Fresh from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, acclaimed director Taika Waititi is bringing his camera to a galaxy far, far away — again. But for what movie, exactly? And what will Taika Waititi's Star Wars be about?
After last week's Disney Investor Day, we still know very little about what story in the Star Wars universe Waititi will bring to the big screen. But a rather telling object that floated behind Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy during the webcast actually provides a visual clue to a possible Star Wars story Waititi is exploring. And would you know it, it really is going to be "a long time ago."
The next Star Wars movie
On Thursday, December 10, Disney streamed a four-hour presentation primarily for investors that also excited a wide number of general audiences. The goal of the presentation was to preview what's to come from Disney in 2021 and beyond, and that included a slew of announcements for new Star Wars movies and TV shows.
One of the biggest and most interesting of the announcements was a new Star Wars theatrical movie, written and directed by Taika Waititi. While the news of Waititi's film was previously confirmed back in May, Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy provided a brief update during the webcast.
"Star Wars' theatrical slate is pushing forward into a new future era," Kennedy said. "Taika's approach to Star Wars will be fresh, unexpected, and unique. His enormous talent and sense of humor will ensure audiences are in for an unforgettable ride."
Kennedy didn't reveal any more about Waititi's untitled Star Wars project — not even its plot, title, or premise — but there were some interesting (if odd) glimpses that are now encouraging fans to speculate in a more clear direction.
Taika Waititi's Star Wars movie: The clues
First, the most unusual thing about Waititi's announcement was that it came with a new "logo" for Star Wars. Flashing behind Kathleen Kennedy during the presentation was a blocky, stone-like typeface for Star Wars that bears an uncanny resemblance to the equally iconic logo of the 1959 religious epic, Ben-Hur. At the time the most expensive Hollywood movie with a budget of $15 million, Ben-Hur tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur, the Jewish prince and merchant in Jerusalem who becomes a slave and finds glory in chariot racing.
Aside from the many, easy-to-Google scholarship devoted to analyzing the religious themes in Star Wars, there is no direct parallel to the story of Ben-Hur in Star Wars. Does this mean Taika Waititi's movie is a new Star Wars story inspired by Ben-Hur?
Before you go, "Duh," there's still one more thing to point out. When Kennedy praised Waititi's "enormous talent and sense of humor," the graphic behind her changed to a bright, colorful image of space with an unknown, diamond-shaped structure behind her. This, too, is a telling clue that fans think provides a hint to Waititi's Star Wars.
The floating pyramid-shaped structure bears a resemblance to Tho Yor, a great pyramidal ship and weapon that housed the Force-sensitive predecessors to the Jedi during the "First Migration." Tho Yor is featured prominently in Dawn of the Jedi, a sub-series within the Star Wars franchise that encompasses both a 2012-2014 comic book series and a 2013 novel by Tim Lebbon. While Kennedy didn't acknowledge whether the strange structure behind her was in fact Tho Yor, that hasn't stopped fans from connecting the dots themselves.
New Star Wars movie: Dawn of the Jedi?
What makes this theory extra interesting is that Dawn of the Jedi is a "non-canon" story, as part of the pre-Disney "Legends" family of extended universe stories. Lucasfilm has made it clear that material from Legends isn't off-limits. (The inclusion of Thrawn in new, recent stories is proof that Legends can and will be recycled.) Since Taika Waititi can theoretically and legally adapt Dawn of the Jedi, fans suspect his movie is in fact his own take on Dawn of the Jedi.
Further supporting this theory is a cheeky tweet from writer and franchise insider Jordan Maison, who recently tweeted about rereading Dawn of the Jedi again "for no specific reason" on November 27. (He did something similar before, tweeting on October 14 about rereading Star Wars Darth Bane: Path of Destruction again for "no specific reason." As of now, there are no confirmed projects based on Path of Destruction in the works.)
Waititi's strange Ben-Hur logo for Star Wars is a clue that his film is taking place eons prior to the Skywalker Saga. So, too, was Dawn of the Jedi, a story set 26,000 years before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and tells the story about the forerunners to the ancient Jedi Order. So really, it's not hard to believe that Waititi is going really old school when it comes to his first Star Wars theatrical film. (The acclaimed director also helmed an episode of The Mandalorian, where he also voiced IG-11.)
The Inverse Analysis — For the most part, it is entirely believable that Taika Waititi could be adapting, or telling his own version, of the Dawn of the Jedi series. With the Skywalker Saga mercifully over, it's entirely possible for other corners of Star Wars to be explored. While fans have spent years clamoring for something like Knights of the Old Republic, it seems Lucasfilm is looking elsewhere in its library of published works for something even older.
There is no release date for Taika Waititi's untitled Star Wars movie.