Disney has purchased Lucasfilm for 4 billion in dollars and stock options, and is already moving towards filming Star Wars episodes 7-9, with episode 7 to be released in 2015. Disney has already shown with the purchase of Marvel that they are more than capable of using an existing property to create high quality movies that generate lots of revenue, so the purchase of Lucasfilm makes sense. That being said, the fact that really matters is that George Lucas is going to take a step back and let a new generation of writers and filmmakers create the movies.
Episode 7 is already in the writing stages of development, and according to one article, it will continue the adventures of the cast from the original trilogy. I think that means they will recast the parts using younger actors (Ryan Gosling gets my vote for Han Solo) ala Star Trek. As I am sure this would be successful and enjoyable, I find it unfortunate. I would prefer, at least at first, to see the original actors reprise their roles in an age appropriate story, which I will get to in a moment.
Let me begin my argument by stating that my favorite Star Wars film is The Empire Strikes Back. Not only for its visual beauty, but also because of the tragically accurate story of rebels being crushed by superior forces. The movie just works, and I believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that George Lucas didn’t direct it. George’s heavy-handedness in episodes 1-3 are what ruined the films for many moviegoers, and by agreeing to take a step down for these next films, he is acknowledging this.
There currently exists a massive expanded universe in the Star Wars novels, full of stories waiting to be adapted. I have read many, many novels (probably all of them up to the year 2010) and here are my picks for the possible stories that might be adapted for movie treatments:
The Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn. These are the books that started the Star Wars books, and will probably be used in some way if they decide to go with younger actors.
It has been five years since Return of the Jedi, and the remnants of the Imperial Fleet have been marshaled by Grand Admiral Thrawn to strike back at the new Galactic Republic and retake what is theirs.
Pros: Direct connection to the previous films, especially since contingency plans Darth Vader had kept hidden come into play. Thrawn is the best type of villain in the sense you know he’s bad, but you root for him anyway. Luke must confront the dark-side and resist succumbing like his father before him.
Cons: Cloning facilities come into play, so it might feel too much like episodes 1-3. In the books defense, it was written 20 years ago, long before episode 1 came out.
The New Jedi Order series by several authors. This is the movie I want to see. This series and the one that follows it would be fantastic episodes 7-12. Not only would it allow the original actors to play their parts, it allows younger actors to take over the story pretty quickly and become the driving force.
It has been over 20 years since Return of the Jedi, and the Galactic Republic is thriving. A new generation of Jedi has been brought forth by Luke Skywalker and his Jedi Academy on Yavin 4, who have reclaimed their role as protectors of the galaxy. From outside the galaxy an unstoppable species arrives, the Yuuzhan Vong. Masters of genetic engineering, violent, viewing technology as blasphemy, and ready to cleanse the galaxy and take it as their own, they march towards Coruscant and complete victory. Worst thing? They can’t be felt in the Force.
Pros: This is a dark story. Whole planets are wiped out as standard procedure. The Yuuzhan Vong are a sadistic species who practice self-mutilation and torture. They view all other species as inferior and have no qualms with murder. They are evil. Being unseen in the Force, the Jedi are at a disadvantage the whole time, giving the movies a sense of desperation. The Vong use biological constructs for their ships/weapons, which would be visually stunning. The major players in the film are Han and Leia’s children along with the original cast, so Harrison Ford and the rest are about the right age to reprise their roles if they desired. Would be awesome. Possible tagline “Not your grandma’s Star Wars”.
Cons: If done properly, this would be a very dark, sad, violent trilogy; basically everything that would make it fantastic.
Legacy of the Forceseries by several authors. The follow up to New Jedi Order is the story that episodes 1-3 should have been. Someone deciding to take on the mantle of a Sith shouldn’t be because they had “scary visions of childbirth” like Anakin did in episode 3. It should be meaningful, and most importantly, should be something we would all consider doing if in the same situation. There are some spoilers in this portion of the summary, and I apologize for that.
The Yuuzhan Vong have finally been defeated. The damage done by their terraforming will take generations to undo. Jacen Solo, son of Han and Leia, has been to hell and back, and is determined to never let something like this happen again. Keeping his rank of Colonel earned during the war, Jacen becomes head of the Secret Police and begins using the law to amass power. An attempt on his daughter’s life confirms what he already knows: someone needs to take charge, and that someone is me.
Jaina, Jacen’s twin sister, has decided that she and she alone must destroy her brother. Who do you go to for help when you need to kill the second most dangerous man in the universe? The first most dangerous man in the universe; old man Boba Fett.
Pros: Boba Fett. A realistic tale of tragedy and someone falling to the darkside for all the right reasons. Also Boba Fett.
Cons: if Disney releases a movie every 3 years like they plan to, we wouldn’t be able to see this saga even begin until 2024.
So there’s my take on what I would like to see in the coming episodes. Any thoughts?