Lucasfilm has announced that multiple new Star Wars movies are now in development, one involving the return of Daisy Ridley as Rey and another, more interestingly, being directed by James Mangold.
The move was revealed during Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023 where Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that three new live-action films set in a galaxy far, far away would be arriving, set over the past, present and future of the franchise. It comes after several projects - including a Rogue Squadron film from Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins – have been left on hiatus following years of silence.
Daisy Ridley's return to the world of Star Wars is unexpected, at least in terms of how quickly it has come about. The actor first appeared as Rey in 2015's The Force Awakens before playing the role twice more in 2017's The Last Jedi and 2019's The Rise of Skywalker. The new movie will take place 15 years after the sequel trilogy as Rey "builds a new Jedi Order" with Ms. Marvel director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy taking charge. Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) will pen the script.
The second film will be directed by Dave Filoni, best known for The Mandalorian and The Clone Wars set within the Star Wars universe. It will focus on the New Republic and tie together the interconnected stories between The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and the upcoming Ahsoka show.
James Mangold will then direct the third film that will go back to the dawn of the Jedi, following his completion of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny later this year. No release dates or release windows were shared.
Naturally, people online have been most vocal about the return of Rey but I'd argue the other two projects warrant more excitement. It's nothing against Daisy Ridley – who put in a fine performance in The Force Awakens yet floundered under poor scripts in the follow-ups – but having the man who made Logan and Ford v Ferrari behind the camera holds more promise in my books. As it's described as a "Biblical epic" set 25,000 years before the Skywalker Saga, I'm hoping for a simple, standalone film that dives into the mythos of the Jedi and the Force. Nothing interconnected. Nothing setting up half a dozen sequels. Nothing more. Just a solid movie.
That same excitement could equally be shared with Filoni. Arguably, there's no one else in Hollywood right now that knows more about the space opera franchise than him, with The Mandalorian (season one, especially) delivering the best live-action Star Wars we've had since Disney acquired the IP. In some ways, there's something for everyone in these announcements.
Either way, surely waiting a bit longer than just four years before bringing back Rey would have been more impactful. Is this another move to only confirm what many already ponder: is Star Wars creatively bankrupt? Potentially. We'll have to wait and see what these three new movies deliver... if they see the light of day at all. At the very least, there's one project here that has an Oscar-caliber director and writer behind it.