Today in news we weren’t expecting in the second week of 2024: The Mandalorian is getting a movie. Titled The Mandalorian & Grogu, the movie, according to Lucasfilm, will begin production this year with Jon Favreau, who created the TV series and served as showrunner, set to direct.
This is the way, and probably indicative of what The Mandalorian should have been from the beginning. Even as Disney tried to capitalize on its acquisition of the Star Wars franchise—and bolster Disney+ subscriptions—by churning out lots of street-level series, a great many of them have felt like movies already. With the exception of, perhaps, Andor, which is as much a political drama as it is a Star Wars show, many of the Star Wars series have lost steam mid-season. If a show like, say, Book of Boba Fett or Obi-Wan Kenobi had been trimmed down to a 2.5-hour space opera, they might have struck a better chord.
Bringing The Mandalorian & Grogu to theaters also feels like something of a hat tip to where Lucasfilm wants to take the franchise in the future. Last summer, Disney CEO Bob Iger indicated the company might be looking to spend less on its mega-franchises. Making a movie featuring one of a Star Wars show’s most beloved characters achieves that without ramping up an entire galaxy-spanning film—or trilogy of them—full of big names. (One note on that: Lucasfilm’s announcement didn’t say whether or not Pedro Pascal would be reprising his role as Mando.) Add in the fact that a lot of The Mandalorian thus far has been shot on Lucasfilm’s virtual set, StageCraft, and it’s a no-brainer.
The focus on one character’s journey (or one character and his Baby Yoda sidekick) also seems of a piece with the forthcoming Rey-focused feature being directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel).
The movies from Mandalorian writer Dave Filoni and James Mangold (Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) seem to be broader in scope, but Filoni’s, at least, is intended to bring the plotlines of Ahsoka, The Book of Boba Fett, and The Mandalorian together. While someone like Luke or Rey has often been the hero on a journey in a Star Wars movie, they’ve always been joined by Hans, Leias, Finns, and Poes. Making a Mando film, then, is an indication not all of them will be ensemble affairs on the same level. (It also gives this writer hope that Shawn Levy’s forthcoming Star Wars movie could just be a buddy comedy featuring Jabba the Hutt and Salacious B. Crumb.)
According to the movie’s announcement, The Mandalorian & Grogu “will lead Lucasfilm’s feature-development slate,” which includes Filoni, Mangold, and Obaid-Chinoy’s movies. No release date has been set, but, as The Hollywood Reporter points out, the studio does have a Star Wars feature on the calendar for December 19, 2025.