Disney announced today that Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson will be spearheading a new trilogy of Star Wars films after Episode IX, and we've got an idea for the perfect setting for them: The Old Republic.
All we know so far is that the new films are "separate from the episodic Skywalker saga" and "introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored," which doesn't tell us much. However, what we can glean from this is that it will be entirely unrelated to what we've seen in the current series of feature films. No Luke, Anakin, Han, Rey, Finn, or anyone else who's directly tied to the story of the Skywalkers will be making an appearance.
So what does that leave? There are countless stories from novels, comics, and video games that could be explored, for starters, or something brand new. Disney has started to reintroduce certain aspects of the Expanded Universe back into the official canon lore umbrella, so it's worth consideration that one of those existing tales could be explored. In the announcement they were careful to state a corner of the galaxy that "Star Wars lore has never before explored" but not necessarily a corner of the galaxy that hasn't been explored, period.
This opens the door for any stories that are currently non-canon or could be canon. We think the stories that should be at the top of the list for this new trilogy are the ones experienced in The Old Republic era.
What is The Old Republic?
The Old Republic is an era in Star Wars canon that predates everything most fans know of from the films and TV shows. This setting rose to popularity originally via the release of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, a roleplaying game developed by Bioware (creators of Mass Effect and Dragon Age) and published by LucasArts. The game takes place over 4,000 years before the founding of the Galactic Empire (a.k.a. a long, long, long time ago) with Darth Malak as the main antagonist. Malak left the Jedi Order to become a Sith during the Mandalorian wars.
Players get to create their own character from scratch and meet a long list of companions that they can interact with and even engage in romantic relationships. Over the course of the game you get to make choices that tilt your alignment towards the light or dark side of the force and eventually even get to visit the Jedi Temple and create your own lightsaber. The game features a huge twist ending and culminates in a big shift in power for the Republic or Empire. We consider it to still be the very best Star Wars game ever made.
Even the opening crawl for the games reads like the premise of an excellent new Star Wars film trilogy:
Four thousand years beforethe rise of the GalacticEmpire, the Republic vergeson collapse. DARTH MALAK,last surviving apprentice ofthe DARK LORD REVAN, hasunleashed an invincibleSith armada upon anunsuspecting galaxy.
Crushing all resistance,Malak's war of conquesthas left the Jedi Orderscattered and vulnerableas countless Knights fall inbattle, and many moreswear allegiance to the newSith Master.
In the skies above the OuterRim world of Taris, a Jedibattle fleet engages theforces of Darth Malak in adesperate effort to halt theSith's galactic domination…
The game eventually got a sequel, developed by Obsidian, and the same setting is being used in Star Wars: The Old Republic, a massively-multiplayer online roleplaying game, which is being developed by Bioware once again, and published this time by Electronic Arts. The MMO's trailer was so good we even likened it to a movie itself when it first debuted back in 2010. Furthermore, the setting was also explored in greater detail in books and comics, also set in The Old Republic era.