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Star Wars isn’t what it once was. Whether you want to blame Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, the direction of the sequel trilogy, or simply the fact the franchise extended beyond the initial trilogy at all, Star Wars fans seem to have as much hate as love for the “galaxy far, far away.” In fact, the only recent aspect of the saga that is largely beloved is The Mandalorian.

After all, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker proved to be a major disappointment to many fans and critics. And the film’s box office performance fell short of expectations too. So, by any measure, the big-screen side of Star Wars is at a crossroads. But between Star Wars: The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian, fans have a new hope for the future.

The Mandalorian, in particular, is already managing to sidestep the pitfalls that have plagued the recent Star Wars movies. Here’s why — perhaps more than ever — the Disney+ series is setting an admirable template for kickstarting a new era of Star Wars.

Pedro Pascal at 'The Mandalorian' premiere
Pedro Pascal at ‘The Mandalorian’ premiere | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

‘The Mandalorian’ Season 3 is already in the works

After The Mandalorian Season 1 performed so well in late 2019, fans were excited about where the show could go next. With Season 2 announced for an October 2020 release, the series appeared to be setting a solid pace. Moreover, its production was able to avoid any potential delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Thanks to Variety, word has arrived that series creator Jon Favreau and his team are already working on Season 3. The report claims Favreau has been writing the season “for a while,” though it’s unclear how far along the scripting process truly is. This could involve breaking the story or actually writing each episode.

Moreover, the art department over at The Mandalorian has reportedly begun pre-production work on Season 3. Likely, characters, environments, props, and even sequences are being conceptualized to prepare for the next stage of production. A universe as expansive as Star Wars requires much more legwork than most series, of course.

The Disney+ show is planning ahead, unlike the movies

Even though The Mandalorian Season 3 has only just begun, this update is definitely good news for the show’s future. The Disney+ series only premiered in November 2019. And with Season 2 months away from its own debut, Disney appears to have a ton of faith in The Mandalorian‘s direction.

For fans, Favreau working so far ahead signifies The Mandalorian has something the sequel trilogy, it seems, did not: a plan. The Last Jedi shifted away from plot elements laid out in The Force Awakens. Many fans believe The Rise of Skywalker further convoluted the stories of Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

The fatal flaw of the sequel trilogy then appears to be the lack of a big-picture outline. Lucasfilm left directors J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson mostly to their own devices. When Abrams rounded out the story, fans were left with a muddled tale which some believe under-served the nine-part Skywalker saga. By the looks of it, The Mandalorian is avoiding this issue.

Will Lucasfilm lay out a five-year plan like Marvel?

In fact, some Star Wars fans are hoping Lucasfilm looks to The Mandalorian as a beacon of how to rehabilitate the movies. With the show moving into early stages on Season 3, the saga could be inching closer to taking a similar approach to the films. Besides, right now, no one knows exactly when the Star Wars movies will return or even what the next project will be.

Just as Marvel Studios lays out its storytelling years at a time, Lucasfilm could draw inspiration from its sister company. The Star Wars saga needs some direction if it hopes to remain viable long-term. And fans already know Kevin Feige is working with Lucasfilm. Perhaps the Marvel Studios head is already helping crack the next “phase” of Star Wars projects.