Actress Angelina Jolie’s career has been nothing short of eclectic, and she’s no stranger to joining big franchises, having assumed the role of Lara Croft in 2001’s Tomb Raider. She’s been a part of Disney’s rolodex of actors for years, at least since playing the villainous Maleficient in 2014. Currently, she’s shooting a leading role in Marvel Studios’ The Eternals, but at D23 last weekend, she confirmed that she’s totally down to join the Star Wars universe.
“Talk to J.J. [Abrams]!” Jolie said when asked about taking a role in Star Wars by Josh Horowitz of MTV News, “I tried — I cornered J.J. in the hallway. I have said to him, ‘I have no idea why I can’t be in Star Wars.’” Jolie doesn’t have any specific ideas about the kind of character she might play in an upcoming Star Wars television show or movie, but we absolutely do.
J.J. Abrams directed Star Wars: The Force Awakens and returned for the upcoming Rise of Skywalker, so it’s obviously too late for Jolie to join the Star Wars galaxy anytime soon, we there’s one role that would be perfect for her: Bastila Shan.
The Jedi Bastila Shan played a prominent role in the 2003 video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and the events leading up to it, all of which are no longer canon and part of the Extended Universe. Plenty of fans are desperate to see Knights of the Old Republic re-canonized in the form of an animated or live-action adaptation.
In April 2019, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly — after even more pestering — that they are “developing something to look at” that might focus on the era. That’s hardly a confirmation, but it’s enough to dream up a role for Angelina Jolie.
Who is Bastila Shan?
Set thousands of years before the original trilogy, the Old Republic was a time where the Jedi and the Sith numbered in the thousands. The magic of the Force was a part of everyday life and not the stuff of legend. During a Jedi Civil War, a former Jedi going by Darth Revan turned on the Jedi Council and built up an army strong enough to threaten the Republic.
Jedi Bastila Shan was among the group of heroes who defeated Darth Revan. She used the uncommon power of “battle meditation” to demoralize her enemies and bolster her allies — essentially turning the tide in a huge battle by meditating in the force.
Knights of the Old Republic takes place some time later with an amnesiac Revan going on a journey to save the galaxy from a different evil threat while recovering his memories and redefining his place in the conflict. Will he double down on the Dark side of the Force to destroy his competition and rule the galaxy? Or will he return to the Light and protect it with the support of the Jedi Council? The nature of this video game experience leaves it open for the player to follow either path, but in the official version of the story, with the help and companionship of Bastila Shan, he once again becomes a hero.
She becomes his closest companion, and lover, in official versions of the story. But she turns to the Dark side after being captured and tortured for a week. In the end, she’s redeemed, and there’s some semblance of a happy ending when they have a child together.
What makes Angelina Jolie perfect for this role? In most versions of this story, Shan is admittedly younger than Jolie is in real life, but Jolie has the necessary range as an actor to convey the nuances of going from hero to villain and back again. And rather than playing a supporting role in Revan’s story, Bastila Shan really is a major player. A more interesting version of the story would make Shan the main character. Yet another choice would be a story that takes place after the original game, focusing on Shan as a seasoned Jedi Master.
If we ever get a faithful adaptation for Knights of the Old Republic or an extension of this widely loved era of Star Wars history, they’ll need a strong actress for Bastila Shan. Who better than Angelina Jolie?
The Eternals will be released November 6, 2020.