STAR WARS At D23: What We Know

D23 happened this past weekend and boy oh boy, it certainly sent Star Wars fan into a frenzy. So much happening, where do we begin?

The trailer.

No, it wasn’t for Episode IX, but it was close enough. Especially for those who are still not convinced that J.J. Abrams will be able to save the final trilogy, but that’s for another day…After getting a teaser at Star Wars Celebration for The Mandalorian, we finally have a nearly two-minute trailer. Not much is said, not much is needed to be said. But the feel of the trailer definitely gives chills. Plus, we get to see Carl Weathers and Werner Herzog and a shadow of Gina Carano. Oh, and of course, Pedro Pascal…. well at least his cool Mandalorian armor and fighting skills. Disney also gave us the poster for The Mandalorian which definitely is keeping the “western” feel.

Now, one question that was asked of Dave Filoni in regards to The Mandalorian and his previous animated work was if Ahsoka or any of his characters from his past shows could show up in future live action shows. And in only the way Filoni can, he smiled to say “yes” without saying yes and answered “You know…. never say never” before hiding behind his hat with a huge grin. Now, that’s not saying Ahsoka would show up, but it’s not saying she won’t. And besides, what better show for her, and possibly Sabine, than The Mandalorian? It’s been a few years since they went looking for Ezra so what are they up to? And we know that the voice actors are more than willing to play themselves in the live action from previous interviews….

Now what about Filoni’s creative cohort Jon Favreau? How is he feeling about The Mandalorian? He’s comparing it to when he accepted the Marvel challenge of Iron Man ten years ago. The pressure is there since The Mandalorian is launching the new Disney+ streaming service, but he’s taking it one day at a time, as he did with Iron Man. “This feels to me like when we made Iron Man. It didn’t feel like the future of Marvel was resting on it, [even though] the future of Marvel was resting on it because if we failed, they would have lost their characters that were collateral.” With joining the Lucasfilm family in this capacity, it allows him to explore new characters with a lower-risk medium. But the pressure is still there, as George Lucas has pointed out to him, “Remember, Jon, the real audience for all stories and all myths is the kids that are coming of age.”

Favreau is also enjoying the blending of the advance technology with storytelling, when the illusion is accepted as a reality, like he captured with his work on The Lion King. However, he also respects that this takes place before the final Skywalker trilogy and that the scale needs to line up more with the original trilogy. He states:

I’m trying to evoke the aesthetics of not just the original trilogy but the first film. Not just the first film but the first act of the first film. What was it like on Tatooine? What was going on in that cantina? That has fascinated me since I was a child, and I love the idea of the darker, freakier side of Star Wars, the Mad Max aspect of Star Wars.

OK, if you’re not already excited for the show, let’s talk season two.

Yup, we already knew they were already writing it; however, it seems Lucasfilm and Disney are so excited, they’re beginning production on season two before season one debuts.  Discussing Film announced that director Rick Famuyiwa would be stepping behind the camera again after helming two episodes this first season, and his reps confirmed his involvement and a production date start of October 7th in Los Angeles. He was supposed to direct the Rogue One prequel featuring Cassian Andor; however, the shooting schedule for both shows conflicted and Famuyiwa decided to stick with The Mandalorian.

Now, if season two is not cool enough, guess whose casting was announced at D23? Disney sweetheart Ming-Na Wen! OK, we consider her a sweetheart here (Check out Our Fearless Leaders interview with her here). She’s been a Disney Princess (Mulan), a Marvel Hero (Melinda May on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), and now she is joining the Star Wars universe. Since season one is just around the corner, we’ll assume she will be part of the season two production when it starts. As with everything Star Wars, we know nothing of her role, only that she’s involved. Plus, if you’ve seen her physical abilities on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, you KNOW she will quite literally kick someone’s behind. I mean, this is the woman who had a serious knee injury going into season 5 and the show worked around it, writing it into the story and showing that even an injured May can kick patootie.

The Mandalorian will be released on November 12 as a weekly show. Sorry, no binge watching this.

So, moving on from our gushing over The Mandalorian, let’s gush over someone who has been campaigning to return to the Star Wars galaxy: Ewan McGregor.

Yes, the rumors are now official: Ewan McGregor is reprising his role as Ob-Wan Kenobi for a live action series on Disney+.

There had been talks about a standalone film but after that Solo, solo film, Solo, those one-shots were put on pause. However, this is a better solution. Why give old Ben two and a half hours when you can dive in deep and get a good, in-depth story about the Jedi, which is rumored to be six to eight episodes. Now the next question: when does this series take place?

A photograph of the timeline revealed at D23 shows that the new series will be taking place at the same time as Solo, in what’s now called the “Age of Republic”, part of the new designations for the different time periods portrayed in the films and television shows. The other two time periods are the “Age of Rebellion” and the “Age of Resistance”.

So this will most likely cover his self-imposed exile on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars. The books have already told stories of his time there, watching Luke from afar and his turbulent relationship with Uncle Owen, so it would make sense to build on this and maybe find out why Owen has such a distaste for “Crazy old Ben” and Luke’s father (besides the obvious). This also makes you wonder; will a younger Luke be recast if the story is on Tatooine? In the comics, during Jason Aaron’s run, there would be times they would dive into Luke reading Obi-Wan’s journals which told of his adventures and defining moments of his exile. Some of these revolve around Luke. Just as replacing Leia would be difficult, finding a young Luke could be as difficult. Will Lucasfilm and Disney do it? Filming is slated to start next year with no release date yet.

What else has no release date? Season seven of Clone Wars. Instead of dropping on November 12 like The Mandalorian, the new episodes will hit sometime in February 2020. I guess we have waited this long for it, what’s another few months…

The Disney+ stream will begin here in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands on November 12 and in Australia and New Zealand on November 19 with two options: $7 per month or a bundle package for $13 per month which includes Disney+, Hulu basic and ESPN+. Disney didn’t waste time at D23 at tapping into a HUGE group of possible subscribers. In the D23 Expo hall, they had a kiosk to sign up for the streaming service with a bonus incentive for D23 goers: an offer to save $23 per year on a three-year subscription.

We are still waiting for the weekend subscriber numbers.

OK, now let’s talk about what little we did find out about The Rise of Skywalker at D23.

No trailer, sadly, but we did get that teaser reel. This was released online Monday after being shown Saturday in a panel for those in attendance. Now, it’s not quite a teaser, more a “special look” at the history of the Skywalker saga with new footage added in from Episode IX.

Some interesting points in the new footage. First, we see Leia. Carrie Fisher has been gone for two and a half years, passing after she had already completed her filming for The Last Jedi. This past summer, Lucasfilm and Disney announced that her family had approved previous footage of her to be used for Episode IX. During the panel at D23, J.J. Abrams said, “The character of Leia is really, in a way, the heart of this story. We realized we could not possibly tell the end of these nine films without Leia. We realized that we had footage from Episode VII and we could use it in a new way.” As heartbreaking as losing our princess was, as a fan, it’s good to see the story will end with her, even in this style. It’s Fisher. It’s Leia. It’s our Princess.

Also, in the new footage, we see what could possibly be a raging Kylo (I mean he is leaving a ship and igniting his lightsaber) and a possibly raging Rey (I mean, she did throw her lightsaber through a tree and have it return…. balance between light and dark, right?) and then a duel between them on some type of wreckage (let’s just assume it’s the Death Star maybe?).

However, the interesting, slightly jaw dropping moment is Rey in a black hood holding a double-blade lightsaber…that is red. Now, it is similar to Darth Maul’s from The Phantom Menace, but instead of simply being a handle that ignites on both ends, its bends in the middle, showing to be a double-bladed lightsaber till she flips it around. This is something we’ve seen before in Star Wars Rebels.

Her using a Maul style lightsaber makes sense, especially with her skill with staffs. But a black hood and a red weapon? Reality or Force vision? We’ll have to wait and see in December.

And finally, the last major announcement made. I think I know a certain Hostess with the Mostess who will want to stay here when she finally gets that trip to Galaxy’s Edge.

Disney has announced its newest themed vacation resort: a two-night adventure on a Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser called the Halcyon.

In the Disney Parks “Imagining Tomorrow, Today” pavilion at D23, fans were given an initial look at the ship, which included artist renders of the rooms and entertainment areas. Guests will be able to interact with characters on board and actively participate in stories that happen while they are on the galactic journey.

Beam me up, Scotty…err…oops, wrong franchise.

And there you have it folks. If you didn’t make it to D23, like us, at least you have a break down of the cool stuff we all missed. Thank you, internet!

Look for more news as well as rumors and opinions on Star Wars every other week on Salacious Crumbs.

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