Disney on Thursday announced a full slate of new “Star Wars” series that will debut on Disney+. Among them: two new spinoff series of “The Mandalorian” and a series following Lando Calrissian created by Justin Simien.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy made the announcements Thursday during a special presentation to investors that was streamed online. The four-hour audiovisual extravaganza more resembled an event at Disney’s annual D23 fan convention than one geared toward analysts and investment bankers.
The “Mandalorian” spinoffs are “The Rangers of the New Republic” and an Ahsoka Tano series. They’ll be spearheaded by Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni.
Additionally, a new series about “Rogue One” character Cassian Andor, portrayed by Diego Luna, has just begun production and will debut in 2022.
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The Lando Calrissian series will be created by “Dear White People” creator Simien. Donald Glover most recently portrayed the character in “Solo,” but there was no mention of Glover’s participation in the new series.
Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader in “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” an original series on Disney+ that will also see Ewan McGregor reprise his prequel-trilogy role as the titular character.
After launching in November 2019, Disney+’s subscriber growth quickly blew past expectations. Executives also announced Disney+ had surpassed 86.8 million subscribers. It closed Q4 with 73.7 million subscribers; at launch, Disney’s goal was to reach 60 to 90 million subscriptions by 2024.
New and library “Star Wars” content has been a key piece of Disney’s aggressive push into streaming and a key part of its success in the streaming wars. “The Mandalorian” became an instant hit when Season 1 was rolled out as part of Disney+’s launch last year. Created by Jon Favreau, the series tells the story of a bounty hunter “Pedro Pascal” hired to retrieve Baby Yoda aka “The Child.”
Season 2 premiered in October and a third season is in the works.
Disney is continuing its successful formula by expanding the “Star Wars” universe on Disney+. It has a full slate of other Lucasfilm shows in the works.
“The Bad Batch,” an animated series that follows the experimental clones of the Bad Batch, introduced in “The Clone Wars,” who in the new series will take on mercenary missions and struggle to find new purpose.
On “The Graham Norton Show” in October, McGregor discussed how he sought inspiration from Alec Guinness, who played Obi-Wan in the original trilogy, when acting in the prequels, the last installment of which was released 15 years ago. Now, he’s much closer in age to Guinness.
“The fun thing about doing them in the first place when I was much younger was trying to imagine Alec Guinness, how would he play these scenes as a younger guy. It led me to watch a lot of his early work,” McGregor said. “This time … I’m actually much closer in age to him. It will be my challenge to try and sort of meet him somewhere.”
Another series in the works is from Leslye Headland, the creator of Netflix’s acclaimed “Russian Doll.” The show will take place in eras and regions of the “Star Wars” universe that have been relatively unexplored in previous projects.
More to come.