In recent years, most of the Star Wars stories being told have been on the small-screen – from The Mandalorian and The Book Of Boba Fett, to Obi-Wan Kenobi and Andor. Meanwhile, in the movie arm of the sprawling space opera, it’s been a case of false starts and cancelled projects. But on the Star Wars Celebration 2023 stage in London, Kathleen Kennedy confirmed a new plan for Star Wars’ cinematic output, with big-name directors and one piece of major star-power attached.
Three new Star Wars films were confirmed at the Lucasfilm panel – if not by name. But while titles won't be coming for a while yet, we do have info. The films announced are set to be directed by none other than Logan and Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny filmmaker James Mangold; The Mandalorian co-creator and long-time Padawan to George Lucas himself, Dave Filoni; and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who previously helmed episodes of Ms. Marvel, and is a renowned documentarian. Each film, Kennedy explained, takes place on a vastly different part of the freshly super-sized Star Wars timeline.
For Mangold’s film, he’s going right back to the beginning – exploring “the first Jedi to wield the Force”. It goes back to the earliest part of the newly-updated set of Star Wars eras, the Dawn Of The Jedi. Meanwhile, back in the middle of the long-established Skywalker Saga, Filoni will direct a big-screen adventure tying in to The Mandalorian, a “cinematic event” that tells a vital part of the “escalating war between the Imperial remnant and the New Republic.” It’ll continue to flesh out the time between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens – though it’s currently unknown whether it’ll mark a final chapter in the wider ‘Mando-verse’ story, or whether Filoni and Jon Favreau’s epic yarn will continue beyond the big-screen tale.
Finally, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s film will take place at the furthest end of the Star Wars timeline, moving 15 years beyond Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker. Her film, set in an era described as the New Jedi Order, will be all about establishing a bountiful new age of Force-users in the wake of the Skywalker Saga. And the Jedi building that future? None other than Rey herself, with Daisy Ridley confirmed to return in the role she originated in the Sequel Trilogy. “My heart is pounding,” Ridley stated as she took to the Celebration stage, to huge cheers from the audience.
When exactly these films will emerge, which is coming first, and whether any will meet the proposed December 2025 release window that Disney has long staked out for a Star Wars movie all remains to be seen. But the Celebration panel felt like a clear statement: that Star Wars has a cinematic plan, that there are all-new eras to explore, and that the Force will be with us for a long time to come. This is the way.