Disney+ unveiled two teaser trailers for upcoming series at the Lucasfilm studio showcase panel during Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, on Thursday. The first was for Andor, a 12-episode prequel series set five years before the events of Rogue One, starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor. The other was for Willow, a new series intended as a sequel to the 1988 cult classic fantasy film of the same name, set decades after the events of the original film.
The streaming platform also confirmed that the much-anticipated Star Wars series Ahsoka will premiere in 2023, along with a new kid-centric series called Star Wars: Skeleton Crew, set during The Mandalorian‘s timeline and starring Jude Law. Also, the third season of The Mandalorian will premiere in February 2023, featuring the bounty hunter’s return to Mandalore with Grogu, as well as Katee Sackhoff reprising her S2 role as Bo-Katan Kryze. (Chances are she wants to retrieve the Darksaber that Mando won.)
We haven’t seen or heard much about Andor after the reveal of a behind-the-scenes teaser in December 2020 during Disney’s Investors Day. Andor has been described as a “tense nail-biting spy thriller,” with Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote Rogue One, serving as showrunner. It begins with the Empire’s destruction of Cassian Andor’s homeworld and will depict the birth of the Rebellion. According to Deadline Hollywood, Luna described Andor as “the journey of a migrant. That feeling of having to move is behind this story—that shapes you as a person. It defines you in many ways, and what you are willing to do.”
Per the official synopsis:
The Andor series will explore a new perspective from the Star Wars galaxy, focusing on Cassian Andor’s journey to discover the difference he can make. The series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. It’s an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero.
The ensemble cast also includes Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma, a senator of the Republic who helped found the Rebel Alliance, as well as Forest Whitaker reprising his Rogue One role as Clone Wars veteran Saw Gerrera. Stellan Skarsgård and Adria Arjona co-star as the resistance fighters who recruit Andor to the cause. Kyle Soller, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Robert Emms, and David Hayman have all been cast in undisclosed roles. Alan Tudyk was supposed to be returning as the reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO, but his appearance was scuttled during rewrites. The droid might meet up with Cassian during the second season, which is already in development and purportedly will lead directly into the events of Rogue One.
We know much less about the Willow TV series, although fans of the film will be thrilled to hear that Warwick Davis is returning as the Nelwyn dwarf sorcerer Willow Ufgood. The original film was directed by Ron Howard, and it told the story of a child with a rune birthmark who was prophesied to bring about the downfall of the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda. The child is set afloat on a grass raft and found by a village of little people (the Nelwyn). Willow leads a party to find a community of Daikini (tall people) to raise the baby. Many magical adventures ensued.
The Oscar-nominated 1988 film debuted to mixed critical reviews, but made a decent showing at the box office, earning $137.6 million globally—even though it never became the blockbuster hit producer George Lucas had hoped it would be. Lucas and Davis had discussed the possibility of a sequel series as early as 2005, but Disney+ didn’t give the project the green light until October 2020, with Howard on board as an executive producer.
The official synopsis describes the series as “an epic period fantasy series with a modern sensibility set in an enchanted land of breathtaking beauty”—so, very much in the same vein as the original film. It continues:
The story began with an aspiring magician from a Nelwyn village and an infant girl destined to unite the realms, who together helped destroy an evil queen and banish the forces of darkness. Now, in a magical world where brownies, sorcerers, trolls, and other mystical creatures flourish, the adventure continues, as an unlikely group of heroes set off on a dangerous quest to places far beyond their home, where they must face their inner demons and come together to save their world.
In addition to Davis, the case includes Erin Kellyman as a servant named Jade, who is training to become a warrior; Ruby Cruz as Jade’s friend Kit, a princess who assembles a party to rescue her twin brother; Ellie Bamber as a kitchen maid named Dove; and Amar Chadha-Patel as a thief named Boorman, who is promised his freedom in exchange for helping the party. Dempsey Bryk, Talisa Garcia, Ralph Ineson, and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers have been cast in undisclosed roles.
The first two episodes of Andor will debut on Disney+ on August 31, 2022, with new episodes airing weekly after that. Willow premieres on Disney+ on November 30, 2022.
Listing image by YouTube/Disney+