Star Wars News: Is the Franchise Going on Hiatus? Only Kinda

Let’s just cut to the Kessel Run: Star Wars Celebration took place this past weekend in Chicago and completely opened the floodgates of Star Wars news. Here’s everything that came pouring out.

Episode IX Is Called The Rise of Skywalker—and It Looks Awesome

The Source: Lucasfilm, via Star Wars Celebration

Probability of Accuracy: Accurate, if not necessarily direct.

The Real Deal: OK, let’s not play around: This is what you want.

Yes, the official title and teaser trailer for the last episode in the Skywalker Saga are finally here, and now we know that Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will feature the following things:

  • Rey carrying both Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber and Han Solo’s blaster. (Note, too, that Mark Hamill’s doing a new voiceover for the teaser, so chances are we’ll see Luke’s Force Ghost.)
  • Kylo Ren reclaiming his helmet, and also body slamming folk, which should be scary but instead looks cool as hell.
  • Someone with one of the medals given out after the Battle of Yavin in the original movie. (But whose medal? That’s the question—well, just one of the questions.)
  • What looks to be the remains of a Death Star, strangely enough.
  • The return of the Emperor? This isn’t entirely confirmed, other than the laugh at the end of the teaser and the appearance onstage at Celebration of Ian McDiarmid, but … why else would his laugh be heard in the teaser?

It’s all very exciting and confounding, with even the title getting a lot of people speculating about what’s to come. Don’t ask the cast, though; they only learned what the title was a week before everyone else, according to Daisy Ridley.

All There Is to Know About The Mandalorian

The Source: Lucasfilm, via Star Wars Celebration

Probability of Accuracy: Accurate, if not entirely shared with everyone

The Real Deal: As if the Rise of Skywalker title and trailer weren’t enough for fans attending Star Wars Celebration, the Sunday morning panel for upcoming Disney+ series The Mandalorian brought stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, and Carl Weathers on stage, as well as writer/showrunner Jon Favreau and writer/director Dave Filoni.

For those attending the panel in person, however, there was a lot more than those streaming the event at home got to see—namely, the first footage from the show itself. Three distinct videos were shared: A behind-the-scenes reel shown to Disney investors earlier in the week, a sizzle reel of action from the series as a whole (including appearances from a number of bounty hunters familiar to fans from The Empire Strikes Back), and a finished scene from the show’s first episode in which Carl Weathers’ character Greef Carga—head of a bounty hunter guild—offers a secretive job to Pascal’s Mandalorian, only for the latter to discover that it’s a job from the Empire, wanting the Mando (as he’s called by those working on the show; no, really) to find a piece of “cargo” that turns out to be a living person. As far as a “thank you” gift to fans for showing up to the panel go, it was hard to beat, although the fans who weren’t in the room were more than a little mad at what they missed out on. The show will debut when Disney+ launches on November 12.

Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Will Sound Spot-On

The Source: Disney Parks, via Star Wars Celebration

Probability of Accuracy: Accurate, and enough to make you want to book a vacation.

The Real Deal: Another of the big Celebration events was the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge panel, which revealed more information about the Disney Parks attractions opening May 31 in California’s Disneyland and August 29 in Florida’s Walt Disney World. In addition to partnerships with Coca-Cola, perhaps the biggest news from the panel was the announcement of some of the voice talent involved, including Jim Cummings (reprising his Hondo Ohnaka character from the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series), Paul Reubens reviving RX-24 from the original Star Tours ride, and Frank Oz, who’ll lend Yoda’s vocal talents to the proceedings. Maybe the most surprising actor making a return, though, is Bill Kipsang Rotich, the original voice of Nien Nunb from 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Rotich was a student in the US when he voiced the character originally, and had since moved to Kenya, where Disney Parks staff tracked him down to record new dialogue for the character for Galaxy’s Edge. Suffice to say, this is definitely an attraction that’s paying a lot of attention to fidelity to the source material.

Is Star Wars Going On Hiatus? Only Kinda

The Source: The people in charge of Disney and Lucasfilm, respectively

Probability of Accuracy: Depending on which version of events you’ve heard, somewhere from “mostly accurate” to “entirely accurate.” Keep reading.

The Real Deal: Disney CEO Bob Iger caused a lot of fan pulses to raise in nervousness when he said that, after the release of The Rise of Skywalker, the Star Wars movie franchise would go on a break. “We will take a pause, some time, and reset, because the Skywalker Saga comes to an end with this ninth movie,” he told Bloomberg. “There will be other Star Wars movies, but there will be a bit of a hiatus.” Immediately, because of the way fandom works, rumors started to appear that Disney had essentially mothballed the franchise in the wake of Solo underperforming last year. Not so, according to Kathleen Kennedy, who said the very next day that the break was always the plan, and that the future of the franchise is already being mapped out. A summit featuring D.B. Weiss, David Benioff, and Rian Johnson is scheduled for next month—and it’s ambitious. “We are looking at the next saga,” she said. “We are not just looking at another trilogy, we’re really looking at the next 10 years or more.”

Here Are the Other Trailers From Star Wars Celebration

The Source: Official sources for various publishers

Probability of Accuracy: All of the following trailers are not only accurate, they’re also particularly enticing.

The Real Deal: Perhaps the most anticipated non-Episode IX trailer at Celebration was the debut of the new Clone Wars Season 7.

The season will include the famed Siege of Mandalore arc, originally intended for the show but left unseen due to the series’ cancellation; when it finally appears, fans will get a chance to see a showdown between Ahsoka Tano and Darth Maul, with the latter redesigned to fit into his appearance from Solo: A Star Wars Story last year. The 12-episode miniseries was described by show creator Dave Filoni as “something fulfilled that I never got to do,” to the delight of fans at the show’s Sunday afternoon panel. (Clone Wars Season 7 is officially unscheduled, but will air on Disney+.)

Speaking of trailers, there were also two high profile game trailers revealed at Celebration. Firstly, a new trailer for the ILMxLab’s Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series—Episode I revealed the addition of Maya Rudolph as sidekick droid ZOE3.

That game is scheduled for a release “this Spring,” according to ILMxLab, with playable demos happening during Celebration. (I played; it’s a lot of fun.) Secondly, the first trailer for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order showcased the adventures of Cal Kestis, one of the few Padawans who escaped the Jedi cull at the end of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

That game is scheduled for release November 15. Between that, The Mandalorian, and the December 20 release date for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it’s going to be a very busy end of the year for anyone wanting to spend time in a galaxy far, far away.


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