Why, it feels like just yesterday that Lucasfilm finally officially announced that they were going to be doing spinoff Star Wars movies, outside of Episodes VII to IX, and then we all got stupid grins on our faces and started our geeky speculating as to what and who these movies should be about.
Oh wait… That was yesterday! And less than 24 hours later, it would seem that we have our first two answers: A certain roguish smuggler who always shoots first, and a jetpacking, helmeted bounty hunter.
That’s right! The first two standalone Star Wars films will be about Han Solo and Boba Fett, respectively. Well, at least that’s according to Entertainment Weekly. As of yet, nobody from Lucasfilm/Disney has confirmed earlier rumours of a Yoda film, and once again no comment was forthcoming about this latest scoop, but as EW are not in the habit of posting major stories like this without some real proper sleuthing, this looks like a pretty sure thing. EW do however mention that deals are still in progress, so the details may change a bit.
The report says that the Han Solo film will feature the smuggler turned rebel as a youngster, taking place between Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV – A New Hope. There’s plenty of material during that period that could provide inspiration for a film – how he acquired the Millenium Falcon, making the Kessel Run, how he saved Chewbacca’s life, etc – so that’s not really a problem, especially since the rather capable Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg will be on scripting duties. The big deal is going to be who you cast as the younger version of such an iconic character. Garret Hedlund still gets my vote:
As for the Boba Fett film, it’s described as “a bounty hunter adventure with Boba Fett at the center of a rogue’s gallery of galactic scum,” and will be taking place either between Episode IV – A New Hope and Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, or between Empire and Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi, when Fett would seemingly meet his grisly fate in the toothed maw of the Sarlacc (it would later be revealed in the subsequent Expanded Universe novels that Fett had survived the Sarlacc by igniting his jetpack, killing it from the inside before it could digest him). With his signature Mandalorian helmet obscuring his face, casting for Fett is an open field. Hell, Daniel Logan, the boy who played the adolescent Fett in the prequels is certainly old enough now.
What’s most interesting to me though, is that back before we knew that JJ Abrams would be directing Episode VII, there were some rumours going around that director Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Captain America: The First Avenger) was also involved in some way. Well, there’s simply no better way for him to be involved than directing a Boba Fett movie, as he actually designed the character’s trademark armour way back in the day, and not too long ago also revealed that he had tried to pitch a Boba Fett movie to George Lucas. I say, give the man what he wants.
One important note that EW makes, is that with the time period for these standalone movies being set in and around the original and prequel trilogy, it would mean that Lucasfilm could resurrect their most recognizable character, Darth Vader, on screen in his all his helmet wearing, force choking glory.
I must say I’m having a bit of a mixed reaction to all this news though, because on the one hand these are both characters that I love and I can’t wait to see more of, but on the other hand the Star Wars universe is large and varied, and the first thing Lucasfilm does is to go back to characters we already know. I understand that the character’s mainstream recognition will certainly go a long way to getting skeptical butts in seats, but there are just so many amazing characters (Quinlan Vos anybody?) and stories that could have been picked, that I can’t help but feel a little frustration at how they’re playing it safe.
So what do you guys think? Is it good to delve into the past of more familiar faces first, or should they be breaking new ground. Also who would you pick to play the roles and to direct the films?