A little more than a week before Disney’s Star Wars Celebration fan event, LucasFilm primed the pump in a lengthy Vanity Fair cover story revealing details about the constellation of Star Wars projects headed for Disney+.
Possibly the most intriguing bit of news in the piece is confirmation of a mystery series from Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts and writer Chris Ford. Described as a coming-of-age story in the vein of the classic Amblin films of the 1980s — think E.T., Gremlins, The Goonies — it’s set in a galaxy far, far away.
The series’ code name is “Grammar Rodeo” after a Simpsons episode that sees Bart and his pals run away from home. It is said to be set after Return of the Jedi and the fall of the Empire in the same time period as The Mandalorian.
There’s a bunch of plot and character details in the piece about Andor, which is said to be debuting on Disney+ in late summer 2022.
That series sees Diego Luna reprising his Rogue One character, Cassian Andor, in an examination of his backstory. It’s set during the height of the Empire and begins with the destruction of Andor’s homeworld.
Luna describes the series 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.”
Tony Gilroy, who worked on the Rogue One script and is creating Andor, describes the motivations and questions that drive it.
“This guy gave his life for the galaxy, right?” asked Gilroy. “I mean, he consciously, soberly, without vanity or recognition, sacrificed himself. Who does that?” he asks, in a query reminiscent of that which hooked director JJ Abrams on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “That’s what this first season is about,” continues Gilroy. “It’s about him being really revolution-averse, and cynical, and lost, and kind of a mess.”
In terms of setting, Gilroy says, “His adopted home will become the base of our whole first season, and we watch that place become radicalized…The Empire is expanding rapidly. They’re wiping out anybody who’s in their way.”
The show will also include a fan favorite, the enigmatic Rebel leader Mon Mothma, whose story will run parallel to Andor’s.
More immediately, Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen describe what intrigued them about revisiting Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, whose relationship the show’s guiding force Deborah Chow calls “a love story.”
McGregor says he had reservations about the character after shooting the films. But he says in 2017, before a screening of the prequels, “They asked me if I would want to introduce one, and I’ve never done anything like that, but suddenly, it just struck me that I really did want to.” McGregor says his change of heart “has to do with growing up.” Despite harsh reviews of the trilogy, he realized that fans loved him his portrayal of Obi-Wan — and that he did too.
Even more than McGregor, Hayden Christensen thought his time wielding a lightsaber was long over. But the thought of playing his Star Wars character at the different time of life was very appealing.
“This is a character that has come to define my life in so many ways,” he says in the piece. “I was originally hired to play a very specific portion of this person’s life. Most of my work was with Anakin. And now I get to come back and explore the character of Darth Vader.”
Of his discussion with Chow — who also directed episodes of The Mandalorian — Christensen remembers, “A lot of my conversations with Deborah were about wanting to convey this feeling of strength, but also coupled with imprisonment…and I think that’s an interesting space to explore.”
Chow, for her part, says, “For me, across the prequels, through the original trilogy, there’s a love-story dynamic with these two that goes through the whole thing.” Of Obi-Wan and the bond that remains after Anakin turns to the dark side she says, “I don’t think he ever will not care about him. What’s special about that relationship is that they loved each other.”
Headland says, the series is set about a century before The Phantom Menace and the driving questions behind it included, “How did things get to this point?’ How did we get to a point where a Sith lord can infiltrate the Senate and none of the Jedi pick up on it? Like, what went wrong? What are the scenarios that led us to this moment?”
The Acolyte is a mystery thriller, according to Headland, that takes place during a prosperous and seemingly peaceful periodv that she describes as “the Renaissance, or the Age of Enlightenment” when Jedis were more cloistered on high, set apart from the world and not “getting into skirmishes.”