Much like how the Marvel Cinematic Universe has pivoted from movies to Disney+ series, there’s a bright future ahead for the world of Wookiees and Wampas. Alongside The Acolyte and Ahsoka, Skeleton Crew promises to tell a new story away from the Skywalker Saga.
Spider-Man’s Jon Watts is once again uniting with Homecoming writer Christopher Ford to assemble a rag-tag crew of heroes and villains, with a typically diverse cast set to make their mark on the franchise.
Telling a story concurrent to Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian and following the fall of the Empire, eagle-eyed fans are looking for our first tease of the Skeleton Crew potentially rubbing shoulders with Din Djarin.
Here's everything we know about Skeleton Crew so far...
Skeleton Crew release date
There’s no concrete release date yet for Skeleton Crew, although it was originally pencilled in for a 2023 release. The Mandalorian Season 3 recently aired, with Ahsoka due on Disney+ in August.
Production started in September 2022, filming wrapped in January 2023, and given the usual production schedule is 18 months, Skeleton Crew is likely targeting the end of the year.
Because Skeleton Crew was supposed to finish filming in December 2022 but overran by around a month, things are getting tight, but a family-friendly festive release seems most likely.
Disney+ is adopting a different approach to its releases, and after a rocky start to the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 5 saw release dates pulled from a number of shows, don’t count on Skeleton Crew in 2023 until Kennedy and co. confirm it.
Skeleton Crew cast
There’s been an influx of household names joining the galaxy, with everyone from Laura Dern to Woody Harrelson, Rosario Dawson to Lupita Nyong’o practising their lightsaber skills. Skeleton Crew is no exception, with Jude Law stepping up as its lead.
Discussing what it’s like to add his name to the franchise, Law told Variety, “It was such an important part of growing up, the impact of that film and that world. The way it penetrated and exploded my imagination. There are one or two more times every day where I'm walking on set and it hits me like a child. I get awestruck by certain characters that are around me, that I can't say."
While the part Law is playing is still being kept under wraps, most assume his character will be the mentor to a group of younglings, but whether he’s yet another Jedi whose survived Order 66 or someone else, remains to be seen.
Law appeared during Star Wars Celebration 2023 in London in early April where he shed some new light on Skeleton Crew and the Amblin-esque feel it's trying to capture with its young cast.
Joining him on stage were Kyriana Kratter, Ravi Cabot-Conyers and Robert Timothy Smith, each of whom have been confirmed to feature in the series. Kratter is remembered for playing Nadine on the Disney Channel’s Bunk’d. Cabot-Conyers had a recurring role on Netflix’s #BlackAF and famously voiced Antonio in Encanto. Meanwhile, Timothy Smith has appeared on episodes of Mythic Quest and Good Girls.
Speaking at a recent press event, Favreau said (via Seif Zaki) there could be a crossover with other shows, suggesting that characters from The Mandalorian, Ahsoka, and the wider franchise could be stopping by.
During April's Celebration convention, fans in attendance were treated to an exclusive 'first look' which boasted scenes of Law as a Jedi, kids on speeders and even an appearance from an iconic villain from The Mandalorian.
The Mandalorian featured the live-action debut of Star Wars Rebels’ Zeb (Steve Blum), and with Promobricks spoiling more characters in an Ahsoka LEGO set, the crew of the Ghost are likely candidates.
Speaking of Ahsoka, MakingStarWars.net implied Dawson will appear in Skeleton Crew. As well as saying fans should take this with a pinch of salt, the site couldn’t confirm whether Ahsoka will be a Skeleton Crew mainstay or a cameo like in The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett to further set up her own series.
Skeleton Crew plot
When Skeleton Crew was announced at Star Wars Celebration 2022, Watts described it as a coming-of-age story about four children from “a tiny little planet.” It’s unclear what happens to them, but at some point, they get lost in space.
Ford says Skeleton Crew has been inspired by Amblin’s coming-of-age films of the ‘80s, which was backed up by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy saying The Goonies has been a major influence. Despite the central children, Watts has reiterated Skeleton Cew is not a kid’s show and it’ll explore darker themes.
Favreau fleshed out details on Skeleton Crew at a Mandalorian Season 3 press conference and explained it's a "standalone." Zaki said: "The way he put it implied that they are all standalone stories in that you don't need to watch the others to like them but watching them all will deepen your appreciation. And the sets are all next to each other when filming plus the time period is the same."
There's been an influx of stories set in the New Republic era, and with a 30-year gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, this sweet spot of storytelling can unite the original and sequel trilogies. The Mandalorian Season 3 has felt like it’s adapting storylines from the scrapped Rangers of the New Republic series, and with Kennedy telling Empire, "some of that will figure into future episodes," Skeleton Crew could continue the trend.
Set photos have been thin on the ground. However, Bespin Bulletin shared a shot of a Separatist tank. Since these relics hark back to the Phantom Menace era, it leaves us with the idea someone is collecting old tech, or we could get a flashback to the childhood of one of the adult characters.
More light was shone on the show's tone during an episode of Entertainment Weekly's Dagobah Dispatch podcast when Ford and Law popped in for a chat.
"Skeleton Crew's tone is an adventure," suggests Ford. "We wanted it to be a lot of fun. But of course, along with adventure comes the downside of it, which is danger. And when the kids are in danger, it's extra fraught. So we played with that, but overall we wanted it to be just a fun adventure."
Commenting on the series' Amblin themes, Ford reiterated that - like those classic Amblin movies - just because they feature kids, doesn't mean they're only suited to that demographic. "Hopefully it can be for all ages," he told podcast hosts.
"When we told Kathy Kennedy about that we wanted to go for that Amblin tone, which she perfected over the years, what she would say is that they never thought of those as movies for kids. They just happen to be about kids, a story of a kid going on an adventure. So it could be for anyone."
Law went on to discuss his character... slightly. While using mind tricks to dodge answering the 'are you playing a Jedi?' question, he did divulge some interesting information. "I can't tell you very much about my character," he teased. "He is someone the children meet on their attempt to get home. He is like a lot of the world that they experience: contradictory, and at times a place of nurture and other times a place of threat."
As for Skeleton Crew's tone, Law said this of its light and dark shades: "At times there's a sort of goofy nature and a goofy relationship between the kids and the adults. And then other times it's really quite dark and quite scary, which I guess is what the world probably looks like to an awful lot of 11-year-olds."
He also hit home the personal importance of staring in a Star Wars project: "Star Wars, for me, held a very particular place because it was as much a part of my childhood as going to school.
"Literally as far back as I remember, I remember having Star Wars in my life. It was the toys I played with, it was the toys I envied my friends had. I remember one of them having an AT-AT walker and I was never going to get given an AT-AT, so I'd go over and play at his house so I could use the AT-AT walker."
In fact, he even went as far as to say the franchise inspired him to do what he does today. "Probably the reason I started acting was running around a playground pretending to be Luke or Han or Chewbacca or Vader — that literally was what I was playing and acting as a child," he revealed. "And so being in it is both kind of surreal and seems very second-nature in some ways. And then also slightly out of body."
The Mandalorian has showcased an impressive crop of directors that includes Rick Famuyiwa, Deborah Chow, and Bryce Dallas Howard. Boasting similar talent, Everything Everywhere All At Once’s the Daniels will direct an episode of Skeleton Crew, while Peter Pan & Wendy’s David Lowery will unite with Law to direct another. Also confirmed to helm episodes of Skeleton Crew are Marvel's Thunderbolts' director Jake Schreier alongside Dallas Howard and Lee Isaac Chung, both fresh from The Mandalorian.
Star Wars: Skeleton Crew is coming to Disney+ in the future.