On November 8th, 2023, SAG-AFTRA negotiators approved the latest proposal presented to them by the Hollywood studios, ending the longest actors strike on record at 118 days.
The deal see’s protection for actors against artificial intelligence and a notable pay increase. The deal will see most minimums increase by 7%, which is two percent higher than the increases the Writers Guild of America and the Directors Guild of America received, streaming participation bonuses, as well as increases in both pension and health contributions. SAG-AFTRA has revealed that the contract is worth more than $1 billion in total.
It’s an historic day for actors and the industry, and a day that should’ve happened much sooner. However, a deal has finally been reached and actors can go back to making a fair-living and the Hollywood system can begin operating once again.
So that brings us to the question that most of my readers and followers are likely asking, what does it mean for Star Wars? Well, let’s get into it.
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Andor Season 2
The second season of Andor began filming in November 2022 and was slated to conclude filming in August of this year. However, production was halted due to the SAG-AFTRA strike.
Andor continued to film for a couple of weeks after the SAG strike began with non-SAG actors, but stopped the shoot when they had filmed all that they could without their SAG actors being present, which included much of the top billed cast including leading man, Diego Luna.
It was reported that Andor only had two weeks left to film before the production was shut down, meaning there’s not a whole lot left to shoot. However, it’s unknown if the second and final season will need reshoots and pick-up’s on top of what was left for principle photography. The series creator, writer and showrunner, Tony Gilroy, completed the final version of his scripts just days before the Writers Guild of America strike started on May 2nd, 2023 and stepped back from the production. Though nothing has been said, it’s possible that Gilroy has made script changes since the WGA strike ended on September 27th and has likely spent time looking over what was shot during this period which saw productions halt.
Though Andor only had two weeks left of filming, it’s possible that more weeks could be added. At this time there is no word on when Andor with resume filming. The second and final season was due to release in August of 2024, but as I previously exclusively reported, I believe that the release window has altered, with the series releasing later in the year, or even in early 2025.
The Mandalorian Season 4
The fourth season of The Mandalorian was slated to begin production in late September with series creator, Jon Favreau, touting in the Spring that he had already finished the scripts for the fourth season. Presumably, Favreau, completed this work ahead of time, in preparation for the Writers Guild of America strike, which began on May 2nd, 2023. However, filming on The Mandalorian season four was promptly delayed shortly after the WGA strike began, with the production being delayed indefinitely due to the strike. The WGA strike concluded on September 27th, 2023, but even with the writers strike over, The Mandalorian did not set a production start date as SAG-AFTRA began striking mid-way through the WGA strike.
Now with the strike over, you’d assume Lucasfilm and Disney are going to start circling dates on calendars for various productions to start or restart. Deadline mentioned that network series seem to be the current focus to get back into production for major studios, including Disney, when it comes to TV, with many hoping to restart filming in late November or early December. Disney are focusing their TV efforts on network series such as Grey’s Anatomy, 9-1-1, Abott Elementary and The Old Man. Streaming series however are a priority, but less so, with most studios taking more time to get cameras rolling on those productions.
Previously I had exclusively revealed that even pre-strikes, I had heard that The Mandalorian season four was looking to release in 2025 and now on the other side of the strikes, I believe it’ll still be aiming for that year, just later than initially hoped. Due to the planned release window and the studios focusing on kick starting production on network series, I don’t think we’ll see the fourth season of The Mandalorian begin filming until the new year. It’s also worth mentioning that leading man, Pedro Pascal, likely won’t take part in filming, just like season three, due to his commitments to Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2, which is due to begin filming over the next few weeks and Pascal’s commitment to the second season of The Last of Us, which is slated to begin filming in the Spring of 2024.
Skeleton Crew and The Acolyte
I’ve lumped these two series together as both series had wrapped production ahead of the SAG-AFTRA strike. Skeleton Crew wrapped filming in January of this year, and The Acolyte in May. The former was originally slated for release this year, with myself reporting that the series was looking to release in late November or early December, which was later confirmed by a star of the series. However, months later I exclusively reported that the series had been delayed into 2024 due to the SAG-AFTRA strike.
At this time, I still don’t know a concrete release window for Skeleton Crew. At the time I reported on the delay, sources simply just pointed to 2024 with an unknown window as many things were up in the air for various releases, though one mentioned that it could be up to an entire year after its planned release. Currently I don’t have much clarity. One source mentioned Spring as a possibility and another later in the year, but one thing both had in common was that a January release was extremely unlikely, which has been a rumour. Marketing plans for the series need to be put in place and January seems far too short of a turn around if you ask me.
The Acolyte I previously reported was due to release in the second quarter of 2024, with my hearing at the time being a May release. In the months that followed, I shared that The Acolyte could suffer a slight delay due to the changing schedules following the SAG-AFTRA strike. It’s possible The Acolyte could keep its second quarter release, but unlikely to me, but I could see it release in August. The August window is merely my own speculation, but given that Lucasfilm and Disney’s track record with that month (Andor season one was first announced for August 2022, Ahsoka released in August 2023, Andor season two was planned for August 2024), I could see an August release window being on the cards.
Ahsoka Season 2
The second season of Ahsoka has yet to be greenlit. The last we heard was that Lucasfilm were still having discussions about the possibility of a second season of Ahsoka coming to fruition from a Deadline report following the season finale.
I was not planning on including Ahsoka on this list, but I am due to a narrative I’ve seen being pushed since I started writing this article. I’ve seen social media users claim or push the idea that a second season of Ahsoka was unable to be announced due to the SAG-AFTRA strike. This is more than likely not the case. Various studios have announced new seasons for various TV shows whilst SAG has been striking, including Disney, who renewed and announced a third season of The Bear just mere days ago, when SAG were still striking.
I personally believe a second season of Ahsoka will be greenlit and announced in due time. Though it’s unlikely to film until much later in 2024, if the series is greenlit for a second outing.
Untitled Rey Skywalker Jedi Order Movie
The first Star Wars film to be released since 2019’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, is believed to be the untitled film being written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders) and directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (Ms. Marvel), which would see Daisy Ridley return as Rey Skywalker who will be in the process of constructing a new Jedi Order. Said film is believed to be the untitled Star Wars flick currently locked in for a May 2026.
In April, Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, revealed that Steven Knight was expected to submit a draft of his script in mid-May. Knight stepped onto the Rey Skywalker film shortly after the departure of the films original writers, Damon Lindelof (Watchmen) and Justin Brit-Gibson (Counterpart), sometime in the February or March of this year. However, Knight was unlikely to have turned in his draft in mid-May as the Writers Guild of America, which Knight is a part of, began striking two weeks before his draft was due to be submitted.
At the time it was reported by reliable insider and journalist, Jeff Sneider, that the Rey film was looking to begin casting by around Labour Day this year (so by September 4th), and was looking to begin filming in April of next year. However, due to the WGA strike, Knight was unable to restart work on his draft until the end of September and SAG-AFTRA began striking in July, meaning the casting process could not begin.
The writers returned to work on September 27th, but it is unknown if Knight has since submitted his draft at this time. As mentioned, Knight only had two weeks left to submit his draft when the WGA began striking. It’s more than possible that Knight has now submitted a draft given that the strike ended six weeks ago, if not, it’s more than probable that he will before the years end (unrelated, but Taika Waititi is also due to submit a new draft of his Star Wars script by the years end).
Once Lucasfilm and Disney get a clearer idea of where they are in the writing and development process, which will become more clear with a Knight draft, they will then begin the process of locking in actors, locations and start dates for the Rey Skywalker film. If we follow the trajectory that the film was on, I expect casting and possibly even filming to begin next year.
The next year is going to an incredibly busy one for Star Wars with multiple projects slated to release next year including live-action series such as Skeleton Crew and The Acolyte, video games in Star Wars: Outlaws and Star Wars: Hunters, as well as animated series including The Bad Batch season three. 2024 will also see multiple projects enter filming, including The Mandalorian season four, the untitled Rey Skywalker movie, and maybe even an Ahsoka season two.
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