Taika Waititi
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Credit: David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The Clone Wars ends, but Taika Waititi is just getting started on Star Wars

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May 8, 2020

Time again for STAR WARS WEEKLY, the SYFY WIRE series that rounds up the most important news of the week from a galaxy far, far away.

Think of us as your own personal Star Wars Holocron.

TAIKA WAITITI GETS A FILM

Oscar winner Taika Waititi, who brought IG-11 to life in The Mandalorian and even directed the season finale of that show, will be returning to a galaxy far, far away. This time, though, he’ll be doing it on the big screen, as Disney and Lucasfilm announced on May the 4th that Waititi will be directing and co-writing a Star Wars feature film of his own. He'll be helped by co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns, who was one of the writers behind last year’s 1917.

This is big news for a lot of reasons. First, it’s going to be the first time a person of color is going to be behind the camera navigating a Star Wars film to hyperspace. Second, it’s only the second time a woman will be credited as a screenwriter on one of the films. The last time that happened was Leigh Bracket on The Empire Strikes Back, 40 years ago. 

Credit: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Waititi brings an enormous package of talent to the Star Wars franchise. He’s no stranger to big-budget action films, as he helmed the intense and delightful Thor: Ragnarok, but he’s also got dramatic chops. Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Jojo Rabbit, although funny, tackle some serious drama with lots of pathos. It makes him the perfect sort of director to take on Star Wars. 

At this stage, we couldn't even begin to guess what the era or subject matter of Waititi's film will be and there are no clues in the announcement besides the fact that it will be about some war in space of some sort. 

When this film will come out is anyone’s guess. This could be the previously announced live-action film slated for 2022, or it could come out some other time. The entire Star Wars release timeline could also be shifted in unforeseen ways because of the realities of COVID-19.

LESLYE HEADLAND (OFFICIALLY) GETS A DISNEY+ SHOW

Waititi wasn’t the only filmmaker anointed with a new Star Wars property on May the 4th. While the official-official announcement was made this week that Emmy-nominated writer/director Leslye Headland, known for the Netflix show Russian Doll, is developing a new, untitled Star Wars series for Disney+, the first (unconfirmed) reports starting popping up a couple of weeks ago.

There is no word on what that series will be about, but reports indicate it will focus on a female lead. This sent some circles of fandom into a bit of a tizzy, both from the original reports and the Lucasfilm announcement, but if that turns out to be true, it’ll be great to see a live-action show helmed by a woman about a woman. Star Wars is a big canvas for stories, and it’s great to see other voices get a chance to play with the palette. 

Some have speculated that this show is the long-rumored Doctor Aphra show, but there's no evidence to support that at this juncture.

As this project is only in development, there is no timeline for its release, either.

NEW MANDALORIAN DIRECTORS

The Mandalorian didn’t get left out of the May the 4th announcements, either. Two additional Season 2 directors revealed themselves on Twitter, and both are fascinating choices. The first is Peyton Reed, the man behind Marvel’s Ant-Man and the underrated '60s send-up Down With Love.

The other, and, to my mind, more exciting of the two, is Robert Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a kindred spirit of George Lucas’, championing digital cinema at the advent of the art. That digital revolution was a direct result of Lucas pushing it for Star Wars and Rodriguez was an early adopter and proselytizer. Seeing him take on the world of The Mandalorian is going to be a treat for audiences.

The second season of The Mandalorian is supposed to hit Disney+ in October.

THE END OF STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS

Star Wars: The Clone Wars has ended. Order 66 was executed and we learned the final fate of Ahsoka Tano and Clone Commander Rex during the conflict. It was a sobering and heartbreaking finale and was everything I think people hoped for.

Now that it’s over, there are still things you can enjoy. For one, Kevin Kiner’s brilliant score for this arc is now available wherever you buy or stream your music. Secondly, you can enjoy interviews with Dave Filoni like this one from Ash Crossan and Entertainment Weekly:

You can also take a deep dive into the chronological order of the final arcs and how they fit in with the broader stories of Star Wars thanks to this handy SYFY WIRE guide we put together. 

Though The Clone Wars have ended, our love for it will remain.

STORYTIME WITH BOBBY MOYNIHAN

To pass the time during this ongoing pandemic, Star Wars luminaries have been reading children’s books online to help pass the time. In this installment, we have Bobby Moynihan, who has provided voices for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Resistance, reading the charming book C-3PO Does NOT Like Sand!

Until next week: May the Force be with you!

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