During the 2020 Disney Investor Day event, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy confirmed a number of new projects for the Star Wars franchise. In addition to nearly a dozen Disney+ streaming series — including John Favreau and Dave Filoni’s The Mandalorian Season 3 and spinoff Ahsoka –, Kennedy announced the next Star Wars movie, Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (2023) directed by Patty Jenkins (I Am the Night).
Jenkins’s original Tweet about the upcoming Star Wars feature film featured a video of her at an airfield. The daughter of a fighter pilot, Jenkins has said she wants her entry into the Star Wars story to be “the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time”.
— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) December 10, 2020
Now, the director, who worked with Mandalorian leading man Pedro Pascal (bounty hunter Din Djarin) on Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) — he played villain Max Lord opposite Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince –, is sharing more details about Rogue Squadron.
In an Associated Press interview, she shared.
“I’m in love with all three projects on my plate right now. I’m definitely doing Rogue Squadron next and I’m excited to do Wonder Woman 3. The Michael Stackpole books and the video games and all of the Rogue Squadron books, there’s an incredible history that’s really important to honor. And yet, it must be brought to a new age, because we have to tell a new story with it and so you’re trying to blend the best of everything and make it the great fighter-pilot movie, which I’ve always wanted to make, as well. It’s a big brew of things that you’re trying to put together and still try to keep a simple story.”
While few details about the movie’s storyline are known and casting information for the band of starfighter pilots has not been released — though, Jenkins has promised it will introduce “a new cast” of characters –, actor Chris Pine is seemingly privy to the original story Jenkins is working with and has promised it is “really, really great”.
Jenkins went on share with the AP that she feels an immense amount of pressure to get her installment in the Star Wars universe right. She said:
“You’re trying to bring the best of yourself and use it to make something beautiful that honors the legacy before you. Of course, it’s a huge amount of pressure and Wonder Woman was a huge amount of pressure, as well, so it’s not a totally new feeling to me. Definitely nerve-wracking.”
This is unsurprising given the backlash that both JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson faced after the Star Wars sequel trilogy — Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017), and Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) — fell flat.
One of the biggest issues many Star Wars fans had with Disney’s Skywalker Saga sequels is that the core trio of characters — Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) — were too similar to the original trilogy’s Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and Han Solo (Harrison Ford).
Jenkins is likely to avoid this criticism since she seems to be heading in an entirely new direction. As ComicBook.com pointed out, the Rogue Squadron unit of X-wing pilots has been mentioned in the Star Wars canon, but this is largely new territory for Jenkins and her team, including screenwriter Matthew Robinson:
Fans first became familiar with the Rogue Squadron thanks to brief mentions in the opening Hoth scenes of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back , but when the original trilogy of films concluded, the adventures of the elite pilots were continued in a series of books now relegated to the Legends brand. Following the release of the books, the concept also earned video game entries which further explored the pilots.
There is, however, always the chance that we’ll see someone like Wedge Antilles pop up in the Rogue Squadron movie depending on where it ends up falling in the Star Wars timeline…
Are you looking forward to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron on December 22, 2023? How do you think Jenkins’s fighter pilot father will influence the story?