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Mysterious, Amblin-inspired 'Star Wars' show in the works from 'Spider-Man' director Jon Watts

The currently-untitled project is said to be inspired by '80s adventure films.

By Josh Weiss
Jon Watts

Late last month, news broke that Spider-Man director Jon Watts would no longer helm Marvel Studios' upcoming Fantastic Four movie. No reason was provided for the amicable split, though the answer may lie in a lengthy Vanity Fair article about the future of the Star Wars franchise on Disney+.

Per the feature, Watts currently has his hands full with a top-secret television project set in the galaxy far, far away. Code-named Grammar Rodeo (a sly reference to a 1996 Simpsons episode where Bart goes on a road trip), the mystery series is described by Lucasfilm as "a galactic version of classic Amblin coming-of-age adventure films of the ’80s" set in the aftermath of Return of the Jedi. Nothing else is known about the show, other than the fact that the production hopes to cast "four children, around 11 to 12 years old." Watts created the title and serves as executive producer, with Spider-Man: Homecoming scribe Christopher Ford reportedly on board as writer.

In the meantime, however, Star Wars fans have plenty to look forward to, including the Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series, whose first two episodes debut May 27, and the Rogue One prequel, Andor, which, according to VF, will premiere later this summer. Tony Gilroy, who helped co-write the Rogue One screenplay, was tapped to return as showrunner/executive producer for the spinoff, which follows the exploits of Rebel spy, Cassian Andor (once again played by Diego Luna).

“This guy gave his life for the galaxy, right? I mean, he consciously, soberly, without vanity or recognition, sacrificed himself. Who does that?” Gilroy said, referring to Andor's tragic death on Scarif alongside Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso. “That’s what this first season is about. It’s about him being really revolution-averse, and cynical, and lost, and kind of a mess." The story apparently kicks off with the destruction of Andor's home world. “His adopted home will become the base of our whole first season, and we watch that place become radicalized,” the showrunner added. “Then we see another planet that’s completely taken apart in a colonial kind of way. The Empire is expanding rapidly. They’re wiping out anybody who’s in their way."

Other titles making the jump to hyperspace are Season 3 of The Mandalorian (purportedly dropping in late 2022 or early 2023), The Acolyte (set during the days of the High Republic, it's still chugging along in the development phase), and a spinoff centered around Rosario Dawson's ex-Jedi Knight, Ahsoka Tano. Dave Filoni, who created the character of Ahsoka and is occupying the role of showrunner for her solo outing teased the series' narrative as "a continuous story."

“It is definitely driving toward a goal, in my mind, as opposed to being little singular adventures," he added, most likely alluding to all the side quests undertaken by Pedro Pascal's Mando. "That’s what I want the character to be doing, and I think that’s what fans want now. They have such a relationship with her. I’ve only recently started to understand that all those kids that watched Clone Wars are now a lot older — they’re very excited about all the things they grew up with, as they should be."

Principal photography on Ahsoka kicked off last week.

On the feature-length side of the tracks, Lucasfilm has at least two feature films that we know about for certain. Marvel veteran Taika Waititi (Thor: Love and Thunder), is slated to direct one of them, working off a screenplay he's co-writing with Krysty Wilson-Cairns (Last Night in Soho). The second movie, a big screen translation of the skilled Rogue Squadron dogfighters flying for the Rebel Alliance, will take off under the captaincy of Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins (though work on it has been delayed).

For well over a year, there's been plenty of buzz over a standalone Star Wars film project overseen by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and written by Loki and Multiverse of Madness writer, Michael Waldron. Despite the fact that Waldron has sounded off on it several times, Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy denied its very existence while, at the same time, providing an update on Rian Johnson's trilogy (said to be in-stasis for the time being).

“I would love to see what movie he [Feige] might come up with,” she said. “But right now, no, there isn’t anything specifically ... Rian has been unbelievably busy with Knives Out and the deal that he made at Netflix for multiple movies."

"I think Star Wars [has] great stories about families — a family of characters and I guess literal families as well," Waldron said during an interview with SYFY WIRE last summer. "It’s just great characters. It’s like anything else. The same reason any film franchise works, is great characters struggling together. It’s exciting to watch and so, I love Star Wars. I love all of it and I’m just excited…to be in that universe at all is really cool."

Looking for more sci-fi TV? Check out shows like Resident Alien, Brave New World, Project Blue Book, EurekaHeroes, Intergalactic, and more streaming now on Peacock. Looking ahead, SYFY has new series The Ark in the works from original Stargate film writer/producer Dean Devlin, as well as Stargate SG-1 producer Jonathan Glassner.