After many false starts and canceled projects, Star Wars is finally ready to return to theaters. Lucasfilm announced three new upcoming standalone movies during the opening of Star Wars Celebration 2023. These new Star Wars movies include a story about the founding of the Jedi, a movie that will serve as the finale to this era of interconnected Disney+ shows, and the return of Daisy Ridley’s Rey. Additionally, in January 2024, LucasFilm also announced a fourth new movie was heading to theaters, The Mandalorian & Grogu, a big-screen adventure starring our favorite Disney+ duo. Finally, the once canceled Rogue Squadron may rise to join the line-up (but nothing official has been reported.)

Rey looking over her shoulder in The Rise of Skywalker
Lucasfilm

And with that, the galaxy far, far away is finally going back to the big screen. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed James Mangold (LoganIndiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny), Dave Filoni (The MandalorianAhsoka), Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel, Saving Face) have all been tapped to direct these new Star Wars movies. Meanwhile, Jon Favreau will take on the Mando movie. Lastly, if what Patty Jenkins says is true, she will direct an upcoming Star Wars movie as well.

While Lucasfilm shared few official details about the films, the little they tell us says a lot. Here’s what we know about these new Star Wars movies so far.

James Mangold’s New Star Wars Movie Tells the Story of the Force

James Mangold’s “will go back to the dawn of the Jedi,” a time set tens of thousands of years earlier than anything we’ve ever seen on screen before. That might mean we’ll meet the figure known as Prime Jedi. That’s the person who founded the Order on Ahch-To sometime around 25,000 years before the events of A New Hope. Fans already know Ahch-To well. They first saw it in The Last Jedi when it served as Luke Skywalker’s hideaway. A release additionally shares, “James Mangold will take audiences deep into the past, telling the tale of the first Jedi to wield the Force and harness it as a liberating power in an era of chaos and oppression.”

Lucasfilm

Mangold further noted to Empire that his new Star Wars movie “takes place 25,000 years before Episode IV, and it’s about the discovery of the Force.” He further shares, “I told Kathy [Kennedy, head of Lucasfilm] I wanted to make a kind of Bible movie, a kind of Ten Commandments of Star Wars – kind of a Cecil B DeMille film about the arrival of the Force, and that’s what I’ve been pecking away at between press events. That’s the idea.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, playwright and screenwriter Beau Willimon will co-write the script with Mangold. In addition to his playwriting career and his Emmy-nominated scripts for House of Cards, Willimon also wrote the prison three-parter in season one of Andor. Writing the best episodes of the best Star Wars show is some real bonafides.

James Mangold’s New Star Wars Movie Connects with Rey’s Next Appearance

Kennedy also recently shared that this movie will help inform the new Star Wars movie featuring the return of Rey. She noted to Total Film, “I think it’s a really nice compliment to what we’re doing with moving into the future with Rey, and then understanding a bit more of where this all came from,” she explains. “Because it will be at the heart of creating the new Jedi Order, so to get a real sense of where that might have began with the dawn of the Jedi could be pretty cool.” 

According to a new official Star Wars eras list revealed by LucasFilm, this movie will most likely take place in the “Dawn of the Jedi” era, but could even take place earlier than that.

Dave Filoni’s Film Will Bring Together Many Current Disney+ Series

The next new Star Wars movie will come from franchise veteran Dave Filoni. His film “will focus on the New Republic and close out the interconnected stories told in The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and other Disney+ series.” That’s huge news for both the television and movie side of Lucasfilm. When we get a release date for Filoni’s film, we’ll know just how many more seasons of The Mandalorian we might see. Clearly, there’s already an end in sight to Din Djarin and Grogu’s story. Although, we suppose they could continue on beyond a culminating movie. A release further shares, “Dave Filoni will orchestrate the escalating war between the Imperial Remnant and the fledgling New Republic.”

Rey Will Return in Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Star Wars Movie

The third and final new Star Wars movie announced will focus on the future. Obaid-Chinoy’s movie will take place after The Rise of Skywalker. It will mark the return of Daisy Ridley as Rey. Set 15 years after the ultimate defeat of the Sith, she will be trying to build a new Jedi Order. Hopefully, that goes a lot better than her mentor Luke Skywalker’s attempts. According to the new list of Star Wars eras, it seems like this movie will take place in the “New Jedi Order” era.

The Plot of Rey’s Upcoming Star Wars Movie

Kathleen Kennedy shared more about the movie with Variety. She noted:

Well, we’re 15 years out from ‘Rise of Skywalker,’ so we’re post-war, post-First Order, and the Jedi are in disarray. There’s a lot of discussion around, ‘Who are the Jedi? What are they doing? What’s the state of the galaxy?’ She’s attempting to rebuild the Jedi Order, based on the books, based on what she promised Luke, so that’s where we’re going.”

Speaking to Empire, Kennedy added, “The First Order has fallen, the Jedi are in chaos – there’s even a question of how many exist anymore – and Rey’s building the New Jedi Order, based on the text that she was given and that Luke imparted on her.” She also offers, “Rey has made a promise to Luke, and that’s really the core of where we’re going and what this story will be. And I think it offers just tremendous opportunity to introduce new characters and start with something fresh, because we culminated with what George [Lucas] was creating, and now we take all of that and move it to the next chapter.” 

Lucasfilm

On the topic of a possible Luke Skywalker presence in the new Star Wars movie, Kennedy said: “I don’t know if we’ll spend a lot of time in flashbacks or [on] Force ghosts or things like that, but certainly, the spirit of what he represents to her is going to be significant.”

Ridley previously noted, “I know bits and bobs… I know there’s an introduction of new characters… I don’t know about previous characters.” But she also didn’t rule out anyone’s return. When asked about the popular idea of John Boyega’s Finn returning as a Jedi in the new Star Wars movie, Ridley responded, “That is above my pay grade. [Laughs] I would love to see that, but that is not a decision for me.” But, Ridley does have some information, according to Empire, “she knows the story beats for what the new film will be, and – at the time of the interview – was preparing to read a script and feeling ‘curious about it all.’” 

Rey’s Future in the New Star Wars Movie

Lucasfilm

But will Rey’s upcoming Star Wars movie continue the common franchise trend of introducing new characters that are somehow related to other characters in the world? Daisy Ridley doesn’t really think so. Speaking to Deadline, Ridley noted it seemed unlikely that Rey would have kids in the new Star Wars film. She shared, “I would say she probably doesn’t have children seeing she’s a Jedi.” Of course, we know hypothetically Rey still could have children, like Anakin before her, but it sounds like this won’t be the path of the movie.

Daisy Ridley also notes that Rey will take a different approach to teaching the next generation of Jedi than Luke Skywalker did. Speaking to Den of Geek, she says about Rey’s tactics diverging from Luke’s, “I would say, from what I understand, yes. Short answer.”

Daisy Ridley and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy Give Updates on the New Film

Daisy Ridley noted to Collider, “I’m very excited. The story is really cool. I’m waiting to read a script because, obviously, I don’t have any other updates. It’s not what I expected, but I’m very excited.” And additionally told The Hollywood Reporter, “I’m genuinely really excited about the next one [Star Wars movie]. I haven’t read anything, but I know the story. It’s really worth telling, worth exploring, and I think people will be excited.”

The actress also offered a bit of a further tease about the film to  AlloCiné. She said of the upcoming Rey Star Wars movie, “Once I knew what the story was and everything, I knew that it was something I really wanted to do. I think it’s a really fantastic exploration of the Star Wars world. It’s a really cool way of taking the story on in a bit of a different direction.” In conclusion, as Ridley noted to Variety, the story of this Star Wars movie is “cool as sh*t.”

Ridley also recently shared that this time around, she feels more ready to be Rey. “I suppose I feel more like I’m owning it. I suppose I owned it the first time. Basically, I’m an adult now. I certainly did not feel like an adult at the time. Obviously, personally, things have changed, and professionally, I’ve had lots of other experiences, and so I definitely feel like it’s a different thing this time. There’s just a lot of joy with me and these films. Honestly, if I wasn’t excited, I wouldn’t have done it. It feels like a great thing to be a part of.”

Meanwhile, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy noted to CNN, “I’m very thrilled about the project because I feel what we’re about to create is something very special… We’re in 2024 now, and it’s about time that we had a woman come forward to shape a story in a galaxy far, far away.”

We couldn’t agree more. But something tells us it won’t be smooth sailing for Rey. The dark side of the Force has a way of always creating shadows over the galaxy far, far away, especially in theaters.

A Release Date for Rey’s New Star Wars Movie

There is now a reported filming date in play for Rey’s upcoming Star Wars fim. According to Productionlist.com, which tracks production updates for the Film & Television Industry Alliance, the Rey movie will start shooting on April 7, 2024 in London. Hopefully, that means we will get casting news soon.

Recent rumors speculated that the Rey movie might have been delayed indefinitely due to creative differences between Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and writer Steven Knight. However, according to Gizmodo, Lucasfilm has confirmed the movie is still moving forward without issue. According to the publication, a source at Lucasfilm noted, “Knight continues to write and be a part of the process. In fact, the company is waiting on his latest draft as you read this.”

Jon Favreau Takes Our Favorite Duo to the Big Screen in The Mandalorian & Grogu

Walt Disney Studios

In addition to joining Dave Filoni’s big group Star Wars movie, the Mandalorian and Grogu will also star in a new Star Wars movie of their own (aptly titled, The Mandalorian & Grogu). Few details are known about it for now, but it will go into production in 2024.

As previously noted, this movie is expected to start shooting in April 2024.

Patty Jenkins Returns to Direct the Once Canceled Star Wars Movie Rogue Squadron

Lucasfilm

In 2020, Lucasfilm announced Patty Jenkins would direct a new Star Wars movie, Rogue Squadron. But the movie was removed from the company’s lineup in 2022. Now, Jenkins has revealed she’s back to work on the film, and she’ll take on the roles of writer and director. You can see what she had to say in full, here.

Originally published on April 7, 2023.