Lucasfilm has recently announced the plans to make a stand-alone Obi-Wan film. This has been rumoured for long, but now we can tell for sure that Disney and Lucasfilm are aiming at a long-term strategy of releasing untold stories about major film characters. In spring 2018, we are expecting Han Solo story, now we have also the Obi-Wan film, and we can assume that if these create a positive response (which I hope they will – meaning, that they shall *deserve* such a response), more could follow. Here, I wanted to compile at least vague list of characters that I believe are the most likely, or most suitable, to get a stand-alone movie of their own.
I. Princess Leia
It is very strange that this particular story and character have never been high on the list of expected releases. A young Leia story would have many advantages compared to its rivals – it provides pretty much everything you might wish for: her life as the daughter of an influential Senator can carry her to faraway planets full of strange creatures, bring her to negotiations with alien races that may be dangerous or just difficult to understand for the Galactic majority. Look, already a decent plot idea, without even giving it much thought!
On top of all, Leia is a beloved character with so much personality that you could make not one, but three movies revolving around her (not that I recommend that, however). Make her 15 years old and you don’t even have to worry about CGI-ing Carrie Fisher or anything like that; you can cast a completely new actress. You can have a very good, fun adventure movie with some Imperial and anti-Imperial plotting in the background, explore her relationship with her foster family and the formation of her ideals. You can create Leia’s childhood friends, too, or anything you wish. Again, why isn’t the movie being made yet?
II. Darth Maul
The red, horned Zabrak would probably win the prize for Star Wars character with the most unused potential. Film-wise, he appears only in The Phantom Menace where he is cool, intimidating, probably the best lightsaber fighter ever, and has literally three and half lines. From the film, we know nothing about his personality, nothing about how he became a Sith, where did Darth Sidious find him, what is behind his hatred for the Jedi, how does he see his role as the Sith who will “at last” execute the revenge upon their ancestral enemy.
A few books in the old canon touched on Maul’s origins, but these are no longer binding. The Clone Wars and now also Rebels series expanded on that, but Maul’s childhood and apprenticeship so far remain largely unexplored. And that is the space for a stand-alone film. Such a movie would probably be fairly dark, but first, why not – a variety of genre is a good thing, and here’s opportunity for it – and second, it need not be just a dark film about a murderous villain. There, if anywhere, would be the chance to show Maul’s “human” (or Zabrak) side, to show why he was the way he was, to make him say more than a couple of lines, to let us glimpse his inner life. And, of course, to see more epic fighting, even if not against Jedi opponents.
III. Count Dooku
If I already put one Sith lord on the list, here is another. Dooku may not be perceived as such a cool villain as Darth Maul by the mainstream audience, but his story would, I daresay, have the greatest potential. Yoda’s Padawan? Qui-Gon’s master? A young Jedi with ideals, mistrusting the council, yet a prodigy of his time? The man seduced by Darth Sidious to join the Sith? There is so much to cover, so many options. Personally, I see Dooku’s story as a Greek tragedy: the fall of a hero. More nuanced than Anakin’s, maybe with the chance to raise questions about big moral issues.
Biggest problem? In my opinion, convincing the mainstream audience (resp. rather convincing the filmmakers that the audience would be convinced) that some kind of Dooku is interesting in the first place, and finding an actor charismatic enough to play young Christopher Lee. You can start thinking about candidates.
IV. Boba Fett
Boba Fett: the movie has been rumoured for decades. Last November I personally heard from Jeremy Bulloch, the original actor, that such a possibility has been discussed behind the scenes even with George Lucas himself ages ago – the same as the fact that Boba Fett didn’t necessarily die in Sarlacc’s stomach, by the way. (After all, the digestion there is supposed to take a thousand years, and such a resourceful person as Boba would certainly find his way out.)
A Boba Fett movie would certainly not lack for a plot, and it could be situated either after Episode VI (if we go with the survival beyond sarlacc theory) or, of course, during his youth (which could be even more interesting, in my opinion). It would also allow for – no, it would beg for – a different genre, too. If the upcoming Han Solo movie seems to lean towards the “dude, where’s my Millenium Falcon”-style (and I could imagine Obi-Wan appearing in a “classic Western”, especially if situated on Tatooine), a Boba Fett movie could be a Tarantino-style piece, somewhat grim for classic Star Wars, but fitting for the character.
The writers could do anything they wanted with this. 900 years of the great Jedi’s life to cover! The possibilities are endless; you could make Yoda ride dragons on some long-forgotten planets for all I care. The plot could be so far removed from the present that you could create a completely fresh Star Wars – I am thinking a fairy-talesque world where there’s no Empire, the Republic is completely different and young and the troubles of the day are completely different, too.
Personally, I would prefer Yoda to rather have a major role in a Count Dooku stand-alone film than have a separate Yoda movie. On the other hand, “Yoda: Origins” could be interesting, too, and would allow a completely different perspective on the character we have learned to see as old wisdom-spouting backwards-talking master. A young, fresh-green padawan full of energy in some ancient times when Jedi wore bronze cuirasses would be a sight to see; and that’s not saying you could probably make him look cute to the point of annoyance.
VI. Jabba the Hutt
On second thought… not. But Diego Luna would probably want to watch it.
Palpatine, Qui-Gon Jinn, Padmé…
There are many more film characters who are on almost equal footing with those listed above; however, I believe they lack the appeal some of the others do, or rather, those listed above occupy the same “slot” (similar life or plot), therefore I would presume them to get their own films first. That isn’t to say they are forgotten. If the franchise keeps going for long enough, I am sure they will get their chance.
Ahsoka, Thrawn, Doctor Aphra, Asajj Ventress, Rae Sloane, Hera Syndulla, Caleb Dume… Revan. What do these people have in common? Answer: they are very unlikely to appear in stand-alone films because they are known only to a smaller portion of fans. Even some Star Wars fans have never heard of them, and the mainstream audience probably hasn’t at all.
Let me put it this way: imagine “Darth Maul: The Movie” posters appear all over your city. Wonderful. Lots of people will come. He’s cool. Most people have at least seen him and think he’s cool. But would such a thing happen with the posters of “Ahsoka: The Movie”? Nope. That is why, even though you all the time hear some fans screaming that they want a Revan movie, we are very unlikely to see one being made until Revan makes a canonical appearance in something “mainstream” first – and that is very unlikely to happen. (If it makes you sad, adopt my attitude: if they don’t make it, there’s no way they can botch it.)
This, incidentally, shows some of the criteria a stand-alone film about a certain character should possess in order to be even an option in the first place. To conclude this article, let me run through them:
1. Familiarity to the mainstream. This ideally means the character is well-established and it can draw generations of fans. Even a person who hasn’t watched Star Wars since 1977 might be interested in going to see Obi-Wan: The Movie. Sadly, Captain Needa: The Movie or Zam Wessel: The Movie might not have the same pull.
2. Older, “seasoned” character. This is related to the previous. For example Captain Phasma would be a great candidate otherwise, but she’s still too new for people to flock to the film about her out of sheer nostalgia. You can compare characters to good wine or cheese: You need to let them gather the flavour and create the odour around themselves first, only then will their origins seem interesting to the audience.
3. Enough blank spaces in their life. Clearly, you cannot make a movie about a character whose life is throughly full and thoroughly charted. There should be at least some reasonable period of time when something interesting could happen to the character, something potentially defining for their personality, yet something that we haven’t seen yet.
4. The character needs to have interesting things to do. That is the last, and in some ways, the most important part – and the biggest problem. Let’s say you wanted to make a movie about young Luke Skywalker, before he met Obi-Wan. Luke fulfils all the above criteria; the only problem is, what is the movie going to be about – collecting mushrooms from moisture vaporators? Even if it was about Luke learning to fly, resp. race with his friend Biggs, it would hardly make a sufficient plot for an entire movie.
This problem applies to many characters and it is the generic problem of making movies outside the main timeline. Why? Because outside it, the Sith are hidden. The Galaxy is in (relative) peace. And sadly, good times are much more difficult to provide plot for interesting stories. This is actually the generic problem the extra-“mainline” movies struggle with (why, even The Phantom Menace struggled with it – look at its plot premise!). But there are ways around it, of course – the important thing here is that the writers are creative enough (but also sensible enough) and do their thing well.