2023 has made me more optimistic than ever about the future of Star Wars

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

There's never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan. 

Okay, granted, I wouldn't mind hopping through the World Between Worlds to watch the original movie on opening night. But, since that's unlikely to happen anytime soon, I'll focus on the here and now. 

This year's Star Wars Celebrationwhich I was lucky enough to attend – was jam-packed with exciting announcements. The atmosphere in the Celebration Stage was palpable when a new movie all about Rey was announced, and Daisy Ridley stepped out to huge cheers. 

Then there's a film set to explore the origins of the Force from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny helmer James Mangold, as well as – my personally most anticipated project – a film from Ahsoka architect Dave Filoni that will tie together the Disney Plus shows. These three announcements gave the Star Wars movie slate the sizzling shot of energy it so sorely needed after most of the previously announced projects seemed to be languishing in development hell. And, as it turned out, this was only the beginning. 

Lightspeed ahead

Anakin and Ahsoka in episode 5

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Looking back, I'll always see this as the year of Filoni. His recent promotion to chief creative officer has me thrilled; it's hard to imagine anyone who knows Star Wars better than Filoni, besides George Lucas himself – which makes sense, since Filoni was essentially Lucas's Padawan. Filoni has more than proved his creative chops, with each of his projects pushing the galaxy far, far away into fascinating new directions; just look at all the lore introduced in The Clone Wars and Rebels, including mystical Loth-wolves and the ethereal realm of Mortis, and you'll know that the galaxy can only get richer under Filoni's direction. 

It's also reassuring to know that someone is in charge of overseeing the massive franchise, which will hopefully streamline storytelling and help hold that ginormous canon together. A common criticism leveled at the sequel trilogy is that each film seems to disregard the one before; with someone in the captain's chair, it's unlikely that could happen again. 

I also loved Filoni's Ahsoka so much it's shot straight to the top of my Star Wars TV ranking – it gave us the ultimate version of Anakin Skywalker, shed a whole new light on who can wield the Force and become a Jedi through Sabine Wren, and reintroduced a big bad for the ages with Grand Admiral Thrawn (more reasons I'm so excited for Filoni's movie). The dramatic finale, which saw Thrawn's ominous return to the galaxy, Ezra Bridger sneaking his way back to Hera Syndulla, and Ahsoka and Sabine stranded on Peridea, with Baylan Skoll on an enigmatic mission of his own, is also an exhilarating launchpad for the future, whether the plot lines are tied up in Filoni's movie, The Mandalorian season 4, or a potential Ahsoka season 2.

Speaking of Mando, this year brought with it The Mandalorian season 3, which featured its own seriously intriguing set-ups for the future: those Moff Gideon clones, the Mythosaur awakening, the Mandalorians reclaiming their home world, and Din Djarin adorably adopting Grogu as his own are threads I can't wait to see picked up in The Mandalorian season 4 and beyond.

A bigger galaxy

Grogu in The Mandalorian season 3 episode 6

(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

More generally, this year has made it clear that there's something for everyone in Star Wars's latest output. The prequel renaissance lived on through Hayden Christensen's appearance in Ahsoka and Coruscant's prominence in The Mandalorian season 3. There was also plenty for sequel trilogy fans to pore over, with The Mandalorian continuing to bridge the gap between the original trilogy and the sequels with those clone teases (Snoke, anyone?) and a cameo from Brendol Hux, father of General Hux (played by Domhnall Gleeson's real life brother, Brian Gleeson, no less). And of course, for the original trilogy lovers, there was a cameo from C-3PO and reference to Leia in Ahsoka. Visions Volume 2 also reminded us of the breadth of storytelling possibility in the galaxy far, far away. 

There's even more to come, too, which will blast us to broader horizons. The highly anticipated Andor season 2 will take us back to the gritty, political corner of the galaxy so many fell in love with precisely because it was like nothing else in the saga, while The Acolyte will be set in the High Republic era, which has never been depicted in live-action before. Then there's Skeleton Crew, which will give the saga a dose of Amblin energy. Teasers for all three projects played at this year's Star Wars Celebration, and we're undoubtedly in for a treat when they arrive. 

The future, then, is looking brighter than Tatooine's twin suns – and that's why I've never been more excited as a Star Wars fan. 

Keep up to date with everything the galaxy far, far away has in store with our guide to the upcoming Star Wars movies and TV shows

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.