The Walt Disney Company had its Investors Day event Thursday evening, and an absolute deluge of news for Star Wars/Lucasfilm/Indiana Jones was revealed.
Kathleen Kennedy announced the fifth - AND FINAL (emphasis mine) - Indiana Jones film, slated for release in July 2022. Kennedy confirmed that Harrison Ford would return in the iconic role of Indy, with James Mangold stepping in to direct the final installment of our favorite whip-cracking hero.
I have been in the camp of feeling that, with all the delays, maybe we'd be better off without Indy 5. Ford will be nearly 79 years old when the movie starts production in late spring of 2021. Will John Williams return to score the film? Will Steven Spielberg's touch be missed as much as I suspect it will? How much of an action hero can a 78-year-old Ford realistically be?
Regardless of these questions, Lucasfilm is plowing ahead with Indy 5.
The sheer volume of content coming out for the Star Wars franchise, as shown in a single event Thursday, is unprecedented. Ten new projects were revealed for a brand that has been known to value quality over quantity in the past.
Now, just because there are 10 new projects coming, doesn't mean they won't be of high quality. But this will stretch the considerable talent at Lucasfilm to new limits with a wide variety of stories coming out on Disney Plus as well as theaters.
Yes, the next theatrical release was finally revealed. Star Wars: Rogue Squadrons will hit theaters Christmas 2023. Patty Jenkins, known for directing the recent Wonder Woman films, will be the first female director of a Star Wars theatrical feature.
This film has the feel of Top Gun, set in the Star Wars galaxy, which seems like a sure hit. Kennedy also mentioned that this film would "move the saga into the future era of the galaxy." I interpret this to mean this film would be set after the events of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
A Taika Waititi theatrical film was also revealed, with very little information. Waititi is already a directing veteran of Star Wars, with a couple episodes of The Mandalorian under his belt.
This was my personal favorite reveal. In August of 2019, Ewan McGregor confirmed at D23 he would reprise his role as Obi-Wan in an upcoming Disney Plus series. More detail was revealed at the Thursday night event. The best of those is that Hayden Christensen would return in his role as Darth Vader in the show, characterized as a "special event series."
My guess is that the special event designation means it is meant to be a limited number of episodes, contained to one season. Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi is set 10 years after the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Recently circulating rumors have set the show's production to begin next month, but Kennedy said in this Disney event that it would begin in March. Either way, this is the number one untold Star Wars story I would love to see told. Christensen's involvement as Darth Vader isn't just a cherry on top. It's another entire portion of cake with tons of icing.
Star Wars: Andor is the official title of the Cassian Andor show for Disney Plus, and is already into production. Diego Luna returns to his role from Star Wars: Rogue One, and the show will tell his story as a rebellion spy in the time after Revenge of the Sith. This was one of the first post-Mandalorian shows to be rumored coming to Disney Plus, so it's nice to see it being confirmed and in production. A sizzle reel for Andor was shown, which you can view here.
Star Wars: Ahsoka is another live-action special event series coming to the streaming service. Rosario Dawson resumes her role as the title character after her appearance in the fifth episode of season 2 of The Mandalorian. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are continuing their partnership by producing Ahsoka.
Filoni and Favreau will also helm another Disney Plus show coming up, Star Wars: Rangers of the New Republic. Not much was revealed about this show, other than its obvious time placement in the years after Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Rangers will apparently interact with other stories, including Ahsoka, and will culminate into "a climactic story event." My guess - this could be the Ezra Bridger/Grand Admiral Thrawn story thread leftover from Star Wars: Rebels coming to its conclusion.
Star Wars: The Bad Batch had a trailer revealed. Check it out here. This is a spinoff of The Clone Wars, and was previously announced.
Another show with deeper ties to other Star Wars stories is Star Wars: The Acolyte. This Disney Plus project will be directed by Leslye Headland. She was rumored to be attached to a Star Wars project several months ago, and this represents that confirmation. This story will deal with a mysterious character floating through the dark side of the Force at the tail end of the time period of the High Republic, Lucasfilm's next long-arcing publishing project, set to begin in early January. Could the title of the show refer to a young Darth Plaguies? Here's hoping.
Star Wars: Lando was also revealed to be another future streaming platform project. Our favorite rogue gambler will be the focus of a story produced by Justin Simien. There was no word if Donald Glover would return to the role he so ably filled in Solo: A Star Wars Story in 2018.
Two other projects were announced: Star Wars: Visions, which will be an anime-style show, and Star Wars: A Droid Story will introduce us to a new character via R2-D2 and C-3PO.
A definitive date schedule was not attached to many of these projects, which is understandable, since we're still living in a COVID world. But it's an ambitious slate, to say the least. Star Wars fans like myself will certainly not be lacking for new content in the years to come.
I live in Michigan and have been an unconditional fan of Star Wars and Indiana Jones for decades. Follow me on twitter @bmonastiere