All of our Star Wars talk has been focused on the upcoming Rogue One anthology film as well as the next chapter in the original saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII next year.
But in a few years, when Disney and Lucasfilm are done with the latest adventures of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, what will be next for the Star Wars franchise? We’ll we have to sit back and wait a decade or two for something new, or will the studios keep it going?
A lot of that, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly, hinges on how well Rogue One does as the franchise’s first true standalone film.
“That’s a conversation going on right now … we are looking at all of that.”
Although Rogue One seems a major departure from what George Lucas did with the franchise over the decades, Kennedy admits the idea of exploring standalone films actually came from Lucas himself. Before selling the franchise to Disney for $4.1 billion in 2012, the Great Bird of a Galaxy Far, Far Away shared some thoughts about how there were so many other stories to explore.
“George talked to me about doing this when I first came aboard. He had often thought about doing it, and he had actually written down three or four thoughts and ideas, directions you could go.
“Obviously, inside the mythology there were lots of opportunities. So that was the first conversation I had.”
Those ideas did not include the proposed Han Solo anthology film, set to star Alden Ehrenreich, however. And it didn’t include Rogue One, which actually was an idea that came from John Knoll, a visual effects supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic – another creation of Lucas that is now owned by Disney.
And it’s probably because of Knoll’s contribution that when Kennedy talks about the people who will be involved in the future of Star Wars, she’s not just including the past writers and directors. She also will loop in the visual effects team, because they have become as much a part of the storytelling process as anyone else.
“We are planning a sit-down in January, since we have had The Force Awakens released, now Rogue One, and we’ve finished shooting Episode VIII. We have enough information where we can step back a little bit and say, ‘What are we doing? What do we feel is exciting? And what are some of the things we want to explore?’
Entertainment Weekly reporter Anthony Breznican suggests some ideas could be to finally explore the Boba Fett bounty hunter story that had been on the drawing board, but then quickly removed last year after director Josh Trank dropped out.
But there are other stories beyond that as well, especially if Lucasfilm were to explore the expanded universe. One major possibility could indeed lie with the video game side – “The Old Republic,” for example, takes place a few thousand years before the events in the current film, and has explored in great detail the rise of the Sith and their ongoing war with the Republic.
That storyline, developed primarily by Drew Karpyshyn at game-maker BioWare, was the basis of two Knights of the Old Republic console games in the early 2000s, and later expanded into a popular massively multiplayer online roleplaying game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Yet, there is still plenty of time to consider all of this. Rogue One head into theaters Dec. 16, while the still unofficially titled Star Wars: Episode VIII will take over a year later on Dec. 15, 2017.
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