Star Wars Mania: Disney Upfront Recap

Vanity Fair Magazine cover featuring new, and old, Star Wars characters.
Cover of Vanity Fair Magazine from Left to Right: Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson), The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).

Star Wars fans were spoiled on May the 17th as this year’s Disney Upfront started in full swing with some highly anticipated developments and set images. Disney Upfront 2022 has been in talks to have some incredible surprises and loads of new content. Let’s take a look at the newest developments from a Galaxy Far Far Away.

Upcoming Release Dates

The new beginning for the Star Wars franshise.
From Left to Right: Ahsoka (Rosario Dawson), The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna).

Obi-Wan Kenobi is set to release non May 27th. The show will mark the beginning of the live-action Rebellion era of Star Wars lore. The highly anticipated Andor series received an official timeline of later this Summer. Ahsoka also received some official news, as it set to release sometime in 2023. These three shows will all connect to the greater Star Wars universe in some way shape or form. Ahsoka ties into The Mandalorian as well, and it’ll be interesting to see how they may relate those two characters to animated projects like Star Wars: Rebels.

Star Wars: The Acolyte

Star Wars: The Acolyte
Official logo for Star Wars: The Acolyte

The Acolyte is currently in development, and focuses on the era of the High Republic. Today, it was confirmed that this series will take place nearly 100 years before The Phantom Menace. Leslye Headland, the series’ showrunner, mentions that “a lot of those (prequel) characters haven’t been born yet”. The story that takes place is from a time where the galaxy was rather peaceful, which is something we’ve never seen before. A lot of this series will rely heavily on recent novels and comics. We are getting whole set of new actors, characters, and an explanation as to what lead this once prosperous galaxy, into complete and utter disarray.

Jon Watts Star Wars Disney+ Project

Jon Watts to direct new Star Wars Disney+ Series
Director Jon Watts is confirmed to helm a new Star Wars Disney+ series.

Disney is currently in a position where they own two of the largest grossing cinematic franchises in the history. Eventually, it became inevitable that we’d be getting some behind-the-scenes crossovers. Jon Favreau started this trend, as his talents have been shared between both Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. The trend continued with Taika Waititi, Kevin Feige, and now visionary Jon Watts. That’s right, director of the MCU’s Spider-Man trilogy, Jon Watts will helm a new Star Wars Disney+ series, and fans are ecstatic.

Although it is unclear what this new project will entail, there are a few details in the report that are notable to mention. Working under the codename “Grammar Rodeo”, it is set in the same era as The Mandalorian and will be penned by Chris Ford. The series will resemble that of an ’80s coming-of-age story, which is something Watts has a track record of delivering well.

Rian Johnson Trilogy Updates

Director Rian Johnson, John Boyega (Finn), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) on the set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Director Rian Johnson, John Boyega (Finn), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) on the set of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The Star Wars sequel trilogy was rather divisive among fans, to say the least. Rian Johnson’s new trilogy was announced back in 2017 and has sparked controversy since then. After whispers and speculation as to the state of this developing trilogy, we finally have some news. Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that it is currently on the back burners, stating that Johnson is “unbelievably busy”. Johnson has been working on the film Knives Out and recently made a deal with Netflix to be on board for multiple movies. Although the trilogy is on hold, it is by no means canceled – yet. As The Last Jedi is arguably the most polarizing Star Wars film, it’ll be interesting to see how this situation plays out.

Taika Waititi And Patty Jenkins Projects Update

Two of Star Wars' creative minds.
Taika Waititi (Left) and Patty Jenkins (Right)

It seems Lucasfilm has undergone some timeline shifts for two of their upcoming films, led by Patty Jenkins and Taika Waititi. Kennedy announced some changes to the franchise, specifically in their releases for upcoming films, and plans to reevaluate their approach. As of today, Taika’s Star Wars film could release before Rogue Squadron. She further opened up about having a “road map” that the studio is actively developing. Taika’s schedule is building up quickly, but considering there are reportedly filming locations already chosen, he may be geared to start the production of his project soon.

Rogue Squadron, on the other hand, is still up in the air. The film was delayed from its original 2023 release date, and rumors suggest there have been some creative differences between Jenkins and the studio. Nevertheless, it appears that the film is going to happen regardless – it is just a matter of time.

Deepfake Technology In Star Wars Moving Forward

Han Solo deepfake example for Star Wars: A Solo Story.
A side-by-side comparison of a normal Alden Ehrenreich (Left) and Alden Ehrenreich with a deepfake of Harrison Ford (Right).

Kennedy also had some words to say about the use of Deepfake technology for future Star Wars developments. Using the spinoff film, Solo, as an example, Kennedy emphasizes the downfall of recasting iconic characters to portray them in their younger years. Harrison Ford brought a certain charisma to the character of Han Solo that is difficult to just recast and replicate. Kennedy seems to recognize this, saying, “There should be moments along the way when you learn things … Now it does seem so abundantly clear that we can’t do that.”

Is this truly a recasting issue? Or maybe a problem with the storytelling and script itself? It seems as though Lucasfilm may not have learned the right lessons from Solo. Regardless, they are beginning to take a new approach to combat their woes.

The Future Of Star Wars Is In Good Hands

The masterminds behind the newest Star Wars developments.
The masterminds behind the newest Star Wars developments.

From the amazing talent that brings each new story to life, to the incredible creators and storytellers behind the scenes, the future of the Star Wars Galaxy has never looked brighter. It’s truly beautiful to see the visions of George Lucas continue to expand with these new characters and their stories. The flame that is Star Wars will seemingly never die out; they are just getting started.


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