Plans Unveiled To Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of ‘Return of the Jedi’ and an ‘Andor’ Star Reveals His Role Exists Because of Dumb Luck

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For once the future of Star Wars is looking bright. Over the past few weeks, we’ve had multiple movie projects teased, including a sequel to The Rise of Skywalker by Lost’s Damon Lindelof. Over on Disney Plus, there’s a stacked schedule with 2023 alone seeing The Bad Batch, The Mandalorian season 3, Ahsoka, and Skeleton Crew.

But it’s always worth paying tribute to the past, with Disney and Lucasfilm gearing up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Return of the Jedi, which hit theaters on May 25, 1983. The final installment in the original trilogy isn’t quite up there with A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back but is still an all-time classic and we’re glad to see it getting some love.

Star Wars celebrates Return of the Jedi with a return to Jabba’s Palace

Image via Lucasfilm

The official Star Wars site has just unveiled the first in an upcoming series of comics based around characters and stories from Return of the Jedi, with the first installment being Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Jabba’s Palace #1, written by Marc Guggenheim and illustrated by Alessandro Miracolo. The synopsis teases that we’ll see some kind of assassination attempt on Jabba, with Boba Fett involved in some way.

StarWars.com posted the cover and some variants:

As Jabba meets his end in Return of the Jedi thanks to a rightfully furious Princess Leia we presume this is set just prior to that. It’s also mentioned that this is the first in a series of one-shots, so we’re eager to find out what other topics will be covered. Something to do with Ewoks seems like a no-brainer, though we’d also like a story focused on the Empire frantically assembling the second Death Star. Let’s hope we get some more announcements soon.

Rogue One and Andor star reveals how they made the jump from extra to named character

Melshi Andor Episode 11
Screengrab via Disney Plus

Duncan Pow’s Ruescott Melshi is one of the few Rogue One characters to appear in Andor thus far, with the show introducing him as an inmate on Narkina 5 who ends up teaming up with Cassian during the escape. We know from Rogue One that he and Cassian are old friends so it’s not unexpected for him to appear in this prequel story, but Melshi’s arrival was a nice surprise nonetheless.

In a new interview with The Playlist, Pow has revealed he began his Star Wars journey as an extra before a chance encounter with Tony Gilroy saw him bumped up to fully fledged character. As he puts it:

“I had a part in Rogue One originally as a fighter pilot. I was involved with the original production in various capacities early on, and then I came in for the reshoots, and all of a sudden, after having a conversation with Tony—about Buddhism, funnily enough—I found that the character of Melshi had been written into some of the stuff in Rogue One and that’s how it came about initially… I really came on board [in a more significant way] in the reshoots. Sometimes in life, you’re in the right place at the right time.”

Episode 11 of Andor saw the pair part ways, with Andor handing Melshi a blaster pistol and giving him a hug. Right now Melshi is on a mission to spread the word about the Empire’s nefarious activities in its forced labor facilities, though we expect him to reappear in Andor season two for more missions alongside our lead.

Gilroy clearly likes Pow and Melshi seems like an interesting character we want to know more about. Here’s hoping he gets more fully fleshed out, though even as it stands this is a great example of Andor elevating Rogue One by providing the backstory to its more minor characters.

Diego Luna praises Tony Gilroy’s writing and pays tribute to Rogue One

Andor episode 11
Screengrab from Disney Plus

Luna has been picking up a lot of praise for his second time around as Cassian Andor. He’s a tricky character to play as he’s so guarded with his thoughts and emotions, with Luna doing a lot with his expressive eyes and the few moments he lets his true feelings slip. All that was already present to some degree in Rogue One, though after eleven episodes of Andor we know the character far better than we ever have before.

In an interview with The Playlist, Luna said Rogue One walked so Andor could run and that it proved that Star Wars would work with a darker and more violent tone:

Rogue One was meant to be different. It was the first stand-alone Star Wars story; they found many ways to say this is supposed to be different. The first big difference is it had a beginning and an end; that was it… You meet a character and then goodbye. And Rogue One had an opportunity to be different, to have a different tone, it was more violent, darker and we got away with that. Audiences liked it, they liked it a lot.”

Rogue One‘s billion-dollar box office haul proved him right. But it should be noted that for much of its production the movie was in chaos, with Lucasfilm eventually sidelining original director Gareth Edwards and letting Tony Gilroy completely rework the movie. Luna clearly thinks incredibly highly of Gilroy, saying:

“Tony Gilroy is such a different writer; I can tell you I have never felt that energy with anyone else. The way he makes every line, every step, every character meaningful, there’s a reason for everything. If you sit down in front of him, there’s no answer he cannot give. He’s thought of everything before sharing it. It’s quite impressive to see how control he is of this story.”

Lucasfilm made one of their best decisions of the last decade when they tapped Gilroy to fix Rogue One and we’re happy that they left him to his own devices with Andor. Gilroy has hinted that he’ll be done with Star Wars after Andor wraps up, but we’re hoping he returns at some date to bring that magic touch to other projects.

As the week wraps up we’re hoping for some sneak peeks into the upcoming Andor finale, though the future direction of the show may be revealed when the season two shoot begins on Monday.

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