The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm, the owner of Star Wars, three years ago, expanding the series’s canon along the way to include such entries as the Rebels television series, the sequel trilogy (which kicked off last year with Episode VII: The Force Awakens), and, of course, the anthology films, which begin this December with Rogue One.
As part of this new chapter of the SW mythology, the new Lucasfilm hasn’t been afraid to return to older, fan-favorite characters and reinsert them in new adventures all along the franchise’s timeline; Rebels brought back both Darth Vader and his former Padawan Learner, Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), just this season, and Rogue One will feature the famed Sith Lord and freedom fighter/terrorist Saw Gerrera later this year. But could the door have just been opened for yet another legendary figure to take center stage again as well? It most certainly was if Samuel L. Jackson has his way.
Speaking to EW, the actor behind Jedi Master Mace Windu – who was the only Jedi allowed to buck the convention of blue or green lightsabers – stated his personal belief that the Jedi Council stalwart survived his encounter with Darths Sidious (Ian McDiarmid) and Vader (Hayden Christensen):
“Of course he is [still alive]! Jedi can fall from amazing distances. And there’s a long history of one-handed Jedi. So why not?”
He went on to say that, in his hypothetical SW reality, Mace has been lying low on some remote planet, just like Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor/Alec Guinness) and Yoda (Frank Oz) did in the films. Furthermore, he told series creator George Lucas about his idea – and got his official stamp of approval: “George is like, ‘I’m okay with that. You can be alive.’”
Lucas may not be involved – at all – with Star Wars any longer, but his influence is certainly still being actively felt; when Lucasfilm decided to include Saw Gerrera in the first spinoff film, it did so knowing what Lucas and the Clone Wars writing staff (that’s the TV show the character was originally introduced in) had planned out for him in future seasons, should they have come to pass. It’s not inconceivable, therefore, to think that Disney is paying attention to what Lucas has to think on the Mace Windu matter.
Is it likely that Jackson can reappear as the Jedi Master? Should these first few anthology installments prove successful, Windu could easily carry his own narrative (just look at any number of Clone Wars episodes), especially if the time period is moved to the interstitial era between the prequels and the sequels, which has proven to be Disney’s favorite epoch thus far. But even before then, this suddenly occurring possibility of Mace’s continued existence could easily factor into future seasons of Rebels or in the now-fully-integrated Expanded Universe of novels, comic books, short stories, and video games; Gerrera’s return was preceded by references on both the small screen and in the book Bloodline, after all.
Then again, with the Old Republic setting being one that Lucasfilm seems keen on keeping at arm’s length, and given that there’s a whole score of other potential premises for the anthology movies to follow, fans just may have to resolve themselves to the idea that Mace Windu died 11 long years ago – and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.