While cheers greeted each announcement from Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, the ‘OMG’ moment came when Harrison Ford walked on stage. Even the most blasé had that frisson of excitement to be in the presence of a 24-carat, bonafide movie star.
Introduced by Alan Bergman, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios, Kennedy first spoke of the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story spin-off series Andor, which is dropping on Disney+Hotstar on September 21. The 24-episode spy thriller is set five years before the events of Rogue One and tells the story of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and what led him to become a rebel. Apart from Luna, the series stars Stellan Skarsgård, Forest Whitaker, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw and Faye Marsay. Tony Gilroy, who wrote the Bourne trilogy and made his directorial debut with the excellent Michael Clayton is the creator and showrunner of Andor, said to be the first Star Wars show for adults.
The 1988 fantasy film, Willow, written by George Lucas and directed by Ron Howard also gets the series treatment, Kennedy revealed. Willow Ufgood who returns as Warwick Davis welcomed cast members on stage including Joanne Whalley (Sorsha), Ruby Cruz (Kit), Erin Kellyman (Jade), Ellie Bamber (Dove), Dempsey Bryk (Airk), Amar Chadha-Patel (Boorman), Tony Revolori (Graydon) and Christian Slater. Willow streams on Disney+Hotstar from November 30.
Executive producer Dave Filoni spoke of Season 2 of the animated show, Star Wars: The Bad Batch streaming from January 4. The show, featuring the voice of Dee Bradley Baker as the Bad Batch, tells the story of an elite batch of clone troopers going on dangerous missions in the Empire post the fall of the Republic.
Star Wars: Tales of The Jedi, Filoni said are six animated shorts following the stories of two very different Jedi masters — Ahsoka Tano and Count Dooku. All six episodes will drop on Disney+Hotstar on October 26. Tano also gets her own live-action show, Ahsoka, starring Rosario Dawson slated for a 2023 release. Star Wars: Skeleton Crew is yet another series in the Star Wars universe and follows four children lost in space. Creator Jon Favreau revealed the teaser of Season 3 of the immensely popular show, Mandalorian (who can resist the charms of Grogu?) which is set to drop in 2023.
Saving the best for last, Kennedy invited director James Mangold to share details of Indiana Jones 5 even as John Williams’ iconic ‘ Raiders’ Theme’ filled the hall. Set to release on June 30, 2023, the sizzle reel upped the ante to no mean extent. There was the fedora and the nifty work with bullwhip and Indy weathered like rich, Corinthian leather sweeping us off on another adventure. And then Harrison Ford took the stage with his co-star, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and all hell broke loose.
Insisting this was the last time he was going to “fall down” for us, an emotional Ford said, “Thank you for making these films such an incredible experience for all of us. I’m very proud to say that this one is fantastic, and (pointing at Waller-Bridge) is one of the reasons.”
Indiana Jones movies are about fantasy and mystery, said Ford. “They are also about heart. I’m really happy that we have a human story to tell, as well as a movie that will kick your ass.”
The writer was at D23 Expo 2022 at the invitation of The Walt Disney Company