The future of Star Wars movies may lie in anthologies, not episodes

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If you had to identify the one theme running through all of the episodic Star Wars movies, it’d be legacy. There’s a continuation of ideas and themes throughout the seven episodes available, of the Force and families. But this year marks a massive departure for Star Wars. Rogue One is not an episodic movie in the franchise. It’s an interquel of sorts, a spin-off that details just how the Rebels managed to learn of the Death Star and its crucial weakness that began the entire saga back in 1978.

Spin-offs are the name of the Star Wars game right now, as Disney and LucasFilm are banking big on Rogue One being a box office success that’ll prove that Star Wars can exist beyond its episodic structure. Because the future of the franchise, may lie outside of the idea of rolling in a new trilogy every few years.

Speaking to EW, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy explained how these anthology movies were first dreamed up by George Lucas himself:

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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… We talked a lot about the Jedi and the foundational ideas that George had thought about when he created the mythology. It was sort of spit-balling ideas.

Beyond Rogue One, LucaasFilm also has a young Han Solo movie in the works with Phil Lord and Chris Miller directing. It’s an idea of the anthology system at work, but it wasn’t the only idea floated around. In fact, the best damn bounty hunter in the galaxy was due for a solo movie as well, as Josh Trank began developing a Boba Fett project. And then something happened, as Trank abandoned it entirely.

Boba Fett’s solo movie was meant to be one of the big announcements for Star Wars Celebration of 2015, with Kennedy remarking back then to the Playlist that:

It’s still one of the stories that we absolutely want to tell. There is a lot of innovative technology in and around what it is we’re doing with that story, so for a lot of reasons, we were comfortable postponing that. But we’re definitely still developing it.

Bummer. Anyway, back to the main story then. Once the box office dust has cleared from Rogue One’s debut next month, Disney and LucasFilm will hold a summit to discuss the future of the franchise, what works and what needs to still be done as Kennedy revealed:

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There are [possible movies] that we have been talking a lot about. But we are planning to sit down in January, since we will 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?

That retreat will include a group that includes directors, producers, “the story team and the trust, and the visual effects team” Kennedy said. With the Star Wars currently properly planned through to Episode IX in 2019, the summit will ask if 2020 and beyond will be dominated by spin-offs or a new trilogy according to Kennedy:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story..Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) ..Ph: Jonathan Olley..©Lucasfilm LFL 2016.

That’s a conversation going on right now, too. I have to honestly tell you, could we [do nothing but stand-alones]? Sure. But I don’t know. We are looking at all of that.

And that’s an interesting idea. The old Star Wars cast has made way for a newer generation, who have youth on their side in an industry that has changed massively since the first Star Wars movie was released. It also points towards the trilogy of Finn and Rey being a done-in-three setup, but nobody would be unhappy to see them pop up in the anthology flicks along the way.

Then again, with Marvel’s idea for a shared universe being that of solo movies that lead towards something bigger, Disney can easily afford to pinch some ideas from that formula. Or they can make that Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars crossover that I’ve been dreaming about lately.

Last Updated: November 23, 2016

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