Ranking the Star Wars Celebration 2023 Day One News

Star Wars started big with their live-action film and television announcements yesterday at Star Wars Celebration 2023. We can officially call A Droid Story dead. There has been no movement on that show since they were announced in 2020. I still don’t believe that the Lando series is happening no matter what Kathleen Kennedy says (that can will get kicked down the road until her contract is over). Also, bye-bye to Taika Waititi’s Star Wars film, not even mentioned.

But we have a new timeline based on upcoming content: 

  • Dawn of the Jedi
  • The Old Republic
  • The High Republic
  • Fall of the Jedi
  • Reign of the Empire
  • Age of Rebellion
  • The New Republic
  • Rise of the First Order
  • New Jedi Order

It makes sense to add The Old Republic officially, further evidence that the remake Knights of the Old Republic game will be confirmed canon (and hopefully not get canceled, as we have not heard any news since it was delayed indefinitely last year). 

Let’s go from the top to the bottom.

1. The Acolyte

The cast of The Acolyte | credit Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Disney

“It’s not about good or bad; it’s about power and who wields it.”

The Acolyte

The High Republic publishing initiative has been filled with various stories so far, and The Acolyte will be the first live-action interpretation of The High Republic era. This means that it will be the first presentation of it for the masses (I will be watching Star Wars: Young Jedi Adventures, but many more people won’t be). 

While the footage they showed is not officially released, descriptions can be found that confirm some details of the characters. Lee Jung-jae is a Jedi Master, Amandla Steinberg looks like a dark side Acolyte of the Sith, and Carrie Ann Moss is a Jedi doing Matrix moves fighting Steinberg. And we have a pitch line: Frozen meets Kill Bill. Ok. I was sold from the premise when it was announced, and I am still here for it. There are four finished episodes, and the series is set for 2024 (exact date TBA), but it can’t get here soon enough.

And Yoda will absolutely make an appearance in this series.

2. Daisy Ridley Returns for a Post-Sequel Trilogy Film

Daisy Ridley’s Rey will be Jedi Master Rey | credit Jeff Spicer/Getty Images for Disney

We are going forward in Star Wars, literally. We now know that Lucasfilm intends to show us the beginnings and the current period of the Jedi Order (covering 25,000 years). If all these movies happened, we could have a history of Jedi identity across the timeline. This will not be a trilogy, but the films could connect in other ways.

The most solid indicator that this film will move forward is that talent is attached outside the director and writer. There is Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the director, and Steven Knight as the writer, but now we have the star. Daisy Ridley will return as Rey for a story set 15 years after the events of The Rise of Skywalker that will see the Jedi forming a new Jedi Order. Because Daisy Ridley is attached and is a now legacy character, there is more at stake if this does not move into production.

Of course, other questions will be asked repeatedly until more information is revealed: Will John Boyega, Oscar Isaacs, Adam Driver, or Kelly Marie Tran return? In what capacity will Luke’s Force ghost appear?

This is the first Star Wars film we will see in theaters as Lucasfilm reserved a release date of December 19, 2025, so this should move quickly. My guess is that Lucasfilm will try to get every central character in the Sequel Trilogy back, and there is enough time to try and get everyone on board. May the Force be with them.

3. Andor Season Two

The first season was a mixed bag for me. Some of the episodes felt like a chore to get through. But the best episodes are pretty exceptional. And, while people critically loved the show, the viewership was not there (it is the least family-friendly Star Wars series). Season two will need more episodes along the pacing of those later episodes to keep the attention going for a weekly release. Perhaps Mon Mothma being in Ahsoka is an attempt to get Star Wars fans not watching Andor interested in that character. 

Andor will probably pick up some new fans for season two, but the subject matter lives in darkness and very little hope, which is not appealing to many people. We know where Andor’s story ends, so his journey is still a mystery, but we have barely scratched the surface of Mon Mothma’s family drama. The season will jump in time so we will see characters change and develop quickly which could also help with pacing.

So what is the reason to look forward to season two? K-2S0, who was not in the teaser footage but most definitely will be in the series. And general curiosity about how Lucasfilm tries to get more eyeballs on this critical darling. 

4. The Skeleton Crew

The best director line-up in a series so far | credit StarWarsNews.net

The Skeleton Crew is this high up because it has the best talent behind it: the lineup of directors includes Jon Watts, David Lowery, The Daniels, Jake Scherier, and The Mandalorian directors Bryce Dallas Howard and Lee Isaac Chung. The tone of an Amblin film could be a sweet spot for Star Wars; however, the pitch of Stranger Things for Star Wars is reaching (Stranger Things’ later seasons bordered on TV-MA). Maybe it gets TV-14 which would put it in Andor territory. The child actors are young, but Jude Law’s character can do some heavy lifting if they aren’t as stellar as the Stranger Things cast. The series connects to The Mandalorian through the pirates, specifically the only surviving Gorian Shard crew member, Vane. 

Media coverage is labeling him as a Jedi (flashier headline), but the footage has him floating keys so that he could be a Force user. We do not need another survivor of Order 66, which he would have to be.

The Skeleton Crew seems like a working-class Star Wars story—the in-between of the super wealthy and dirt poor. At Star Wars Celebration 2022, it was announced that the series would release in 2023. Lucasfilm neglected a release date announcement, but it may be a holiday release.

But it got drowned out quickly by other announcements in light of no footage released. Given that it might release this year, this was a big opportunity (the largest stage for Star Wars) to make a big impression, and Lucasfilm took a pass. 

5. Ahsoka

Ahsoka strikes a pose | credit Lucasfilm ltd.

The more I see of this series, the less excited I am for a few reasons. First, none have to do with Rosario Dawson and more to do with everyone else around her. I will need to get used to Sabine. I am unsure why Tiya Sicar couldn’t play the character she originated. It would have been a much-needed South Asian representation. The dark side antagonists look cool, but are they needed if Thrawn is supposedly the main villain (and do we need another hallway/lightsaber fight)? There is also ANOTHER Inquisitor.

Still, there is another problem: my first impression of Mary Elizabeth Winstead is that she is miscast as Hera. She is a great actress (please check out 10 Cloverfield Lane), so it will be easy to overlook if they give her some great emotional beats. But if she is working with the type of dialogue we’ve seen in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett…yikes. 

I am lukewarm about Filoni’s super fantastical tendencies. I like the Bedhu introduced in Star Wars Rebels, but no thank you on the World Between Worlds, which is hinted at in this teaser and the title treatment.

The concept of time travel in Star Wars is repulsive. It worked with the Quantum realm for the MCU, but it was overall a lazy way for Filoni to avoid killing off his favorite character. 

I also acknowledge that Rebels is not my favorite Star Wars show, so this show has the opportunity to improve upon the animated show. And an August release is genius.

But the possibility of having the World Between Worlds in live-action makes me nervous, so this is lower in the ranking.

6. Dave Filoni’s MandoVerse Film

Take everything I mentioned about Ahsoka and add the lack of confidence in Dave Filoni’s directing style.

There have been some excellent episodes of The Mandalorian and even one from The Book of Boba Fett, but Dave Filoni has directed none of those. People site “The Jedi” as a favorite, but I wonder if that has more to do with the appearance of Ahsoka, for which we got a first teaser. Same with “From A Desert Comes A Stranger.” Both episodes relied heavily on the characters Luke Skywalker, Ahoska, and Cad Bane. I need to see a few more episodes of something directed by Filoni. I take nothing away from Filoni as to why Star Wars remained relevant in the absence of films, both before the Sequel Trilogy and after, but this job should have gone to Bryce Dallas Howard or Rick Famuyiwa.

Even with all my reservations and the fact that two of the three announced film directors have minimal live-action directing experience, the most seasoned director is at the bottom. But it is purely the subject.

7. James Mangold’s Ben-Hur

Maybe it was how this was pitched, but I have little interest in a Ben-HurThe 10 Commandments Star Wars story. There is already a lot of religious symbolism in Star Wars; watching an entire film dripping in it does not appeal to me. Star Wars just can’t shake the “chosen one” trope. It is even rearing its ugly head in The Mandalorian season three, so I guess Lucasfilm might as well tell the original “chosen one” story. 

Also, this film is the least likely to happen for a few reasons:

Star Wars film announcements constantly get derailed if the intended creators have a recent failure in the court of public opinion (see Rian Johnson with The Last Jedi discourse, see Josh Trank with Fantastic Four, see Benioff and Weiss with Game of Thrones Season 8, see Taika Waititi with Thor: Love and Thunder). So IF Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny somehow disappoints (unlikely), are we looking at another project being scrapped? I would be ok with that. Or at least a reconsideration of the story. 

Not a bad start overall to Star Wars Celebration 2023; however, since this is the last Star Wars Celebration until 2025, there should have been more revealed publicly. Hopefully, these shows can keep the hype going all the way to their release dates.