October 30, 2012. That’s the day when Disney announced their acquisition over the Star Wars IP. Many people saw that as a new hope (pun intended) for the franchise. After all, the last few movies, namely the prequel trilogy had been…controversial. Disney soon after announced their plans to continue the mainline episodic films, with hopes of off-shooting the franchise to have several spin-off movies.
And thus, we now have the anthology films. The “Star Wars stories” so to speak. So far we’ve gotten 2 of these, being Rogue One and the recently released Solo. While one focused on the group of brave Rebels who stole the Death Star plans, the other functioned more as an origin story of a well-known character. Notice something here? So far these movies have only filled in the gaps in the larger Star Wars narrative. They haven’t really shown us anything new or, more importantly, original.
With the recent underperformance of Solo at the box office, many have pointed out why it turned out the way it did. Simply put: Nobody asked for a Solo spin-off. Especially one without Harrison Ford returning. We all remember all the backlash Disney’s decision got when they announced their plans for this movie.
Solo was, as said in our review, an average action movie with the name ‘Star Wars’ plastered over it. That’s not to say it was a bad movie by any means. Just that it didn’t have anything to add to the existing mythology. There’s the debate of “Solo was unnecessary”. I don’t wholeheartedly agree with it, but I’m not against it either. I can see how, and why, the fans would be upset with this film.
So, What’s Next?
Yeah, Boba Fett’s getting his own spin-off movie. Of all the interesting stories we could get in this expansive universe, we’re getting Boba Fett. Also, hot on the heels of the confirmation of this project (Logan director James Mangold is attached), there have also been rumors of an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie. Ewan McGregor has also expressed his interest in returning to the role a number of times in the past. It only makes sense to have that movie as well.
But do we really need it? These are iconic characters. Characters that we grew up loving. Their backstories being under a shroud of mystery is what drives their engagement with the audience! Do we really need to know everything? I’m sure these movies won’t be bad by any means, considering Disney’s recent streak of good movies and production-related decisions. Thing is, these are easy movies to sell. No risk, moderate reward. We can already hear out the pleas from fans around the world that they want something more.
What Should We Expect From These Movies Then?
Like I said earlier, these movies should focus on untold stories. We should be seeing characters that we’ve never met before, with their stories exploring the larger Star Wars universe as a whole. The anthology films we have got till now have only shrunk this universe. Not every question about every character needs answering.
Why not go back into the past? Fans have been asking for a KOTOR movie for years now. Even the Star Wars: Rebels, while dealing with familiar characters, managed to tell new and exciting stories. Stories that deepened the mythology of this world, rather than just playing it safe. We as fans of the series deserve much better. The original trilogy became so influential in our culture partly because of its ability to take huge risks. “Vader is Luke’s father? NO WAY!“. The later films, and I’m including the episodic titles here too, have mostly played it safe. Sure, they’ve done some major changes to characters, but none of that really has changed our perception of the series as a whole in any way.