#FIRSTLOOK: LONDON “STAR WARS” CELEBRATION HIGHLIGHTS
STAR WARS Celebration kicked off its opening day in London today with a non-stop series of announcements about some of the year’s most highly anticipated productions—from Disney+ original series including “Star Wars: Ahsoka” and “Star Wars: Skeleton Crew” to upcoming feature films including “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” Throughout the day, surprises kept fans’ spirits high as a parade of actors and Lucasfilm luminaries took to the stage to reveal exciting new information about landmark productions.
Taking place at the ExCel London Convention Center, Friday’s activities on the Celebration Stage began with host Ali Plumb welcoming Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy to reflect on the success of the highly acclaimed Disney+ original series “Star Wars: Andor.” They were joined by the series’ director/creator/showrunner Tony Gilroy and stars Diego Luna, Adria Arjona, Kyle Soller, Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, Andy Serkis, Muhannad Bahair and Joplin Sibtain, who was accompanied by droid B2EMO. Fans were treated to an exclusive first look at the second and final season, which is currently in production and chronicles the next steps in Andor’s journey as he fights to assemble a fledgling resistance. Kennedy, Tony Gilroy, Sanne Wohlenberg, Diego Luna and Luke Hull are executive producing the upcoming season exclusively for Disney+.
Next, Leslye Headland, creator and showrunner of “Star Wars: The Acolyte” joined Kennedy on stage. Headland entered, escorted by Kelnacca, a Wookiee Jedi from the series, and offered an overview of the new mystery-thriller. “The Acolyte” will take viewers into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark-side powers in the final days of the High Republic era. A former Padawan reunites with her Jedi Master to investigate a series of crimes but discovers the forces they confront are more sinister than they ever anticipated.
Joining Headland and Kennedy on stage were the series’ stars—Amandla Stenberg, Lee Jung-jae, Manny Jacinto, Dafne Keen, Charlie Barnett, Jodie Turner-Smith, Rebecca Henderson, Dean-Charles Chapman and “Star Wars” veteran Joonas Suotamo, who plays Kelnacca. Headland wowed the crowd with a sneak peek at the upcoming show, which also stars Carrie-Anne Moss and Margarita Levieva and is currently in production. In addition to writing and directing, Headland serves as an executive producer with Kennedy, Simon Emanuel, Jeff F. King and Jason Micallef. Rayne Roberts and Damian Anderson produce. “The Acolyte” will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2024.
The focus then shifted to “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” as Kennedy invited the series’ executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni to the stage. The duo, along with fellow executive producer Rick Famuyiwa, were on hand for a discussion of the third season of the hit show, now streaming, exclusively on Disney+. Following a special video greeting from star Pedro Pascal, fans were treated to a clip from next week’s episode. Afterward, stars Giancarlo Esposito, Katee Sackhoff, Carl Weathers and Emily Swallow joined the stage and announced a special sneak-peek screening of the upcoming episode for those in attendance later that evening.
In “The Mandalorian” Season 3, Din Djarin (Pascal), once a lone bounty hunter, has reunited with Grogu. Meanwhile, the New Republic struggles to lead the galaxy away from its dark history. The Mandalorian crosses paths with old allies and makes new enemies as he and Grogu continue their journey together. Directors for the series include Famuyiwa, Rachel Morrison, Lee Isaac Chung, Carl Weathers, Peter Ramsey and Bryce Dallas Howard. Favreau is the head writer and executive produces along with Filoni, Famuyiwa, Kennedy and Colin Wilson. Co-executive producers are Karen Gilchrist and Carrie Beck.
Next up, Jude Law, star of the upcoming Disney+ original series “Skeleton Crew,” took to the stage to officially introduce his young co-stars, Ravi Cabot-Conyers, Kyriana Kratter and Robert Timothy Smith; the series also stars Ryan Kiera Armstrong, who was unable to attend Celebration. The team shared insights about the series, their characters and to the delight of all, a sneak peak of the series, which is currently in production. “Skeleton Crew” follows the journey of four kids who make a mysterious discovery on their seemingly safe home planet, then get lost in a strange and dangerous galaxy. Finding their way home—and meeting unlikely allies and enemies—will be a greater adventure than they ever imagined.
The series stars Law, Cabot-Conyers, Armstrong, Kratter, Smith, Tunde Adebimpe and Kerry Condon. Jon Watts and Christopher Ford are showrunners and executive produce along with Favreau, Filoni, Kennedy and Wilson. Gilchrist and Beck serve as co-executive producers. John Bartnicki and Susan McNamara are producers. Directors include Watts, Ford, David Lowery, the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Jake Schreier, Bryce Dallas Howard and Lee Isaac Chung. “Skeleton Crew” will stream exclusively on Disney+ in 2023.
Transitioning to this year’s next highly anticipated “Star Wars” series Favreau and Filoni confirmed that “Ahsoka,” starring Rosario Dawson in the title role, will premiere exclusively on Disney+ this August 2023. Set after the fall of the Empire, “Ahsoka” follows the former Jedi knight Ahsoka Tano as she investigates an emerging threat to a vulnerable galaxy. Dawson took the stage and unveiled a teaser poster for the series, after which she was joined by co-stars Natasha Liu Bordizzo, who plays Sabine Wren, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who announced that she will be playing Hera Syndulla. The presentation concluded with a new teaser trailer for the Disney+ original series, which is written by executive producer by Filoni, alongside executive producers Favreau, Kennedy, Wilson, and Beck. Gilchrist is co-executive producer.
Afterward, feature film became the focus of the day’s presentations, with Kennedy paying tribute to the incredible work of Oscar®-winning Creature and Special Makeup Effects Supervisor Neal Scanlan as dozens of his most famous creations took the stage. Kennedy then revealed that “Star Wars” will head into the future, with a new feature set 15 years after the last events of the Skywalker Saga. Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy will tell the story of rebuilding the New Jedi Order and the powers that rise to tear it down; the director then delighted fans by welcoming Daisy Ridley to stage, confirming she will be reprising her beloved role as Rey in the upcoming movie.
Kennedy also announced that James Mangold will take audiences deep into the past, telling the tale of the first Jedi to wield the Force and harness it as a liberating power in an era of chaos and oppression.
Expanding upon “Star Wars” storytelling in the present, Dave Filoni will orchestrate the escalating war between the Imperial Remnant and the fledgling New Republic. Alongside producer Jon Favreau, they will bring together many of the threads of the “Star Wars” original series in a cinematic event.
Finally, the stars and filmmakers of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” dazzled the crowd with a never-before-seen trailer, an extensive look at the film and a brand new poster. Appearing in person were cast members Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen, along with director and co-writer James Mangold and producer Kennedy. Dr. Jones himself, the inimitable Harrison Ford, appeared in a video greeting. The film, which will be Harrison Ford’s final Indiana Jones adventure, premieres at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18 and opens in theatres on June 30.
In Lucasfilm’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” Harrison Ford returns as the legendary hero archaeologist, starring along with Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”), Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”), John Rhys-Davies (Raiders of the Lost Ark), Toby Jones (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”), Boyd Holbrook (“Logan”), Ethann Isidore (“Mortel”) and Mads Mikkelsen (“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”). Directed by Mangold, the film is produced by Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Simon Emanuel, with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas serving as executive producers. John Williams, who has scored each Indy adventure since the original “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, has once again composed the score.
(Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios Canada)