In the next three years, Disney+ will release about 10 new Star Wars TV shows, at least two new Star Wars movies, and close to 10 Marvel TV shows. Yes, the streaming service that — so far — has delivered two seasons of The Mandalorian, is about to debut WandaVision in January, and charged us an extra $30 bucks for Mulan, is now promising to become our best-est friend ever. In a huge Disney investor’s call, the massive studio announced more upcoming projects than is reasonable for a human to keep track of. Especially if you’re a tired parent who is still having a hard time understanding what’s going on with Boba Fett and Ahsoka Tano.
Here are all the new Star Wars shows coming to Disney+ sometime in the near future
- Rangers of the Republic (An X-Wing “cops” show? Maybe?)
- Ahsoka (Yes, this is a Mando spin-off featuring Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka)
- Andor (A show about Diego Luna’s Rogue One character before the Death Star got him)
- Obi-Wan Kenobi (You know about this one)
- The Bad Batch (Animated sequel to The Clone Wars)
- Star Wars Visions (An anime show)
- Lando (Clearly a vehicle for Donald Glover to return)
- The Acolyte (This is a show from the Russian Doll showrunner, Leslye Headland. Cool?)
- A Droid Story (What it sounds like?)
- The Mandalorian Season 3
So, what’s our reaction to this news? Are we just holding our breath until Disney+ decides to raise its prices? This doesn’t even begin to address the new Marvel stuff, either!
Hayden Christensen returns as Darth Vader, joining Ewan McGregor in OBI-WAN KENOBI. The Original Series begins 10 years after the dramatic events of Revenge of the Sith, and is coming to #DisneyPlus. pic.twitter.com/9WR2npRUkk
— Star Wars (@starwars) December 10, 2020
Here’s the one thing that is probably most relevant if you’re in your 30s or 40s. Buried in this news is the reaffirmation of the Ewan McGregor-led Obi-Wan Kenobi show. But, on top of that, is the fact that Hayden Christensen will return as Darth Vader. If we’re talking about Earth-shattering Star Wars news, here’s another way to look at that list of announced shows:
- Lando!!! Nice.
- Mandoalorian spin-offs. Sure.
- Stuff that might be good? I dunno?
- WAIT. DARTH VADER IS BACK? AGAIN?
Considering how burned we all were by The Rise of Skywalker, dumping a bunch of Star Wars stuff in front of everyone and telling them they have to eat it isn’t necessarily good news. For some of us who’ve been on this rollercoaster more than once, all this news is encouraging but it’s also a little scary. The idea that both the Lando series and the Ahsoka series could both be legit good feels possible. But, with this much stuff going on, it’s tough to know which of these new Star Wars things can become your next favorite thing, and which ones might actually piss you off. All of these shows could be good. But the truth is, the return of Hayden Christensen as Darth Vader is the thing fans of a very specific age range can get excited about. Here’s what Hayden himself said about returning to the role:
“It was such an incredible journey playing Anakin Skywalker. Of course, Anakin and Obi-Wan weren’t on the greatest of terms when we last saw them… It will be interesting to see what an amazing director like Deborah Chow has in store for us all. I’m excited to work with Ewan again. It feels good to be back.”
Bringing back Darth Vader is a good idea. Arguably, Star Wars is only popular because of Darth Vader and even Papa George Lucas frequently claimed that the first six Star Wars movies were just the story of Darth Vader. For those of us who were in our teens and twenties when the prequels came out, this particular spiel is one that we bought. We didn’t necessarily think Hayden Christensen nailed the part of Anakin, but nobody pretends like it didn’t happen either. (Contrast this with how fast we all pretend like The Rise of Skywalker was a bad night out where we drank cheap wine coolers.)
Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker is important, even if the movies aren’t “good.” Actually, it’s possible that Hayden’s slide into Darth Vader is important because the prequels are so messy and flawed. The nostalgia a thirty or fortysomething has for the prequels is nostalgia for our own messy twenties. Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren approximated this feeling, briefly, but the truth is, because he wasn’t really Darth Vader, it wasn’t quite the same. Bringing back Hayden as Vader is kind of like if you could somehow watch Breaking Bad for the first time, without knowing what was going to happen. It’s that meaningful.
Darth Vader’s return to a Star Wars TV show, with Hayden Christensen in the role is a way for people who grew up with the prequels to feel like they’ve grown-up, too. Sure, Ewan is the cool thing about this Obi-Wan series. But the profound thing is Hayden as Darth Vader. Everybody likes to work out their daddy issues through Star Wars, but it’s much easier, and arguably, faster if Darth Vader is actually there.