Star Wars is uniquely designed to support an infinite number of spinoff stories. With a vast galaxy of worlds, a long history of political intrigue, and a grand scope for adventure, the franchise is a never-ending ideas factory – with inspiration lurking around every corner, and at the end of every jump to light-speed. With Episode IX soon entering production, we’re coming to the end of the current trilogy of the core Skywalker saga and, with no hint of an Episode X, it’s to the developing spinoffs and Anthology films to which we’ll soon be turning.
We’ve already seen what’s possible with the hugely successful Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. This was centred on a line from the opening crawl of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, about rebels stealing the plans for the Death Star. Next, we’ll see a character-based Anthology film, as Solo: A Star Wars Story explores the younger days of the man who would become Princess Leia’s “scruffy looking nerf-herder.”
With further Anthology pics still rumoured (including those based around Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi), and brand new spinoff franchises set to be developed by both Rian Johnson and the duo of David Benioff and D.B Weiss, let’s take a look at the other Star Wars stories – both character based and scenario based – that we’d still love to see.
This is almost a no-brainer in terms of ideas that are guaranteed to provide huge box office, since Leia Organa is the legendary character that kicked the whole thing off in 1977, with her appeal to Obi-Wan Kenobi via R2-D2’s playback facility.
Leia’s story is a fascinating one. Adopted by Senator Bail Prestor Organa and his wife, Breha, Leia was raised on the planet Alderaan, and educated in the politics of the Galactic Republic. It was the politics of her adoptive parents that ultimately guided the adult Leia into a leadership role within the Rebel Alliance, but her early years on Alderaan have never before been explored on the big screen.
There would undoubtedly be substantial interest in a film that features a teenage Leia – getting to grips with her role as politician’s daughter while discovering her own power and motivations – particularly if she were to be played by Millie Bobby Brown. Such a project would be a fitting way to honour this founding character – since plans to have her be the focal point of Episode IX had to be changed in response to the sudden death of Carrie Fisher.
The Rebel Emergence
While the Prequel Trilogy really dug into the political machinations of the Galactic Republic, these were more focused on the Separatist Movement led by Count Dooku and General Grievous. While this proved to be a fascinating narrative exploration in the context of those films, there was less focus on the actual formation of the Rebel Alliance.
In that timeframe of events, Senator Palpatine has control of the Senate, and makes such manoeuvres as to brand the Jedi Order as enemies of the Republic – allowing him to legitimize attacks on the Order and deal with the Separatist Crisis. His propaganda and manipulations are such that, when he announces that he’s turning the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire – of which he will be Emperor – he’s met with thunderous applause.
However, at the same time, the Rebel Alliance is emerging in the shape of such political voices as Senator Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma, and Padme Amidala. These are the oppositional figures that would later be joined by Princess Leia. A film focusing specifically on this tumultuous period in Star Wars history would not only be a thrill to watch, but would also be politically relevant, as American and European politics becomes increasingly divided and issues such as U.S. gun control draw out new political voices.
Here’s a story that has history and fandom built right in, along with fan-approved casting. Ahsoka Tano is a character from the animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars – and later, Star Wars Rebels – and she became beloved by fans of that show and beyond. She’s the teenage Padawan of Anakin Skywalker who grew into a Star Wars hero in her own right – bearing witness to the evolution of Skywalker and facing her own crises and difficult personal choices.
The key to Ahsoka Tano is that we’ve already seen her grow up through her adventures with Anakin in The Clone Wars. Her character develops accordingly, until – years later – she faces off with Darth Vader and realizes the truth. She survives Order 66 and ultimately finds herself walking through the ruins of Jedi Temple before going into hiding.
We know that she continues to help the Rebel Alliance, though, and this is why an Ahsoka Tano movie would be a brilliant move for Lucasfilm. Not only is she an interesting character, but her history ties her in directly to the core Skywalker saga, while also being a character that’s brand new to live-action and the big screen.
A theatrical movie would need to be focused on her current story, though – not a retrospective look at her exploits. It would be interesting to pick up with Tano in light of the events of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, in particular – and fan feeling seems to have coalesced around the idea of Rosario Dawson playing her.
Rebel Flight School
We’ve heard many characters wax lyrical about Rebel Alliance pilots. Luke Skywalker dreamed of being one, Finn is often caught being in awe of Poe Dameron, and grounded civilians are regularly caught gaping as Rebel craft blaze trails of freedom across the skies.
But the pilots of the Rebel Alliance do not come to their roles in conventional fashion – they’re drawn from all manner of backgrounds. Some are from the world of commercial flight, while others are farm workers – like Luke Skywalker – seeking adventure and meaning in life. Many have defected from Imperial forces – bringing with them all the knowledge and intel gained through their training with the opposing side.
It’s this eclectic nature that makes them a fascinating group to set as the centre of a movie – because in order to succeed and work for the Rebellion, these pilots must learn to work together in flight. We could explore this world by following a newcomer into the ranks of the Rebellion air force, and watching them get to grips with the hierarchies, the lifestyle, and the missions of the group. With the need for exceptional action sequences, Justin Lin would be an excellent choice to direct this movie, as would Mimi Leder.
The Nightsisters – seen in The Clone Wars – are an ancient matriarchal order, who rule the planet of Dathomir. They’re akin to a coven of witches, insofar as they present an alternative view of The Force, by drawing upon it in a different way to either the Empire or the Jedi. The Nightsisters generally keep themselves to themselves – choosing to focus on their own social matters and not involving themselves in the politics of the Empire, or the Republic.
However, they do deal unfavourably with anyone that happens to arrive on Dathomir, and they’ve also had dealings with Count Dooku during the time of his Separatist Movement. Indeed, Darth Maul is the son of Nightsister Mother Talzin. This could be the focus of a movie plot itself (since it ultimately leads to the extinction of the Nightsisters) but equally, a story could be woven of young Nightsisters, growing up in this very specific, matriarchal culture, and learning about where it fits within the context of the galaxy and The Force.
There’s a great deal of scope here for world-building in live-action cinema, with the introduction of a set of characters new to the film franchise. The nature of the witch-like Nightsisters clan means that this story could also incorporate elements of horror genre more than any other in the Star Wars series. As such, Karyn Kusama would be a great choice to direct.
Band On The Run
Remember the band that was seen playing for Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars: Episode IV – Return Of The Jedi? Well, like most other characters glimpsed in this universe, they have their own story – and it would make for a fantastic, and very different, Star Wars movie.
The Max Rebo Band story is included in the 1995 anthology book, Tales From Jabba’s Palace – in a short story written by John Gregory Betancourt – and they’ve also appeared elsewhere in literature. The short story charts some of the events that befall the group in the year before Return Of The Jedi, though – through that film and a short time after.
Beginning as a quartet, the band arrives to perform at the Mos Eisley Cantina – but the resident group disapproves and murders the band leader. The remaining members – Sy, Droopy and Max – decide to continue on their musical quest, with Max as the new band leader. Jabba the Hutt helps them with this decision by offering them a lifetime of food to be the resident band at his palace.
Appearances by the band in Star Wars comic book stories have included escapades during their time in the employ of Jabba, where the crime lord sends them to play for one of his rivals – only for them to realize that they’re being used as unwitting accomplices in an assassination attempt, and they must use creative strategies to escape the situation.
Back in the short story, though, the band’s tenure at the palace is interrupted when Princess Leia throttles Jabba with the chain he’s used to bind her, during the rescue of Luke, Han. Chewbacca and Lando at the Sarlacc Pit. The band loses their instruments and equipment in the ensuing explosion, and Droopy resigns his position right there, in the middle of the desert.
The potential for high comedy in this story is considerable, while exploring characters that are familiar to some, but also new to many. This tale has close ties to iconic plot points in the core Skywalker saga, while also building highly empathetic new characters into the canon. Taika Waititi would really be the ideal choice for this movie, too, which could be an interesting spinoff that would reinvigorate the entire brand.