When George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney back 2012, fans went ballistic at the news that the long-anticipated (and seemingly cancelled) Star Wars sequel trilogy was now officially happening.
Once this excitement died down, speculation soon turned towards whether or not The House of Mouse would announce any standalone films unrelated to the core movies, in an effort to exploit the cash-making machine that is the Star Wars license for all its worth.
True to form, the Star Wars Anthology series was announced a few months later, with director Gareth Evans’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story bringing us the adventures of a ragtag team of Rebel fighters in December 2016.
Disney-Lucasfilm have also made it clear that we can expect at least two more entries in the Anthology series, and we’re told that the next of these will focus on everyone’s favourite scoundrel, Han Solo (and which should totally be titled Han: Solo; Disney execs – you’re welcome).
But what other adventures set in a galaxy far, far away can we expect? Join me now as I make like a Jedi and peer into the future of Star Wars spin-offs!
5. Knights of the Old Republic
Of all the potential Anthology films put forward in this list, this one seems the most unlikely. And yet, the premise of Knights of the Old Republic – what were the Jedi and the Republic like 4,000 years ago? – holds enduring appeal with the fans.
Starting off as the popular Tales of the Jedi comic book series in the 1990s before developing into a critically and commercially successful video game franchise in the mid-2000s, Knights of the Old Republic has reached a sizeable audience who enjoy its fresh take on a world that has grown too familiar.
While the comics and (even more so) the games have all featured exceptional plots and characters, it seems likely that if Disney and Lucasfilm decide to take a punt on bringing Knights of the Old Republic to the big screen, it’ll be a case of taking the basic concept and starting from scratch (although an adaptation of the first game in the series would be amazing, y’all).
Even so, there’s still a lot to look forward to if a Knights of the Old Republic movie comes to fruition. For starters, the filmmakers involved might decide to take us back to the very dawn of the Jedi, an era when those with the Force (not to mention those without it) were coming to grips with this amazing – and scary – power that has entered their world.
Or they might decide to show us the Jedi-Sith War, when the armies of the Light and Dark Sides of the Force fought for control of the universe, made all the more complicated by the political machinations at play within the Republic and the Sith Order.
These are just a few possible storylines; there are plenty more, and the best thing is that by setting Knights of the Old Republic well before any of the other films, the filmmakers have almost total freedom to take the narrative in whatever direction they want, keeping the audience constantly guessing!
4. Imperial Commandos: A Star Wars Story
If Rogue One is going to focus on the struggles of the Rebel Alliance, then it seems only natural for Disney and Lucasfilm to green light a sister project telling the same story from the Empire’s point of view.
As a sister project to Rogue One, Imperial Commandos: A Star Wars Story (which is almost certainly NOT what this movie would be called) would offer a compelling and morally complex take on the most famous evil cannon fodder in history: the stormtroopers.
Whether the filmmakers choose to throw the spotlight onto a squad of clones or (more sensibly) a diverse group of disillusioned grunts, this tale is likely to centre around human beings who exist as living machines of war and their struggle with notions of honour and loyalty as they come to realise they’re fighting on the wrong side.
It might be that Imperial Commandos pits these troopers against even worse enemies, like the underworld element shown the original trilogy, so that we actually want to see them win. They might even go rogue and face off against another squad of ruthless troopers, which would make cheering for them all the more easy.
Either way, it’d be a novel twist on the Star Wars formula to make the Empire the “good guys”, although the filmmakers would want to be careful – make us care about these troopers too much, and watching their brothers-in-arms get blown away in the core films might become a bit tough!
Another longshot, this one. But Ewan McGregor has said in interviews that he’d be happy to reprise the role of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and the majority of fans reacted positively to his performance, so an Obi-Wan solo outing might yet happen.
Certainly, there’s wiggle room in the existing film canon for Kenobi to squeeze in another escapade, as there’s about 20 or so years between the end of Star Wars – Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars – Episode IV: A New Hope that are completely unaccounted for.
I’m not saying that this story should be told, especially as I personally prefer the idea that NOTHING happened while Obi-Wan kept watch over young Luke Skywalker, but there are plenty of people who think otherwise.
And besides – McGregor’s still got the moves:
Whatever my misgivings, I’ve got to admit that Obi-Wan could be a fun film, and the filmmakers have a diverse range of prospective plots at their fingertips.
Maybe Luke and his guardians, Owen and Beru Lars, run afoul of the slimy slug gangsters the Hutts, and Kenobi has to intervene? What if Obi-Wan receives a distress signal from one of the few surviving Jedi, and has to make the difficult choice to abandon his post in order to keep the last spark of the Jedi Order alive?
Irrespective of what angle the Disney-Lucasfilm team decide to attack the Obi-Wan film from, all they really need to do to keep the notoriously continuity-obsessed fandom content is to include a scene where Owen Lars tells Kenobi that he is never to take Luke on “..some damn fool idealistic crusade!” Seriously: they’ll love it.
This is one that has already been bandied about the rumour mills, and it makes sense: now that Yoda can be created digitally, all you need to make a spin-off happen is Frank Oz’s voice and the visual effects team at ILM. There’s no need to worry about time-consuming puppetry or scheduling – the CGI Yoda model always hits its mark, and Oz can record his lines from his favourite armchair if need be.
Beyond any practical considerations, it kinda makes sense to produce a Yoda film from a creative standpoint too. After all, not only is the little green guy an incredibly enigmatic figure, he’s also centuries old, which results in truckloads of untapped story for the filmmakers to mine.
Whilst I think it’d be a smart move to maintain at least some of the mystery surrounding Yoda, there’s undoubtedly scope to develop his character further and tell a cracking yarn. Who knows what hidden secrets we might find out about the old Jedi Master:
Story-wise, the Yoda film could show us Yoda’s time as a Padawan learner, or (and this is my pick) his time as a young, 400 year-old Jedi Knight, and the moment he had to make his first tough choice and learned what it truly means to be wise.
1. Boba Fett
Despite doing very little in the Star Wars films and ultimately dying in less than flattering circumstances, Boba Fett holds a very special place in the hearts of an insanely large proportion of the series’ fandom, and a Boba Fett film has all but been confirmed.
Fortunately, Boba’s father Jango has since shown us that the Fett family can offer more than merely a cool aesthetic by actually putting the deadly gadgets in their shared arsenal to use, and I must admit, a solo movie featuring the distinctive bounty hunter could very well rock.
I’d say that given Fett’s Western-inspired roots (the guy’s footsteps are accompanied by the sound of spurs!), it might be fun to revisit that genre with a cosmic twist.
The filmmakers could throw in an interesting bounty – either a bizarre villain Fett must kill or an innocent he must safely escort – and then feature the other bounty hunters in the franchise as the villains. Fett should never be a hero, but he could well be an anti-hero; less morally repugnant than his rivals, and possibly even possessing a brutal code of ethics all his own?
Alternatively, Disney-Lucasfilm have the option of investigating the time after Jango’s death, when a young Boba had to strike out on his own, still emotionally vulnerable and not yet quite the remorseless killer he will one day become. We might even get to see the moment he lost all hope of redemption, which would be make for a suitably tragic narrative befitting cinema’s most beloved henchman.
So there you have it – the five Star Wars spin-offs heading to a cinema near you…maybe. For the record, I’d also love to see standalone films for Leia and Lando, and most of all, R2-D2 and C-3PO, in what would be the greatest sci-fi buddy comedy of all time!