It was a chaotic case of nerd ecstasy at the convention center in Anaheim, California, mere steps from Disneyland. For the first time since Star Wars Celebration Chicago in 2019, fans gathered to soak up whatever details Lucasfilm is willing to offer on its upcoming shows and movies — from the about-to-premiere Obi-Wan Kenobi with Ewan McGregor to a never-before-revealed Star Wars series starring Jude Law.
And although the event is called Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm was here to remind us that it doesn’t just do Star Wars. A new Disney+ series based on the 1988 Ron Howard movie Willow was revealed, and Harrison Ford was on hand to tease the still-unnamed fifth Indiana Jones movie that has just wrapped production.
As ever, what the supremely secretive studio didn’t reveal about its 2022 to 2023 slate was almost as interesting as what it did. No word on planned Star Wars movies by Taika Waititi, Patty Jenkins or Rian Johnson; no mention of promised Disney+ Star Wars shows Acolyte or Rangers of the New Republic.
While we hold our breath for those projects, let’s dive in to exactly what we just learned about each show and movie, and what it all means for the future of Star Wars and beyond.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (May)
The crowd gave Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen (aka Anakin Skywalker) a standing ovation when they took to the stage following a live choral performance of Duel of the Fates. McGregor said he could feel “all your love for the prequels,” which brought yet more cheers — though not as many as when the crowd learned they’d be seeing the first two episodes of the show ahead of the rest of the world.
That said, there wasn’t much to reveal on the Kenobi front; other than the trailers and one clip (above), Lucasfilm is keeping a tight lid on the show’s story. We’ve noted all the fan questions it may answer, and talked to director Deborah Chow about what it doesn’t contain. The first two episodes drop on Disney+ early on Friday May 27.
You think six episodes’ worth of Obi-Wan Kenobi is cool? Try 24 episodes about Cassian Andor, the rebel spy played with doe-eyed angst by Diego Luna in Rogue One. The first 12 episodes, aka Andor season 1, arrive on Disney+ in August, and open five years before the events of Rogue One. The second season is already in pre-production; creator Tony Gilroy says it will lead directly into the beginning of the movie. (Which, given that Rogue One leads directly into A New Hope, should eventually give fans a seamless viewing experience lasting more than 24 hours.)
The Andor trailer, meanwhile, is simply stunning — and rife with political intrigue in the growing Galactic Empire. Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) has a major role to play. So does a new Rebel figure played by Stellan Skarsgård. Plus we get the briefest shot of Clone Troopers, suggesting that these Stormtrooper predecessors were active later in the Empire’s history than fans knew.
Andor hits Disney+ on August 31, and as with Obi-Wan Kenobi, the premiere includes two episodes.
A cult favorite among fantasy fans, Willow was a George Lucas joint that hit screens in 1988 to middling reviews and decent box office receipts. It’s often best remembered today for its groundbreaking use of CGI. Now a new generation of fans will be introduced to the diminutive Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis, who also played Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi) in a story set decades after the original. Willow, produced by Ron Howard and written by Jon Kasdan (son of Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark scribe Lawrence Kasdan), premieres on Disney+ November 30.
The Disney+ series starring Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano, lightsaber-wielding veteran of Clone Wars, Rebels and The Mandalorian, didn’t get much of an update. All we know, still, is that it will be set in the same time period as Mandalorian and debut sometime in 2023.
However, producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni did introduce a clip of Dawson greeting fans from the set where Ahsoka is currently filming. Fans were quick to note that her lekku (those blue/white head tentacles) were of more appropriate Clone Wars/Rebels length, not the shorter versions seen in Mandalorian. Because that’s the kind of thing we care about, people.
The Mandalorian Season 3 (February)
It was a case of “you had to be in the room”: Filoni and Favreau offered a clip of the third season of their hit Disney+ show, premiering in February 2023. (This mirrored a moment at Celebration 2019 when the very first scene of the then-forthcoming show was screened for attendees only.)
In the clip, Mando and the Child (having been reunited in Book of Boba Fett) are on their way to the destroyed homeworld of Mandalore. Mando says he needs to be “forgiven for my transgressions” — taking his helmet off, in other words. “Did you think your dad was the only Mandalorian?” a smiling Bo-Katan (Katee Sackoff) asks Grogu. The tension between her and Mando is palpable. Looks like we’re going to get that clash over the Darksaber that the Season 2 finale foreshadowed.
Star Wars: Skeleton Crew (2023)
Jude Law in the Star Wars galaxy. What else do you need to know?
Oh, alright: Skeleton Crew is a Disney+ series that focuses not on Law, alas, but on a group of 10-year olds lost in the galaxy. It’s set around the same time as Mandalorian and Ahsoka, which suggests we’re going to get some more crossover characters — especially given the fact that Filoni and Favreau are producing. Spider-Man filmmaker Jon Watts is the main creative force.
Indiana Jones 5 (June 2023)
An overwhelmingly emotional stage presentation masked a lack of news about the next outing for Harrison Ford as Professor Indiana Jones. The legendary John Williams, conducting on his 90th birthday, revealed the new Obi-Wan Kenobi theme, then kicked it old school with the Indiana Jones fanfare. Ford, 79, emerged to thank Williams for a tune that, he said, was “playing in the room during my last colonoscopy.”
But that plus a release date and a single still image of Ford in the movie, which has now been shot, was all we got. No title was announced (hopefully they can do better than Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), and neither director James Mangold (Logan) nor producer Steven Spielberg were on hand to offer more. We do know that Ford’s co-stars include Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Antonio Banderas.
Hopefully fans will get more news — on this, and perhaps another Star Wars movie or two — before Ford’s next routine checkup.