Disney+ Announces 9 New Star Wars Shows: Here's How We Feel About It
I’m a prequel kid. Before I had any semblance of a developed prefrontal cortex or the ability to tie my own shoelaces, I was obsessed with The Phantom Menace. The old tape that lay under my family’s VHS player was the most-watched film in the house, aired on every sick day, every occasion my brother and I had control over the night’s entertainment, and as many times in between as I could manage. I could quote Jar Jar Binks. Qui-Gonn Jinn was my personal hero. I was convinced that, given the chance, I too could be a champion pod-racer. It’s safe to say that I was in deep—head over heels—for George Lucas’s 1999 sci-fi blockbuster.
My love for The Phantom Menace never faltered, and with each new prequel—first Attack of the Clones and then Revenge of the Sith—my obsession with the series grew. However, when I graduated from kindergarten and moved into the harsh world of elementary school, I started to notice a strange phenomenon amongst the adults around me. For some inexplicable reason, they didn’t seem to share the hellbent enthusiasm and reverence for the prequels that I and many of my peers did.
How could this be? How could anyone who called themselves a Star Wars fan not love the beautiful sculpture that George Lucas had painstakingly crafted throughout the prequels? After seeing the original three, I was even more confused. These movies are incredible, I thought, “How could someone not enjoy the films that add origins and backstory to these masterpieces?”
I was at a complete loss, floating aimlessly in the deep waters of an existential crisis. Channeling the spirit of the young girl who once saved her family from having to choose between Old El Paso hard and soft taco shells, I would lay awake at night, visions of Luke and Anakin Skywalker spinning in my head, thinking “Why can’t we have both?”
Now, a lot has changed since the days when the prequels were my favorite movies. And to any angry Star Wars fan reading this with clenched teeth and bulging eyes, about to have a heart attack over the fact that I just called the prequels “beautiful sculptures,” relax. Yes, I am now aware that those movies objectively suck (even though I still love them and always will).
Still, I could never understand the deep, acrid hate that so many OG Star Wars fans felt for the prequels. I get that it’s upsetting to have movies you consider a pile of trash associated with ones that you think are perfection, I mean, I’ve seen The Godfather III. But...so what? It doesn’t erase the original trilogy. Why couldn’t these fans keep their hate to themselves and leave prequel-lovers like me to enjoy the escapades of Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor? Then, last December 10, Disney announced the imminent rollout of nine new Star Wars shows (a list and short description of each show is included at the end). For the first time in my life, I got it.
Before you jump to conclusions (hey, this guy is angry about nine new Star Wars shows, he must hate fun!), I will admit upfront that I will be watching every single one. Much like The Mandalorian, I will probably enjoy them. I have no gripe with any of the individual shows or their content and I don’t deny that they could potentially be high-quality. The reason that I had a bad taste in my mouth after watching the announcement is because this massive onslaught of Star Wars shows represents the final stage of the watering-down and commodification of the brand.
In short: the more Star Wars shows there are, the less special each new piece of content becomes.
When someone who saw A New Hope in theaters watched the prequels, I’m sure that they weren’t happy about the quality, but I don’t think that’s the whole motivation for their venomous hate. A large source of that hate is that suddenly, 22 years after the first release, their favorite sci-fi movies were no longer a trilogy. They now existed as a subset of six movies, which made the originals feel less important, significant, and special. 21 years after the release of The Phantom Menace, I feel the same way about the movies I fell in love with now just being six of 22 different Star Wars movies and shows.
It’s not cut and dry. When I heard that Hayden Christensen was reprising his role as Anakin and joining Ewan McGregor in his upcoming show, six-year-old me was absolutely losing his mind. On the other hand, the more grown-up part of my brain felt a mixture of nostalgia and loss, realizing that Anakin and Obi-Wan’s final duel on Mustafar would no longer be their final moment on screen together. In the end, maybe it’s okay to feel excitement for all the new Star Wars content while still mourning the loss of the days when Star Wars was just six (or three) incredible movies. Or, maybe I’ll be complaining about the nine shows that turned a movie series into the Star Wars Cinematic Universe for years to come.
If you want to know more about the nine new Star Wars shows releasing over the next couple of years, check out the short descriptions below:
Taking place ten years after Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan Kenobi recasts both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen in their prequel roles. Although the plot of the show is still unclear, McGregor has hinted that Obi-Wan and Darth Vader will meet again over the course of the show.
This show will follow Ahsoka, a main character from the animated series The Clone Wars, who made her live action debut when guest starring in The Mandalorian, played by Rosario Dawson. Dawson will reprise her character in the new series, which will take place during the same time as The Mandalorian.
A prequel series to Rogue One, the stand-alone Star Wars movie from 2016, Andor will follow Cassian Andor in the events that led up to him joining the rebellion.
Rangers of the New Republic
There’s not too many details about Rangers of the New Republic. The one detail that has been announced is that it will take place during the same period as The Mandalorian and Ahsoka, leading the three series to culminate in a “climactic story event.”
The Acolyte, the most creative and interesting-sounding new series, will take place hundreds of years before The Phantom Menace. Helmed by Leslye Headbland, creator of Russian Doll, the series was described as a “mystery thriller” that will be centered around "shadowy secrets and emergent dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era."
Lando will follow Lando Calrissian. Other than that, there’s almost no known details, except that the show will be led by Justin Simien, director of Dear White People. According to rumors, Donald Glover will be the lead, reprising his from Solo: A Star Wars Story, however no official casting news has been released.
The Bad Batch
Following a group of rogue clone troopers that were introduced in The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch is one of three new animated series that Disney plans to launch in the coming years.
Star Wars: Visions
The second animated show, Visions, is similar to Marvel’s What If show. According to the limited info on the show, each episode will be an unconnected story exploring “the Star Wars galaxy through the lens of the world’s best Japanese anime creators.”
A Droid Story
The last animated series that Disney+ will be hosting, A Droid Story, will follow R2-D2 and C-3PO as they accompany a new, unknown character on their journey throughout the Star Wars galaxy.