Since we all — well, not ALL, but a LOT of us — are psyched for the upcoming Star Wars movies and speculating about what they might be about, I figured I’d throw out a few (not entirely original) ideas for the “Anthology Series” films. There is definitely a lot of material to mine for these spin-offs and opportunities for expansion on what fans are already familiar with, since they are “standalone” films that are not directly connected to the new trilogy (i.e., episodes, VII-IX). Disney may be thinking about doing something a bit different, too, as per this quote by Kiri Hart, Lucasfilm’s VP of Development:
“I think there are boundaries [to what defines Star Wars], but we don’t want to rigidly define them. It’s obviously not slapstick comedy, but there’s room for many different stories and genres that still feel like Star Wars.”
Of course, we already know a few things about the first of these films, Rogue One, which is being directed by Gareth Edwards and is due for release in December of this year (2016). We all remember from A New Hope that the Rebel Alliance somehow got its hands on the plans for the original Death Star, which were being delivered by Princess Leia, when her ship was intercepted by Darth Vader’s. More than one account of how those plans were obtained by the Alliance were explored in Expanded Universe novels, which have now been re-classified from canon to mere legends. Well, according to Edwards, Rogue One will be about “a rogue band of resistance fighters who unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans and bring new hope to the galaxy.” [Quoting the article, not Edwards directly.] So, I guess we will be getting the official story for the new timeline. The film is being described both as a “heist” movie and “a gritty war movie”. In fact, several members of the British armed forces have been cast as extras to help lend an air of authenticity. Cool!
The second standalone film will also be a prequel — this one focused on a pre-IV Han Solo. (YAY! Casting will have to be perfect, but I am cautiously optimistic and psyched for the possibilities.) With a screenplay written by Lawrence Kasdan and Jon Kasdan, “[t]he story focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley.” Sounds good, but it’s still rather vague as to how far back it goes or how much time it will span. For example, will it begin with his becoming an orphan and turning to a life of crime to survive on the streets of Corellia? (If so, it would probably be brief, or maybe a flashback or just a reference, because the actors being auditioned for the starring role are in their 20s & 30s.)
I haven’t read any in ages, but I know some of Solo’s background was explored in the Expanded Universe. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), most of that is irrelevant, now. Still, there are key, canon events that could be included that fans like me would really appreciate:
1) I’d like to see the events that surrounded Han and Chewbacca’s first meeting (on Kashyyyk?), which led to Chewie swearing a life-debt to Han and becoming his partner, co-pilot, and best friend.
2) An adventure that includes the infamous game of Sabacc, in which Han won the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian, could be a lot of fun!
3) It might also be fun to see the events surrounding when (and sometime after) Han & Chewie became employed by Jabba the Hutt. They could even take the story right up to the job-gone-bad that had Jabba put a bounty on their heads prior to A New Hope.
Any or all of these would be fantastic, assuming the writing was adequate and the casting for the younger versions of beloved characters met expectations.
The third film in the Anthology Series has long been rumored to be a Boba Fett origin story. I am assuming it would pursue his youth, his vendetta against Mace Windu, eventually becoming a bounty-hunter (at a relatively young age), and possibly his first encounters with Jabba the Hutt and Darth Vader. Much of this has already been covered in The Clone Wars, so it might be best not to duplicate. Daniel Logan (b.1987), who played young Boba in Attack of the Clones and has voiced the character in The Clone Wars, is the right age to play Fett in his 20s & 30s. But, this movie hasn’t been confirmed, as yet. So, here are a few other people/things that could be explored, assuming Disney/Lucasfilm decide to stick to prequels….
1) Old Republic: Many years ago, when I was still reading tons of comics, I read several of the Star Wars series when Dark Horse still held the license. There was some pretty good stuff about early Jedi and Sith and various others in the Galactic Republic. While none of it is canon anymore, it might be fun to mine some of that material for ideas that would take plays decades, centuries, or even millennia before everything else we have seen on-screen thus far. (Or, something totally new, of course.) Maybe something involving the old Jedi Temple on Coruscant?
2) Yoda: Everybody loves the little guy, and he lived to be ~900 standard years old. There have got to be plenty of adventures that he was involved in that could be developed into a movie. We could learn about his youth, his early Jedi training, other padawans that he trained, other battles he fought in, etc. Did he have another job or calling before he became a Jedi? Another extremely long-lived character we were recently introduced to is Maz Kanata, and we know she is Force-sensitive. Could she and Yoda have crossed paths in the past?
3) Anakin’s father: As far as I recall, nothing has been revealed about the man who fathered Anakin Skywalker with Shmi. (Note: Cliegg Lars became Anakin’s step-father after he began his Jedi training, but that isn’t who I mean.) Now, I know that many believed Anakin fulfilled the prophecy of the Chosen One and that he had, thus, been “conceived by the Force” via midi-chlorians. But, as far as I know (though I could be wrong), this was never confirmed, and Shmi took the truth to her grave. So, since I never liked the “Force-conception” idea anyway, I prefer to think that some mysterious, Force-sensitive stranger was Anakin’s actual father. (Though, actual impregnation may still have been unconventional.) Could be a lot of fun to develop a story around such a person….
4) Obi-Wan: We know that, at some point, Kenobi decided he needed to watch over young Luke — though, from a distance — on Tatooine. Was this “exile” self-imposed? Did other Jedi Masters know and approve? Much of this has been explored in the Expanded Universe (e.g., Kenobi by John Jackson Miller, which has a “Western” vibe to it). So, they could pull ideas from there or come up with something totally new for the new canon. Ewan McGregor appears to be up for it!
5) Another possibility would be to bring to life a few of the heretofore animated-only characters and events from The Clone Wars (aside from the Boba Fett stuff I mentioned), which are still considered canon. I never watched the show, so I can’t make any recommendations. But, it seems like this would please a lot of fans.
I’m sure, if I was a bigger fan and devotee of the Expanded Universe, I’d have a few more ideas. What about you? If you have some thoughts on the matter, please share below.
See ya ’round the galaxy!
UPDATE: Before going to press, I found an article about the second standalone, in which Kasdan says, “I think what it will be is what was [Solo] like 10 years earlier [than A New Hope] — maybe a little earlier, you’ll get a glimpse.” So, that probably rules out the Jabba connection — not sure about Lando or Chewie.