The Director of Iron Man and The Jungle Book takes on the Star Wars Universe….
On March 8, Star Wars announced that actor and Emmy-nominated producer Jon Favreau will be writing and producing a live-action Star Wars series that will air on Disney’s director-to-consumer platform. My first two reactions – nearly simultaneously – were “a live action series – yes!” and “Jon Favreau – awesome!” However, first we need to talk about the purple bantha in the room. My reactions, especially the latter, were not shared by all. The Star Wars twitter account announced the hire via tweet:
Phil Roberts, Future of the Force editor, also quickly covered the story. Here’s the only problem. (Well, maybe not the only problem.) Jon’s hire was announced on International Women’s Day. Scores of fans, especially those advocating #SWRepMatters, were outraged that once again Disney/Lucasfilm had brought onboard another while male to spearhead a production. While the anger is certainly understandable, I believe this may be more of a problem with timing than malice or insensitivity.
Whether or not this decision will promote the cause of diversity will not be known until we see who Jon recruits to create and develop this series. About his hire, Kathleen Kennedy had this to say, “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.” It is key to remember that he is only one part (albeit an important part) of the bigger puzzle. If Kathleen, Jon and the rest of Disney/LFL truly believe in the power and necessity of diversity, they will hire a truly diverse group of talent that will bring us the best show possible. That being said, there were certainly other choices out there, namely WOC that could have championed this cause. Time will tell. Until then it is prudent to trust Kathleen’s judgment.
What then does Jon Favreau bring to the table? I don’t know if you remember 2008, but most would not argue that the comic book movie industry was drying up. Sure we had X-Men and Spider-Man, but those series seemed to be getting worse with each movie. (Okay, both Spider-Man 2 and X-Men 2 were the best out of each series, but I digress.) Then along came Iron Man. Iron Man was never one of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe. Plus many of us had not seen Robert Downey Jr. in years. But this movie knocked our collective socks off! Jon Favreau and his crew just made it work. Since then, he was executive producer of both Iron Man sequels and The Avengers movies. And he played our beloved Happy Hogan in all those films. If that’s not the type of talent and energy we want on a Star Wars live-action show, I don’t know what is.
Let us not forget though that Jon Favreau also played the Mandalorian warrior Pre Vizsla in six episodes of The Clone Wars series. Numerous TCW fans count the Mandalorian saga as one of their favorite storylines in the entire series. Possibly more importantly than his talent, Jon Favreau is a Star Wars nerd. In the announcement, he had this to say, “If you told me at 11 years old that I would be getting to tell stories in the Star Wars universe, I wouldn’t have believed you. I can’t wait to embark upon this exciting adventure.” In a somewhat divided fandom, Jon might very well be the unifying force we all need.
The question remains: what will be the main focus of the series? The way I see it, there are four plausible timelines:
– The Old Republic
– The Galactic Civil War
– Post-Return Of The Jedi
– Sequel Era
If you are like me, you are praying to the Force that it is the Old Republic time period, set roughly 4000 years before the movies. It is the time of Revan where thousands of Jedi and Sith waged war across the entire galaxy. We would see Force powers never before seen onscreen. We would see locales only dreamed of or seen in the old comic books. This is the most logical choice because as of when I am writing this article, 226,913 people have signed a petition on the change.org website to bring an Old Republic series to Netflix. Fingers crossed!
The Galactic Civil War era would be an intriguing choice for a number of reasons. First, after the finale of the Rebels series, tons of fans would love to see live-action versions of Hera, Sabine, Zeb, Rex and even Kallus. Nothing makes for more gripping stories then seeing the Rebellion on the run and frequently against the ropes. Knowing what happened between the films would make the OT that much more powerful. I think this might be the grittiest of all the potential choices.
If you’ve read the Aftermath series by Chuck Wendig, you know the war was far from over following Return of the Jedi. The fledgling New Republic could barely hold itself together with a general lack of resources and a fair amount of infighting. Of all the choices, this one would be the most political. Personally I love political shows, however I don’t know if that would work for the general Star Wars audience. For this series to work, it would need to be set in the first three years or so after Return Of The Jedi.
My least favorite option at this point is the sequel era. We know much about the development of the Resistance from Claudia Gray’s Bloodline, and I don’t think there is too much to elaborate on in the war with the First Order that hasn’t already been seen in the movies. There is one possibility however. I’ve theorized that for Episode IX to work, it has to be set about 10 years after The Last Jedi. If this is the case, we could pick up the story right where The Last Jedi leaves off. That would make for some interesting shows, and we might even learn the fate of Leia during the course of the series.
One thing is for sure, in the current turbulent times of Star Wars fandom, the selection of Jon Favreau as writer and producer has certainly gotten people talking. As well all know, Disney thrives off that conversation. So what do you think? Was Jon a good choice? What else should Disney be doing to promote diversity? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think! And as always, may the Force be with you.