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 before
the rise of the Galactic
Empire, the Republic verges
on collapse. DARTH MALAK,
last surviving apprentice of
the DARK LORD REVAN, has
unleashed an invincible
Sith armada upon an
Crushing all resistance,
Malak's war of conquest
has left the Jedi Order
scattered and vulnerable
as countless Knights fall in
battle, and many more
swear allegiance to the new
In the skies above the Outer
Rim world of Taris, a Jedi
battle fleet engages the
forces of Darth Malak in a
desperate effort to halt the
Sith'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.
Why Does The Old Republic Make a Good Film Setting?
The Old Republic as a setting is chocked full of stories worth exploring in films. For starters, the original Jedi temple and creation of the Jedi Council in and of itself could be shown on the big screen for the very first time. When we see the Order in the prequel trilogy we get to see the Jedi at full-strength with large numbers, but we never learn how they got to that point. Furthermore, the Dark Side of the force is all but non-existent for the most part.
The Old Republic would be an opportunity to show a powerful Empire (similar to that of the original Star Wars trilogy) that is being directly challenged by a powerful order of Jedis. For once, we could see two superpowers facing off in a way that we really haven't yet beyond a few choice scenes in the prequel trilogy.
Hollywood loves a good origin story and you don't get much bigger than the origin of the Jedi and Sith. In this way, the new trilogy could tackle events prior to even The Old Republic era and then eventually lead into that setting which could be covered in the new animated series, or even another, fifth trilogy of films.
The Old Republic era is so popular there's even a petition with over 200,000 signatures to start a Netflix series in that universe already.
How Likely is an Old Republic Trilogy?
None of this matters though if Disney and Rian Johnson aren't even considering The Old Republic era. However, there is some evidence to suggest that they might. For starters, Star Wars Rebels casually confirmed that The Old Republic era (specifically the Mandalorian Wars, which birthed Darth Revan himself) did in fact happen and are canon earlier this year. That lays the ground work.
The Old Republic's games, comics, and books also make a good effort to explain and highlight key moments from galactic history, many events of which took place far before even The Old Republic's setting, which proves that the powers-that-be behind Star Wars have given a lot of thought to things not officially shown in films or TV shows. When you consider the fact that trailers for The Last Jedi are now showing hints at the first Jedi temple and several old historical documents that could contain information about the founding of the Jedi and Republic itself, taking us back a few thousand years doesn't seem so far-fetched.
When you consider that Disney's statement hints that the trilogy will cover areas of Star Wars lore never before explored, we can surmise that they very well may take place during The Old Republic, or even earlier, to show the founding, origin, and beginnings of the Jedi, Sith, and Force as we know it.
What do you think about this news? There is no release window for the new film trilogy, although we can assume it will be 2020 or later since Episode IX isn't slated to release until 2019. Let us know your thoughts in the comments!