D23, Star Wars, And You!

(Douglas Porter.Staff Writer)

This weekend, Anaheim CA was the host to the annual D23 Disney Expo. Sprawled across the Anaheim Convention Center D23 is the Comic Con of Disney Studios. The 3 day event covers many aspects of the ins and outs happening within Disney. It has also become a showcase for many of the Disney properties and has become the host of many award ceremonies that Disney uses to honor what they have termed as “Disney Legends”. Much like Hall H in San Diego, Disney uses a large part of the convention halls, to
premier upcoming Disney Films, TV shows, and Documentaries. The main focuses of this year’s D23 were the launch of the new Disney streaming service, Disney+. The service will be launching November 12 th and will be the home of the past and future Disney media. New and Past movies, and TV shows will be hosted on the service, and subscribers to the service will also be able to add-on packages, unlocking things like ESPN, and other Disney owned subsidiaries. The other focus of D23 was the ever growing universe that is Star Wars.

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Disney purchased the hibernating giant that is Lucasfilm from George Lucas on October 30 th , 2012 for the sum of $4.05 Billion dollars. Since the purchase Disney has begun to put Lucasfilm in hyperdrive.
They have created 4 movies (The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, Solo: A Star Wars story) with the 5 th movie, The Rise of Skywalker premiering December 20 th . They have produced 2 television shows
(Star Wars: Rebels, and Star Wars: Resistance), as well as countless web shorts. They retconned all current novels and comics to bring the “expanded universe” to a close, so that they could keep a linear story continuity in place to help control the new Disney narrative of Star Wars.

Disney begun their Star Wars announcements on Friday with Kathleen Kennedy (CEO, Lucasfilm) presenting the upcoming projects in a very Steve Job like format to the audience. The first announcement was for the 3 rd television series by Disney titled, The Mandalorian. The Mandalorian is a story set 5 years after the events of The Return of the Jedi. The story will follow the title character, simply dubbed “The Mandalorian”, played by veteran actor Pedro Pascal as a bounty hunter traversing the galaxy far from the reaches of the “New Republic”. This new show, written and produced by newly
awarded “Disney Legend” Jon Favearu will be more of a “a version of a show that took place after Return of the Jedi, after the revolution, after everybody’s done celebrating because the Empire is gone,” he said. “And then chaos reigns because there’s no central government in the galaxy and so it degrades into a world where, like the old Samurai movies and the old Westerns, where the gunfighters are roaming and people are fighting for their own safety.”

Rounding out the cast is former UFC fighter turned action movie starlet Gina Carano, veteran action movie actor Carl Weathers, actor/filmmaker Werner Herzohg, Breaking Bad villain Giancarlo Espisito, and New Zelander actor/filmmaker Taika Waititi who will be providing the voice of fellow bounty hunter, IG-11. Disney/Lucasfilm have been very selective of what they have shared in regards to the
show in the past, but they debuted a poster for Season 1 of the show:

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They also premiered the first trailer for season 1:

Following on the tails of The Madalorian, Kennedy brought out actors Alan Tudyk and Diego Luna, 2 of the stars of the Star Wars standalone film Rogue One. Disney had previously announced a series following the adventures of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), and K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) but details have always been very scarce. Sadly, details were not abundant on Friday, as the only pieces of information that were given is that its definitive place in the canon timeline is concurrent with the timeline of other post
Revenge of the Sith stories known as “The age of Rebellion”, and that the series will begin shooting in London next year. Alan Tuydk did offer up what he felt was a great title for the show: “Kay-Too Fast, Kay-Too Furious: A Cassian Andor Story.”

The biggest news to come out of Friday was the confirmation of a rumor that has been floating around the Star Wars community in one fashion or another since the completion of the prequel trilogy in 2005. News this week reinvigorated the rumors of an Obi-Wan Kenobi story, with such industry papers as The Hollywood Reporter, and Vanity Fair picking up the story as well. Kennedy doing her best to be settle, set up the audience to bring out one more actor, although by the amount of cheers that occurred before
she even mentioned the actors name, the audience was pretty clued into what was happening. That actor of course was young Obi-Wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor. McGregor asked Kennedy to, infront of all the witnesses in the building, ask him if he is playing Obi-Wan Kenobi again. With resounding applause Kennedy asked this question to McGregor, who followed up with a simple yet Star Wars history defining, YES!

The story is now being touted as a Disney+ series, as compared to the long rumored movie trilogy, and there were no details given at the panel other than the confirmation of McGregor’s attachment and that the series which has its entire first season fully written will begin filming next year. The new current timeline was tweeted by Ryan Penagos, Vice President and Creative Executive of Marvel New Media.

This new timeline also confirms the official titles for each era of the series. Prequel stories, such as the trilogy films and the Clone Wars TV show, take place during the “Age of Republic” Stories between Solo: A Star Wars Story and Return of the Jedi take place at the “Age of Rebellion” Rounding out the end of the timeline everything from post Return of the Jedi which ends with The Rise of Skywalker exist within the “Age of Resistance”.

Disney also teased some episode 9 news with the release of the first “official” poster. There has been a teaser poster released previously but this is one is the first main poster to be made. This will be the poster that begins being placed in prominent locations in theatres nationwide.

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Saturday was the big episode 9 day with the main panel stage being taken over for The Rise of Skywalker. Kathleen Kennedy, and J.J. Abrams were joined by cast members: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Keri Russell, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Naomi Ackie. However, much like the Cassian/K-2SO announcement, there was not much in the way of details shared beyond what we already now. J.J. told a very heartwarming story about Carrie Fisher,
which included him discussing her influence on him making the decision to return to helm The Rise of Skywalker. New cast member Keri Rusell the star of the J.J. Abrams tv show Felicity, shared some of her excitement of being part of the Star Wars saga. Hitting the point home with a nice quip about her son now finding her cool. The panel completed with a First-Look “sizzle” reel of footage from The Rise of Skywalker. Many news outlets broke the story of the footage, going into great detail of what was seen,
as Disney did a great job preventing this footage from leaking online. Disney, ever the media buzz generator did upload the footage to the official Star Wars YouTube channel early Monday morning.

The footage does a great job in furthering the point that this film will be the conclusion of the multi-generational story of the Skywalker saga. Disney announced earlier this year that The Rise of Skywalker will be the definitive conclusion to the 9 movie series, as they have no intention of further telling the Skywalker story. But instead intend to move the series outside the Skywalker saga and being to tell new stories occurring in all parts of the timeline. Disney did not include Star Wars media in their Sunday programming, but focused more on the theme park and upcoming hotel’s future. A trailer for the 2 nd
ride for Galaxy’s Edge, The Rise of the Resistance was shown and subsequently leaked online. At the time of writing this article, Disney has not released the trailer on any official source, and has not made movements to have the leaked footage removed from YouTube.

As the release date approaches, we here at Nowhere California will be sitting down once more to discuss all of what has been released prior to the premier of the movie, and give our opinions, theories, and emotional stories that are tied to the youth defining franchise. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker premiers in theatres nationwide December 20th,2019 with early bird screenings beginning on December 19th,2019.