Yet another exciting filmmaker is joining the Star Wars universe. Lucasfilm announced today that Iron Man and The Jungle Book director Jon Favreau has signed on to executive produce and write a new live-action Star Wars TV series for Disney’s new streaming service, which for now they’re billing as a “direct-to-consumer platform” for lack of an official title. We knew the live-action TV series was coming, as it was announced as one of the pillars of Disney’s streaming service—which is set to launch in 2019—but today’s announcement basically confirms it’s moving forward full-speed ahead and will be one of the first shows available when the streaming service launches.
Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy praised Favreau’s talent and Star Wars fandom in a statement that also suggests the studio will be looking to staff up a diverse/representative team on the series (a smart move considering all the creative heads for new Star Wars movies thus far have been white dudes):
“I couldn’t be more excited about Jon coming on board to produce and write for the new direct-to-consumer platform. Jon brings the perfect mix of producing and writing talent, combined with a fluency in the Star Wars universe. This series will allow Jon the chance to work with a diverse group of writers and directors and give Lucasfilm the opportunity to build a robust talent base.”
Favreau made his name first as an actor, but broke onto the indie scene as the writer/co-star of 1996’s Swingers. As a director, he went on to craft a Christmas classic with Elf and proved he could handle a budget with Zathura, but Favreau’s career moved forward in a big way with 2008’s Iron Man. The filmmaker navigated an unorthodox production process with tons of improvisation to launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while he departed the MCU on so-so terms after kerfuffles on Iron Man 2, all’s well that ends well as he’s reprised his role as Happy Hogan in subsequent Marvel films and maintains an executive producer credit on all Avengers movies. Indeed, he and Kevin Feige hatched the idea to introduce Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man that started this whole shebang.
After a refreshing return to smaller fare with Chef, Favreau entered the Disney fold with the cutting-edge live-action redo The Jungle Book, which was a massive box office hit. That film led to Favreau’s next job, directing the upcoming live-action The Lion King, but it now sounds like he’s adding Star Wars to his repertoire, which I think makes him the first director to helm three different movies in three of the four major arms of Disney: Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Disney proper. Now all he needs is a Pixar movie for the full set.
The untitled live-action Star Wars TV series doesn’t have a release date or plot details, but Favreau lobbied hard to land the Force Awakens directing gig that went to J.J. Abrams, so the filmmaker is no doubt thrilled to finally get the chance to play in a galaxy far, far away. It’ll be interesting to see where this show goes, and how much Disney is willing to spend on it compared to the feature film side of things.
Speaking of which, the future of the Star Wars cinematic universe is starting to take shape. Abrams directs the trilogy-concluding Star Wars: Episode IX for a December 2019 release, but after that Lucasfilm has tapped Rian Johnson to spearhead a new trilogy of films separate from the Skywalker saga and Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss are creating a new series of films that are also separate from the proper episodic series. The galaxy is expanding folks. Get ready.