It was no surprise when Lucasfilm announced plans to release Star Wars anthology and spinoff movies in between the franchise’s episodic installments. After the incredible success of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, it seemed only logical for the studio to further explore the universe George Lucas created. Next month will see the release of the studio’s first anthology movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, followed by the currently untitled Han Solo movie in 2018.
Before Marvel kicked off its shared cinematic universe with Iron Man in 2007, the idea seemed completely foreign to how Hollywood did things. Now it seems every studio is working on a shared universe of some kind. Star Wars is definitely no exception since Lucasfilm plans to release at least one installment a year for the foreseeable future. Some, such as Rogue One, will setup a whole new set of characters and storylines, while others like the Han Solo movie will explore the background of the franchise’s most beloved icons. And if you can believe it, the idea of doing a Star Wars anthology movie didn’t just sprout up because of The Force Awakens. It turns out to have been an idea George Lucas had first.
In an interview with EW, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed Lucas conceived the anthology idea before selling the company to Walt Disney. She said:
“George talked to me about doing this when I first came aboard. He had often thought about doing it and he had actually written down three or four thoughts and ideas, directions you could go. Obviously inside the mythology there were lots of opportunities. So that was the first conversation I had.”
Kennedy went on to explain that a young Han Solo movie was not one of Lucas’ ideas, but rather it stemmed from other origin stories he had considered.
“No, we certainly talked about origin type stories, but we didn’t get into the specifics of that. We talked a lot about the Jedi and the foundational ideas that George had thought about when he created the mythology. It was sort of spit-balling ideas.”
The concept for Rogue One was created by acclaimed visual artist effects supervisor John Knoll, and the Han Solo movie didn’t come from Lucas either. So, it would seem as though Lucas’ input may have been limited to the concept of anthologies and spinoffs in general. Then again, there have been rumors about a spinoff centering on Obi-Wan Kenobi, which actor Ewan McGregor has already expressed interest in, so perhaps Lucas’ fingerprints will be found on that should it see the light of day.
As for the rest of the Star Wars universe, it appears everything is in good hands since Disney’s successful acquisition of the property. And with an entire universe to explore, Lucasfilm won’t be running out of ideas anytime soon.