J.J. Abrams and company are currently hard at work shooting Star Wars: Episode VII, and I’m really glad I’m not wearing his shoes. Sure, making a Star Wars film seems like a dream gig, and countless filmmakers from my generation grew up and entered the business thanks to Lucas’ original trilogy. But there’s a huge amount of pressure to not screw up these new entries in the series. Abrams has the unenviable task of creating a new film in one of the most beloved franchises of all time, a franchise with a fanbase best described as "rabid." It seems unlikely that he’ll please everyone, and while I’m certainly looking forward to lots of new adventures in a galaxy far, far away, I also would be okay with catching up with some of the best minor characters from the earlier films in this new trilogy.
I’ve compiled a list of seven people I’d really love to see in the new movies, even if it’s just a cameo appearance. Some are silly, some are serious, all have a very strong tie to fans and the earlier films in the series. Check out my choices, then share your own picks with us in the comment section below.
Arguably the biggest no-brainer of all-time. Everyone loves Boba Fett, the badass intergalactic bounty hunter who dies what is arguably the most ignoble death in all of Star Wars history. Or does he?
Sure, Boba Fett goes flying into the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi and is presumed dead in one of the more tone-deaf moments of the original trilogy. But the extended universe kept Fett alive for more adventures. While that’s no longer canon, we never get official confirmation in the films that Fett is dead. That means he could easily come back in the new films. Given how much people love the character (which is a bit puzzling, because honestly Boba Fett is more hype than action in the films – he never really does anything…), it seems like Abrams and company would want to have the character show up somewhere, just for the fan service alone.
Malakili the Rancor Tamer
For me, Malakili is the embodiment of everything that’s awesome about Star Wars. This isn’t because he’s a major or even particularly great character – it’s for exactly the opposite reason. Star Wars is such an amazing universe that even what appear to be throwaway characters eventually get a backstory, a name, and fans.
Malakili was just the guy who cries when Luke Skywalker kills his Rancor at Jabba’s palace – but in the years since, we’ve learned he was a circus performer, that he had a really close bond with the Rancor, and that he’s since gone on to open his own restaurant. Come on – how hard would it be to have someone from the main cast wander into that establishment while doing something in the new film? We’d all geek out about it too. This ties nicely into my next choice…
Mos Eisley Cantina Band
Most people don’t realize this, but the band playing that catchy tune in the Mos Eisley Cantina in the opening parts of the first Star Wars film actually had a name. The seven-piece ensemble actually tours under the name Figrin D’An and the Modal Nodes, and even hit the Billboard charts here on Earth in 1977.
While the septet only had a tiny bit of screentime in the film, they made the most of it – becoming instant fan favorites. The members of the group, who are all from a race known as the Biths from the planet Clak’dor VII, get fleshed out a bit in the extended universe and even got their own action figures back in 2006. That kind of adulation should be enough to ensure that Figrin and his fellow musicians turn up somewhere in the new trilogy, one would think. Every movie needs some music, right?
Thank the Internet for the enduring popularity of the Mon Calamari’s most famous military leader. Before the "It’s a trap!" meme became a classic bit of Interweb history, only serious Star Wars fans remembered that Ackbar actually had a name.
While the Admiral is mostly remembered for his one classic line, he also had a really cool creature design. Ackbar has had quite a distinguished Star Wars career in the aftermath of his debut appearance, turning up in the comics, extended universe books, and other areas of the expanded universe. We can’t see Ackbar or the Mon Calamari playing a huge role in the new film, but it would be nice to catch up with him in a scene or two.
Rebel pilot Wedge Antilles was one of the fans’ favorite recurring minor characters in the original Star Wars films, even though he never got an abundance of screentime or lines. He’s ripe for a return in the new trilogy, but apparently that’s not going to happen.
Actor Denis Lawson says he was approached about reprising his role as Wedge in Star Wars: Episode VII, but he opted against it, saying, "They asked me, but it just would have bored me." Well, there’s nothing like being direct. This doesn’t mean Wedge Antilles couldn’t return with a different actor playing the part, but what’s the point in that? Probably just better to forego the cameo completely, or maybe just toss in a line of dialogue about how Wedge Antilles died in a tragic X-Wing crash while heading for vacation on Dagobah. Think of it like Poochie on The Simpsons.
I love Jabba the Hutt, and I get that he had to die in Return of the Jedi – but that doesn’t mean his offspring can’t play some minor role in the upcoming Episode VII, does it? We know Jabba has a son named Rotta, so it’s not like it would be a huge stretch to bring him into the story in some way.
Rotta has a bit of history in the extended universe that could be built upon for an appearance in the new film. While the EU might not be canon as it stands, that doesn’t mean that Abrams and Disney can’t pick and choose things from that broader landscape and include them in the movie, thereby making them canon. No one’s asking for a rehash of the original trilogy, or for the Hutts to be a centerpiece of a new storyline, but Abrams clearly is aware of fan nostalgia and could earn some geeky goodwill from the hardcore by paying homage to Jabba’s family line.
Like Boba Fett, Darth Maul is another awesomely badass character who’s completely mishandled in the films. I guess we should be thankful that Lucas and company managed to get Darth Vader right, because they dropped the ball on a lot of other potentially great villains… All the promotional material for Episode I made it seem like Maul was going to be the new Vader, and I know we all geeked out when he shows off the double-bladed lightsaber for the first time, which makes it all the more disappointing that he is essentially wasted in the film. Sure, he gets a great fight against Obi Wan and Qui Gon Jinn, but that’s the end of the line for the Sith killing machine. It seems completely unlikely we’ll see Maul again, but he deserved a better fate. Ah well, we can always watch him in the Clone Wars animated series, I guess.
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