Star Wars Celebration 2023 Film highlights: Daisy Ridley returns, a new Jedi film rises
Three new Star Wars films were announced at Star Wars Celebration Europe IV last week, on Friday. This news that was welcomed by attendees after years of Lucasfilm focusing on making Star Wars TV series for Disney+ rather than producing films.
At the Lucasfilm Showcase panel on Friday, Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm, was joined on stage by a vast amount of talent to showcase all the upcoming Star Wars series that are in development or coming to Disney+ soon. What followed after the TV-focused portion of the panel was quite a shock as Kennedy suddenly shifted focus to the future of Star Wars films.
A timeline of the different eras of Star Wars was paired with Kennedy announcing the filmmakers who will be directing the three new features to tease the era of each film. First up, a new film from director James Mangold that will go far into the past, focusing on the first Jedi in the galaxy. This got the instant attention of the audience who reveledrevelled in the news, realising the amazing possibilities of what that film could explore. According to Lucasfilm, the first jedi will harness the force to use it as a liberating power to try to puttry put a stop to the chaos and oppression of the era. Little other details apart from Mangold directing and it being from the Rise of the Jedi time period was revealed.
The next announcement saw Star Wars legend Dave Filoni join the stage once more, but this time not as the producer of The Mandalorian or Ahsoka but as the director of what is to be his first feature film. Set in the present, Filoni’s feature debut will expand on his and Jon Favreau’s work on The Mandalorian by focusing on the war between the Imperial Remnant and the New Republic. It is said to be a cinematic event that will tie into the current Star Wars series on Disney+. Like the first film announcement, the Celebration hall wildly erupted with extreme excitement. Although it must be said, with the severe lack of any positive film developments since the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, almost any project could get fans screaming and applauding. It remains to be seen which film out of the three will be the most anticipated.
Then Kennedy announced that Star Wars would be heading into the future with a film set 15 years after the Rise of Skywalker. This feature will be helmed by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, with a script from Steven Knight. But nothing could prepare the audience at Star Wars Celebration for the surprise return of Daisy Ridley, who took the Celebration stage by storm, everyone went wild. Ridley will return as Rey in the future-set film that will see her begin to rebuild the Jedi order. But where there is light, there is darkness. A new emerging threat will rise to destroy what Rey has been working towards, there will be no easy path for those who choose to enter the New Jedi Order under the guise of Ridley’s Rey. With the screenplay nearing completion, according to Kathleen Kennedy, who expects it in the next few months, it’s natural to presume that this project will be the first to see the light of day. Especially as Filoni has his work cut out for him with Ahsoka and Mandalorian-related projects, and Mangold is shooting his new film, a biopic of legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan, with Timothéee Chalamet this summer.
The final part of the film-related portions of the Lucasfilm Showcase panel took a step into a very different type of world, but also one with Harrison Ford present. Mangold stayed on stage with Kennedy as they showed off a new Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny poster and trailer after a video message from Ford himself, who was unable to attend Celebration. This marks the final push for Lucasfilm with the Steven Spielberg and George Lucas-produced film before its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18. But as the panel approached its end, Mangold and Kennedy treated the Celebration audience to an exclusive 6-minute-long sneak peek. Set in Tangier, Morocco, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) chase Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen), who is in possession of the Dial of Destiny. It’s an action-packed car chase through the encroaching residential streets of Tangier, it was just as intense and true to the chase scenes of past Indiana Jones films. The stars of the film, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Mads Mikkelsen but excluding Ford, hit the stage to briefly talk about the Cannes-premiering film.
What was learnt during the final section of the Lucasfilm Showcase was truly exciting and an experience to behold, especially being in the room when Daisy Ridley left fans stunned as she walked onto the Celebration stage. Star Wars fans have a lot to look forward to when it comes to the future from the lasting, multi-billion dollar franchise as the. The announced movies are in a galaxy not too far, far away.
Photo: Kate Green/Getty Images for Disney