(Left to right) Ewan McGregor in "Obi-Wan Kenobi," and the Child and Pedro Pascal in "The Mandalorian."
In 2012, Disney acquired Lucasfilm and its Star Wars properties for a cool $4.05 billion. When the studio launched its new streaming platform, Disney+, in 2019, it decided to go all-in on the decades-long franchise, launching the first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, which quickly became a critical hit, an Emmys magnet and a favorite with audiences young and old. Much like its expanding web of interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe series, Disney+ is developing more and more original Star Wars content, including spin-offs, sequels and animated shows. Here, our look at the current and future lineup, with handy hints on the famous faces (and voices) you might recognize and how each series fits into the greater narrative of that galaxy far, far away.
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The premise:Game of Thronesbreakout Pedro Pascal stars as the bounty hunter Din Djarin, who was raised on the planet Mandalore. “The Mandalorian is a mysterious, lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy,” Pascal toldEntertainment Weekly. “Some might say he has questionable moral character, in line with some of our best Westerns, and some good samurai. And he’s a badass.” In the first season, the last remaining Imperial forces hire this space Eastwood to track down and bring back the child Grogu, whom fans know better as Baby Yoda. While he isn’t actually Yoda as a baby, he’s a member of the same swamp-dwelling species. And, oh yeah, he isn’t a baby, either: He’s AARP eligible at 50 years old! Turns out that his wide-eyed charm works on the Mandalorian, who scraps his mission and sets out to protect the child. The pair is pursued across the galaxy by Moff Gideon, played byBreaking Badvillain Giancarlo Esposito, 64. The series was a critical smash, earning six Emmy nominations (including best drama series) and winning seven Creative Arts Emmys in its first season alone.
When it’s set:Five years after the fall of the Empire inThe Return of the Jedi.
Famous faces and voices:Carl Weathers (74) as Bounty Hunters’ Guild leader Greef Karga, Werner Herzog (79) as the mysterious Client, Nick Nolte (81) as the voice of the alien Kuiil, Taika Waititi as the voice of bounty hunter droid IG-11, Amy Sedaris (61) as mechanic Peli Motto, a digitally de-aged Mark Hamill (71) as Luke Skywalker.
Watch it:The MandalorianonDisney+
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Star Wars: The Bad Batch(2021–)
The premise:Think of the Clone Wars as theStar Warsuniverse’s answer to the U.S. Civil War: Thousands of planets seceded from the Galactic Republic to form the Confederacy of Independent Systems, and the Republic fought back with a Jedi-led army of clone troopers to battle the Separatists’ droid army. The conflict has loomed large in the franchise’s mythology, spawning a 2008 animated feature followed by a popular computer-animated series that bounced around from the Cartoon Network (seasons 1-5) to Netflix (Season 6) to Disney+ (Season 7). Disney’s streaming service followed it up with this original sequel that centers on the Bad Batch, a squad of clone troopers with specialized genetic mutations and names like Hunter, Wrecker and Crosshair, all voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, 59. Joined by a female clone, Omega (Michelle Ang), they embark on a series of risky mercenary missions after the end of the Clone Wars.
When it’s set:After the events ofEpisode II —Attack of the Clonesand the originalClone Warsseries.
Famous voices:Rhea Perlman (74) as the mercenary Cid, Archie Panjabi as Jedi Master Depa Billaba, Freddie Prinze Jr. as a Padawan (a Jedi apprentice) named Caleb Dume, Seth Green as service droid Todo 360.
Watch it:Star Wars: The Bad BatchonDisney+
Star Wars: Visions(2021)
The premise:And now for something completely different! This animated anthology series comprises nine short films, each between 13 and 21 minutes long, produced by seven different Japanese studios, with Hollywood actors performing the voices in English dubbed versions. The episodes exist outside of the regular canonical restraints of the series, meaning you’ll find alternate timelines and stories set centuries before theStar Warsfilms. The first episode, for instance, pays homage to samurai films, as a ronin (or samurai without a feudal master) defends a village from a band of former stormtroopers — using a lightsaber instead of a sword, of course. In his review forIndieWire, Tyler Hersko called it one of the bestStar Warsprojects to come out since Disney’s acquisition, writing, “If you’re aStar Warsfan who has become apathetic toward lightsabers and the Force in recent years, Visions could remind you about what made you love the franchise in the first place.”
When it’s set:At many different points in theStar Warsfranchise.
Famous voices:Lucy Liu (53) as Bandit Leader in “The Duel”; Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a Jedi Padawan named Jay in “Tatooine Rhapsody”; Neil Patrick Harris and Alison Brie as Force-sensitive siblings Karre and Am in “The Twins”; Kyle Chandler (56) as Professor Mitaka in “T0-B1”; George Takei (85) as a guide named Senshuu in “Akakiri”
Watch it:Star Wars: VisionsonDisney+
The Book of Boba Fett(2022)
The premise:The armor-suited bounty hunter Boba Fett has been a fan favorite since he first appeared in the much-malignedStar Wars Holiday Specialin 1978, and he later appeared inThe Empire Strikes Backas a gun for hire for the Galactic Empire and then inReturn of the Jediworking for the slug-like mob boss Jabba the Hutt. While many fans assumed Boba Fett had bit the Tatooine dust inReturnafter falling into a sarlacc pit, he reappears inThe Mandalorian, played by New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison, 61, who previously starred as Boba’s father, Jango Fett, inEpisode II. In this spinoff series, he and mercenary assassin Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen, 58) team up to control the galactic criminal underworld, as they stake their claim in the territory once held by Jabba. The show’s creators have said that ifThe Mandalorianis more of a Western,The Book of Boba Fettis theStar Warsversion of a gangster flick.
When it’s set:After the events ofReturn of the Jediand during the same timeline asThe Mandalorian.
Famous faces:Jennifer Beals (58) as cantina owner Garsa Fwip, Stephen Root (70) as water-monger Lortha Peel, Danny Trejo (77) as a rancor trainer, Timothy Olyphant (53) as Tatooine town marshal Cobb Vanth, Rosario Dawson as Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano.
Watch it:The Book of Boba FettonDisney+
The premise:At the end of theStar Warsprequel trilogy, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has turned to the dark side and transforms into the big baddie, Darth Vader. After the death of Anakin’s wife, Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, 51) takes her infant son Luke to the desert planet of Tatooine to live with his step-uncle Owen Lars, while Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits, 66) adopts Luke’s twin sister, Leia, as his own and moves her to the planet of Alderaan. In this six-episode sequel series, Obi-Wan is in hiding on Tatooine, as he’s pursued by bounty hunters and an Inquisitor known as the Third Sister (played byThe Queen’s GambitEmmy nominee Moses Ingram). Expect plenty of stormtroopers and a new planet called Daiyu, which is filled with graffiti, nightlife and urban excess and has been compared to Hong Kong by the show’s writers. For his part, McGregor is playing an older, wiser version of Obi-Wan, as he works to pass the baton from his younger version in the prequel trilogy to Alec Guinness’ in the original films.
When it’s set:Ten years afterStar Wars: Episode III —Revenge of the Sith
Famous faces:Joel Edgerton as Tatooine moisture farmer Owen Lars, Rupert Friend as the Grand Inquisitor, Indira Varma as an Imperial officer, Kumail Nanjiani in an undisclosed role.
Watch it:Obi-Wan KenobionDisney+
Andor:Diego Luna returns as rebel spy Cassian Andor in this prequel series to Rogue One,created by that film’s screenwriter Tony Gilroy, 65, a two-time Oscar nominee for directing and writing Michael Clayton.Set to premiere sometime in 2022, the 12-episode series will also feature Stellan Skarsgård (70), Fiona Shaw (63) and Forest Whitaker (60).
Ahsoka: Not much is known about this Rosario Dawson–led Mandalorianspinoff, which started filming this month. Dawson returns as Ahsoka Tano, a member of the Togruta alien species, known for horns and fleshy head-tails. First introduced inStar Wars: The Clone Wars,Ahsoka is Anakin Skywalker’s rebellious Padawan, who decides to leave behind the Jedi Order.
The Acolyte:Not much is known about this series from Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland, but it will focus on a female protagonist and be set in, as Headland describes it, “a pocket of the universe and a pocket of the timeline that we don’t know much about.” Disney later revealed that it would take place during the last days of the High Republic era, about 200 years before the start of the Star Wars story as we know it.
Lando:The smooth-talking fan favorite Lando Calrissian has been played by Billy Dee Williams, 85, and Donald Glover, and he’s set to be the centerpiece of his own show. The series is created, produced and written by Justin Simien, who’s best known for directing the film Dear White Peopleand creating its Netflix spinoff series.
Nicholas DeRenzo is a contributing writer who covers entertainment and travel. Previously he was executive editor of United Airlines’Hemispheresmagazine and his work has appeared in theNew York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, SunsetandNew Yorkmagazine.
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