It’s been said here more than once, and will likely be said again, but it’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan. We’ve got a new movie on the way with J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a strong animated series on TV in Star Wars Rebels, and a ton of comic books on store shelves. There are also novels and games, and, in addition to all the rest, a whole other line of movies on the way with the so-called "anthology" films, the standalone spinoffs that will poke into heretofore unexplored corners of that far, far away galaxy.
The first of these, the Gareth Edwards-directed Star Wars: Rogue One, is due in theaters December of 2016—the second suffered a setback over the weekend as director Josh Trank left the project, possibly being fired. Rogue One tells the story of the heist of the plans for the first Death Star. A while back, Lucasfilm decided that the Expanded Universe isn’t official canon anymore and scrapped all of that work, though they’ve said it could be used to source new stories. There is so much out there, not only in the EU, but the rest of the universe as well, that there are already tons of great stories and awesome characters. In that spirit, here are some of our favorite side characters who we would like to see get their own movies.
Admittedly, Chewbacca isn’t exactly a side character, as he’s one of the most beloved members of the Star Wars family. But Wookiees live for hundreds of years, and it’s been said that by the time A New Hope rolled around, Chewie was already pretty damn old. This means that, at some point, the giant walking carpet had to have a life before he threw in with Han Solo, and that time could make for one hell of a movie. He has a rich life in the Expanded Universe, even famously being killed off a few years back, and fans would love to experience more of his adventures onscreen. How did he wind up with Han? What steps did he take to get from the Wookiee home world of Kashyyyk to fighting against the Galactic Empire with a haphazard group of upstart insurgents? There’s a story there, and it’s one we want to see.
Jabba The Hutt
With the addition of the standalone anthology films, Lucasfilm is exploring different areas of the Star Wars universe, ones that don’t necessarily revolve around the Jedi and the Force. The first installment, Gareth Edward’s Rogue One, is described as a heist film, and if they included one based on Jabba the Hutt, that could serve as a kind of gangster movie addition to the franchise, a deep space mob film. Jabba plays an important role in Star Wars, but overall, it’s one we see relatively little of. Again, he and the Hutts are prominent players in the Expanded Universe, so we know there are stories that could be mined for content, and it would most definitely show a different perspective on this world.
This one is a no brainer. Not only is Wedge Antilles, played by actor Denis Lawson, notable for surviving all of the most major battles in the original Star Wars trilogy—he makes it through both Death Star attacks, first at Yavin then at Endor—but he plays a big role in the scrapped Expanded Universe as well. He’s the lead in the X-Wing novels, which are some of the most popular and revered titles out there, and his connection with Luke Skywalker—they’re friends, comrades, and founded Rogue Squadron—provides a link to the larger realm of the franchise. Wedge is familiar enough that audiences will recognize the name and character, but as far as general Star Wars viewers go, most people don’t know a lot about him.
Trained by the Emperor from childhood to be a master assassin, not unlike Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Mara Jade not only becomes an important player—she marries Luke Skywalker and bears his children—but she’s one of the most popular, beloved Expanded Universe characters. With her combat skills, complex nature, and all around badassness, she is a perfect choice to lead an action-packed big screen adventure, or maybe a couple. She’s sharp and biting, but also strong, vulnerable, and just a fantastic, well realized, all around character. It would be a shame to see her cut from the Star Wars universe completely, and not only would already existing fans love to see her show up in a movie, but she’d win over legions of new devotees as well.
People love Boba Fett, but it’s easy to forget that, in The Empire Strikes Back, we meet more bounty hunters than just him. There’s Dengar, IG-88, Bossk, Zuckuss, and 4-LOM. They’re all tasked with hunting down the Millennium Falcon, and given their collective profession, the stories of any or all of these characters might be worth a watch on the big screen. Think of this like a Star Wars crime saga, where the protagonist is a morally questionable anti-hero—even more so than Han Solo—one where you’re not sure you want them to succeed or not, but you can’t look away. Since the very beginning, there have been rumors that Rogue One could involve a crew of bounty hunters. We’re not exactly sure hos they fit into the plot, but it is possible we might actually see a few of these characters, or at least some of their ilk, on screen before too long.
Sy Snootles And The Max Rebo Band
How many movies have been made about bands and musicians struggling to make it on the road? Now transplant that timeworn story to a galaxy far, far away, and you’re likely to have the tale of Sy Snootles and the Max Rebo Band. You’ll likely remember them as the house band for the robust, slimy villain Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi. Made up of core members (the band grew in the special editions) keyboardist Max Rebo, singer Sy Snootles, and chidinkalu horn player Droopy McCool, doing what they do, travelling the outer rim playing dive bars, you just know they have seen some shit in their time on tour. They even appear in the Expanded Universe, like in the short story "And the Band Played On," as well as on the pages of the Dark Horse comics—they play a gig on Hoth for one of Jabba’s rivals. There is a lot to mine, and it’s very, very different from anything we’ve seen before.
Tenel Ka Djo
Originally a character in one of the young adult Star Wars threads, Tenel Ka Djo is a female Jedi who joins Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Academy in the Expanded Universe, becoming friends with Jacen and Jaina Solo, Han and Leia’s children. Like Padme before her, she falls in love with a young Jedi who goes down the path to the Darskside, has his child, and must stand up against what he has become, though she is way tougher about this than her predecessor. As skilled and badass as any Jedi before her, she is yet another fantastic character that already exists, has a ton of history to mine for potential stories, and is simply too good to be left to rot in novels most fans will never read. She deserves a chance to shine on the silver screen, and would be a great addition to the official Star Wars universe.
Raymus Antilles’ (no relation to Wedge Antilles) biggest claim to fame is that he’s the first person we see Darth Vader murder in a Star Wars movie—reality wise, not chronologically. He’s the pilot of the ship carrying Princess Leia at the beginning of A New Hope, the one Vader straight up chokes, no Force needed. But he’s also a veteran of the Rebellion at this point—he shows up in Revenge of the Sith—and to tell his story would give a glimpse into the early days of the uprising. Era wise, this covers similar territory as Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One, but given the size and scope of both the galaxy and the war, there are plenty of stories to tell from this period, and exploring Raymus’ past could be one way to further explore this period.
Darth Vader is, of course, one of the greatest villains in movie history, and the Emperor is no slouch either. However, with a saga spanning years and generations, it helps to have more than just two bad guys. Kylo Ren is shaping up to be sinister and harrowing in The Force Awakens, but Grand Admiral Thrawn is one who could play a role somewhere as well. In the Expanded Universe, the Chiss military commander was the only alien to rise to Admiral under Palpatine’s strict anti-alien policies, and he was known for things like aggressive offensive maneuvers, and having little care for civilian casualties. He winds up being a huge threat against the New Republic that forms in the wake of Return of the Jedi, and if the upcoming films ever want to explore the time between the Battle of Endor and The Force Awakens, he could easily fill the villain role, one who steps up to fill the power void in the wake of Vader and Palpatine’s deaths.
First appearing in the Jedi Academy trilogy of Expanded Universe novels, Natasi Daala shares something in common with Admiral Thrawn. While he was one of the only non-humans in Palpatine’s fleet to rise up the ranks, she is the first woman to become an Admiral, smashing that glass ceiling. Overseeing a research center, she developed new and destructive weapons. Working in relative isolation, when she learns of the death of the Emperor, she vows revenge against the Rebel Alliance, and could easily figure into a story set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. In the EU, she has a harrowing, tragic journey, but one that is ultimately redemptive and transformative, and it could be an incredible saga to show on screen.
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