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Star Wars Returns to the Big Screen

Disney is bringing the Star Wars franchise back to the big screen with an original film directed by Patty Jenkins called Star Wars: Rogue Squadron. Slated for 2023, this is the first feature film since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in 2019.

The Mouse House has put a lot of attention into the smaller screen when it comes to Star Wars, to great success. After the huge hits with The Mandalorian, The Bad Batch and The Clone Wars, Disney switched gears and focused on developing more original series for their platform Disney+ such as The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor, The Acolyte, Ashoka and more to come. Since Rogue Squadron will not be released until 2023, Disney creators will continue to expand the Star Wars Universe further.

Fans of the original video game Rogue Squadron were excited to hear the movie was in production. When Rogue Squadron was released in early December 1998, the title’s Nintendo 64 incarnation was the second-highest-selling video game for the first half of the month. The games are classics when it comes to Star Wars gamers and fans. These games also spawned two sequels, Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader and Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike, as well as the spin-off Star Wars Episode I: Battle for Naboo.

Something Old, Something New

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron was one of the many Star Wars announcements revealed during Disney Investor Day 2020. Many have speculated that this movie would pull its material from those video games. However that is not the case, as Jenkins says that her film will feature an original story. But the movie will honor everything that we love from the Rogue Squadron game franchise that came before it. Director Patty Jenkins had this to say:

“There’s a lot of things being acknowledged and understood about the greatness of all of those things, but yes, it’s an original story and I’m so psyched to do it. We’re doing something original with great influence from the games and the books.”

In May 2021, Jenkins confirmed that the script was almost done and that they had a lot of material to work with. Staying true to the Star Wars world is a their focus while adding something new and fresh for the audience. The script was written by Matthew Robinson, whose most recent project was Dylan O’Brien and Jessica Henwick’s Love and Monsters. In a July 2021 interview the director revealed that she became attached to the project much sooner than was publicly known.

“It’s going amazing,” Jenkins told The Hollywood Reporter. “I had been on it already for six months before I even announced that, so we’re pretty deep into it. We’re finishing a script, crewing up, and it’s all going wonderful. I’m so excited about the story and excited that we’re the next chapter of Star Wars which is such a responsibility and such an opportunity to really start some new things. It’s really exciting in that way.”

The Hollywood Reporter

What’s a brain trust?

The trade also asked Jenkins how she’s adapted to consulting with the “Star Wars brain trust.” The filmmaker said: “There’s plenty of it. It’s an entirely different way of working. I’m on the phone with all of them and doing Zoom meetings with everybody involved in Star Wars all the time. I’m fairly free to do the story that we want to do, but you really need to know who’s done what, who’s doing what, where it goes and how it works, and what designs have been done before. It’s a whole other way of working.”

A brain trust is the nickname given to the Pixar film-making approach. It features a team of directors, editors, storyboard artists and effects designers shepherding their films through production. Unfinished films are assembled by their director in storyboards and screened for the group several times a year, with feedback given on what works.

The idea has been taken up, in a less formal fashion, by Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. The effort, led by Kevin Feige and his producing cohorts Louis d’Esposito and Jeremy Latcham, has been very successful for the MCU. By supporting Marvel directors, there’s a sense that someone’s standing behind them keeping the larger plans, developed across the years by Feige and his team, on course.

Joss Whedon talked about a collegial feeling among the Marvel filmmakers even before Marvel described him as part of their brain trust. J.J. Abrams called Simon Pegg, an invaluable consultant, in creating The Force Awakens.

Star Wars Timeline
The official Star Wars Timeline. Where will Rouge Squadron happen?

Where will Rogue Squadron fall on the timeline?

The film will be loosely based on the “X-wing” novels released by Bantam Spectra and Del Rey between 1996-2012, according to Variety. The “Rogue Squadron” is the name of a Rebel Alliance’s elite starfighter squadron, first seen in the Battle of Hoth. They were the survivors of the decimated “Red Squadron” after the Battle of Yavin. Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles founded the group and named it after Jyn Erso and the rebels from Rogue One that sacrificed their lives procuring the Death Star plans.

The story is rumored to introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives. We don’t know where this movie falls in the Star Wars timeline or if any of the major characters will make an appearance. We also know that this movie will indeed be a fighter pilot movie. Patty Jenkins’ father was a fighter pilot and she dedicates the film to his memory. She hopes it will be “the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time”.

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is set to hit theaters on December 22, 2023. Disney has also secured release dates for Star Wars films in both December of 2025 and December of 2027.

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David Raiklen
David Raiklen

David Raiklen wrote, directed and scored his first film at age 9. He began studying keyboard and composing at age 5. He attended, then taught at UCLA, USC and CalArts. Among his teachers are John Williams and Mel Powel.
He has worked for Fox, Disney and Sprint. David has received numerous awards for his work, including the 2004 American Music Center Award. Dr. Raiklen has composed music and sound design for theater (Death and the Maiden), dance (Russian Ballet), television (Sing Me a Story), cell phone (Spacey Movie), museums (Museum of Tolerance), concert (Violin Sonata ), and film (Appalachian Trail).
His compositions have been performed at the Hollywood Bowl and the first Disney Hall. David Raiken is also host of a successful radio program, Classical Fan Club.

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