Patty Jenkins will direct next ‘Star Wars’ movie

‘Star Wars: Rogue Squadron’ will usher in a ‘new era.’
December 11, 2020 4:14 p.m. EST

Patty Jenkins is traveling to a galaxy far, far away. The celebrated director has already made history with Wonder Woman, which holds the title of the highest-grossing film by a solo female director. Now Disney has announced Jenkins as the director for the next Star Wars film, making her the first woman to ever direct a title in franchise. Princess Leia would have loved this news.

Jenkins will direct Star Wars: Rogue Squadron, which will "usher in a new era for the franchise" according to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.  According to Kennedy, the film will “introduce a new generation of starfighter pilots as they earn their wings and risk their lives in a boundary-pushing high-speed thrill ride. The legend of Rogue Squadron has been long beloved by fans and will move us into a future era of the galaxy."

Star Wars fans will recognize Rogue Squadron as the elite Rebel X-wing fighters, a group that has popped up in comic books, video games and A New Hope.

In a personal and powerful video shared on Twitter, Jenkins confirmed her involvement with Rogue Squadron and said she was inspired to work on the film after spending her childhood watching her father fly fighter planes for the U.S. military. Jenkins said looking up at the sky and seeing her father fly was the most thrilling thing she had ever witnessed. “When he lost his life in service to this country, it ignited a desire in me to turn all of that tragedy and thrill into one day making the greatest fighter pilot movie of all time. But try as I might and look as I did, I couldn’t find the right story ever,” said Jenkins. “Until now.”

Star Wars: Rogue Squadron is scheduled to be released Christmas 2023. Jenkins’ involvement with the film was confirmed during Disney’s Investor Day on Thursday, which included several major announcements about the Star Wars franchise. Canadian actor Hayden Christensen will join the Obi-Wan Kenobi series by reprising his role as Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Diego Luna will star in a Cassian Andor series and a new series based on Lando Calrissian will also arrive soon. The hugely successful Disney+ series The Mandalorian will have two spinoff series, including one centered around Rosario Dawson’s recently unveiled Ahsoka Tano character.

Disney also announced several additions to their Marvel properties during Thursday’s event. Black Panther II will continue with its July 2022 release date, but the role of King T’Challa will not be recast following Chadwick Boseman’s death.

Disney is giving The Fantastic Four another go, this time with director Jon Watts at the helm. Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as Skrull Talos will star in a new series called Secret Invasion. Don Cheadle will reprise his role as War Machine/Colonel Rhodes in the new series Armor Wars. Also in the Iron Man universe, Dominique Thorne has been cast as Riri Williams, a young inventor who follows in Tony Stark’s footsteps.

Canadian actor Tatiana Maslany has been cast in the series She-Hulk as lawyer Jennifer Walters and will play opposite Mark Ruffalo, who will reprise his role as Bruce Banner. Kat Coiro and Anu Valia will direct the Disney+ series, which will also feature Tim Roth reprising his role as the Abomination.

Disney also gave a sneak peek at newcomer Iman Vellani as Kamala Khan. Vellani will not only star in her own Ms. Marvel series on Disney+, but Thursday’s announcement confirmed that she will also appear alongside Brie Larson in Captain Marvel 2, which will be directed by Nia DaCosta.

Disney president Kevin Feige announced that Christian Bale would joining Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Tessa Thompson in Taika Waititi's Thor sequel, Thor: Love and Thunder. Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas, and Michelle Pfeiffer will reunite for the upcoming third installment in the Ant-Man franchise, which is adding Kathryn Newton and Jonathan Majors to the cast.

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