Now that The Force Awakens came, saw, and conquered the box office, raking in over $2 billion worldwide, it’s safe to say the Disney Star Wars behemoth is in full swing. We’ll get the main episodic movies tracking the Skywalker clan every other year until 2019 and beyond, but the more interesting asides will be the standalone movies, beginning with this year’s Rogue One. What will a singular Star Wars movie look like? Will it feature the iconic “A long time ago…” title cards and opening credit crawl? Will there be hints of John Williams’s breathtaking musical themes? Will they still be Star Wars movies without actually being Star Wars movies?
After Rogue One we’ll get Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Han Solo movie in 2018, and an unnamed standalone movie in 2020 that will most likely be a Boba Fett origin story. There’s plenty of obvious options for the others — if you think we won’t eventually see Obi-Wan Kenobi standalone movie you’re kidding yourself — but with so many other characters, worlds, and genres to explore in the Star Wars universe, what else would fans like to see?
Author Joe Schreiber’s Expanded Universe novel Death Troopers was released in 2009, before Disney went and invalidated the entire EU because their $4 billion Lucasfilm takeover means they run the show now. But Schreiber’s idea of a horror story set within the Star Wars universe is full of fascinating possibilities. When the book was released, Schreiber described it as “the kind of book you’d want to read if you were a child of the 70s who grew up with the original Star Wars trilogy and really digs horror in the vein of The Shining and Alien, with a little dose of William Gibson mixed in.” We wouldn’t necessarily want a straight-up adaptation of Death Troopers, but if Lucasfilm did go in this direction –– and managed to play around with the genre and pull off the tone correctly –– it would set a standard for the standalone movies, and yield total box office domination.
Star Wars: Underworld
Prior to the 2012 Disney buyout, Lucasfilm was set on producing a live-action TV series titled Underworld et between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. George Lucas described it as “Deadwood meets The Sopranos in space,” while Prequel Trilogy producer Rick McCallum explained, “Basically, it is like The Godfather.” Those are some unorthodox and decidedly grown-up precedents, especially in a Star Wars context. It’d be a semi-lofty idea to have an adults-only Star Wars standalone movie — these movies are, after all, for kids — but we could imagine a movie featuring some NSFW subject matter about Jabba the Hutt going around the galaxy doing some gangster shit.
The new Star Wars is all about inclusion, which is great. And while we love that Rey is the de facto main character of the new saga –– while Rogue One will be headlined by actress Felicity Jones –– why not give a strong female character her own movie? A Princess Leia movie would be too obvious, so why not embrace the original trilogy’s basically only other female character of note: Mon Mothma. There’s inevitably some dumb and lengthy Expanded Universe stuff about her out there, but a standalone movie could allow filmmakers to start from square one, and explain how she joined the Rebellion and climbed the ranks to become the woman in charge. It could even be a little semi-sequel to Rogue One and explain how she coordinated the operation to have Bothans get the plans for the second Death Star before the events of Return of the jedi. While MON MOTHMA: THE MOVIE wouldn’t necessarily scream dollar signs to Disney, there’s definitely room for variety and this is a perfect place to start.
The Birth of the Jedi
It’s no secret that the Jedi are basically a mix between priests and samurai, and the entire saga is built upon the teachings and mythology of the Jedi Order. Since George Lucas basically ripped off Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress to make the original Star Wars, we can envision a story chronicling the rise of the Jedi that would be a kind of soft remake of another Kurosawa movie like, say, Seven Samurai. It would be about all the themes inherent in the Jedi, like honor, respect, and grace and still manage to be a rousing time at the movies. That kind of serious-minded but adventurous movie framework could also broaden the Star Wars universe and make some new film snob fans out of the people too hoity-toity to admit that they actually like a Star Wars movie.
Remember, the third Expanded Universe novel ever written was a collection of three short stories about the pre-Empire Strikes Back adventures of Lando Calrissian, and he’s a dude whose backstory is still basically unexplored. Don’t get us wrong, we love Han Solo, but we can kind of piece together how he got where he was hanging out with Chewie on the Millennium Falcon in A New Hope. An underused character like Lando getting his own movie would not only give us a window into the most charming dude in the galaxy, but give a person of color the space adventure he deserves.