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Rogue One prequel series release date, cast and plot

Disney is one with the Force, and the Force will be one with Disney's streaming service in the near future.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may bring the Skywalker Saga to an end later this year, but the galaxy far, far away is going to get a whole lot bigger when Disney+ launches on November 12. Not only is the House of Mouse making for the platform the hotly anticipated Star Wars series The Mandalorian and a yet-untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi show, but it's also bringing some Rebels back to the fight with a new series set before the events of 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While we've known for some time that the prequel show was in the works, it's now truly starting to take shape after Disney's whirlwind weekend of D23 2019 announcements.

As the first official Star Wars spin-off movie, Rogue One was a fairly divisive affair that left much of the fervid Star Wars fanbase feeling a little cold in the end. Luckily, it seems the folks at Disney learned a valuable lesson, as they appear to have their sights set on exploring in the still-unnamed Rogue One show some of the narrative elements they got right with the film. Here's everything we know so far about the upcoming Rogue One prequel series.

What is the Rogue One series' release date?

Any time a new Star Wars story is announced, the first thing fans want to know is when they can get in on all the Rebellion-fueled goodness. An official release date for the planned Rogue One series hasn't yet been set, but it's scheduled to begin shooting sometime in 2020 to meet an anticipated 2021 premiere

When exactly in 2021 might that launch date fall? Well, fans can bet that there will be plenty of post-production work to be done on the Rogue One series as the creative team ensures all the effects (presumably a traditional Star Wars-styled mix of practical and digital) are in proper order. Additionally, the folks at Disney+ are probably eager to gauge the reaction to The Mandalorian, the first-live action Star Wars series and the first Star Wars show hitting Disney+, before unleashing a new series. We're also guessing that the Rogue One show may now be fighting the Obi-Wan series for a release date. Given the general timeline and factoring in post-production work and potential time-slot battles, the Rogue One series will likely be available to stream on Disney+ in late 2021 rather than early 2021.

Who is in the Rogue One series' cast?

It looks like Star Wars bigwigs were very aware of the things Rogue One: A Star Wars Story got right, as they've chosen to focus this new series on one of the few genuinely rewarding narrative threads in that movie: the one surrounding the charming Rebel intel officer Cassian Andor. Actor Diego Luna will indeed return to the fray as the roguish rebel who sacrificed everything in helping bring down the first Death Star. 

As for Luna, he seems more than happy to get back into the fight, noting in a past statement (via Entertainment Weekly), "Going back to the Star Wars universe is very special for me. I have so many memories of the great work we did together and the relationships I made throughout the journey. We have a fantastic adventure ahead of us, and this new exciting format will give us the chance to explore this character more deeply."

Along with the exciting news of Luna's return, it's been confirmed that Alan Tudyk will be reprising his scene-stealing role as Andor's ungainly android K-2SO. Concerning who else will join the Rogue One series, mum's the word. That being said, while some of the film's supporting players may or may not turn up in this new narrative, we're pretty confident that Rogue One's central character Jyn (played with ineffable charm by Felicity Jones) will sadly not play a part in the story to come. Here's hoping they leave Forest Whitaker's raspy-voiced weirdo Saw Gerrera on the sidelines as well.

What's the plot of Rogue One prequel series?

While we wait on additional casting news to break for the Rogue One series, the other burning question about the project is what its plot is going to be. 

It's very early in the action, so there's not a lot of information regarding the plot of the show, which IMDb notes is operating under the working title Untitled Star Wars Cassian Andor series. What we do know for certain is that the series is a prequel to Rogue One, since Andor (like most of the movie's characters) met his heroic, untimely end in the film's waning moments. As Andor is taking center stage for USWCAS (is that title is actually starting to grow on us?), the series will center around his time in the early days of the Rebel Alliance. 

At the moment, the Rogue One prequel show is being described a spy thriller that will follow Andor's early adventures with the Rebellion, when the largely underground movement was determined to "restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire." The series will chronicle just what it took for the Rebels to accomplish their goals, telling tales "filled with espionage and daring missions." Call us crazy, but that plot sounds more than a little bit timely, and we can't wait to see just how the show utilizes the storyline. 

When does the Rogue One series take place?

Given the fateful events that unfold in the final moments of Rogue One, it's clear that any spin-off series featuring Cassian Andor would need to take place before the events of the film. That means this hotly anticipated project is very much a prequel to the movie. 

Now, the only question remaining regards how far back the new show will take us. Will we begin our tale with a baby-faced Cassian watching Stormtroopers lay waste to his homeland? Will we find the smooth-talking tough guy just joining forces with the Rebellion (á la Han Solo) as they try to quell the rise of the evil, oppressive Empire? Or will we find Cassian already well-entrenched with the Rebel Alliance and leading his own daring missions behind enemy lines in hopes of finding that key bit of intel that could bring down the Emperor? 

All those options jibe with the general time setting, but we have a feeling the Rogue One series (like the film itself) will serve as a bit of a bridge between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. Hopefully, the series' team ties those timelines together with a little more subtlety than the film — and that they can find a way to include Ben Mendelsohn's Rogue One baddie Orson Krennic on the show — if only so we can gaze upon him in that kickass cape one more time.

Is there a trailer for Rogue One prequel series yet?

The short answer to this question is "no." There isn't a trailer for the Rogue One prequel series yet, nor is there a teaser, because the team hasn't actually shot a single frame of footage for the show. Heck, there's apparently not even a mock-up one-sheet out there as of September 2019. But there will teasers and trailers and posters eventually — sometime after production begins next year. When all that drops, we'll have it posted here on Looper faster than you can make the jump to hyperspace. 

Until the first trailer for the Rogue One series finds its way to the internet, you can always track Rogue One: A Star Wars Story down via your streaming service of choice and revisit it in preparation for the upcoming show. Word to the wise: if you do plan to stream Rogue One somewhere, you'll want to do that sooner rather than later. Once Disney+ is up and running, all bets are off in regards to streaming Disney and Lucasfilm's properties anywhere else. Consider yourself warned.