still super interesting. And with a common enemy in the mix, something tells us these new episodes will end up raising the bar for the series. Again. —AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, Sep. 11
Description: Anna Friel stars as Nicky Roman, heir to a country music dynasty built on shaky ground by the reigning king of country music Albie Roman (Trace Atkins) and his tough-as-nails wife Dottie Cantrell Roman (Susan Sarandon). And Nicky will do anything to ensure her shot at stardom and protect her family’s legacy.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Pushed back to fall due to Covid-19 delays, the series reaches for the Nashville crowd with a Texas flavor. Yee-haw! –DD
Premiere Date: Thursday, Sep. 15
Description: To describe Donald Glover’s celebrated comedy series is a challenge in and of itself. The program, which follows up-and-coming music producer Earn (Glover), his hip hop artist cousin Paper Boi (Brian Tyree Henry), ex-girlfriend Van (Zazie Beetz), and quirky pal Darius (LaKeith Stanfield) and their adventures in — and out of — the music industry, has steadily disrupted television norms, delivering a cavalcade of brilliant, memorable episodes along the way.
Why we’re looking forward to it: After a near-four year absence, Atlanta returned with its third season in March, as the gang took an absurdist journey to Europe. Now, they’re back in the show’s namesake city for the final outing. What can we expect? Your guess is as good as ours. But something tells us, it’ll be high art in the form of a streaming comedy series. That’s good enough for us. –AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, Sep. 21
Description: Five years prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) begins his career spying for the Rebellion.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The chance to see Luna as Andor again is the main attraction here, but a spy thriller set in the years of the Empire should prove an exciting change of pace from the usual Star Wars space battles and Mandalorians. Although, knowing the way Star Wars storytelling works, we look forward to surprise character cameos as well. There is always room for Darth Vader, right? –EA
Premiere Date: Wednesday, September 21
Description: This isn’t the first time the story of Jeffrey Dahmer, a.k.a. “The Milwaukee Monster,” has been explored. This time, though, the series (which was created by Ian Brennan and Ryan Murphy) will be told from the victims’ perspective and will shine a light on the police incompetence that allowed Dahmer to go on a multi-year killing spree.
Why we’re looking forward to it: It’s evident through his work on American Horror Story that Ryan Murphy has an obsession with serial killers; in fact, in the “Devil’s Night” episode of season 5, Dahmer makes a brief appearance. With frequent collaborator Evan Peters taking on the role, we should probably expect an intense performance, along with some unexpected surprises, in this gruesome true-crime tale. –AP
Premiere Date: Friday, Sep. 30
Description: Ramy Youssef’s acclaimed comedy is finally back. The Golden Globe-winning series follows the experiences of first-generation, Egyptian-American Ramy Hassan (Youssef) as he struggles to find where he fits in, within his family and culture, as he traverses various conflicts as they arise in his politically-divided New Jersey neighborhood.
Why we’re looking forward to it: With its strong attention to cultural specificity and a knack for finding humor in the awkward details, Ramy has offered a perspective not often seen in situation comedies. Groundbreaking, heartfelt, and downright hilarious, Ramy is in a class all its own. –AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, October 2
Description: Based on Anne Rice’s bestselling novel, this is the first of the author’s iconic titles to be adapted as a series — and the first of the Vampire Chronicles and Mayfair Witches novels to be developed in a planned television franchise and universe. Rolin Jones created the series, which presumably follows the book’s story of 200-year-old vampire Louis de Pointe du Lac.
Why we’re looking forward to it: It’ll be hard for anyone to fill the shoes of Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise, but the heartthrob quotient runs high with Game of Thrones alum Jacob Anderson cast as Louis and Australian actor Sam Reid as Lestat. And who doesn’t love a vampire saga? –JB
Premiere Date: Friday, October 7
Description: Based on the popular Christopher Pike book, The Midnight Club follows a group of terminally ill teenagers who, as they await death, form “The Midnight Club,”telling horror stories to pass the time. They make a pact to keep in touch even after death. Once the first of them passes on, bizarre things begin to happen.
Why we’re looking forward to it: It’s a Mike Flanagan joint. Is there a better way to kick off the spooky season? We don’t think so. –AP
Premiere Date: Sunday, October 9
Description: Inspired by the hit Swedish novel and film, the series follows Mark (Demián Bichir) and his daughter Eleanor (Madison Taylor Baez), whose lives were changed forever a decade earlier when she was turned into a vampire at age 12. Per the official description, “Eleanor lives a closed-in life, able to go out only at night, while her father does his best to provide her with the human blood she needs to stay alive.” Anika Noni Rose and Grace Gummer also star.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The Swedish film and its American remake were both creepy as hell, and it’s clear the Showtime remake is going to focus on themes of family, humanity and compassion within the genre template. We’re ready for it to get real. –JB
Premiere Date: Friday, October 21
Description: Flynne Fisher (Chloë Grace Moretz) works at the local 3D printing shop while earning extra money playing VR games for rich people. One night she dons a headset and finds herself in futuristic London — a sleek and mysterious world, alluringly different from her own hardscrabble existence. But this isn’t like any game she’s ever played before: Flynne begins to realize it isn’t virtual reality. It’s real. Someone in London, 70 years in the future, has found a way to open a door to Flynne’s world. As Flynne searches to discover who has connected their worlds, and for what purpose, her presence here sets dangerous forces intent on destroying Flynne and her family in her own world into motion.
Why we’re looking forward to it: It’s an adaptation of the William Gibson book of the same name. Yes, that William Gibson, the creator of cyberpunk. With producing power couple Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy (Westworld) behind the scenes and a versatile cast attached, this may be the sci-fi series Prime Video has been looking for. –AP
Premiere Date: Tuesday, October 25
Description: Timed perfectly for the Halloween season, Guillermo del Toro steps into the role of creepy curator with this new collection of horror stories. Featuring two original stories by del Toro, the eight-episode series features a delightful assortment of macabre tales, from an array of diverse storytellers tapped by the man himself, to scratch that genre itch.
Why we’re looking forward to it: It’s been a while since the Shape of Water director has played in the genre sandbox. And considering the attention to practical effects and narrative originality, this one is sure to strike up the scary goods. –AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, November 9
Description: Imelda Staunton takes over the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the fifth installment of creator Peter Morgan’s lavish biopic about the monarch. The new season will concentrate on the early-to-mid-1990s.
Why we’re looking forward to it: As it is finally reaching the era where things are most complicated and hostile between the monarchy and Princess Diana (portrayed here by Elizabeth Debicki), it will be interesting to see how The Crown depicts recent history and just who is culpable for Diana Spencer’s horrific death. –WF
Premiere Date: Wednesday, November 23
Description: The Addams Family spinoff series will follow Wednesday during her school days at Nevermore Academy where she’ll work to master her emerging psychic ability while attempting to thwart a monstrous killing spree that has terrorized the local town and solve the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago. You know, typical school stuff.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Two words: Tim Burton. Reuniting with the director is Danny Elfman, who is composing the score. The cast looks pretty stellar, too: You alum Jenna Ortega is Wednesday Addams; Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán are her parents, Morticia and Gomez; and Game of Thrones fave Gwendoline Christie is Larissa Weems, the principal of Nevermore Academy. –AP
Premiere Date: Wednesday, November 30
Description: Willow, from Lucasfilm, is set decades after Ron Howard’s 1988 movie and continues the spirit of adventure, heroics and humor of the original film. Warwick Davis returns in the role of the great sorcerer Willow Ufgood.
Why we’re looking forward to it: A Willow sequel series isn’t something we ever imagined would happen, but a return to the fantasy realm first introduced to audiences over three decades ago is a seriously intriguing idea. Considering the progress genre television has achieved since, and the money the Mouse House will probably throw at the production, we bet this will be a fun adventure for die-hard Willow fans and newbies alike.
Premiere Date: Sunday, December 25
Description: Set 1,200 years before the events of the Netflix series The Witcher, this show will go into the creation of the first Witcher and the events leading up to the cataclysm known as the Conjunction of the Sphere.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Every story has a backstory and fantasy series The Witcher has a complicated one. A stand-out casting coin has already been tossed to Michelle Yeoh, who plays Scian. The last member of a nomadic tribe of sword-elves, she’s on a mission to retrieve a blade stolen from her people. Sophia Brown stars as a warrior who leaves her stance as a member of the Queen’s guard to become a traveling musician. –WF
A Spy Among Friends (Spectrum)
Premiere Date: fall
Description: Damian Lewis and Guy Pearce star as Nicholas Elliott and Kim Philby, lifelong friends who also happen to both be spies. The six-episode limited series, according to its official description, “follows a friendship that resulted in the gutting of British and American intelligence at the height of the Cold War and shaped the field of play for the dangerous game against Russia that we’re still trying to win today.”
Why we’re looking forward to it: Sign us up to watch two of the most captivating actors of their generation act alongside each other. –JB
(Photo by Prime Video)
Premiere Date: TBD
Description: According to co-creator Neil Gaiman, in season 2 demon Crowley (David Tennant) and angel Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) will have “new adventures with old friends” and “solve some extremely mysterious mysteries” while encountering “some entirely new humans (living, dead, and otherwise), angels, and demons.”
Why we’re looking forward to it: Good Omens proved to be a delight and the opportunity to spend more time with Tennant’s demon and Sheen’s angel is too tremendous an idea to ignore. Also, unlike the first season, the story is a complete mystery. In fact, it may be a mystery we’ll have to wait until 2023 to solve. –-EA
(Photo by HBO)
Premiere Date: TBD
Description: Season 3 is based on the final novel in Philip Pullman’s trilogy, The Amber Spyglass. Prophesized child Lyra (Dafne Keen) and the bearer of the Subtle Knife, Will (Amir Wilson), travel through worlds to find and protect each other.
Why we’re looking forward to it: With two Certified Fresh seasons behind it, the high-fantasy series featuring Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and James McAvoy beckons us to experience its ending. And we will obey. –DD
Love & Death: Limited Series (Peacock)
(Photo by Peacock)
Premiere Date: TBD
Description: Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Jesse Plemons, Lily Rabe, and Patrick Fugit, the true-crime limited series about real-life axe murderer Candy Montgomery (Olsen) comes from David E. Kelley and Nicole Kidman, who scored awards recognition with Big Little Lies and The Undoing.
Why we’re looking forward to it: The drama! The cast! The talent! Kelley and Kidman have mastered the formula for Certified Fresh TV, and we’re eager for another dose. –DD
Sweet Tooth: Season 2 (Netflix)
(Photo by Kirsty Griffin/Netflix)
Premiere Date: TBD
Description: Gus’s (Christian Convery) journey of self-discovery leads him directly to General Abbot (Neil Sandilands), who is very interested in discovering the link between Gus’s creation and the plague that is slowly ending the human race. Meanwhile, Jeppard (Nonso Anozie) and Aimee (Dania Ramirez) plan to rescue the hybrid kids.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Beyond seeing Gus encounter Abbot and Dr. Singh (Adeel Akhtar), we can’t wait to see some of the character connections (hopefully) pay off — like Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen) finding her sister or Gus potentially meeting his “mother.” Even if the show enters a dark phase, it should still see some happy reunions that will make us smile in the face of its post-apocalyptic setting. –-EA
Wheel of Time: Season 2 (Prime Video)
(Photo by Prime Video)
Premiere Date: TBD
Description: Moiraine (Rosamund Pike) and the Two Rivers ta’veren continue their journey to end the Dark One’s threat. But with Rand (Josha Stradowski) off his own and the Seanchan arriving in the west, things are about to get complicated. Also, Mat Cauthon gets a new face in the form of actor Dónal Finn.
Why we’re looking forward to it: Besides the debut of Finn’s take on Mat, season 2 will also see the arrival of Elayne Trakand (Ceara Coveney) and, presumably, the ta’veren group getting involved in the Seanchan plot. Also, we hope to learn why all five of them are necessary for the change coming to the world. Season 2 getting a 2022 release is not confirmed; we’re just engaging in some wishful thinking. –-EA
The White House Plumbers (HBO)
(Photo by HBO Max)
Premiere Date: TBD
Description: From creators Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck and director David Mandel (all previous Veep executive producers), the limited series tells the story of how Nixon’s own political saboteurs and Watergate masterminds, E. Howard Hunt (Woody Harrelson) and G. Gordon Liddy (Justin Theroux), accidentally toppled the Presidency they were trying to protect.
Why we’re looking forward to it: In addition to Harrelson and Theroux, the comedy’s cast includes Lena Headey, Judy Greer, Kiernan Shipka, Kathleen Turner, and David Krumholtz. –DD
(Photo by Lucasfilm/Disney+)
From 1978, with the one-time airing of The Star Wars Holiday Special, to the early 21st century, The Galaxy Far, Far Away’s relationship to television was fraught with difficulty. A handful of live-action TV movies and animated series in the 1980s proved the resources did not yet exist to produce the look and feel of Star Wars in a weekly format — although the Ewoks cartoon got pretty close by surviving for two whole seasons. Flash forward to 2003, and the Genndy Tartakovsky-produced Star Wars: The Clone Wars offered a way to dramatize Star Wars stories on television in a compelling and cost-effective way.
Then the subsequent 3D-animated Clone Wars series in 2008 started a tradition of Star Wars television which continues today with animated shows like Star Wars: The Bad Batch and the live-action success of The Mandalorian. The latter becoming a gateway to an ever-evolving story tangential to the Skywalker Saga, but just as epic. Much of that story can be attributed to 2008’s Clone Wars supervising director, Dave Filoni, who went on to create or co-create most of the extant Star Wars television.
Of course, the quality and appreciation of each show varies – especially with the recently completed Book of Boba Fett. But before the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series opens up new possibilities in the Star Wars galaxy, let’s rank the Star Wars TV shows.