Are the Star Wars Spin-offs Moving in the Right Direction?
The big news recently in the world of Star Wars is that, according to The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline, Lucasfilm is finally moving forward with an Obi-Wan Kenobi stand-alone film. Rumors have been circulating for years, and most fans have been excitedly anticipating this announcement, but Obi-Wan was not the only character mentioned as a possible subject of future spin off films. Boba Fett, Yoda and even Jabba the Hutt were brought up as the potential centerpieces of future Star Wars stories.
But is this exciting news for Star Wars fans?
With an untitled Han Solo movie already slated for a May 25, 2018 release, I can't help but worry that these stand-alone films, which initially held the promise of introducing us to new characters and worlds outside of the Skywalker saga, are simply going to double down on what we've already seen.
Don't get me wrong! I'm actually really excited about the possibility of an Obi-Wan stand-alone, particularly because I believe he may play a role in Rey's lineage and this could fill in that missing information. But just because I want one thing doesn't mean I want every other spin-off film to follow the same template.
In many cases, I enjoy a cloud of mystery to remain swirling around these characters. Han Solo is my favorite Star Wars character of all time, but I have to be honest, I have zero interest in seeing his life before we met him in the cantina. And I have just as little interest in a spin-off film about Yoda, Boba Fett, Jabba or any other side character really, with the exception of Obi-Wan.
The beauty of the original three Star Wars films is that we are dropped into the middle of a story. We don't know the particulars of what started the war. We don't know where the Jedi have all gone. We don't know what made Han Solo so cynical. And that's the fun of it. We get to imagine the rest. We see just enough of the story to enjoy it, and then our imaginations are free to run wild with theories, speculations and head canon. That's what made this world one of the biggest franchises of all time despite having very limited actual canon source material in the early days.
Many questions have been answered and gaps have been filled since, but I wonder if that is taking away too much of the magic.
One of my favorite Star Wars stories in the last few years was the book Lost Stars, which introduced us to new concepts, characters and ways of looking at this world. A similar approach was taken in the television series Star Wars Rebels. What if the spin-off films followed the same trajectory? What if they gave us brand new characters, and, unlike in the case of Rogue One, they actually gave us the time to know and love them?
I'm not saying that these proposed spin-offs won't be good. They might be great, and I really hope they are! I'm also not saying they couldn't still centralize around a known character while giving us an all new supporting cast. That is the plan with Han Solo, after all. But I wish Lucasfilm trusted the fans to go with them on a journey to new planets with all new characters with only the briefest mention of the familiar...or no mention at all!
Star Wars fans are the last people you need to play it safe with. We've already been sold on the fantasy, and we are here for it! Take us to crazy new places with fascinating new characters, and we will happily come along.