With the release of The Rise of Skywalker the Sequel Trilogy is over. For fans the constant discussion of who is to blame for the controversial story elements caused a palpable fatigue. I for one felt irritation when yet another director or writer was supposedly tasked with creating a movie, or movie series. However, as time passes the fatigue is drifting away. The Mandalorian has been able to please fans without resorting to story techniques such as ‘mystery boxes’ often favored by J.J. Abrams. Nor is established lore upset in any significant way. All that has made fans look towards the future of Star Wars hopefully. Rumors of spin-offs and original series have floated around for a while. Some such as the Obi-Wan and Andor were previously confirmed. Yet, at Disney’s 2020 Investor Day a lot more were announced. Let’s take a look at the future of Star Wars.
Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic
Disney is favoring series over movies with some 10 Star Wars series coming to Disney+. First up are two spin-offs of The Mandalorian: Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka. These will run concurrently and will feature crossovers. The first series will feature the character Cara Dune played by Gina Carano. Whether or not Gina will play the role is another thing, her anti-mask tweets have caused a stir. The second spin-off, Ahsoka, will of course revolve around Jedi Ahsoka Tano played by Rosario Dawson. Ahsoka has been a fan favorite since the Clone Wars series. Her seminal return in The Mandalorian have fans in a fever. Meanwhile there is Bo-Katan played by Katee Sackhoff. She and her two companions are known as Nite Owls. Their characters will return but no word on which show leads me speculating it might be all three. Ahsoka is set for fall 2021.
Star Wars: Andor
Meanwhile the Cassian Andor series that has long been in development has a release date – 2022. The series now goes by Star Wars: Andor and will feature Diego Luna in the titular role. Andor is set some 5 years before the events of Rogue One. Which of course saw the noble death of Cassian at its end. The series will also feature Alan Tudyk as enforcer droid K-2SO. Andor is one of those series you do not know how it will turn out, much like The Mandalorian, but you do have expectations. Considering this is the origin story of Cassian Andor there will be controversy. In Star Wars lore he was formerly associated with the Confederacy, and now with the Rebel Alliance. Rogue One harkened back to movies such as Where Eagles Dare and The Guns of Navarone, straddling the spy-genre with the commando-subgenre.
The spy-genre has always been my favorite, novels by Robert Ludlum (The Bourne Identity) and TV series such as Berlin Station, Condor and The Americans. It just so happens that executive producer of The Americans, Stephen Schiff, was tapped for Star Wars: Andor as showrunner. As of November 2020 the series is filming on London. To coincide with the announcement at Disney’s Investor Day a sizzle reel for was released. You can see it below. I am happy to see the use of real sets and practical effects is continuing and remains part of the future of Star Wars.
Another series that has long been in development is Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi. Many fans want to know what Obi-Wan did on his long exile between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Obi-Wan will of course be played by Ewan McGregor thus settling a long-held desire by fans. Hayden Christensen will reprise his role as Darth Vader. How exactly that will work out and not upset established lore remains to be seen. Considering Obi-Wan self-exiled on Tatooine it will be interesting to see what the story will be about. We already know from comments made by Ewan that Obi-Wan is in a dark place, suffering from PTSD after his duel with his former pupil Anakin. Executive producer on the series will be Tracey Seaward. Joby Harold who previously worked on John Wick 3 is the writer. Obi-Wan Kenobi is set for release in 2022.
The Acolyte and Lando
But there is more, lots more. The Acolyte will be a series set during The High Republic timeline (see section below) and will focus on the emergence of the dark side. Little is known about this series but it will be developed by Leslye Headland who created the comedy-drama Russian Doll. There will be an event-series or miniseries based on the character Lando Calrissian. It is simply known as Lando and it is still in the early stages of development so there little else than speculation. It is not even known if Donald Glover will reprise his role as Lando after taking over from Billy Dee Williams. To top it off there will also be the animated series A Droid Story targeted at children and A Bad Batch targeted at fans of The Clone Wars and Rebels. I just this all won’t fizzle out like the plethora of MCU series.
The first new Star Wars movie will be directed by nonother than Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman). Rogue Squadron will feature the eponymous squadron from past games and stories. Fans looking for a hard-boiled Star Wars movie akin to Rogue One have a lot to look forward to. Patty Jenkins was a lot for experience with depicting the grit of war. Rogue Squadron is set for December 2023. Meanwhile Taika Waititi is also still slated to make a Star Wars movie, but little is known. As far as I know no other Star Wars movie is in productions. So the lofty ideas that will see a new trilogy released a few years from now are gone. Here Disney will have to decide on a new game plan for the future of Star Wars on the big screen. One that takes into account the dwindling interest in cinema.
The High Republic
This year should have seen the release of The High Republic subseries of novels and comics. Due to COVID-19 this has been delayed to early 2021. The first novel, Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi, by Charles Soule is set for January 5th 2021. There will also be a number of young adult novels and children’s books. The High Republic set about 200 years before the events of the Skywalker Saga. It is a period in which the power of the Jedi Order is supreme, but which also spawned the slow decline until the return of Sith. In addition to the novels there will also be two comics. Star Wars: The High Republic by Cavan Scott is targeted at adults. The first issue is set for January 6th. The High Republic Adventures by Daniel Jose Older is targeted at youth. It will be published by IDW.
More Star Wars books
But there will be more Star Wars novels releasing in 2021 and beyond. March 4th will see Victory’s Price, the third novel by Alexander Freed that will complete his Alphabet Squadron trilogy. The Battlestar Galactica grit it brought to Star Wars has been welcomed by many fans. On May 4th the second novel of the Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy will be released. Greater Good is of course written by Timothy Zahn. A year later the trilogy will be concluded with Book III. July 2021 will see the second novel set in The High Republic – The Rising Storm – this time by Cavan Scott. In November of 2021 the novel The Mandalorian: An Original Novel is set for release. Written by Adam Christopher this feels like it could be a hard-boiled look at the complicated business of bounty hunting. There are also young adult novels, but I wont be covering those.
Where are the Star Wars games?
Since Disney took over the franchise in 2012 fans have been angered by the lack games. The franchise has a long-established history on PC and consoles and so the drought has hit hard. Especially those that remember the heydays of LucasArts. Indeed, I wrote small section on that topic. Right now, we are getting about one triple-A Star Wars game per year. Considering the rights have been franchised out to Electronic Arts, that is just pathetic. Producing computer games is not cheap of course. Triple-A games certainly won’t have a budget less than 100 million dollars, and Star Wars has seen a fair number of duds. However, with modern quality control there is no reason for games to fail. It genuinely looks as though Disney does know how to approach it as a business, thus relying on the rarity of Star Wars games to make a profit.
Any games? At all?
A few years ago, single player story campaigns started to become rare in games. Vendors such as EA and Ubisoft were pushing online play a lot more. By offering micro-transactions for goods, they could use the human desire to get what another has to sell stuff. This eventually culminated in loot boxes. winning in-game loot boxes has been around for a while, but paying for them has not. Many saw this as a type of gambling. Now it has been outlawed in some countries and restricted in others, despite the duplicitous efforts of EA to influence politicians. Disney of course does not to be involved with gambling, so that may explain why ‘unsuitable’ projects were not finished by EA. Fans long have wanted a third game in the Knight of the Old Republic series, but no luck so far despite rumors. In fact, the release schedule is completely empty.
Enough of a Future of Star Wars
Seeing this roster of upcoming series, movies, novels and comics I cannot help but feel overwhelmed. While I want all this I do hope the franchise’s essence won’t be diluted. I was a fan that has mostly mixed feeling about the Sequel Trilogy. Touting the return of favorite characters only then to not use them properly was a huge mistake. Right now the franchise is mostly in the hands of Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni. Between the two they have given fans a lotto like but it is inevitable that some form of fatigue will set in. After all, there are only so many Baby-Yoda decorations you can hang in a Christmas tree. Lets just wait and see, and hopefully everything will be fine. That was it for the Future of Star Wars. If you enjoyed this article please fill out the subscription widget on the right.