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Star Wars VII, VIII, IX… and beyond?!

Well, apparently one does.

I don’t know if anyone else saw this coming, but I was completely blindsided.

Disney just bought Lucasfilm, including the rights to all their films – and most importantly, Star Wars and Indiana Jones.

Apparently, due to some rights issues with Paramount, Indy is just going to retire. That’s sad, but possibly for the best.

On the other hand, Disney has already announced that they are going to release Star Wars: Episode VII (that’s 7, for the roman numeral impaired). That means a sequel to Return of the Jedi. In 2015!

They’ve also said they want to release another Star Wars movie every 2-3 years following that, and they don’t mean just a single new trilogy. This is where I begin to get conflicted.

Star Wars: Heir to the Empire cover

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Star Wars universe, and I think there are a TON of stories left to tell. But I do worry that we’ll start to get the same problem with Star Wars that we had with Star Trek. Remember a few years back there was a Star Trek incarnation on TV or in the movies almost every day. The market became saturated, and viewers left as it all just started to look the same, rehashing the same ideas. I don’t want that to happen with Star Wars.

I’ve read a bunch of the books in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU). Those are stories that are set after Return of the Jedi (RoTJ), starring (for the most part) the same characters we know and love from the movies, along with new exciting characters. The first of these published, the Thrawn trilogy, was hands-down excellent. There are quite a few good stories in the books that came after as well, but then, there is also a lot of tripe. That’s kind of what I want to avoid – the hit-or-miss quality of the books finding their way into the movies (yeah, I know, some will argue that already happened with the Prequel trilogy – moving on).

That said, lately the books have been pretty strong on long series with interesting plot arcs and real consequences. If that’s the direction the movies go, I’m on board. Especially if they throw in some of the cool stuff we’ve seen from Bioware. That’s the kind of tone I’d like to see in the films.

Which brings me to this: what stories should they pursue?

They have a few ready-made options:

  • As mentioned, the Thrawn trilogy would be a good pick, and it introduces some very iconic and important characters. But the problem there is the recasting. Luke, Lando, Chewie, Han, and Leia are still the main characters in that book. There is a time gap between the story and RoTJ, but I’m not sure it’s enough to make it an easy transition to new actors playing such well-known roles. Still, it’s been done pretty well with Star Trek, so this does remain a possibility. I’ll remain skeptical for now.
  • We could move even further into the EU and go into the lives of the Solo children – but that may take some explaining and feel a bit artificial for fans who only know the films. Plus the original characters are still around, so we still have the recasting issue.
  • My pick for previously published story fodder would be the Legacy time period (assuming we are going chronologically after RoTJ). That takes place 1000 years after the Battle of Endor, I believe, and no current film characters survive to that time. The main character is Luke’s descendant and he has some issues with his legacy. The Jedi Order is around but has had a lot of trouble as the Sith have reasserted themselves, and there’s a whole new group of Force-wielders loyal to the much more sympathetic Imperial remnant. Lots of differences from the world we know in the films, but still familiar enough and very engaging. The galaxy is politically fractured and there’s a big threat to be dealt with – if Skywalker can step up and face his legacy and his destiny. Of everything I’ve read, I think this would be the best story for a movie.

Star Wars Legacy cover - Cade Skywalker

That’s all assuming they adapt something that’s already been told. I’m not convinced they’ll do that. My thinking is that they’ll do something original. My hope is that they at least follow the lead of Legacy and go far future.

Now, if they keep making films beyond 7, 8, and 9, I assume they will at some point go backwards and visit the Old Republic time period. Lots of room for story in that 25,000 year span. And it could be epic.

Then of course there is the time between Episodes 3 and 4, as Darth Vader comes to power and the Emperor sweeps his reign of tyranny across the galaxy. But if they do that story, I think it will be on TV.

So it’s anyone’s guess whether it’ll be good or not. Or whether it’ll be Star Wars burnout. I’m hoping it breathes some new life and makes it interesting again.

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