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Star Wars movies are back.
After several years of Star Wars focusing on TV shows and the movies being dormant, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy shook up fandom by revealing that three new movies were in the works.
James Mangold, Dave Filoni and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will direct three new Star Wars features, Kennedy announced at Star Wars Celebration, held in London. And with great fanfare, and to the utter delight of the rapt and screaming crowd in the ExCel convention centre, it was also revealed that Daisy Ridley was returning to the Star Wars universe and would star in the feature to be helmed by Obaid-Chinoy.
Kennedy said the company was working on expanding the mythological timeline created by George Lucas by pushing forward, backward and sideways. Mangold’s movie is to be set in the deep past while Obaid-Chinoy’s is set 15 years after the events of Rise of Skywalker, the last Star Wars movie.
Filoni’s feature is to be set in the so-called present, as it will act as a climactic event for the current Star Wars series The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and the upcoming Ahsoka. Filoni is an executive producer and creative guide on these series.
No timeline on the release was given.
Mangold described his project as a “Biblical epic” that would look at the origins of the Force and be set 25,000 years before any of the timelines and stories told by the movies and shows so far.
“When I first started talking to Kathy about doing one of these pictures, what occurred to me was thinking about what kind of genre of movie within Star Wars I wanted to do,” he said. “And I thought about a Biblical epic, like a Ten Commandments, about the dawning of the Force. Where did the Force come from, when did we discover it, when did we learn how to use it?”
Obaid-Chinoy, meanwhile, said she is attracted to the idea of the hero’s journey and was keen on immersing herself in a focus on a Jedi academy and a Jedi master. “I have spent the better part of my life meeting real heroes who are overcoming oppressive regimes and battling impossible odds. And I think that is the heart of Star Wars,” she said.
Ridley, for her part, didn’t reveal too much, but did say she “was thrilled to be continuing this journey.” Her character, Rey, finished the 2019 movie by taking on the last name of Skywalker, a nod to carrying on the legacy of Luke and Leia Skywalker as she became a fully realized Jedi.
Star Wars movies have been conspicuously absent from the big screen since the end of 2019, when Disney and Lucasfilm released Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. With fans unafraid to voice their less than enthusiastic reception for Rise of Skywalker and 2017’s Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, as well as the bombing of the 2018 stand-alone movie, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm froze its movie development, and its plans for yearly releasing them, in carbonite.
The feature projects it did try to launch, meanwhile, got stuck in the tractor beam of development hell and creative differences. Rogue Squadron from Patty Jenkins, movies from Rian Johnson, a trilogy from The Game of Thrones series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, one from Taika Waititi, one from Kevin Feige, came and went or are on burners so far back they are in entirely different kitchens.
However, the company has never stopped developing projects; it just tried to do it under heavy secrecy. And with some of the Star Wars TV series not living up to the expectations set by the high bar of The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm and Disney made it a point to redouble its movie efforts. Sources even say the company was mandated to shift focus on diversifying its non-Star Wars slate — it recently did not move forward on a second season of fantasy Willow — and go back to the galaxy far far away.
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