Yesterday was Disney’s 4 and a half hour long Investor Day presentation livestreamed online. During the course of that evening, Disney announced new projects from FX, including a new Alien show created in partnership with Ridley Scott and set on Earth, a fifth season of Handmaiden’s Tale on Hulu, more Mighty Marvel shows than you can shake a stick at (summarized well over at CHU), and our focus, Star Wars films and television series slated for the next couple years. So now is the time to let the imagination run wild and search your local comic shop’s racks for some low-cost speculation picks. THe following are my picks for books that might see a bump as info on these shows is released:
Taika Waititi Project:
There was relatively little said about this project other than the fact that it was in development. However, Inverse had some astute observations about the graphics behind Kathleen Kennedy during the presentation.
First, the bright blue, stonework, block Star Wars letters in the logo break from all previous norms on Star Wars live action projects. Inverse pointed out that it matches the Ben Hur logo pretty closely. Ben Hur is of course a religious epic set in Rome in 26 AD, around the time of the founding of Christianity. Now, the connection of the logos is slightly spurious, but Inverse connects that type of story to the story of the ancient Jedai’i on Tython as depicted in Dawn of the Jedi.
Now if that seems like a bit of a stretch, don’t worry. The theory is backed up by the geometric objects behind Kennedy later in the presentation. These bear a resemblance to the Tho Yor, ancient pyramid type objects that depart from various worlds like Dathomir, Kashyyk, and other well known locales of the Star Wars galaxy and migrate to Tython with natives of each world aboard. Of course, this could all be a Red Herring designed to throw us off the scent, but why would they do that?
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm #0 (February 2012): This is a preview or handbook style issue that Dark Horse liked to put out with new series and eras in their Star Wars line. It contains encyclopedia type entries of the Tho Yor, Tython, Jedai’i, etc.
- Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm #1 (February 2012): released the same month and reportedly the same day (February 1) as #0. This depicts the Tho Yor migration and is the first in-story depiction of Tyhton that I am aware of in comics.
After making her long awaited live-action debut in The Mandalorian, Ahsoka Tano’s story, written by Dave Filoni, will continue in a limited series starring Rosario Dawson and executive produced by Dave Filoni and Jon Favreau.
I’ll be the first to admit that the cat is out of the bag when it comes to Ahsoka comics. Unless you find them in a dollar bin or back issue box at a shop where they don’t know what they have, these are unlikely to be found readily in the wild.
- Clone Wars #1 (Dark Horse): Ahsoka’s first comics appearance is already red hot. People loved her from the original Clone Wars animated series and Rosario Dawson’s appearance in the Mandalorian only helped. I expect the trajectory to continue up. This book is no longer speculation and is now in the land of bona fide key comics destined for long term holds. There’s a variant limited to 1,000 that is another atmosphere above the regular in value. However, people have been turned on to library hardcover editions that seem to be a little more readily available.
- Mace Windu #5 (2/2018): People now have their sites set on the next tier down for Ahsoka appearances– first CANON appearance. After Disney acquired Lucasfilm, they decanonized Dark Horse content. All new Marvel comics would be new Canon, so there’s a built in distinction that collectors are trying to make here. I’m not sure how that works with a book like Clone Wars #1 which is basically a comic adaptation of an episode, but whatever. Mace Windu #5 arrived in February 2018, so it beats Darth Vader #14 out the gate. She appears in one panel in a flashback.
- Darth Vader (6/18/2018) #14: The runner up in canon appearances. Again, she appears in one panel in a flashback.
- Age of Republic Special #1 (March 2019): This is another flashback situation. In her first appearance in this issue, Ahsoka appears as a bounty ad, then in a flashback thatr Assajj Ventress has.
- Forces of Destiny Ahsoka & Padme (January 2018): As an honorable mention I’ll acknowledge the considerable heat this book has been picking up. It’s an IDW release that was part of the laudable if commercially lackluster multi-media Forces of Destiny campaign seemingly aimed at young girls. At the time the interest was pretty low on this series of one-shots, which led to low orders and low print numbers. Chronicchron estimates the print run at: 12,464. I’ll point out that it isn’t any sort of first unless you want to discount Mace Windu 5, Darth Vader 14, and Age of Republic Special all for being flashbacks.. Rather, this is just a scarce book featuring Ahsoka.
Last August at D23 Expo, Lucasfilm announced the return of Ewan McGregor in the iconic role of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi for a special event series on Disney+. Officially titled Obi-Wan Kenobi, the series begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith where he faced his greatest defeat, the downfall and corruption of his best friend and Jedi apprentice, Anakin Skywalker turned evil Sith Lord Darth Vader. The series is directed by Deborah Chow, who helmed memorable episodes of The Mandalorian Season 1.
This will truly be a day long remembered, as it was confirmed that Hayden Christensen will be returning as Darth Vader. “This will be the rematch of the century,” Kennedy said.
This is a toughie right here. All we know is that Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen are on board and the series is set ten years after Revenge of the Sith. Without much else, we’re throwing darts in the dark. But, let’s throw them anyway:
- Star Wars #1 (1977): Update: it was pointed out to me that Obi-Wan only appears on the cover of issue #1 and first appears in the interiors in issue #2. Ok, this is not targeted whatsoever to this particular show and is just generally the safest longterm Star Wars hold for multiple purposes. It is, however, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s first appearance. If you don’t have it, grab it before it goes up in value. If you do have one, grab a second to sell when it finally earns the monetary value it deserves. It’s unlikely the Obi-Wan series itself will have much affect on this (at least no more so than any other popular Star Wars release), but the fact remains it’s his first appearance.
- Star Wars #7, 15, 20 (2015): Seeing as the series is set ten years after Revenge of the Sith, it’s plausible the subject matter could potentially be Kenobi’s hermit life on Tatooine. These issues cover his time protecting the Lars homestead. Further, not only are issues 15 and 20 beautifully illustrated by Mike Mayhew, but they also deal with Kenobi fighting off nar-do-wells. Speaking of….
- Darth Vader #1 (2015): One particular no-gooder Kenobi defends the Lars homestead from iN Star Wars 15 and 20 above is Black Krrsantan, a Wookiee bounty hunter. His first appearance is in Darth Vader # 1 (2015). It would be an awesome choice to have a nefarious Wookiee in the Obi-Wan Kenobi series, but there’s absolutely no info to say that will happen at this time, just my wild speculation.
Rangers of the New Republic
Ok, we are going from basically no information on Obi-Wan Kenobi to somehow less when it comes to Rangers of the New Republic. From Starwars.com:
Set within the timeline of The Mandalorian, this new live-action series from executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni will intersect with future stories and culminate into a climactic story event.
O…..K….. Keep an eye out for Mandalorian branded comics coming in the future. When we get first appearances of Cara Dune, Greef Karga, the Mandalorian, Mayfeld, etc., those might come into play in this show. Sorry, that’s all I’ve got for ya for the time being.
Everyone’s favorite scoundrel Lando Calrissian will return in a brand-new event series for Disney+. Justin Simien, creator of the critically-acclaimed Dear White People and a huge Star Wars fan, is developing the story.
- Star Wars (1977) #43: This is the first comics appearance of Lando Calrissian. Another obvious first appearance like Star Wars #1 for Obi-Wan.
- Lando (2015): As insurance, I’d pick up copies of issues from this series. It has a certain ancient Sith architect’s first cameo, but more importantly, it has Lobot’s semi-origin. This may prove important if Lobot makes his way to the screen again. As far as Channath Cha, Sith architect, he first appears in issue #2. He was integral in Vader’s castle construction on Mustafar in volume 2 of Marvel’s Darth Vader (Soule), and might pop back up in the High Republic stuff.
- Lando: Double or Nothing #1: L3-37’s first appearance. The droid who would marry a YT-1300 freighter (the Millennium Falcon). Although she is gone as of the end of Solo: A Star Wars Story, depending on when Lando is set to take place, this could tie in really well and might start to see demand it’s never seen before. Again, another cheap piece of speculation insurance.
The next one
is reasonably easy to speculate on, but it’s of course always possible Lucasfilm take the project in an entirely different direction than we are thinking.
UPDATE 12/14/2020: Ok, the speculating community has pointed out quite a bit of confusion on Rogue Squadron’s “first appearance”. I’ll do my best to sort through some of it, but the bottom line is that the market will decide in the end which book is most sought after.
The next Star Wars feature film will be Rogue Squadron — directed by Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman franchise). The story will introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing, high-speed thrill-ride, and move the saga into the future era of the galaxy.
“It’s been a lifelong dream as a filmmaker to one day make a great fighter pilot film,” said Jenkins. “As the daughter of a great fighter pilot myself, some of the best memories of my life are of seeing my father’s squadron take off in their F4s every morning, and hearing and feeling the awe-inspiring power and grace. When he passed away in service to this country it ignited a burning desire to one day channel all of those emotions into one great film. When the perfect story arrived in combination with another true love of mine, the incomparable world of Star Wars, I knew I’d finally found my next film. I’m extremely honored and excited to take it on, and grateful to Lucasfilm, Disney, and the fans for extending that thrill to me.”
“Patty has established herself as one of the top directors working in the film industry today,” said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “She’s a visionary who knows how to strike the balance between action and heart, and I can’t wait to see what she does in the Star Wars galaxy.”
Lock S-foils in attack position: Rogue Squadron arrives in theaters Christmas 2023.
- Star Wars #5 (1977): Wedge Antilles is the traditional leader of Rogue Squadron in both the original trilogy and the original expanded universe. This is Wedge’s first comic appearance.
- Star Wars #39 (September 1980): Rogue Squadron pilots appear and are named by their Rogue call signs in Snowspeeders during the Battle of Hoth. However, it’s just one ship-Rogue Two- and no person is depicted. Some also argue that one pilot does not a squadron make. Marvel Super Special #16, containing this content also came out a month earlier in August 1980.
- Star Wars #40 (October 1980): Three snowspeeder’s, plus Luke and Dak show up in the interior and are named as Rogue Leader and Rogue Three. Again, this content can be found in Marvel Super Special #16 two months earlier.
- Star Wars #60 (1977): This is officially recognized by the likes of Marvel.com and comicvine as the first appearance of the original Rogue Squadron. However, Rogue Squadron was formed before the Battle of Hoth and a Pilot with the call sign “Rogue Two” shows up as early as Star Wars #39 (1980). The name “Rogue Squadron” is nowhere in the interior of the book and you would need to read the solicit to know it’s Rogue Squadron.
- Rogue Squadron (Dark Horse Series): I’d keep an eye on these issues and become familiar with the characters inside. They were somewhat clunky reads at the time. I could see Baron Fel (an elite imperial pilot who first appeared in Rogue Squadron #21) becoming a big deal in a future storyline, though. Rogue Squadron #1 (Rebel Opposition 1 of 4) has the first appearances of Dllr Nep, Elscol Loro, Plourr Llo, Groznik, Shabba, Winter, Wes Janson, Tycho Celchu, and others. If any one of these particular members of Rogue Squadron show up in a show, this will be the book to have.
- Shattered Empire #1: One of my comic speculation mantras is “look left while everybody else looks right.” Lucasfilm’s official information about the Rogue Squadron project says they are introducing a new generation of pilots. In Shattered Empire #1 we meet Shara Bey and Kes Dameron. In the end, they retire to a peaceful planet after ROTJ and have a son, Poe. The Dameron’s have shown up in the Marvel storyline between ESB and ROTJ as recently as this week (12/9/2020). With Lucasfilm’s heavy push on Poe Dameron a few years back and Kathleen Kennedy at the helm, I wouldn’t discount the Dameron’s generational story perhaps taking center stage. These can be found on the cheap right now. Look for these on the left while everybody else spends big bucks on the right. It might pay off.
Andor, a tense nail-biting spy thriller created by Tony Gilroy, is set to arrive on Disney+ in 2022. Diego Luna, reprising the role of rebel spy Cassian Andor from Rogue One, will be joined by a fantastic new cast that includes Stellan Skarsgard, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Kyle Soller, and Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma. Production kicked off three weeks ago in London.
Leslye Headland, Emmy Award-nominated creator of the mind-bending series Russian Doll, brings a new Star Wars series to Disney+ with The Acolyte. The Acolyte is a mystery-thriller that will take the audience into a galaxy of shadowy secrets and emerging dark side powers in the final days of the High Republic era.
Again, there is little known about this project other than a name and general timeline of the events involved. High Republic #1 comes out from Marvel in January and I would grab this series as it’s bound to tie together in small or large ways. Whether or not Dark Horse’s Knights of the Old Republic or Dawn of the Jedi will be the same time period, before or after, or even pulled from at all is not known. KOTOR is already demanding premiums for the Darth Revan (#9 and #42) and Malak appearances (#31 and #42) . Dawn of the Jedi is already demanding premiums for being a somewhat smaller print run and pre-existing speculation that it might tie into future Disney plans. Dawn of the Jedi also focuses on the planet Tython which just showed up in the Mandalorian.
The series follows the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch (first introduced in The Clone Wars) as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War. Members of Bad Batch — a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the Clone Army — each possess a singular exceptional skill which makes them extraordinarily effective soldiers and a formidable crew. In the post-Clone War era, they will take on daring mercenary missions as they struggle to stay afloat and find new purpose.
The animated series will arrive exclusively on Disney+.
The Bad Batch have not officially appeared in any comics as of yet. That can quickly change with the current Star Wars Adventures volume running, but there is some wild speculation that they have appeared under another name already. The Bad Batch are also known as Clone Force 99. SCAR Squadron, who first appeared in Star Wars #21 are known as Task Force 99.
It might be a bit of a stretch, but there are instances where clones show up as troopers in current comics canon, such as this scene where Master Barr executes Order 66 on some Purge troopers from Darth Vader #16 (2017):
If you want to play the long game betting on a less than certain reveal that Clone Force 99 becomes Task Force 99, track down their appearances for as cheap as you can while you can. Sgt. Kreel appears in Star Wars (2015) #10, 11, 12, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 36, and 60. SCAR Squadron show up in Star Wars (2015) # 21 and 37.
Other Lucasfilm Projects:
Star Wars: Visions
Presenting all-new, creative takes on the galaxy far, far away, Star Wars: Visions will be a series of animated short films celebrating Star Wars through the lens of the world’s best anime creators. The anthology collection will bring 10 fantastic visions from several of the leading Japanese anime studios, offering a fresh and diverse cultural perspective to Star Wars.
A Droid Story
As Lucasfilm continues to develop new stories, the intersection of animation and visual effects offers new opportunities to explore. Lucasfilm Animation will be teaming up with Lucasfilm’s visual effects team, Industrial Light & Magic, to develop a special Star Wars adventure for Disney+, A Droid Story. This epic journey will introduce us to a new hero, guided by legendary duo R2-D2 and C-3PO.
Other Lucasfilm Stories
Lucasfilm is currently in pre-production on the next installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. At the helm is James Mangold, director of the Academy Award-winning Ford v Ferrari, and Indy himself, Harrison Ford, will be back to continue his iconic character’s journey. Indy will begin shooting late spring of 2021 and will arrive July 2022.
Willow, coming to Disney+, will be set decades after Ron Howard’s 1988 movie, continuing the spirit of adventure, heroics, and humor of the original film. Warwick Davis will return in the role of the great sorcerer, Willow Ufgood, with Jon Chu (director of the groundbreaking Crazy Rich Asians) directing the pilot. Willow begins shooting next March in Wales and will debut on Disney+ in 2022.
Finally, the Lucasfilm catalog is expanding further with a story that will introduce a new hero and explore an original world that feels perfectly paired with Lucasfilm storytelling: Tomi Adeyemi’s New York Times bestselling novel Children of Blood & Bone. The story will center around a young African girl’s heart-racing quest to restore magic to her forsaken people, the Maji. Lucasfilm will partner with 20th Century Studios on this coming-of-age adventure.