Dave Filoni, the man who made Star Wars: The Clone Wars immersive enough to qualify as canon, was recently given a hefty raise at Lucasfilm, courtesy of Kathleen Kennedy herself. A purist in his own right, Filoni was granted the Herculean task of overseeing Kennedy’s slate of Star Wars projects, ensuring each project remains connected to a larger, more overarching narrative and in the process, eventually completed. But one show has already been left behind: The Mandalorian spinoff Rangers of the New Republic.
A report from Variety’s Adam B. Vary reveals the series, previously helmed by Filoni and Jon Favreau, is no longer in active development. This could either mean the show has been cancelled or indefinitely shelved while Dave Filoni refocuses his attention on developing Lucasfilm’s other properties. Whatever the case, it is curious the decision happens to coincide with Filoni’s promotion, which may imply it was his choice to let Rangers of the New Republic go. As we said, there are simply too many Star Wars specials coming up. Filoni may have determined the scope as potentially unfeasible and removed a chess piece from the board in the hopes of better puppeteering the next stage in Star Wars canon.
The rise of the “shared universe” is fundamentally changing cinema, one massive press release at a time. It’s no longer enough to simply green-light one movie, and see what happens next. Studios are now obligated to give an entire slate of 10 or so films and television specials the go-ahead in one sitting, in a grand planet-wide broadcast to remember forever. Science fiction epics like Star Wars got the bug decades earlier with the franchise’s unique propensity for one trilogy at a time, but now Lucasfilm intends to take the next step by imitating Marvel and longtime space rival Star Trek in developing its own shared universe. But with a cluster of films and streaming exclusives already promised, is it even humanly possible for every single project to last long enough to make it to production? A catalog this big is practically demanding cancellation. For one thing, Star Wars purists can’t even keep up with Kathleen Kennedy’s monster slate of upcoming titles, much less casual viewers. Whether this bodes well for the franchise or is simply an omen of the times, we can’t say for sure.
Star Wars: Rangers of the New Republic was originally eyeing Gina Carano’s Cara Dune to take the reins as series protagonist. It would’ve been the second time a Mandalorian side character was given their own spinoff, with Temuera Morrison’s Boba Fett being the first to secure a starring role in his own TV show. Unfortunately for Carano, plans changed after Lucasfilm got wind of the former mixed martial artist’s tweets and immediately severed ties for apparent transphobia. Fans didn’t think ejecting Carano would amount to dropping Rangers of the New Republic completely, but Dave Filoni probably thought losing Cara Dune is worth axing (or otherwise shelving) the show entirely.
With Rangers of the New Republic basically cancelled (or on hold, it depends on who you’re asking) and Dave Filoni struggling to manage every single Star Wars project under his wing, it won’t be long till Lucasfilm cancels a second title in the studio’s efforts to keep its shared universe controlled. The Book of Boba Fett is next to stream after the second season of The Mandalorian; the cast is currently filming in Los Angeles. Both Ahsoka and Obi-Wan Kenobi are still in pre-production. Star Wars: The Bad Batch has been available on Disney+ since May the Fourth. The Book of Boba Fett hits the streaming platform on December.