There has, in fact, been an awakening. After a long period of uncertainty about when Star Wars will return to movie theaters, Lucasfilm finally provided some clarity at its Star Wars Celebration convention on Friday. The studio blew fans away by announcing not one, but three new movies set in different eras of the galaxy. Here's a look at everything we just learned about the future of the franchise on the big screen:
A 'biblical epic' about the dawning of the Force
The first of the three new projects is set far, far in the past: James Mangold is helming a movie that takes place 25,000 years before the events of the Star Wars films, one that will follow the rise of the first Jedi. The director described it as a "biblical epic" similar to The Ten Commandments about the "dawning of the Force."
"Where did the Force come from?" he teased. "When did we discover it? When did we know how to use it?"
Mangold previously directed the X-Men movie Logan, and most recently worked with Lucasfilm on the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Lucasfilm also showed a new graphic outlining the timeline of its future Star Wars stories, and this era was labeled "Dawn of the Jedi." It takes place before even the Old Republic.
Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said the studio is looking to "broaden" the Star Wars timeline, "building a rich future, expanding upon the present," and going "deep into the past to tell our stories."
A movie set in the timeline of 'The Mandalorian'
Next up, Dave Filoni was announced to be directing a film set during the timeline of The Mandalorian (between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens) and its spinoff shows, such as Ahsoka and The Book of Boba Fett.
This movie is said to "close out" the various interconnected plot threads from the Mandalorian universe and center on the war between the New Republic and the Imperial Remnant. Kennedy previously teased that the events in the Mandalorian time period would culminate in a "climactic story event," so it sounds like this event has turned into a movie, which could be a sort of series finale to the "Mandoverse." Fans have speculated the plot could revolve around defeating Grand Admiral Thrawn, similar to Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire books. On the new timeline, this period was labeled "The New Republic."
This will be Filoni's first time directing a live-action feature film, though he has previously helmed episodes of The Mandalorian, which he also produces. Filoni, who is beloved among Star Wars fans, produced The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, and worked closely with George Lucas before Lucasfilm was sold to Disney.
A movie set 15 years after 'The Rise of Skywalker' starring Daisy Ridley
Get ready for the return of the Jedi! The third movie announced takes place 15 years after 2019's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and Daisy Ridley is returning as Jedi Master Rey Skywalker.
The film will tell "the story of rebuilding the new Jedi Order and the powers that rise to tear it down," Kennedy said. Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who previously worked on the Disney+ show Ms. Marvel, is directing, making her the first woman to helm a Star Wars movie. "I'm very thrilled to be continuing this journey," Ridley said, making a surprise appearance at the convention to rousing applause. This period on the timeline was labeled "New Jedi Order."
This will be Lucasfilm's first time exploring what happens after the end of its sequel trilogy in a major way, and the announcement offers the first confirmation that Rey will train a new generation of Jedi after The Rise of Skywalker. This movie also appears to be the same one that Watchmen creator Damon Lindelof was reported to be writing, though he recently left the project. Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight has now reportedly been tapped to write the script.
None of the three projects received release dates. But Disney currently has a Star Wars movie slated for December 2025, so that might be when we'll see Rey's return. Other film projects previously said to be in the works include a movie from Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi, but that went unmentioned at Celebration. Rogue Squadron, a film from Patty Jenkins that at one point was eying a December 2023 release, also didn't come up following reports that it has been shelved and may no longer happen.
In other news
Lucasfilm's panel was also packed with reveals about the Star Wars television shows. Andor is aiming to debut its second season in August 2024, while Ahsoka, the Mandalorian spinoff starring Rosario Dawson, is set to debut in August 2023. The Acolyte, which takes place before the events of the prequel trilogy, was also revealed to feature a new Wookiee Jedi character played by Joonas Suotamo, who portrayed Chewbacca in the sequel films. Creator Leslye Headland said her pitch for the show was "Frozen meets Kill Bill."
Meanwhile, a trailer for Ahsoka debuted, providing audiences a first look at the live-action versions of Sabine Wren and Hera Syndulla, both key characters from the animated series Star Wars Rebels. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was confirmed to be playing Hera in live-action, and the trailer also provided a glimpse at Grand Admiral Thrawn. Dawson implied the show is about the search for Ezra Bridger, who went missing with Thrawn at the end of Rebels and appears in the trailer via hologram. Finally, the child stars of the upcoming Skeleton Crew, which looks sort of like Stranger Things in the Star Wars universe, were revealed to be Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Kyriana Kratter, and Robert Timothy Smith.
It was the movie news that got the most attention, though, given just how long fans have waited without any sort of update on the franchise's film plans. That Ridley will return confirms that Lucasfilm will continue building on its recent sequel trilogy, which wasn't a guarantee after the divisive reception of The Rise of Skywalker.
For at least the next two years, Star Wars' focus will remain on its Disney+ shows. But fans eager to see the Force awaken in movie theaters once again finally have a new hope.