Ordinarily, I'm not in favor of endless war. But in the case of LucasFilm planning endless STAR WARS...that's a policy I can get behind.
Look, it should come as no surprise that the gargantuan success of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS- both financially and critically- has LucasFilm thinking about more, more, more. But is that a bad thing? I know that, for many, the initial inclination is to roll your eyes and say "They're going to milk this cash cow until it's dead," and I get that. But in the specific case of STAR WARS, I think that view is a bit myopic. Why? Because look at the world that George Lucas created. Similar to DC, and similar to Marvel, it's a universe that expands as far as the eye can see. There are limitless storytelling possibilities.
Unlike endless sequels to something that is basically a one-trick pony (LETHAL WEAPON 87, SAW 73, THE HANGOVER II), with Lucas's Galaxy Far, Far Away you have a million stories to tell. From the Old Republic, to the continued Skywalker saga, to Yoda's early years, to creating new characters that fans instantly latch onto and exploring them (like Finn, Poe, and Rey), there's an embarrassment of riches here. And similar to Marvel, also a Disney property, you can differentiate each film by venturing into different genres. As Lucas himself demonstrated, this universe can house within it westerns, political thrillers, samurai cinema, espionage, children's fables, chase movies, and on and on and on.
Countless planets to discover. Boundless time periods to visit. Character-types and alien beings with abilities that are only as limited as your imagination.
So, with that in mind, I want you to keep an open mind as we go into this latest bit of news.
The Sun is reporting that its sources have informed it that LucasFilm is, indeed, already looking past this new trilogy; Past the announced standalone STAR WARS STORY films about Rogue One, Han Solo, and a third one rumored to center on Bounty Hunters. The report claims that the studio is now mulling over solo films for Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, and new characters.
Even J.J. Abrams, who directed THE FORCE AWAKENS and is staying on as an executive producer for future STAR WARS films, has gushed about the plans to The Sun. "There are some really cool things being discussed. It is very exciting to see how it is being put together," he told them.
According to their source, "The success of The Force Awakens has given executives much to think about. So many characters’ back-stories and futures can now be brought to life." Aside from echoing what I mentioned earlier, their source also pointed to a more technical reason why these possibilities are easier to turn into realities. "When these ideas came from George Lucas 40 years ago, technology was lagging behind. Now they can be turned around in a year.”
As long as they hire the right people to make them, and as long as fans continue to demonstrate a ravenous hunger for all things STAR WARS, I see no reason why this isn't great news.
While we're on the subject of expanded universe STAR WARS movies, ROGUE ONE is slated to come out this December and it will be introducing us to a new cast of characters. Presumably, some of these characters could interact with Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan, since the film takes place between EPISODE III and EPISODE IV- which is exactly when Young Obi-Wan's tales would occur. Someone they absolutely do interact with is a new droid, played by Alan Tudyk (FIREFLY).
Making Star Wars claims to have seen the new droid sidekick, and are happy to offer a small character description as well as a sketch of his appearance. Since he hasn't been unveiled to the world as of yet, that makes the following a *SPOILER* so do NOT PROCEED unless you're interested in finding out some SPOILERISH stuff.
According to Making Star Wars, the new droid is a repurposed Empire droid. It would appear that the Rebels get their hands on an evil Empire droid, and tweak his programming to get him to work for their side. This means the character will have a layer of complexity we haven't seen in a droid in the STAR WARS films so far, as it struggles with learning a new perspective that is completely foreign to its original programming. It also means this droid won't be the cuddly, adorable BB-8 or R2-D2 type. According to the site's sources, since he was an Empire droid, Tudyk's character looks downright scary- which becomes an interesting juxtaposition when placed against his new, kinder outlook.
The site's sources offered a rough sketch of what the character looks like:
They also say that the design fits perfectly with the STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE era, with a very 1970s sci-fi look. They say it looks like what would've happened if the Empire evolved its B2 Super Battle Droids (seen in the prequel trilogy and in STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS). Another interesting comparison is that its face, and eyes, are similar in design to the robot seen in THE IRON GIANT.
This isn't the first time Tudyk is playing a complex droid, as he also played Sonny in I, ROBOT.