It has taken years of attempts and a seemingly never-ending string of rumors to get a live-action Star Wars TV series off the ground, but one (Jon Favreau's The Mandalorian) will be available to stream next week when Disney+ launches. Another (centered on Obi-Wan Kenobi) has already been announced and, according to Disney CEO Robert Iger, there are more planned. The strategy seems to be something of an extension of what had already been happening in the animated space for years: using TV to keep the Star Wars brand alive with hardcore fans while the theatrical films are few and far between.
Following the conclusion of the Skywalker Saga later this year, Disney will reportedly hit the snooze button on any new Star Wars feature films -- not entirely surprising since Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss recently bowed out of their planned trilogy and Star Wars: The Last Jedi filmmaker Rian Johnson's planned movies are ostensibly still happening, but seem to be in development limbo as the Star Wars environment keeps shifting and Johnson honors other commitments.
So while the next movie is slated for 2022, Star Wars will live on in TV -- including in some projects already in development at Disney+ but not yet announced. The Rise of Skywalker is going to bring an end to the Skywalker Saga that began with the original Star Wars in 1977, but the franchise is aiming to continue on past the 40-plus year film series, and The Mandalorian is a large part of those future plans. The first live-action TV series in Star Wars history has been a priority for Lucasfilm and Disney, so much so that the House of Mouse spend a whopping $100 million on the first season.1comments
So far, anticipation for The Mandalorian is red-hot, at the trailer for the series (see above) paint it as a hard-edged look at the underworld of Star Wars, set in the wild west backdrop of the Outer Rims in the pivotal era between the Original Trilogy and Sequel Trilogy. What little we've seen from the performances by series stars Pedro Pascal and Werner Herzog has been intriguing, and appearances from the likes of Gina Carano, Nick Nolte, Giancarlo Esposita, Ming-Na Wen, Carl Weathers, and Taika Waititi (as a badass droid gunslinger) have definitely hooked viewers. George Lucas may not have cared for The Force Awakens, but right now it seems like he has little reason to hate on The Mandalorian at all.
The Mandalorian premieres on DIsney+ on November 12th. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20th.