On April 25, 2014, Lucasfilm and Disney released a statement that would change the Star Wars franchise and Expanded Universe forever. Many fans had speculated that the Expanded Universe – that is, the books, comics, video games, and other mediums that had developed from the rich worlds and characters of George Lucas’s movies – would be used as source material for the upcoming Star Wars films.
However, under the direction of President Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm released a statement saying that while the Expanded Universe could be used as inspiration for the new films, it was no longer considered Star Wars canon. Everything other than the six major films and Dave Filoni’s The Clone Wars (2008) television show, was to be designated as Star Wars Legends.
The Lucasfilm Story Group, which was created to regulate Star Wars stories across mediums, was designated to help coordinate the new canon Star Wars universe, and subsequent books and other media (approved after the announcement) were also to be considered “canon” alongside the film and television show.
The designation of Star Wars Legends creates new possibilities, plotlines, and outcomes – major events, including the marriage of Han Solo and Leia Organa or the death of Chewbacca in the Yuuzhan Vong War, were erased. At the same time, the erasure of some of the most beloved characters in the Star Wars universe was a disappointment to fans. Critics have decried the move as being motivated solely by money; by destroying the previous canon, Lucasfilm is able to sell another whole set of products to eager fans. But simultaneously, the new Expanded Universe offers a fresh take on the Star Wars universe for fans as well as a clean slate for filmmakers, such as J. J. Abrams, to develop their own characters, stories, and adventures.
The Star Wars Legends designation is not a death sentence. Lucasfilm stressed that filmmakers and writers could turn to the previous Expanded Universe for inspiration; the aim of redefining the canon was simply to allow for the freedom to deviate from the previous Expanded Universe.
There are thousands of characters that comprise Star Wars Legends. However, some characters not only deserve to be elevated to the status of canon, but could also serve as inspiration for Star Wars spin-off films of their own. Here is a list of 14 Star Wars Legends Characters That Deserve Their Own Movie:
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Grand Admiral Thrawn, also known by his Chiss name, Mitth’raw’nuruodo, was the only non-human Grand Admiral of the Galactic Empire. A blue-skinned and red-eyed Chiss from the icy planet of Csilla, Thrawn rose in the Imperial ranks because of his aptitude for strategy and his merciless intellect. Thrawn’s story brought to light the Galactic Empire’s speciesist policies, though he himself managed to rise in the ranks despite the fact that he was not a human.
During the Battle of Endor, Thrawn was patrolling the Unknown Regions for what later turned out to be the Yuuzhan Vong, and therefore survived the destruction of the second Death Star. First appearing in Timothy Zahn’s pivotal Heir to the Empire, Thrawn was the major nemesis of the Rebel forces as they tried to defeat the Galactic Empire and form the New Republic. His tactical skills made him one of the most formidable foes that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia ever faced; despite the fact that he was not Force-sensitive, his brilliant strategies, maneuvers, and traps made him nearly impossible to defeat. He also utilized a vast array of technologies, which were recombined into various stratagems to destroy his foes, including cloaking devices, cloning facilities, and ysalamiri (creatures which naturally repel the Force). Thrawn was finally defeated only because his bodyguard, Rukh, turned on him and killed him.
Thrawn is a fan-favorite, and it’s clear why: he is a cold-blooded and calculating villain that is unlike any other adversary in Star Wars. While he originally faces off with Luke Skywalker and the New Republic, his story could easily be adapted to fit the new canon.
Mara Jade was trained from birth as a member of the Emperor’s Hand, a secret organization of Force-wielders who undertook missions for Emperor Palpatine, who she could telepathically communicate with through the Force. The final mission that she received from Palpatine, just before his death on the second Death Star, was an order to kill Luke Skywalker. While her first appearance was as an antagonist in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, her story developed and intertwined with Luke Skywalker’s, who she would eventually go on to marry. Beginning as a dark Force user, Mara Jade later became a Jedi, and even rose to the rank of Jedi Master.
Mara Jade appears in countless Star Wars Expanded Universe stories, but given the little we know about Luke Skywalker’s story in the J. J. Abrams film, it seems unlikely that she will make an appearance in Episode VII. However, even if she was not Luke Skywalker’s wife, her tough and fiesty personality, along with her story of redemption, would be a powerful addition to a Star Wars film.
Long before the events of Episode I, Nomi Sunrider was a Force-sensitive woman who was married to Jedi Andur Sunrider. She initially declined being trained by the Jedi Order. After her husband was murdered by bandits, his Force Ghost appeared to his wife, telling her to use his lightsaber to fight them off and save their baby daughter, Vima. She then fulfilled her dead husband’s final wish, training in his stead under Jedi Master Thon.
Nomi Sunrider fought in the Great Sith War against the Dark Lord Exar Kun and his Sith Apprentice Ulic Qel-Droma. She helped to imprison Exar Kun’s ghost on Yavin IV, and she used her exceptional relationship with the Force to cut off Ulic Qel-Droma’s Force connection entirely. Sunrider is one of the most powerful Jedi of all time, and her epic fight against the Sith is one that rivals that of Luke Skywalker. She went on to become a Grand Master of the Jedi Council. She could easily be featured in a stand-alone movie without infringing on the story and characters that are established in The Force Awakens and subsequent movies.
Long before Darth Vader, Revan was considered one of the most powerful Jedi – and Sith – that the universe had ever known. Revan is the protagonist and player-character in the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video game. Around 4000 years before A New Hope, Revan was taught in the ways of the Force by many masters, including Kreia. Against the will of the Jedi Council, he fought against the Mandalorians, and during this fight fell to the dark side. However, after Revan lost his memory, he fought against his former followers, becoming a Jedi once more.
Kylo Ren copying Revan’s armor is not enough. Revan’s story is rare, because in the Knights of the Old Republic, what seems to be an origin story is revealed to be a story of redemption. Revan, the new hero who can save the Republic, is born out of Revan, the villain who tried to destroy it in the first place.
Kyle Katarn was an Imperial stormtrooper who believed that the Rebel alliance had murdered his father. However, a Rebel operative Jan Ors proved to him that it was, in fact, Imperial soldiers that killed his father. Katarn defected, becoming a mercenary and, later, a spy for the Rebellion. Although Katarn was Force-sensitive, his relationship with the Force took time to develop, and he refused training as a Jedi Knight at first for fear that the dark side would have power over him.
Based on what we know about Finn from The Force Awakens, his transition from stormtrooper to Rebel fighter is not unlike Kyle Katarn, and he, too, could be Force-sensitive, given that he wields a lightsaber in one of the trailers. However, this basic connection, and perhaps inspiration, is not a replacement for seeing Kyle Katarn brought to life in a film. Originally a playable character in the video game Star Wars: Dark Forces, Katarn was so popular that he appeared in many other Expanded Universe stories – his transformation from Imperial minion to Jedi Master is a long and difficult road that deserves a movie. Katarn also was instrumental in getting the plans of the first Death Star to the Rebel alliance, meaning that he could potentially be an inspiration for (or even make an appearance in) Star Wars: Rogue One.
Dash Rendar was a former Imperial pilot who became a smuggler, worked with the Rebel alliance, and was a playful rival of Han Solo’s. Rendar’s solo film could follow the plot of Shadows of the Empire, a book that takes place in-between The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi. Dash Rendar is initially hired by Lando Calrissian to track down Boba Fett, who has Han Solo frozen in carbonite. While the heroes are not able to save Han, Rendar does play an instrumental role in saving Princess Leia after she is kidnapped by Prince Xizor of the Black Sun crime syndicate.
Dash Rendar, along with his beloved ship, the Outrider, would make an amazing star for a stand-alone movie taking place between Episode V and Episode VI – but it would require casting younger actors as the original trilogy’s heroes or some serious reimagining of the storyline.
Jacen & Jaina Solo
Jacen and Jaina Solo, along with their younger brother, Anakin Solo, trained at the Jedi Praxeum on Yavin IV under their uncle Luke Skywalker’s New Jedi Order. The twins both fought against the Yuuzhan Vong, a deadly species of religious zealots who attacked the New Republic. During the Yuuzhan Vong War, Jaina flirted with the dark side of the Force, but ultimately chose the path of the Jedi, where her combat skills led Luke to nickname her the “Sword of the Jedi.” Jacen, however, was captured and tortured by the Yuuzhan Vong, which began his descent to the dark side. Becoming Darth Caedus, Jacen Solo wreaked havoc on the galaxy, and even murdered his aunt Mara Jade Skywalker. Finally, however, Jaina Solo fought with her brother and killed him.
Of all of the characters in the Expanded Universe, a film about Jacen and Jaina Solo perhaps makes the most sense, as they, along with Anakin Solo and their cousin Ben Skywalker, are the descendants of Darth Vader and the inheritors of his legacy. However, rumors around the story of The Force Awakens makes this increasingly unlikely.
Kyp Durron was imprisoned in the spice mines of Kessel with his family at the age of 8. Years later, he was rescued by Han Solo and trained under Luke Skywalker on Yavin IV as a Jedi Knight. It was on Yavin IV where he met and was enticed by the ghost of the ancient Sith Lord Exar Kun, who had been trapped on the planet by Nomi Sunrider and other Jedi thousands of years previously. Durron stole a confiscated Imperial superweapon, the Sun Crusher, and under Exar Kun’s influence, used it to destroy multiple star systems by causing stars to supernova. After the spirit of Exar Kun was defeated, Durron surrendered and destroyed the Sun Crusher by piloting it into a black hole and jettisoning via escape pod at the final moment.
Kyp Durren’s life as a Jedi continues after these events, as he appears in later books in the Expanded Universe. However, his origin story could make a compelling movie that ties together seemingly disparate stories of Nomi Sunrider and Exar Kun, canon heroes like Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, and the later Expanded Universe.
Captain Fordo, or Advanced Recon Commando 77, was a clone trooper who fought alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Clone Wars. Fordo, whose dry sense of humor and bravery undermine the idea that all clones are interchangeable, led his unit on Muunilinst and Coruscant in some of the most critical battles of the Clone Wars. He also helped to save the Jedi Ki-Adi-Mundi, Aayla Secura, and Shaak Ti on Hypori against General Grievous.
Captain Fordo appeared in the first Star Wars: Clone Wars television show (2003) created by Genndy Tartakovsky, who also created the classic animated show Samurai Jack (2001). Tartakovsky has said that he was inspired in part by the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers (2001), and if Tartakovsky would be willing to head a Captain Fordo animated movie, the fans that he gained from his previous television shows would be overjoyed.
One of the main characters of the X-Wing series, Corran Horn was an ace pilot who later became a Jedi and even served on the Jedi High Council that Luke Skywalker founded. Horn joined Rogue squadron, the group of expert X-Wing pilots led by Wedge Antilles.
Horn follows a similar Jedi trajectory as Luke Skywalker, a dashing pilot whose natural Force-sensitivity leads him to becoming a powerful Jedi Master. However, if a movie was to be made about Horn, there are some interesting and unique stories that involve him, both as a war-time pilot in the X-Wing series, and as a criminal investigator for CorSec (the Corellian Security Force). Alongside his partner, Iella Wessiri, Horn could give the tried-and-true detective genre a Star Wars twist.
Teneniel Djo was a member of one of the Amazonian tribes of Force-sensitive “witches” on the planet Dathomir, which is both the originating world of Sith apprentice Darth Maul and the violent rancor that Luke Skywalker fought in Jabba the Hutt’s palace in Return of the Jedi. In The Courtship of Princess Leia, which occurs soon after the events of Return of the Jedi, Leia discovered a way to strengthen the Rebellion against the Empire – by marrying the wealthy Prince Isolder of the Hapes Consortium. However, Han Solo kidnapped Leia and took her to Dathomir in order to convince her that marrying Isolder would be a mistake. Isolder followed them to Dathomir, and over the course of the book, falls in love with and marries Teneniel Djo. Isolder and Teneniel Djo later have a daughter, Tenel Ka, who was a friend and love interest of Jacen Solo.
The early plot line may pose a problem – especially since The Force Awakens takes place thirty years after The Return of the Jedi, but the book conjures an amazing planet, society, and warrior-leader, Teneniel Djo, which would make for a brilliant on-screen adaptation.
Galen Marek, or Starkiller, was the secret Sith apprentice of Darth Vader between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope in the video game The Force Unleashed. Marek initially acted as an assassin, killing Jedi who escaped Order 66. When Vader and Marek plotted to overthrow Palpatine, the Emperor discovered their plan, and Vader violently faked Marek’s death. Marek’s new mission from Vader was to gather opponents of the Galactic Empire to create a rebellion. Marek brought together senators Mon Mothma, Garm Bel Iblis, and Bail Organa, the father of Princess Leia. However, over the course of creating the alliance, Marek had second thoughts and regained some of his suppressed memories from his childhood. Choosing the light side of the Force, he sacrificed his life to save the senators from Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, leading to the creation of the Rebel Alliance.
The story of Galen Marek would make for a fantastic stand-alone movie that shows the time between the first two trilogies, as well as feature the singular and iconic Darth Vader as the primary villain.
Kal Skirata was a Mandalorian who trained clone troopers on Kamino during the Clone Wars. He trained and fought alongside the original “Null-class” clones of Jango Fett. These six initial clones, thought of as failures by the Kaminoans, would have been destroyed if Skirata had not intervened. Kal Skirata not only instructed the Null-class clones in advanced combat, but adopted them and taught them about their Mandalorian heritage, treating them as if they were his sons. He also turned them into an elite group of secret operatives.
The Republic Commando books humanize the Clone Wars and some of the soldiers who fought in it, both clones and non-clones alike. Kal Skirata and his commandos would make a compelling ensemble that could helm a truly unique Star Wars movie.
There are thousands of characters in the Star Wars Legends universe – who did we forget that deserves a movie of their own? Let us know in the comments!