Earlier this week, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke to stockholders about the studio’s plans for “at least three” stand-alone Star Wars spinoff films, and while he didn’t say who the films would be about, rumors have pegged Han Solo and Boba Fett as the anchors of two of the three, with Yoda likely taking the lead in the third. We couldn’t help noticing though that Iger said “at least” three, which implies vague plans for more solo Star Wars adventures down the road. And if Disney’s looking for suggestions for who to feature, we have a few:
It may be an obvious, “uncool” pick to do a spinoff about one of the core characters from the original Star Wars trilogy, but at the same time… Why the heck not make a Leia movie? It’s not like the princess doesn’t have a great story, as an orphan raised as royalty, hidden away from the reach of her real father, Darth Vader. And what better way to challenge the notion that nerds won’t go see movies with female protagonists than to take a geek-friendly pre-sold property like Star Wars and make a woman the lead? Here’s a bonus idea that Disney can have for free: Let Carrie Fisher write the script. A science-fiction fantasy with a touch of Postcards From The Edge sounds like a grand idea.
Even if George Lucas et. al. bungled the execution in the prequels, the idea of watching a Jedi fall from grace is still an interesting one. Lucas’ approach was to make Anakin Skywalker a petulant brat, and to portray his descent as a failing of maturity as much as anything else. But imagine a Jedi who’s suave and charming, and uses his Jedi mind tricks to manipulate his allies and disguise his machinations. (“You want to give me your ATM code...”) A spinoff about the young Count Dooku, who, as played by Christopher Lee, was revealed as Sith Lord Darth Tyranus in Attack Of The Clones, seems like the right venue for that kind of story. Get a young and incredibly debonair British actor with an alluring dark side—like, say, Michael Fassbender—and let him indulge all his most deliciously sinister impulses.
There’s a reason people were so bummed not to see Billy Dee Williams’ name amongst the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII: Lando Calrissian is a badass. After selling Han Solo out to Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back, he redeems himself by helping Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca escape from Cloud City; in Return Of The Jedi he goes undercover in Jabba The Hut’s crew to help free Han, and later pilots the Millennium Falcon in the final assault on the Death Star. There are a whole series of novels about the character’s life before Empire Strikes Back, but the ideal Lando spinoff would make the character sort of like James Garner or Mel Gibson from Maverick in space: a dashing, lovable rogue gambling and fighting through the (final) frontier. As for casting, do you think Chiwetel Ejiofor might be interested? He’d probably look good in a blue cape.
Lucas never did all that much with this particular Jedi master, who only seemed to find his way into the prequels because Lucas had the character name left over from the original trilogy and because Sam Jackson was eager to be in the franchise. Jackson might be too old to be in a Mace Windu spinoff (unless the spinoff was shot immediately, and covered his Clone Wars adventures), but surely there’s a story to be told just about how Mace got his purple lightsaber. And in general, the whole culture of the Jedi is ripe for further exploration—perhaps in the form of a 36th Chamber Of Shaolin-style martial arts thriller.
Grand Moff Tarkin
Though they’re not really explored in the original trilogy (and what we see of them in the prequel trilogy is absolutely horrendous) the inner-workings of the Empire are fascinating. How many officials knew—or were excited—they were part of a truly evil organization? How many were just poor folks who needed a steady paying job with benefits? Grand Moff Tarkin, the mid-level governor played with cool detachment by Peter Cushing in A New Hope, could be the guide for a very un-Star Wars-like Star Wars movie that’s less about space battles than the behind-the-scenes intricacies of the bureaucracy ordering those space battles. Admittedly, this sounds more like a television series than a film, but there have been some very good movies about office politics as well; think a more serious version of In The Loop (with a dash of House Of Cards) set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.