We are still eight months away from the release of the seventh Star Wars film – The Force Awakens – and news has broken that a standalone film titled Rogue One is in development with a targeted release for December 2016.
Rogue One will take place between Episode III and Episode IV and will focus on a group of resistance fighters whose goal is to steal the Death Star plans. I think this is a great idea as that time period has the potential to tell so many stories. It isn’t new to tackle the time between the first two trilogies as this has been done before in novels, comic books, and cartoons, but seeing it as a live-action film will be completely different. Disney has pretty much started with a clean slate, using only the prior six films as their source canon which will allow them to start fresh and explore time periods between films as they see fit going forward.
There are many possibilities that I am excited for with these stand-alone films. There have already been rumors of a film focusing on the popular bounty hunter Boba Fett. I would love to see a Darth Vader film set in the same time period as Rogue One, which would be easy to accomplish as long as James Earl Jones returns to voice the character. Seeing the end footage of Episode III where Vader stood on an Imperial ship overlooking the construction of the Death Star makes me want to see his development into the badass we love from the original trilogy. You could have a film on Yoda after his exile. Ray Park, the actor who played Darth Maul, has expressed interest in a film focusing on his character.
There are other time periods that would be interesting to see on film, including the many years before Episode I and any story that could take place between any of the two films. Obviously you couldn’t tell any early stories about Luke or Leia without changing actors, and I’m not sure how well that would be received and if it even should be done. You could, however, do a movie featuring Jabba the Hutt and his gang after Empire Strikes Back and have Han Solo frozen in carbonite. There are many ways to work around using characters from the original trilogy, and the story possibilities are endless.
If you do want to read stories about Luke, Leia and Han during the original trilogy, Marvel is currently publishing comic books that feature the original characters as they appeared in the films. In the Darth Vader comic, we learn that one of the characters we saw in Episode IV on the Death Star left before the explosion and survived. Since Disney owns Marvel, we should see a nice correlation with continuity between comics and film.
A lot of us assumed after Revenge of the Sith was released that we would never see another Star Wars film. Now, thanks to George Lucas allowing his franchise to live on at Disney, Star Wars fans have a lot to look forward to in the future. If you are as excited as me, then you know that December can’t come fast enough.
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffLane22