When the Star Wars universe was first introduced to movie audiences in 1977, it struck a chord with genre fans and created a die-hard group of followers. Over the years, what started as a film has grown into TV shows, comics, novels, games, and lots of merchandise. Through it all, the small part of the universe introduced in the first film has grown exponentially larger. And while Disney's discussion to push much of the Expanded Universe content out of canon has restricted the mythology of Star Wars, it still has the potential to grow.
While the episodic movies and many of the new comics from Marvel mostly exploring characters who are already known, they've served as a jumping off point for a number of new faces. Meanwhile, the novels have been able to explore new corners of the galaxy, even borrowing elements from the EU like the upcoming Thrawn book. Likewise, shows like Star Wars Rebels certainly have connections to existing characters, but have also told new, standalone stories. As such, plans for movies featuring Han Solo, or even Darth Vader's inclusion in Rogue One, have left fans wondering if the Star Wars universe will ever take a cue from the EU and move outside of the familiar events and characters they have seen for decades.
Coming Soon got a quick word with Gary Whitta, co-writer of Rogue One and member of the LucasFilm story group that helps maintain the new canon. When asked if the Star Wars films would ever move past their current focus, Whitta assured fans it would happen:
"The next spin-off is ‘Han Solo,’ that’s another familiar character, but I think increasingly you’re going to see…One of the thing things we really want to do at Lucasfilm is create a universe and not keep relying on old legacy characters. We’ve got Rey and Finn and Kylo Ren, they’ve already introduced a new generation of characters. Whatever kind of Star Wars films they’re making 10 or 20 years from now, I don’t think they’re going to be relying on the same legacy story elements as we have in the past."
Though Whitta is certainly correct that both Rogue One and The Force Awakens have begun to introduce all-new characters, he's not quite right about them being completely separate from existing stories. After all, the crux of both films is entirely dependent on characters, events, locations, and even plots from previous films. And though we've met some new heroes and villains, many of them are explicitly tied to characters we've know for the entirety of the franchise. That said, it's clear that these early forays by Disney have been all about testing the waters for just how far audiences are willing to follow the Star Wars movies outside of the Skywalker Saga.
Still, things won't be venturing too far anytime soon. This year's Episode VIII will focus on Rey and Finn, but Luke Skywalker will play a large role. And though we'll meet some new faces in next year's Han Solo, it's hardly a fresh approach. Beyond 2019's Episode IX, however, it's anyone's guess where the next anthology film will go. It could be a young Leia spinoff, keeping things safe. Or, it could take a page out of the EU's book and explore an entirely different corner of the galaxy. That said, there's still a lot Disney and LucasFilm don't seem keen on revisiting, as it's tied to the prequels. We'll bring you more Star Wars news as it arrives, so stay tuned.
Source: Coming Soon
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019