After Disney and Lucasfilm brought Star Wars back to the big screen for the first time in a decade with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, the studios are set to enter into some completely uncharted territory for the franchise with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Taking place in a different time and telling a story completely separate from the current saga films, Rogue One will follow the group of rebels directly responsible for procuring the Death Star plans that made its destruction possible at the end of A New Hope.
There’s a lot riding on the success of Rogue One, which opens in the U.S. next Friday, as it could determine the future of other standalone films set in the Star Wars universe, and specifically, whether or not there will be any more after the announced Young Han Solo film and 2020 standalone.
Luckily, Rogue One‘s freedom to tell a story unlike any that Star Wars fans have seen before is also its foremost appeal, and according to Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, that’s also its biggest advantage. While speaking with ET, the actor shared his thoughts on the upcoming spinoff film, saying the following:
“I’ve only seen the trailers, and it looks fantastic. I can’t wait, yeah. They have a real advantage being able to go in and do a one-off story because you don’t have to follow the trilogy model of a three-act play. They can really get it done, get off, and leave the audience wanting more. They have a chance to make it their own identity. This one looks like a really gritty World War II film. They have a chance to really branch out and stake out the territory for themselves, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Indeed, the possibility of getting to see Star Wars films that aren’t somehow related to the main story or timeline of the Skywalker family has been one of the main reasons fans are excited for Rogue One. This is especially true since some fans thought The Force Awakens suffered from too much set up for Episode VIII and Episode IX, rather than being able to deliver a complete story by itself. Here, there’s the chance to see some of the greatest myths and legends of the Star Wars universe brought to life onscreen for the first time.
In addition to Rogue One and the Young Han Solo movie, many fans have speculated that Disney and Lucasfilm could make a film about Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan during the time in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, or the long-awaited Boba Fett spinoff. Whether or not any of these happen likely all depends on how well the critical, fan, and particularly the box office reception to Rogue One is this month, though, which promises the start of yet another new era in the Star Wars franchise.