Disney’s Thursday investor call offered a smorgasbord of exciting news and announcements for Star Wars fans, particularly those invested in the ongoing Disney+ series The Mandalorian. The Star Wars spin-off series about bounty hunter Din Djarin was one of the first to launch the streaming service and has been a huge success, accounting for a great deal of Disney+’s growing subscriber-base. Now Din Djarin’s galaxy is expanding with Ahsoka and Rangers of the New Republic, coming from The Mandalorian’s stalwart production team of Jon Favreau (Chef, Iron Man) and Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels).
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Ahsoka will focus on Ashoka Tano, a beloved character first introduced in animated film and later-animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, who made her first live-action appearance in The Mandalorian’s current second season. Rosario Dawson (Rent, Jane the Virgin) stepping into the role of Anakin Skywalker’s former Padawan was one of the most anticipated elements of The Mandalorian’s second season. Dawson will return to the role for Ahsoka, which is currently billed as a “limited series”, according to The Verge.
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While both series are currently shrouded in some mystery, much less is known about Rangers of The New Republic. A lack of information has not stopped Star Wars fans from speculating and many already assume that the series will focus, at least in part, on The Mandalorian‘s Cara Dune. The Wrap goes as far as to speculate that the reason casting went unannounced for this spin-off, unlike Ahsoka, is because the polarizing Gina Carano (Deadpool, The Mandalorian) will star in it as Dune.
Carano has become a controversial figure among The Mandalorian fans due to her outspoken conservative political views on social media. Despite an internet campaign in November calling for Disney to fire Carano, it appears the character of Cara Dune has become increasingly integral to the greater story of The Mandalorian. The character began to work alongside the New Republic in season two, making her a perfect candidate for a significant role in Rangers of the New Republic.
Rangers of the New Republic and Ahsoka will not only join in The Mandalorian’s timeline, but the two spin-offs will build to a “climactic story event” that crosses-over all three shows, via The Verge. In addition to their expansion of the story of The Mandaolrian, the spin-offs also contribute to the impressive slate of ten new Star Wars shows coming to Disney+ including a Lando Calrissian series titled Lando, a Cassian Andor origin series Andor and Obi-Wan, which will see Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith) return to the role of Darth Vader.
Head of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, told investors and fans on Thursday that they could expect one of these two The Mandalorian spin-offs to premiere by Christmas Day 2021, via Deadline. Though slightly more is known about Ahsoka at the moment, it’s yet-to-be-determined which of the two announced spin-offs fans will get their hands on first. Kennedy further confirmed that the Christmas premiere of either Rangers of the New Republic or Ahsoka will coincide with the release of The Mandalorian’s third season, which can also be expected in December 2021, according to Deadline.