by: Joshua Outred – Staff Writer
We’re so close to the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that I can taste it; in a matter of days we’ll be settling into our seats at the cinema ready to watch the first non-saga Star Wars film, a very special occasion indeed. The release of this first spin-off film will not only be important for us fans but for the creative minds behind Star Wars too, as Rogue One will stand as a sort of judgment point, where reactions will be analyzed and decisions made about where next to take these standalone movies after the release of ‘Han Solo’ in 2018.
In his recent coverage of Rogue One, Anthony Breznican of Entertainment Weekly reported that January will see the Lucasfilm brain-trust gather together, where they’ll map out the future of Star Wars cinema past Episode IX. Breznican finally confirmed that the third spin-off, set for 2020, was the long rumoured ‘Boba Fett’ film. That film has been temporarily put on hold since Josh Trank’s sudden departure last year. This begs the question of What ‘Star Wars Story’ will we eventually see in 2020? Will the Fett film be reignited, or will a great response to an all new cast of characters with Rogue One see Lucasfilm decide on something completely different and unexpected?
With the future of Star Wars cinema beyond Episode IX being a big question at the moment, I decided to take a little dive into what the third spin-off film could be. What do the fans want, as opposed to what is likely to be greenlit and announced next year.
Star Wars fans, we’re so demanding.. always wanting for nothing.. Joking aside, I feel like demand is the perfect word to describe certain areas of the fanbases’ hopes and dreams for the third spin-off. Although many of us will be happy with whatever is announced, there is most certainly a fan demand for specific character stories, starting with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, Kenobi, he’s most certainly a film people want, and according to Anthony Breznican is high on Lucasfilm’s list awaiting the green light. The idea that Obi-Wan spent a many number of years on Tatooine watching over Luke intrigues people, and I can see why they want that story, Ewan McGregor was great as Kenobi in the prequels and seeing him play Obi at an older age where he’s probably learning great truths about the Force is exciting. If the Kenobi film were to be set in the period between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, there’s also a chance we’d see a younger Luke Skywalker and other classic characters return at a point in their life we have yet to see, I can see the interest. One thing that puts me off is this, what more about Obi-Wan Kenobi do we need to know? He’s a character with a lot of exposition thus far and unless Lucasfilm has great plans for him, I’m not so invested in a film revolving around him.
The Old Republic and Origins of the Jedi. These two also keep coming up, there’s a huge amount of love out there for the Old Republic games, although I’ve never cared for them or that era. There is a large portion of the Star Wars fanbase who want to see that era reimagined on screen in the new canon. I think it’s an era that will eventually be explored, I feel that the current sequel trilogy is going to set up some form of backstory in which an Old Republic-Jedi Origin film will be able to explain how the Force became more than just that, how it became something beings embraced, using for good and for evil. I feel that a Jedi-Origin story could certainly tie into that era, hence why I’ve included both in this segment. It’s possible that Lucasfilm would want the origin of the Jedi Knights to be set in an era where the Old Republic exists, in doing so we would gain exposition on both stories, ‘killing two birds with one stone’ so to speak. I’ll be completely frank with you here, I have absolutely zero interest in visiting the Old Republic era and/or the complete beginnings of the Jedi, I don’t feel like it’s an era that necessarily needs to be explored, and to be honest, a time set so many thousands of years prior to where The Phantom Menace began may feel too far departed from what Star Wars is, a certain visual language that may have to abandoned when traveling so far into the past. The Jedi Origin story would be better utilized in pieces, being referenced in the films, not demystifying the whole thing with a film laying it all out. Sometimes less is more. (Jay: I’d imagine a lesson was learned by demystifying Vader in the Prequel Trilogy)
One more popular choice, there is.. Now, who could that be? The little green guy himself, Yoda. Although not voiced as often as the previous mentions above, people really would love a Yoda origin story. When it was first announced back in 2012 that Lucasfilm would be producing spin-off films, the popular three that were rumored were, ‘Han Solo’, ‘Boba Fett’ and ‘Yoda’. We now know we’re getting the ‘Han Solo’ film in 2018, and have recently gained more confirmation on the Fett film being one of the other’s, originally set to be the second until the controversy with Josh Trank benched the film. So could the other long rumored ‘Yoda’ film be the third standalone? Unlikely. The reason I say so is because I don’t think it’s a character Lucasfilm wants to necessarily tell a personal story about (at least not yet), I have no doubt that it’ll be made eventually, but in the first wave of films, doubtful. Yoda is a wildly popular character, and he’s shrouded in mystery so much so we don’t even know the name of his species (maybe Lucasfilm doesn’t either..?). A Yoda origin story could be incredible, not only would his character be exciting to really open up with, it’d be an incredible chance for the filmmakers to push the boundaries and use
every trick in the book to pull off successfully, embracing the oldest filmmaking tricks all the way down to those yet to be explored. I’d say leave it for now, it may be something better left for the future. (Jay: fingers crossed that it’s a romcom between Yoda and Maz Kanata. Imagine that Meet/Cute)
With the Lucasfilm brain-trust getting together in January to plot and green light future projects, it’s up in the air as to what will be chosen as the third Anthology film. The answer essentially comes down to the reaction of Rogue One, even though I feel that specific line of thinking is a little safe, that’s
Lucasfilm basically saying that if Rogue One doesn’t receive outstanding reactions they’ll go back to playing it safe, when they should really be going with whatever stories they want to tell, not what we want them to tell. So, what’s likely? Well, we’ve heard that the ‘Boba Fett/Bounty Hunter’ film mentioned previously is still a favorite and they’ve already done quite a bit of work already behind the scenes, but it would certainly undergo some changes with a new director coming on board. The Fett film could also tie into the ‘Han Solo’ film if it’s set around a younger Boba, being a perfect opportunity to tie two origin films together. Although a Fett film isn’t as much a popular choice as say, Obi-Wan, it’s a film I want to see and have always wanted to see. Boba Fett is a badass looking character, his imagery is iconic and yet he’s done nothing but flop on screen, I get that.. his onscreen physical performances ave kinda suck thus far, but it’s time to see the real in-universe reason for his reputation. There’s a story to be told with Fett, whether or not it’s of his younger self and a possible rivalry with young smuggler, Solo, or if they canonized his escape from the Sarlacc pit, there’s story there to be told. Imagine a noir-esque crime-thriller with Fett as the leading man? Yeah, I’d dig it!
What do I want?
What do I want to see? Well, I set that one up for you already and most who know me well know I love Boba Fett, I’m also an absolute sucker for crime-thrillers, so combining the two and having the likes of Kim Jee-Woo (I Saw The Devil) direct, I think that speaks for itself. I’m definitely interested in seeing Lucasfilm experiment with genre-style films for the spin-off’s, I’m less interested in seeing these flicks just explore the lore of Star Wars and more interested in the filmmakers bringing their specific styles to the table, where they can really let loose and spin the visual language of Star Wars in beautiful knots with a more personal stylistic language.
Rogue One is a matter of days away, and this is going to stand as a turning point in Star Wars cinema. It’ll set precedent for what comes next, and I truly hope Star Wars cinema pushes its boundaries, continuing diversity in its casting and stylistically speaking in terms of the visual language used by the future filmmakers.