Disney has announced that the latest production from the Star Wars universe will be a prequel to the film Rogue One – itself a spin-off from the main Star Wars saga.
It will be a TV series, to be shown on the studio’s own streaming service, to be called Disney + when it launches next year.
Diego Luna will reprise his role from Rogue One, as the rebel spy Cassian Andor, for the as-yet-unnamed series. Disney described the show as “tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire.”
In a statement, Luna himself said the format would be a chance for him to “explore this character more deeply.”
After the most recent Star Wars side project, Solo, fared worse than executives had hoped at the box office, Disney’s chief executive Bob Iger acknowledged that it had been a mistake to release a new film in the broader Star Wars franchise each year and warned fans to expect – in his words – “some slowdown.”
But this new series will be seen as a strong production to draw subscribers to the studio’s own streaming service, being set up to rival Netflix and Amazon Prime. Disney has already said it will remove its first-run films from rival platforms to ensure that the only way people can enjoy them is on its own streaming service.
The head of Netflix, Reed Hastings, has said he’s looking forward to what he describes as the “healthy, strong competition” from Disney, insisting that it will force him to make his own service even better.
Disney will also be relying on another of its more successful properties to attract viewers to Disney+. Iger also announced that the studio would be developing a new series based on the Marvel comic book villain Loki, played in the Thor and Avengers films by the British actor Tom Hiddleston.
There will also be a show based on characters from Pixar’s Monsters Inc franchise.