STAR WARS CELEBRATION Teasers was on the ground at Lucas Con 2023 for the biggest announcements from a galaxy far, far away…



Despite thriving on streaming, Star Wars is experiencing a fallow period on the big screen. All that is set to change with three freshly announced movies delving into the past, present and future of a new ‘mythological timeline’.

First up (chronologically, anyway): James Mangold will direct a movie exploring the ‘dawn of the Jedi’. Set 25,000 years before the original trilogy it will ‘tell the tale of the first Jedi to wield the Force’, according to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. For Mangold the idea was to resurrect a long-dormant genre, and give it a Star Wars twist. ‘I thought about the biblical epic, like a Ten Commandments,’ Mangold said. ‘Where did the Force come from? When did we discover it? When did we know how to use it?’

Another new film will ‘expand on our present’, said Kennedy. Dave Filoni is directing a live-action feature that will ‘bring together many of the threads of our series’ and portray the ‘escalating war between the Imperial remnants, and the fledgling New Republic’. In other words, expect a cinematic - and potentially conclusive - collision of shows like The Mandalorian and Ahsoka.

Finally, Daisy Ridley’s Jedi Master Rey will return to lead the new Jedi Order. Set 15 years after the events of the sequel trilogy, the Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy-directed film will see Rey turn teacher. ‘I’m attracted to the idea of immersing myself in a Jedi Academy with a powerful Jedi Master,’ said Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel). Steven Knight is currently on scripting duties. The past, present and future of Star Wars look very bright indeed.


Releasing in August, this Rosario Dawson-fronted Disney+ series looks every bit a live-action continuation of animated shows The Clone Wars and Rebels. Casting reveals included Mary Elizabeth Winstead as General Hera Syndulla, the return of David Tennant as droid Huyang, Ray Stevenson and Ivanna Sakhno as orange lightsaberwielding antagonists Baylan Skoll and Shin Hati, and Lars Mikkelsen as Grand Admiral Thrawn, reprising his Rebels voice role in live action.

A ‘remixed’ version of the trailer played exclusively for the panel audience, featuring a glimpse of Thrawn’s red-eyed, blue-skinned face, shots of Natasha Liu Bordizzo’s Sabine Wren igniting a lightsaber and skidding on a speeder bike Akira-style, and a very close encounter with the whale-like Purrgil.


The first live-action project set in the High Republic era, The Acolyte is ‘Frozen meets Kill Bill’ and a story ‘from the perspective of the villains’, according to creator Leslye Headland (Russian Doll). Promising Tots of Jedi’, the fact that the show is taking place at a time when there is no actual ‘war’ doesn’t mean it will be devoid of conflict. ‘I went back to George [Lucas’] inspirations of martial-arts films by Kurosawa, wuxia films, samurai films… That became the war for us - the spiritual war,’ Headland said.

Star Amandla Stenberg was on hand (in Padmé cosplay!), as was Squid Game’s Lee jung-jae, who plays a jedi Master seen schooling Younglings in the Celebration-exclusive trailer. That tease, featuring a hand-to-hand encounter between Stenberg’s masked ninja and Carrie-Anne Moss’ robed Jedi ends with a revealing line: ‘This isn’t about good or bad, it’s about power, and who is allowed to use it.’ Consider us freshly converted acolytes.

‘The animation community is going through a global renaissance right now, and some of the best filmmaking, period, is happening in the medium’


Co-created by MCU Spider-Man director Jon Watts, Skeleton Crew is inspired by Amblin classics like The Goonies. ‘Watts really got the tone,’ said Kennedy, one of Amblin’s co-founders. ‘Even though kids were in [Amblin] movies, they weren’t necessarily just kids’ films. That’s very much how we’ve approached this show.’

After announcing a knockout line-up of directors - Watts, David Lowery, the Daniels, Jake Schreier, Bryce Dallas Howard and Lee Isaac Chung - Jude Law revealed he’s been in preparation for a Star Wars role since he was six years old, ‘when this galaxy gripped me, blew my mind’. Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Robert Timothy Smith, Kyriana Kratter and (the absent) Ryan Kiera Armstrong are the pre-teen members of the eponymous crew who take a spaceship for a joy ride and find themselves in a galaxy of trouble. An exclusive Celebration trailer revealed that Kerry Condon is part of the cast as a concerned parent and that Law is playing a Jedi who helps the Crew out of a tight spot. Don’t judge them by their size…


The second season of animated anthology series Visions is going global. Aardman claymation short I Am Your Mother (which played in full at the end of the panel) was described as ‘a love letter to all the mothers’ by director Magdalena Osinska, who teased that ‘our film is centred around a slightly absurd British tradition: sports day’ and will feature an Episode I- style race hosted by actual Wedge Antilles, Denis Lawson.

Cartoon Saloon co-founder Paul Young directs Screecher’s Reach, the studio’s first science-fiction tale. ‘We’re doing an Irish ghost story with a twist,’ Young said. There was also Journey to the Dark Head from Studio Mir, which will feature ‘very cool lightsaber action’ according to director Hyeong Geun Park. And The Bandits of Golak from Indian studio 88 Pictures was described as ‘Indiana Jones meets Sholay’ by director Milind Shinde, and features an Indian twist on the Inquisitors.

During the panel, producer James Waugh noted the mission of Visions: ‘Let’s see other cultural perspectives on Star Wars. I really think the animation community is going through a global renaissance right now, and some of the best filmmaking, period, is happening in the medium.’ Hard to argue with that.

Rosario Dawson will star in new Disney+ series Ahsoka
Jude Law, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Robert Timothy Smith and Kyriana Kratter lead the cast of Skeleton Crew
Visions Volume 2 includes this Aardman short, I Am Your Mother
The Acolyte’s Amandla Stenberg in cosplay at the Celebration
Ray Stevenson plays antagonist Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka
Kathleen Kennedy had plenty of good news for Star Wars fans (DISNEY/LUCASFILM)