Lucasfilm has recast all the main heroes of the Star Wars original trilogy - which may well prepare the way for a very different kind of spinoff. So far, Lucasfilm has used their spinoff movies like Rogue One and Solo to explore the rich tapestry of Star Wars history. Their focus has been on setting up the original trilogy, revealing Han Solo's backstory, or exploring just how the Rebellion got the Death Star plans in the first place.
Results have been mixed. Rogue One was a tremendous success, critically acclaimed and breaking over $1 billion in the global box office. Unfortunately Solo proved rather more flawed. The film didn't really have a strong concept to begin with, greenlit by Disney because of just one scene and lacking a central theme or idea. It was fatally undermined by a lackluster marketing campaign that assumed the Star Wars brand could never fail to perform well. Since then, Lucasfilm has reportedly pivoted away from their original plans. The spinoffs are believed to have been put on hold, with the studio instead focusing on expanding the Star Wars TV presence.
Related: All Upcoming Star Wars Movies
But a recent twist in the Star Wars tale has raised a far more interesting possibility. It's now become clear that Disney has recast all the central characters of the original trilogy - Han, Leia, and Luke. That creates the exciting possibility that Lucasfilm could create brand new adventures starring the greatest heroes of the Star Wars galaxy.
- This Page: Disney Has Recast The Original Trilogy Heroes
- Page 2: How An Original Cast Star Wars Story Could Work
- Page 3: Would Disney Make A Proper Original Trilogy Spinoff?
Disney Has Recast The Original Trilogy Heroes
Only two of the recast Star Wars original trilogy stars have appeared on the big screen. The first was a delightful appearance from the young Leia Organa in Rogue One. Norwegian actress Ingvild Deila played Leia in the film, chosen because of her ability to replicate a 19-year-old Carrie Fisher. As well as her similarity to the character in height, body type, and profile to the actor, Deila spent months studying Fisher's facial expressions, working hard to mimic her precisely, and then acted out a very brief scene. Her face was then overlaid by a digital recreation of Fisher's own. It was a strange experience, and Deila admitted to Technology Review that she may not have gone through with it if Fisher had passed away before production. Two years on, the emotions have calmed a little, and she's concluded that she'd be happy to do this again - so long as she had the blessing of the Fisher family.
Then there's the young Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Although the film was hardly a success, that wasn't Ehrenreich's fault; he was one of the film's highlights. In marked contrast to Rogue One's approach with Leia, Ehreinreich was never asked to do a Harrison Ford impression. Lucasfilm rightly decided that such an approach would be disrespectful; while they chose an actor who physically resembles a younger Ford, Ehrenreich was allowed to do his own version. As a result, he was able to successfully capture Han's spirit while making the role his own.
Finally, there's Luke Skywalker. Rey's Force vision in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was originally going to include a sequence recreating Luke and Vader's duel on Cloud City from The Empire Strikes Back. Although this scene never made it to the big screen, it was filmed, with Robert Boulter cast as the young Luke Skywalker. Recently, an image of Boulter as a battle-damaged Luke found its way online, showing just how accurate a recreation it was.
Across these three movies, Lucasfilm has now recast all the Star Wars original trilogy roles. This creates a tremendous opportunity; could Lucasfilm create spinoffs set during the Galactic Civil War, with a recast Luke, Han and Leia all serving in the Rebellion?
Page 2 of 3: How An Original Cast Star Wars Story Could Work
The Original Trilogy Is Open To Spinoffs
Although the original trilogy shows some of the most important events in the Galactic Civil War, there are vast aspects of this period of the Star Wars timeline that are unexplored on the big screen. There's a three-year period between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, then another one-year time jump to get to Return of the Jedi. While that third film is really the decisive victory in the conflict, Chuck Wendig's "Aftermath" novels have confirmed that war continued to rage in the galaxy for another five years after the Battle of Endor.
These gaps are traditionally filled by official tie-in media. The old Expanded Universe (now branded "Legends") explored the Galactic Civil War in comics and books; Disney relaunched the canon after they purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, and have simply followed the same pattern. But here's the interesting thing; Lucasfilm's spinoff movies to date have drawn inspiration from ideas originally developed in the Legends books and comics. With the stars of the Star Wars original trilogy recast, it's entirely possible they could hone in on the Galactic Civil War and show what happened to Luke, Han, and Leia in those unseen years.
What An original Trilogy Spinoff Could Be About
The Galactic Civil War began in A New Hope, when the Empire's Death Star gambit failed dramatically. Until this point, resistance to the Empire was done by a fractured group of Rebel cells, the relationship between these groups dangerously disjointed. Leaders like Bail Organa and Mon Mothma were desperately trying to get the Rebels to cooperate, but nobody could agree on a central strategy, and every group was primarily concerned with fighting against the Empire's tyranny on their own worlds. The Death Star, however, changed everything. When the Empire destroyed Alderaan, they proved to the entire galaxy that they were evil beyond measure, and that they had to be overthrown. When the Death Star itself was destroyed, the Rebel Alliance demonstrated the Empire's vulnerability - and this remarkable military victory confirmed that the Alliance was the way forward. Local cells were absorbed into the Alliance's structure, and the Rebellion began to build up its own military. Soon the galaxy was in a state of open war between two galactic powers.
This three-year time period was a difficult and dangerous one, and Luke, Han, and Leia would have been at the forefront of it. Leia was one of the Rebellion's most notable diplomats, and she would have been one of the people heading out to visit other planets and encourage entire worlds to side with the Alliance. Luke would have participated in countless battles as an X-Wing pilot and a celebrated Rebel hero, the man who shot down the Death Star. At the same time, he'd have been trying to learn everything he could about the Jedi Knights and the Force. Han's role is a little more uncertain, but for all his objections he clearly stuck around, and probably tried to link the Rebels in with black market arms suppliers. Against this backdrop, all three were marked for death by terrifying forces. The Empire would have targeted Leia in particular; when Luke's name became known to Darth Vader, the Sith Lord would have become relentlessly focused on capturing him. And as for Han, Jabba would have sent a wave of bounty hunters after him. Any of these ideas could form the heart of a spinoff movie.
By the time of The Empire Strikes Back, the Rebel Alliance was on the back foot, driven back to their secret base on Hoth. Empire shows the darkest time in the entire Galactic Civil War, with Alliance Command fleeing Hoth in disarray, Han captured by Jabba, and Luke learning the truth of his horrifying lineage.
Again, there's a period not covered, a one-year gap where the Alliance reorganized themselves in spite of the fact Luke and Leia were focused on finding their friend Han. This, too, could form the basis for a spinoff - perhaps loosely inspired by the Legends story Shadows of the Empire. One of the most popular tales in the old EU, this saw Leia attempting to navigate the galaxy's criminal underworld in her attempt to track down Han. This period is a little trickier, given Alden Ehrenreich - the most prominent member of the recast heroes - wouldn't be able to appear it. But there are still clear possibilities, and Disney has yet to explore this one year period at all in the new canon.
Page 3 of 3: Would Disney Make A Proper Original Trilogy Spinoff?
Would Disney Ever Make A Spinoff With Han, Luke & Leia?
The potential is there. The heroes of the Star Wars original trilogy have been recast, and the success of tie-in media confirms that there are stories to be told in this time period. But, sadly, it's currently uncertain whether or not Lucasfilm would ever do this.
The core problem is, of course, the untimely death of the late Carrie Fisher. Lucasfilm's primary concern when using the character of Leia Organa is honoring her. Although Lucasfilm's approach with both the young Leia and Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One showed the potential of bringing Leia back with a recast actress and CGI, the studio recognized that this would be distasteful. Lucasfilm issued a statement in which they insisted they had "no plans" for this approach, and - significantly - hinted that they felt this would dishonor her memory. They're using unused footage of Fisher for Star Wars Episode IX, and the cast and crew are carefully stressing that it's all about respecting the legendary actress who is no longer among them. The wound is clearly still very raw indeed.
It's possible that, after the release of Star Wars 9 and the end of the sequel trilogy, the pain of Carrie Fisher's passing will ease a little and Lucasfilm will consider revisiting the Galactic Civil War with a recast Leia - and maybe even use CGI to do so. But Ingvild Deila has rightly stressed that it would all depend on the wishes of the family. If Lucasfilm could craft a respectful story that earned the family's blessing, and didn't seem like a crude attempt to simply make money off the back of Fisher's brand, it would go a long way to persuading fans to give it a chance. But the studio would need to be very aware of the emotional reactions viewers would have on watching the film.
Meanwhile, note that Lucasfilm has taken very different approaches with each of the recastings. Alden Ehrenreich was given a remarkable amount of latitude to adapt Han Solo for his own film, making the character his own. In contrast, Ingvild Deila was just a "ghost actor," playing Carrie Fisher playing Leia Organa. "You didn’t have personal ownership of a role," she explained. "I was just the vessel." That would undoubtedly be the right approach to take with Leia, but it's unclear how those radically different methods would coexist when placed side-by-side. Certainly, it would be much harder to create the right character dynamics between Leia and Han.
What's more, viewers have never even seen what the recast Luke Skywalker would actually look like on the big screen, so this aspect is currently completely untested. All in all, as interesting as this idea may be for Star Wars fans, it doesn't look as though it's going to happen anytime soon.