Star Wars: What to Watch Right Now

by Todd King, contributing writer

Exactly One Year until Episode IX

Today marks exactly one year until the release of Star Wars: Episode IX. I hope and bet that by the time this article is published, more information (a title, or perhaps some footage or a teaser) will come to light, but for now, I am left guessing at such things.

It is already a year after The Last Jedi and we are in high anticipation for the final chapter of the Skywalker saga. There are so many questions to be answered and so many possibilities to be addressed in the movie that I can hardly wait. There is still a year to go before the three trilogies are complete, and with no Star Wars movie this month—the first time in three years—what are we to see? Answer: plenty!

While Mary Poppins Returns will be Disney’s December movie this season, there are still lots of Star Wars to be had, and so this article will highlight several videos to keep us going.

Titles and Previews

There has been a few new announcements these past two months regarding Galaxy’s Edge. First of all, the rides now have names! The Millennium Falcon ride is now called “Smuggler’s Run.” Along with the name came a short trailer.

New Teaser Trailer for "Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run" Ride Coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. © Disney Parks.

This trailer begins very much like one of the trailers for Solo: A Star Wars Story with the flipping of switches and the revving up of engines. Now it’s not Han Solo or Lando Calrissian firing up the fastest ship in the fleet—it’s us! We get to press the buttons and slide the controls. We’ve known for a while that we get to fly the Falcon and that would include manipulating the panels in the cockpit, but to see it happen in this trailer lets us see just how tactile this experience will be.

I know that when I eventually get to sit in that seat, I will be like Art in Monster’s University wanting to touch everything ahead of me, and I will start shifting gears and hitting toggles until the cast member tells me to wait until the ride begins. I wonder if that will be a consistent problem with guests?

Harrison Ford said in interviews and documentaries that when he first sat in the captain’s chair of the Falcon, he asked George Lucas and the crew how to fly it. He did not get any clear answers right away. When we get to sit there, we will learn how to fly it and will launch the crew into hyperspace. I can’t wait to see what that hunk of junk can really do!

The second major attraction of Galaxy’s Edge also has a name: “Rise of the Resistance.”

New Teaser Trailer for "Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance" Coming to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. © Disney Parks.

This trailer doesn’t give many details about the ride part of the ride. I was hoping to see something about the trackless technology and how the scenes might progress on the journey. There is just a feeling with this video that I think is a little off. We see the First Order apparently on an everyday routine when suddenly they panic and find they’re under attack by the Resistance. This seems backwards to me. We don’t see the First Order doing anything particularly evil here where the Resistance would come and stop them. This doesn’t appear to be a rescue mission. We see here the officers of the Order reacting to an abrupt alarm. This is the kind of thing in the movies that happens to the good guys—the good guys are suddenly under attack and must fight off the invaders. I’m sure we are not shown the entire story here but I think the vibe from this trailer is misplaced.

From the details we’ve learned before about this attraction we know that we are part of the Resistance and we’re trying to escape from the First Order—I hope that’s still the case. I’ve always imagined this to be like the Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland where you’re constantly put in danger and narrowly escaping each predicament. It seems that Rise of the Resistance still has more development time ahead of it than Smuggler's Run.

John Williams Composes Music for Galaxy's Edge

John Williams went on record to say that Episode IX would be the last Star Wars movie he would score. After composing the soundtracks for all nine films of the saga, he has earned that respite. He’s also earned the respect of the entire industry of cinema for that matter. However, he will still have one more adventure to bring to life: He will be writing the music for Galaxy’s Edge!

John Williams creating new and original Star Wars themes exclusively for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. © Disney Parks.

As an enthusiast of the music in the parks I am thrilled with this news. Having Williams create the soundtrack of the land gives a greater level of authenticity to Galaxy’s Edge. It’s been said that 50 percent of the Star Wars experience in the movies was its music. Now the experience in the theaters will enhance the active experience in Black Spire Outpost from the same musical mind.

I’ve always loved the music in Disney parks: the kind of music you hear when you’re just walking around, traveling between lands, buying a snack from a vendor, peeking in on gift shops, or approaching the next attraction. This music sets the mood, adds to the sense of magic, and probably serves its purpose to keep crowds calm. I love the music enough to buy CDs of Disney park music so that when I play them at home, I return to that sense of magic of just ambling through the lands, feeling the magic, and taking it all in. I look forward to hearing the ambience in Galaxy’s Edge which will give us a taste of familiar places that we know from the movies, but also a sense of new discoveries. If they make CDs of Galaxy’s Edge music, they will be my first purchase!

Galaxy of Adventures

These animated shorts came out of nowhere but look awesome:

Official trailer, Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures. Star Wars Kids.

Bestill my heart! These shorts reimagine various scenes from across all the Star Wars films, including the Originial Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy, and even Rogue One. I like the style and the energy these display and I can’t wait to see more. See the six-episode playlist now.

I wonder what prompted Disney and Lucasfilm to make these? It seems this may be a way to jumpstart their new “Star Wars Kids” YouTube channel, which is a great way to begin. The narration gives newcomers to the saga a little background on the characters while the animation quickly portrays the emotions of the scenes. It’s like a great little Star Wars treat!

After watching the videos, I believe I would be interested in a fully animated re-imagining of the movies. I mean, why not? It would not be a reboot, a remake, or anything like that. Just the same movie with different visuals, and therefore different angles and emotional spectacles. I like what Disney did with Forces of Destiny where scenes would fill in short gaps between some parts of the films. Could all these new shorts be a testing ground for some future animated product? I know we have Resistance going right now but what else could the people at Lucasfilm be dreaming up?

The Mandalorian

Although there’s not much to see yet regarding The Mandalorian, it is certainly something to get excited about, especially after the recent announcement that Pedro Pascal will be the titular character. You’ve probably seen him in Game of Thrones, but have you seen him in Narcos? He has a great presence as agent Peña presenting sheer determination in every scene. This alone will make me purchase Disney Plus.

First image from The Mandalorian series for the streaming service, Disney Plus. Photo by Lucasfilm.

First look at The Mandalorian. The Star Wars Show.

There is even less information about the recently announced Cassian Andor live-action series also coming to Disney Plus. While The Mandalorian is set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, Cassian's story is set after Revenge of the Sith and before Rogue One. They also announced that Diego Luna himself will reprise his role as Cassian Andor in the series. Have you seen him in Narcos: Mexico?

Cassian Andor live-action series announced. The Star Wars Show.

Join the Resistance

Out of all these videos I’ve mentioned here, the real show to watch now is Star Wars: Resistance, the new animated series that is set six months before The Force Awakens (and will eventually catch up and probably cross over it). This one begins in a different style and tone from The Clone Wars and Rebels with an anime-inspired look and feel. For those who haven’t seen it yet, it follows the actions of Kaz, a mechanic turned pilot turned spy who is stationed on a Resistance base trying to figure out if there is a First Order operative in their ranks. Here is a series preview:

Extended sneak peek, Star Wars Resistance. © Disney Channel.

Kaz and his companions are threatened by space pirates and other ne'er-do-wells. They have run-ins with the Guavian Death Gang, including their mechanic Oplock (some Force Awakens links) at one point and deal with Corellian hyperfuel at another (reference to Solo). This Disney Channel show is fun and contains lots of action with a real spirit of comradery, especially among the pilots. It is beginning to show more connections to The Force Awakens since Captain Phasma has already made appearances.

Like the previous animated shows, I suspect this one will follow a similar trend of beginning with adventures to aquaint us with these new characters and then slowly bring in larger pieces of Star Wars lore and stronger connections to the larger saga. With Dave Filoni at the helm, who also developed and wrote Clone Wars and was co-creator of Rebels, it is certain to be a show that grows richer as it progresses.

Until next year, happy holidays—and may the Force be with you.