When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, I was pessimistic. I thought a big corporate mentality was what George Lucas was fighting against when he made his original Star Wars way back 1977 (and, remember I saw it back when it was called Star Wars, none of that Episode IV – A New Hope stuff). But then I realized George Lucas became that very corporate machine, i.e. Lucasfilm, ILM, THX, and thus we had the prequels (‘nuff said). So then I started thinking of the possibilities for the Star Wars franchise with Disney at the helm. I knew they didn’t purchase the franchise just to collect all the merchandizing money; they must’ve had a plan for the cinematic universe. Boy, did they! I mean from 2016 to 2020, and beyond, it looks like fans of the galaxy far, far away, will be treated to a film a year, not to mention the animated and possibly live-action television projects that are on-going or in development.
When Episode VII – The Force Awakens opened up last year, it got mixed reviews. Some liked it, others didn’t. I, personally, enjoyed it greatly (despite a few plot holes and questions it raised). This year’s Rogue One beat all the expectations I had! Some complained the film lacked the signature John Williams score or the iconic crawl at the beginning. But I countered with the fact that this film didn’t seem like your typical Star Wars film, I mean it had the familiar backdrop, but this was a war picture, a ragtag group up against impossible odds, willing to sacrifice it all for a noble cause. This wasn’t a tale of the Skywalker clan, but a real, honest-to-goodness war story, albeit set in a galaxy far, far away. It was incredible. Even if you didn’t really find it too enjoying, those last 10 minutes with the Darth Vader we all wish we saw in the original trilogy made up for it! I mean, seriously… B-A-D-A-S-S!
So with two installments behind us, one original storyline and one standalone anthology film (although it is really a prequel for Episode IV), I’m optimistic for the future. That being said, the relegation of the Extended Universe to its new ‘Legends’ classification did feel like a swift kick in my side. I mean those stories and characters were held as canonical by George Lucas, that should’ve been good enough for Disney. However, I know the reasoning behind it and I understand why it had to be done. That doesn’t mean I have to like it. For those who never got into the Extended Universe, it’s all no big deal, but those were some very rich storylines with some great characters. Our existing heroes, Han, Leia, Luke, were all developed much farther. Disney and the filmmakers didn’t want to be boxed in when it came to developing new stories, plus the individual authors owned partial rights to their stories so it made sense to start fresh when bought Lucasfilm. Again, if you didn’t get into the Extended Universe, you might not have realized how some of the Legends/E.U. characters have actually slowly been drawn into this new cinematic universe. So, it’s only a matter of time before we start to possibly see a bit more of a merging, albeit slowly and deliberately per Disney’s plans (in my best Emperor voice, “… good…good”).
So, we know we’re going to get Episode VII at the end of this year, then an anthology film centered on a young Han Solo in 2018, and then Episode IX in 2019. Another anthology film is slated for 2020, possibly being a Boba Fett story, that’s the rumor. After that, it’s up in the air. Are we getting more Roman numeral flicks, more anthology stories? One thing is for sure, Disney isn’t going to stop in 2020. They might take some time off, but they won’t stop. What might we expect from the upcoming films? What do we want to see in the upcoming films? I’ve taken some time to compile a short list of ten things fans would love to see in upcoming installments of the franchise, but that we unfortunately probably won’t. So join me as I go through them and see if my wish list aligns with your own.
Are the video games considered canon, or have they been relegated to Legends, as well? I don’t know, but I really would love to see the famous Rogue Squadron in action. After Luke Skywalker destroys the first Death Star in the Battle of Yavin 4, he coordinates with many of the X-Wing pilots from Red Squadron and forms Rogue Squadron. Not only did the exploits of Rogue Squadron fill many a video game player with hours of enjoyment, but the squadron had some of their best stories told in a series of books by Aaron Allston and Michael A. Stackpole. Rogue Squadron is depicted as a vital factor in the liberation of Coruscant during the downfall of the Empire. It’s sad to think that filmgoers might miss out on those glorious adventures.
After Order 66, most of the Jedi in the galaxy were hunted down and killed, leaving only the elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi, the ancient Yoda, and the young Luke Skywalker. By the downfall of the Galactic Empire, only Luke remained to rebuild the Jedi Order, which he did with the establishment of his Jedi Academy. At least until his nephew, Ben Solo, in a total dick-move, mind you, turned on Luke and slaughtered all the young Jedi apprentices. That was all glossed over in Episode VII. We never got see Luke establish the new order. Although, with future installments we still might possibly see Luke re-establish the Order once more so that Jedi can one day reclaim their rightful roles as the keepers of peace and justice in the galaxy.
The Gray Jedi refers to Force-users who straddle the thin line between the light and dark side of the Force without adhering to the codes of either. Sometimes called Dark Jedi, the term later went on to describe those who distanced themselves from the Jedi High Council and instead chose to operate outside of the strict Jedi code. In the films, once a Jedi has given in to the dark side it almost impossible to come back due to the corruption by use of such power. The Expanded Universe introduced the concept of the Gray Jedi as a new class of morally-ambiguous Force-users and their popularity grew with fans. They even got a wider selection of colors to choose from in terms of lightsaber blades! Qui-Gon Jinn, I would say, would’ve been considered a Gray Jedi possibly for his always bucking the system. It would’ve been cool to see some of these guys popping up in films, as they would’ve been considered wild cards whose actions couldn’t predicted.
Speaking of Gray Jedi, Kyle Katarn was a character from the Star Wars: Jedi Knight video game series, and later in a few book series. His popularity grew and even got his own action figure some years back, before the dark times, before Disney (just kidding…). Katarn was an Imperial stormtrooper who defected to the Rebel Alliance. He then hooked up with a smuggler, Jan Ors, and the pair conducted missions for the Rebellion. He was self-taught in the ways of the Force and freely used both light and dark side abilities, thinking of his Force-powers as simple tools, not worrying about which ones were used by Sith or Jedi. If the movies were going to give us just one Gray Jedi, it should be Katarn; although, if you think about it, maybe they already did? Finn was a stormtrooper who defected and joined the Rebellion, he hooked up with a smuggler, if ever so briefly, and he seems to know his way around a lightsaber (with no training, I might add). Of course, he didn’t hold his own for too long against Kylo Ren but still, maybe he was J.J. Abrams’ version of a Gray Jedi. We’ll have to wait and see.
I think a film centered on the early wars between the Jedi and Sith would be incredible. Set in the days of the Old Republic; it would a spectacle to behold if done right. We haven’t seen the Sith at their most powerful (except for maybe at the end of Revenge of the Sith). The film’s climax could consist of the big battle between the armies of Jedi Knights and Sith Lords; a battle of principles that could possibly illuminate why these two factions have been so diametrically opposed for so long.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is considered one of the best Star Wars games ever. In the game, the story takes place some 4,000 years before The Phantom Menace, when there were armies of Sith and Jedi battling it out. The Jedi weren’t the political negotiators that we saw in the prequels. If they’re going to make Knights of the Old Republic: The Movie (ok, the title needs some work), one character that is must-have is Revan. He was a powerful Jedi who was actually Darth Revan, a Sith Lord who had his memory wiped and reprogrammed to serve the Order. He was powerful in the Force and lived for hundreds of years. It was Revan’s philosophies that were later internalized by a powerful Sith Lord named Bane who created the Sith Rule of Two (that of only a Master and an Apprentice). Revan would be a great complex character to be the lead in the film, if it ever comes to pass.
According to ‘Legends,’ Luke Skywalker had a son, Ben Skywalker, while Han and Leia’s children were Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin Jr. All of them had gripping stories, with Jacen falling to the dark side becoming Darth Caedus, and his twin sister Jaina becoming a powerful Jedi Master who ultimately would have to destroy her Sith brother. Young Anakin Jr. followed in his older siblings footsteps and trained to become a Jedi, dying heroically in battle.
Luke’s son, Ben, was quite younger than Leia’s children, by about sixteen years. He grew strong in the Force training under both his cousin, Jacen, as well as his father. Though Jacen, as Darth Caedus, tried immensely to entice his powerful cousin over to the dark side, Ben’s compassion and love for others helped him remain faithful to the light and, after Jacen’s death, forgave his cousin for falling prey to his own weaknesses..
These characters evolved and grew to be loved and cherished by Star Wars fans the world over. They were the next generation of Skywalker’s and ‘Legends,’ the Extended Universe, allowed readers a glimpse into the ongoing Skywalker lineage, going so far as 100 years into the future where we saw Cade Skywalker keeping the family’s Jedi heritage alive.
Though J.J. Abrams merged the character of Ben Skywalker and Jacen Solo into The Force Awakens’ Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren, it is hard to believe that they would fail to capitalize on the immense impact the Skywalker lineage would have on the future of the Star Wars franchise. As Star Wars as always been a tale of the Skywalkers, I would hope we would get to see more of their lineage in some form as the films continue. I have my fears that we will not.
One of the most iconic and popular characters in the Star Wars universe, if not pop culture itself. Despite the popular run of comics, the book stories, and his film appearances, we can’t get enough of Darth Vader. If the last 10 minutes of The Force Awakens proves anything it’s that we need more Vader! This dark lord of the Sith is such a complex character that there is a wealth of stories that could be drawn from to adapt cinematically. Forget potential plot lines from ‘Legends,’ a film could focus on Vader’s actions immediately following his fall in Revenge of the Sith. Canon says Darth Vader hunted down and killed all the remaining Jedi’s in the years following Episode III.
I know Disney would have to craft a feature film around Darth Vader very carefully. It would damage the mystique of the character to focus too heavily on Vader’s “home life,” floating around in a bacta tank, or staring out over lava fields contemplating the Force, or what have you. No, you can center the film around an isolated group of young Jedi’s who spend the film trying to elude Vader’s grasp, The climax would be the epic last stand between Vader and this last group of Jedi’s who valiantly fight to the last, knowing that they can’t win. However, they risk it all to ensure the safety and survival of a youngling, or similar “last hope.” The film could include side plot involving Vader growing more powerful in the dark side by internalizing his hate, pain, and anger. Supposedly, Vader’s suit is uncomfortable and even painful. He would spend much of his time in his castle on Mustafar out of the armor and resting in the bacta tank where he would be pain-free. Another thing is that supposedly the Emperor made Vader establish his home on Mustafar, the location of greatest failure in losing to Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Emperor does this so Vader is constantly reminded of his loss and the anger can fuel his dark side power. The film can delve into this dynamic with a thoroughly evil Emperor manipulating his servant, Darth Vader. Remember, these were the days when Vader was still subservient to men like Grand Moff Tarkin, and possibly other regional governors and Imperial leaders (of course, that probably wouldn’t stop him from Force-choking those he believed failed his master.)
I’m sure we’ll see more of Vader in upcoming films, but most likely not to the extent that I’ve detailed above, which, I think, would be a shame.
When fans got to watch the Star Wars Rebels Season 3 trailer at last year’s Star Wars Celebration, it revealed Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fans were ecstatic and an almost giddy exhilaration spread over the crowd – Thrawn was back and he was now canon! However, those who weren’t familiar with the novels, or the Extended Universe were left wondering… who is Thrawn?
Imperial Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the most popular Star Wars characters from the Extended Universe. Created by novelist Timothy Zahn, Thrawn was probably the greatest threat faced by the New Republic. He was a master strategist and a sly adversary who always seemed to easily outwit his enemies by using an understanding of psychology and meticulous analysis. He first appeared in a series of three novels by writer Zahn: Heir to the Empire (1991), Dark Force Rising (1992), and The Last Command (1993); collectively known as The Thrawn Trilogy.
In Zahn’s trilogy, Thrawn is depicted as a tactical genius with great plans to restore the Empire to its former glory. He discovers the ysalamir, a race of small animals with Force-repelling abilities. He brilliantly used these animals to protect himself from Force-users. He co-opts a crazed Jedi clone to use the Force to strengthen his Imperial troops, and then locates an old group of dreadnought ships to augment the size of his formidable fleet. Unlike Darth Vader, Thrawn didn’t use fear and intimidation to command his troops. Instead, Thrawn welcomed input from his men and often would empower them, rewarding initiative and intelligence, though he was highly intolerant of incompetence. He had no ego and was always willing to retreat from a battle, rather than unnecessarily sacrifice his men and fleet.
Later, in the novel, Outbound Flight (2006), we are shown Thrawn’s motivations, his sense of honor, loyalty, and even his dry humor. His character is depicted a less evil and more complex. Set approximately 30 years prior to Heir to the Empire, we are introduced to a young Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, commonly shortened to Thrawn. He is an officer of the Chiss Ascendency, a race of blue-skinned humanoids, with piercing red eyes. The story introduces Thrawn’s first interactions with the Galactic Republic, as well as Emperor Palpatine. Thrawn’s tactical genius is showcased, and he is also shown to possess a protective nature for those he has befriended or those who might lack the strength to defend themselves.
Thrawn didn’t rely on the Force, or lightsabers, or use planet-killing weapons. He defeated his enemies through precise and well-executed planning, which is something the Star Wars films has yet to see.
Now, all of the above is part of ‘Legends,’ and Thrawn’s inclusion in the animated series, Star Wars Rebels, doesn’t necessarily mean his entire story is now canon. On the contrary, it is most likely that Disney will take Thrawn down a wholly new path. Later this year, Timothy Zahn is set to release a new book entitled Thrawn, and it will be interesting to see how he is portrayed now. Many fans around the world only hope that Thrawn will eventually make his way into the cinematic franchise. I doubt it but we can hope.
There were literally thousands of characters created in the Extended Universe but few were developed as thoroughly as the flaming red-haired Mara Jade. If any of those characters could be more popular than Grand Admiral Thrawn, it would have to be Mara Jade. Another of Timothy Zahn’s creations, first appearing in 1991’s Heir to the Empire, she is portrayed as a skilled smuggler and fighter driven to hunt down and kill Luke Skywalker.
Prior to Return of the Jedi, Jade was called The Emperor’s Hand, Palpatine’s main spy and assassin, a pain in the side of Darth Vader, who was ruthlessly efficient in eliminating enemies of the Galactic Empire. After the Emperor’s death in Return of the Jedi, she follows his final command and attempts to hunt down and kill Skywalker. However, in the course of tracking him, she slowly regains her own sense of morals and, with Luke’s help, eventually disregards the path Palpatine had set her upon. Having been trained by Palpatine himself, her skills with a lightsaber were phenomenal. She relished pushing Vader to his limits, causing him to unleash his anger on her by drawing his lightsaber. She would then calmly parry his attacks and toy with him. It would be extraordinary to see such encounters on the big screen.
Mara Jade would go to marry Luke Skywalker and become the mother to Ben Skywalker, and train Leia’s children in the ways of the Force. She was such a beloved character, with a sense of humor and appeal rivaling that of the handsome scoundrel himself, Han Solo. Her inclusion in the films would be a welcomed addition. As widely celebrated as this would be, I doubt it will ever happen.
She might have been a general of the Resistance, but she will always be my princess. Like most of the world, I grieved when I heard the news of Carrie Fisher’s death. The talent, charisma, and strength she brought to the character of Leia will never be duplicated. I was glad when I read that Lucasfilm and Disney were adamant in not bringing her back for future films via CGI. The small CGI cameo and voiceover in The Force Awakens was tasteful and nicely done, but it would do her a disservice to include her in future films after her death, à la Peter Cushing.
That being said, it would have been great to see her character further developed in future films. It is known that Carrie Fisher finished filming her role in the upcoming Episode VIII, and watching that film will be emotional for any fan. I doubt it will be touched upon it that film, but it would’ve been nice to explore Leia’s skills in the Force (which we know she possessed from a small scene in Return of the Jedi). That aspect of her development was covered in the Extended Universe, but to be covered in the films, depicting her Force skills increasing under the tutelage of Luke’s training would’ve been awesome! Though she would always remain a strong diplomatic leader, in both the Extended Universe as well as the films, her Force skills could’ve been slowly integrated into her character making her more of the influential and powerful general that we know she was destined to be.
Well, that’s my list. What do you think? Do you agree? Would you have liked to see the above included in future installments of the Star Wars franchise? Or, would you instead want to see more of the Knights of Ren, an exploration of Sith Temples, possibly the rise of Supreme Leader Snoke? What about the mystery of the Geonosians? They designed the Death Star, turning over the plans to Tarkin at the end of Revenge of the Sith, but what happened to them afterwards? I thought they built the Death Star. Were they wiped out by Vader to keep them from exploiting any weakness in the design? We’ll probably never know. What would you like to see in upcoming films? I’d love to know.Share: