“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is available digitally today and you’ve likely been inundated (sorry!) with hundreds of stories about the movie’s development, possible endings and beginnings that were eventually discarded and lots of “what if?” odds and ends. “Star Wars” culture at large is essentially doing a kind of post-mortem on the movie. So with the film being reappraised, the untitled Young Han Solo film cast is already in production and with Star Wars Celebration right around the corner (expect some footage from Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) the galaxy far, far away doesn’t feel that far off at all. It’s cumulatively left us thinking, “Where does it all go next?”
One hope we’ve had all along is a focus on new and original stories, as we’re a little sick of the same old characters, and hearteningly, ‘Rogue One’ screenwriter Gary Whitta recently said future “Star Wars” movies will go beyond the legacy characters and the main saga. This makes sense. Carrie Fisher has passed away, Harrison Ford’s Han Solo is (spoiler alert) dead, Mark Hamill is the last man standing at 65 years of age and eventually, you can’t keep telling stories with these characters. Additionally, you can only tell so many Young Han Solo, Young Yoda, Young Luke Skywalk-Goes-To-Toshi-Station-To-Buy-New-Power-Converter movies until you’ve exhausted all the prequel-ish storylines and angles with these specific characters. Lucasfilm also has a propensity for laying out their timeline too clearly and tying stories too directly to one another leaving little wiggle room for further adventures with any one character (see the way “Rogue One” butts up exactly into a ‘A New Hope’?).
So what’s the next move for Lucasfilm? Well, we know a Yoda film was once mooted, a potential Boba Fett movie and a possible Obi Wan Kenobi picture that could involve Ewan McGregor. Again, it got us to thinking and we began dreaming about possible options, and… yes, we fell down a rabbit hole that unintentionally became kind of fan fiction. Waste not, want not, so for shits and giggles, here’s what we came up with while geeking out about directions the new “Star Wars” spin-offs could go. And yes, this is nerdy af. Be forewarned.
The Lone Jedi/Bounty Hunters Movie
The Crawl idea: The Republic has fallen. Order 66 has wiped out the Jedi, but in the far reaches of the galaxy, some knights have evaded capture and death. As the Empire engulfs the galaxy in fear, teams of bounty hunters are engaged to investigate rumors of a surviving Jedi on outlying moons.
Concept: Lucasfilm generates many ideas and doesn’t always use them (see the aforementioned myriad storylines discarded from ‘Rogue One’). This movie could expand on the just revealed, but abandoned early story beat where Jyn Erso’s mom was a Jedi hiding out and being hunted by the Empire. Lucasfilm has long discussed a bounty hunters movie and nearly made a Boba Fett film with Josh Trank. This concept could meld both ideas and play off movies like “The Beguiled,” and in some ways, “Silence.” The gist: a wounded, near dying Jedi stumbles into an on-the-fringes border outpost. As bounty hunters roll into the city, he must be hidden and protected, as one of the last Jedis in the galaxy (much like the Jesuit priests being sheltered in Scorsese’s movie for example). Sure, there’s a Jedi in this story, but there’s really nothing related to the main saga here, unless you want to include Boba Fett, Boskk or one of the saga bounty hunters chasing after the ailing Jedi (but it’s cooler if you don’t). Obviously, like many “Star Wars” films, it has strong Western tropes too (as many of them will).
A Star Wars Animated Movie (From ILM itself)
The Crawl idea: Unrest! The universe has been thrown into turmoil due to the ongoing Galactic Wars. While hope has been restored due to the destruction of the first Death Star, the Empire has not fallen. Far removed planets on the edges of the galaxy are uninvolved and unconcerned with the still-brewing wars until Imperial forces encroach…
The Concept: Set during the days directly following the fall of the first Death Star, but on a planet far removed from any we’ve seen, the animated “Star Wars” film could really push the envelope in terms of conceptual outlandishness, evoking things far stranger and more surreal than any “Star Wars” film we’ve previously seen. Think about a “Star Wars” movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki, with lots of strange creatures as protagonists, but with hints of the original source material: Kurosawa movies, old westerns, etc.. Now picture your protagonist as a young girl, someone who might be “Force sensitive” but who doesn’t know about the Jedis, the Rebellion, or any of the events of ‘A New Hope,’ who has to defend her small, technologically rudimentary planet from invading Imperial forces. If necessary, you could also have cameos from the original trilogy’s characters without going through the painstaking (and occasionally off-putting) task of digitally de-aging (or wholly recreating) them with CGI. It would be wonderful to see this come from Industrial Light & Magic, the visual effects company created for the first “Star Wars,” especially considering their work on the Oscar-winning animated feature “Rango” (a Pixar movie would be cool, but there’s no way they’d clog their already tiny pipeline with something like this). Our choice for director: Genndy Tartakofsky, whose “Samurai Jack” has just made its triumphant return to television and who created the long-running “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated franchise with his visionary short films. He has the right combination of deep-dive “Star Wars” knowledge and genuinely jaw-dropping visual prowess. And everyone’s looking for ways to continue spinning off their I.P. Sony Pictures, for example, has an animated “Spider-Man” and “Ghostbusters” film in the works. Lucasfilm film has already pioneered the idea with ‘The Clone Wars’ and “Star Wars Rebels,” but this is an opportunity to make something more distinct and artful away from the current aesthetic. Why not bring it to the big screen?
The Obi-Wan Wilderness Years Film
The Crawl idea: Defeat has many costs. For Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi it meant turning away from the Order and heading into exile. Betrayed by Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan retreats as the success of the nascent Rebellion is in the hands of a new generation of freedom fighters. It is here that we find him, searching for purpose in a galaxy thrust into chaos…
The Concept: The anthology film series fans most desperately want to see seems to be anything related to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Ewan McGregor has expressed much interest in exploring the idea (as his age creeps ever nearer to original Obi-Wan Sir Alec Guinness) and the potential material here feels rich. Obi-Wan wanders around Tattooine – a vast, inhospitable planet (something that was underlined in a recent episode of “Star Wars Rebels” that featured the character) – trying to regain his spiritual center and look towards the future. Despite his need for isolation away from the prying eyes of the Empire, the weary Jedi is thrust into skirmishes in small outposts, aiding those that desperately need help, while in personal turmoil (“Last Days In The Desert” anyone?). He could even engage in adventures off-planet, but always returning to his quiet, solitary life on Tattooine, as he awaits the maturation of the last Jedis. Fan service could come in the form of Obi-Wan’s interaction with some of Tattooine’s more disreputable lot, some kind of Force-assisted communication with the similarly exiled Yoda, and tons of wet-your-Chewbacca-embossed-britches foreshadowing.