Lando, R2-D2 get TV spinoff series, Patty Jenkins to direct next ‘Star Wars’ movie

FILE PHOTO: Premiere of
FILE PHOTO: Star Wars robots R2-D2 and BB8 and droids C3PO and D-O pose as they attend the premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" in London, Britain, December 18, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

December 11, 2020

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co on Thursday announced a raft of new “Star Wars” content for movie theaters and its streaming service, including a feature film from “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins.

The entertainment company detailed 10 new TV shows based on favorite characters from the sci-fi saga, including smuggler Lando Calrissian and droids C-3PO and R2-D2.

The announcement by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy came during a presentation for investors and follows the success of the “Star Wars” hit spinoff series “The Mandalorian” on Disney+ since November 2019.

Kennedy said the “The Mandalorian,” featuring fan favorite Baby Yoda, had opened “an entirely new era for ‘Star Wars'” and the chance to explore some 25,000 years of history in the galaxy far far away.

The Jenkins feature film, called “Rogue Squadron,” will premiere in movie theaters at Christmas 2023. Kennedy said New Zealand director Taika Waititi was still writing the screenplay for another as yet untitled film in the franchise that Disney announced in May.

The announcements came a year after Disney decided to pause the development of “Star Wars” movies, one of the industry’s most lucrative franchises, to focus on TV shows following the relatively disappointing box office takings for “Solo” in 2018.

On Thursday, Kennedy said two “Mandalorian” spinoff series, called “The Rangers of the New Republic” and “Ahsoka” would come to Disney+ at Christmas next year.

Actor and singer Donald Glover will reprise his role as the dashing smuggler for TV series “Lando,” while Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader in “Kenobi,” based on Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, for what Kennedy called the “rematch of the century.” Production on “Kenobi” is due to start in March.

Disney also announced a new spy series called “Andor,” featuring “Rogue One” rebel alliance intelligence officer Cassian Andor that started filming in London two weeks ago.

“This is a new era for ‘Star Wars’ and Lucasfilm with expanded opportunities for continued innovation, high quality story-telling and cinematic experiences like never before,” Kennedy said.

Animated series coming to Disney+ in the next few years include “A Droid Story,” featuring the beloved C-3PO and R2D2, and “The Bad Batch” about experimental clones.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Karishma Singh)