Star Wars’ favorite duo is gearing up for their next adventure. After three successful seasons on Disney+, The Mandalorian’s Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu are headed to the big screen. The aptly-titled Mandalorian and Grogu is set to go into production sometime in 2024, with director Jon Favreau and producer Dave Filoni attached. Lucasfilm have put a whole lot of faith in the film: it will will be the first on Star Wars’ new slate of movie projects, taking precedent over a slew of stories still languishing in development.
Per The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, the studio is fast-tracking production on its latest brainchild. Disney CEO Bob Iger is aiming for a 2026 release date, making The Mandalorian and Grogu Star Wars’ first theatrical release in over five years. Before Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s Rey-focused sequel, Taika Waititi’s yet-untitled standalone film, or even Dave Filoni’s Mando-verse movie, Star Wars fans will return to theaters for The Mandalorian and Grogu. It’s an interesting choice, given all the projects that Lucasfilm had previously announced. But is it the right choice for a franchise that’s been breaking new ground elsewhere?
For five years, Lucasfilm and Disney have been struggling to steer their joint brand through a minefield. After the polarizing reception to the Star Wars sequels and Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm pulled the brakes on its theatrical efforts, and instead claimed its stake in the streaming wars. The Star Wars saga has been pretty successful on Disney+, especially where its flagship series is concerned. But as the Mando-verse grows, there’s a sense that the franchise is leaning a bit too hard on that success. It’s especially evident with The Mandalorian and Grogu, which — let’s be honest — has no business being a movie.
With The Mandalorian, Lucasfilm tapped into a format they’d previously ignored. The Star Wars franchise has always done best as an episodic saga. Creator George Lucas was inspired by serials like Flash Gordon after all, so an adventure-of-the-week premise was pretty much baked into the brief. The Mandalorian capitalized on that in a way that pushed Star Wars in a fresh direction: not since The Clone Wars or Rebels had the franchise felt so in its element.
The singularity of the series only came into clearer focus as Lucasfilm’s other Star Wars shows tried (and, for the most part, failed) to adhere to the miniseries format. Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett felt like cobbled-together movies, stuffed with content and simultaneously lacking any real substance. Even The Mandalorian Season 3 got tripped up by Lucasfilm’s renewed interest in “cinematic” storytelling. Its resolutions felt hapless and rushed — perhaps in an effort to tie up any loose ends to better shuffle Din and Grogu into a new format.
It all culminates in a lesson that Lucasfilm has yet to learn. The studio used streaming to minimize risk and lick its wounds after a decades’ worth of drama. It found surprising success on Disney+, and now wants to translate that success back to the big screen. Whether it actually works remains to be seen, but the sooner Lucasfilm can accept a new frontier, the better it’ll be for the brand.