Kathleen Kennedy’s Mission To Change the Jedi in ‘Star Wars’ Officially Underway

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Kathleen Kennedy sitting with a microphone, wearing a star wars themed t-shirt, alongside Anakin Skywalker from the star wars universe in the background.

Credit: Inside the Magic

At some point in the near future, Kathleen Kennedy’s Star Wars will officially change everything fans of the four-decade-old franchise know–and that mission has officially gotten underway with the latest announcement.

Kathleen Kennedy unveils a Star Wars shirt. Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

New Star Wars Films Incoming

Excitement for having Star Wars back in movie theaters and not just on the small screen via Disney+ can begin. Earlier this week, The Walt Disney Company officially confirmed that Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian & Grogu will hit the big screen in July 2026. Favreau, known for bringing the world of Din Djarin and his ward Grogu (The Child, “Baby Yoda”) to audiences, will helm and write the feature film. At this point, it is unclear if The Mandalorian & Grogu will replace the fourth season of The Mandalorian. What fans do know, though, is that Favreau’s movie is different from Dave Filoni’s Mando-Verse crossover event that was announced at the Star Wars Celebration Europe 2023.

The Mandalorian (Pedro Pascal) flies with Gorgu in-hand in concept art for Lucasfilm's 'The Mandalorian & Grogu'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Filoni’s feature film directorial debut will see the era of the New Republic come together in a major movie event. Likely involving characters from The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Ahsoka, and the forthcoming Skeleton Crew, Filoni’s Mando-Verse film is untitled, but its reveal at the leading Star Wars fan event was met with rapturous applause.

At the same convention, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced two other movies joining the growing slate. James Mangold will direct a film exploring the origins of the Force, while Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will bring audiences back to the sequel era as Daisy Ridley’s Rey Skywalker. They are loosely called the Dawn of the Jedi and New Jedi Order, respectively.

Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: ‘A New Hope’ Is Now the End of a New ‘Star Wars’ Trilogy

Ridley’s reprisal as Rey will see the actress reportedly pocket $12.5 million for the role, suggesting that the New Jedi Order movie is not just a one-and-done deal. The sequel trilogy was met with a massively mixed response when it was initially released between 2015 and 2019, so it was not a shock that news of Obaid-Chinoy’s movie caused a divided reaction.

As for James Mangold, his film will go the furthest back Star Wars has ever been in the timeline–even further than the current multi-media High Republic initiative and the upcoming The Acolyte series from Leslye Headland.

Amandla Stenberg in The Acolyte
Credit: Lucasfilm

Jedi Reset in Star Wars Officially Gets Underway

Mangold–who last directed Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) for Disney–will helm the Dawn of the Jedi film, which will explore the origins of the Force and, thus, the Jedi. This opens up the franchise to a point never seen before and will alter the perception of one of the biggest pop culture entities of all time.

Now, almost a year after the announcement came, the Dawn of the Jedi movie is gaining steam. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Mangold’s film has found its writer–House of Cards and Star Wars: Andor alum Beau Willimon.

Andy Serkis as Kino Loy smiling in Andor
Credit: Lucasfilm

“Willimon is joining Mangold to write the script for the project that will trace the origins of the Force and be set 25,000 years before any of the timelines and stories told by the movies and shows so far,” the outlet reports. Willimon scribed the critically acclaimed “One Way Out” episode of Tony Gilroy’s Andor, which earned him an Emmy nomination.

Whatever Mangold and Willimon’s Star Wars film turns out to be, it will officially change everything we know about the Jedi and the Force. These two huge components have been a part of the franchise since the very beginning when George Lucas debuted Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope (1977) and included characters like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness). What will be interesting is if Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s New Jedi Order movie elaborates on the new findings Mangold’s film will present. As J.J. Abrams once said after the haphazard chaos of the sequel trilogy, knowing where you’re going is extremely important.

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
Credit: Lucasfilm

The news of Willimon’s hiring comes after D.B. Weiss and David Benioff spoke about their canceled “First Jedi” movie. Back in 2018, the Game of Thrones executives were announced as bringing a new trilogy to the Star Wars galaxy based around the first Jedi. At the time, Kathleen Kennedy shared her enthusiasm for the pair, calling them “some of the best storytellers working today,” per a Disney press release.

However, the pitch was eventually made defunct and Weiss and Benioff stated it was highly unlikely that they would return to Star Wars, understanding they work better when not faced with a universe and all its existing rules and world-building. Weiss later said that he wished James Mangold all the best with his project.

Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu kneel by a ship in Season 1 of 'The Mandalorian'
Credit: Lucasfilm

Related: Disney Changes the Jedi in New ‘Star Wars’ Prequel-Era Series

There is no release date yet for any of the projects announced at the Star Wars Celebration, but per Disney’s release schedule, untitled Star Wars movies are slated for December 18, 2026, and December 17, 2027. The Mandalorian & Grogu will arrive on May 22, 2025.

How do you think the Dawn of the Jedi will change the most famous Star Wars characters ever? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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