Update – 5/26: During the Stars Wars Celebration event, Lucasfilm announced that the series will be titled Star Wars: Skeleton Crew. Jude Law is set to star in the series, which is set in the New Republic era, and centers around a group of children trying to find their way home.
— Original Story —
Have you ever wondered what the Goonies would make of a Gungan, or wanted to see how E.T. and Elliot would handle the Hutts? We may find out, because Jon Watts, who directed the latest Spider-Man trilogy, has been tapped to helm a new Star Wars series for Disney+, and according to Lucasfilm it’s inspired by Steven Spielberg’s “classic Amblin coming-of-age adventure films of the ’80s.”
As Vanity Fair reports, Watts’ series is currently known by the code name Grammar Rodeo, which is a reference to an episode of The Simpsons in which Bart and his friends lie to their parents about attending a scholarly competition and instead go joyriding in a car. Watts co-created the project with writer Chris Ford; the pair previously worked together on the screenplay for Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Plot details are being kept in the bottom of a rancor pit, but a casting notice has called for four children aged 11 or 12. It’s set to take place after the events of Return of the Jedi, before The Force Awakens and around the same general period as The Mandalorian. Perhaps this story will introduce all new characters to the Star Wars universe, but the timeline could also accommodate an 11-year-old Poe Dameron flying his first spaceship.
Spielberg founded Amblin Entertainment in 1981 with Kathleen Kennedy (now the president of Lucasfilm) and Frank Marshall. Together they either directed or executive produced a series of classic movies, including E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, The Goonies, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, and Hook, just in its first decade. While no one at Lucasfilm has mentioned the demogorgon in the room, the ages of the characters — and the decision to cite Amblin as a reference — suggests that Star Wars would like to capture some of the magic of one of recent history’s most loving Spielberg ripoffs, Stranger Things.
Up next for Watts is executive producing and directing The Old Man, which stars Jeff Bridges. The first episodes arrive in June on FX, and Bridges recently shared a preview while announcing his cancer was in remission. Watts had been attached to a new Fantastic Four film, but he exited last month, presumably to work on the series codenamed Grammar Radio.
That experience should serve as a caution to anyone getting overly excited about Grammar Radio. The road to a galaxy far, far away is full of abandoned vehicles for sought-after directors who got tempted to other projects. Rian Johnson’s long-awaited Star Wars trilogy has been officially back-burnered as he works on Knives Out, Kennedy told Vanity Fair, while Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron film is described as still being “further off.” Of the many big name films in the works, the one that seems closest to production comes from Taika Waititi, who recently said that his early script “feels very me.”
For now, Disney+ has become the Tattooine of Star Wars distribution; like it or not, it’s where everything happens. Obi-Wan Kenobi, a new series starring Ewan McGregor, arrives on May 27th.