Following Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’s mixed-to-negative reception, and the middling box office of Solo, one wouldn’t have been blamed for thinking it was time for the Star Wars franchise to take a break – but then, one isn’t a member of a multi-billion-dollar corporation. Two days ago, at Disney Investor Day, the House of Mouse served up a virtual multitude of announcements that would make D23 and San Diego Comic-Con blush, including the bombshell reveal of TEN upcoming Star Wars shows for Disney+.
With The Mandalorian proving that audiences weren’t so much tired of Star Wars as merely hungry for good, engaging stories set in that galaxy far, far, away, Disney’s announcements were met with a wave of cautious optimism from the franchise’s legions of fans.
So, without further ado, let’s go through the biggest Star Wars reveals from Disney Investor Day!
The Bad Batch
First introduced in the revived Clone Wars series, the titular Bad Batch is a group of clone commandos who, in addition to possessing deviant personalities attitudes, possess mutations that make them stand out from the usual Imperial troopers. A Clone Wars spinoff featuring a crack commando team that lives for blasting droids in the heyday of the Jedi, as – for all intents and purposes – The Expendables in space?! Shut up and take our money!
Chock-full of original characters and situations in settings old and new, Rogue One was a welcome breath of fresh air – what could have been a superfluous fan service exercise ended up becoming a superlative standalone war flick (that just happened to lead directly into the biggest space fantasy ever). Now, one of that film’s heroes, Rebel agent Cassian Andor (Diego Luna, Y Tu Mama Tambien) is getting the spotlight, taking on the missions that the good guys can’t talk about. Aided by sardonic droid K2SO (Alan Tudyk, Moana, Firefly), the upcoming show looks set to dive into a darker side of the Star Wars universe than we’ve usually seen.
Rangers of the New Republic
Set in the same post-Episode VI time period as The Mandalorian, little is known of this series, save for that it looks to explore the rangers entrusted with keeping the peace following the fall of the Empire. And…that’s it, that’s all we know. Regardless of what this show turns out to be, there’s lots of ground left to explore in the decades-long gap between Return of the Jedi and Episode VII: The Force Awakens, so here’s hoping we get something good out of it.
Star Wars: Visions
If you’ve ever seen the excellent Galaxy of Adventures series of animated shorts, you’d know that Star Wars is perfect for the anime approach. But then, to be honest, there are precious few things that wouldn’t be awesome when translated into hand-drawn Japanese animation! Little is known about this series, other than that it will be an anthology produced by the world’s top anime directors. We can’t wait!
First appearing in the much-maligned Solo, Donald Glover (rapper Childish Gambino, TV’s Community) as Lando Calrissian was a joy to watch in an otherwise middle-of-the-road film. Will we finally see how the self-admitted scoundrel goes from a 2-bit card hustler to a respectable administrator of Cloud City? Will young Han Solo make an appearance? Will we learn the consequences of uploading his droid girlfriend’s (Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge!!) memories into the Millennium Falcon? In any case, with Dear White People’s Justin Simien at the helm, and Glover himself being a major civil rights proponent, this Disney+ series has the potential to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen in a galaxy far, far, away.
After making her live-action debut in The Mandalorian (memorably facing off against martial arts legend Dan Inosanto’s daughter and Aliens’ Michael Biehn!), in the form of Rosario Dawson (Clerks II, Rent), will be headlining her own series! If her Mandalorian appearance was anything to go by, Anakin Skywalker’s headstrong former apprentice is still searching for the infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn and young Jedi Ezra, following the events of the Rebels animated series. Set firmly in the same timeline as everybody’s favorite space western/RPG come to life, Ahsoka will also be handled by Mandalorian producers Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Chef) and Dave FIloni (Clone Wars), who’ve already proven beyond a doubt that they know what they’re doing.
Directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins, Rogue Squadron takes its title from the elite group of fighter pilots formed by Luke Skywalker following the destruction of the first Death Star. Already the subject of a best-selling series of novels, comics, and video games before the House of Mouse took over, this will be the Squadron’s first dedicated live-action appearance. While it remains to be seen just how much of the former Expanded Universe will make its way into this incarnation of the beloved characters, director Jenkins’ talent for character-based action and her own personal history of having grown up with a fighter pilot father promise to bring something fresh to the story.
While we’ve known for nearly a year that Ewan MacGregor (Trainspotting, Beauty and the Beast) would be returning to his iconic role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in a limited series, the internet blew up with the news that notoriously-wooden actor Hayden Christensen would be reprising his role as his fallen apprentice, Darth Vader. Set ten years after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), the show will detail Obi-Wan in the aftermath of the Jedi Purge led by his former pupil-turned cyborg. Despite the continuity-breaking declaration by Lucasfilm overlord Kathleen Kennedy that Obi-Wan and Vader’s reunion will treat viewers to “the rematch of the century”, the promise of them two facing off again is too tempting to resist.
Which of these Star Wars titles are you looking forward to?