Why The Star Wars Spinoffs Should Stop Retreading The Original Characters

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in Revenge of the Sith

The days of live action Star Wars movies only being chapters in a trilogy are over. Since the franchise from a galaxy far, far away was brought into the Disney family, Lucasfilm has been plotting standalone "Anthology" spinoffs to keep Star Wars fans entertained on years when there isn't an installment for the main saga. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story kicked off this lineup last year, and the young Han Solo movie is following next May, but it doesn't end there. An Obi-Wan Kenobi movie is in development, and Lucasfilm has also reportedly been considering movies revolving around Boba Fett, Yoda and Jabba the Hutt. As you can see, these are all characters we're well acquainted with from the Original and Prequel Trilogies, and there's certainly no denying that they are all popular in their own way. That being said, it would be wise for Lucasfilm not to keep these Anthology movies primarily focused on established characters, as it restricts the ways this franchise can grow.

To clarify, we're not saying that any of these upcoming Star Wars Anthology spinoffs will be bad movies. For all we know, the Han Solo movie and the Obi-Wan Kenobi movie could be excellent stories, the former providing key insight on the smuggler in his younger years and the latter potentially showing what the Jedi Master was up to on Tatooine between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope. The problem with continuing to center on familiar characters in these movies it that it's just more of the same. The Star Wars series has a whole galaxy to play around in, but if we keep returning to these familiar corners, then these are more wasted chances to branch off and meet new characters who don't have close ties to the main Star Wars arcs.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story achieved a nice balance by tying the plot to A New Hope, but featuring a brand new cast of characters. That's the same kind of approach other Anthology stories need to adopt. It's obviously fine if there are common Star Wars elements inserted in these movies, like showing stormtroopers walking through the streets (as Rogue One had) or even seeing a Jedi swinging their lightsaber. The point isn't so much to put a lot of distance between these Anthology tales and the main Star Wars movies as it is to shine light on areas of this galaxy where other exciting adventures are happening involving characters we haven't met before. Not everyone has to have a close connection to someone from the Skywalker or Solo family.

Star Wars: Rogue One cast

We're also not saying that established Star Wars characters shouldn't appear in any of these Anthology movies. Rogue One included a few familiar faces without having them overshadow the new characters, from Grand Moff Tarkin to Bail Organa. (Okay, so Darth Vader's Rebel slaughter at the end of the movie stole the show, but at least the main protagonists were all out of the picture by that point.) Its successors could follow suit. If Lucasfilm develops bounty hunter-centric Star Wars movie set before the Original Trilogy, Boba Fett could definitely play a supporting role or cameo at the very least. If a Jedi-centric movie comes down the pipeline that takes hundreds of years before these movies, maybe Yoda could show up as a spry Jedi Knight who has yet to reach half a millennium. But they shouldn't distract from the new personalities being brought in.

Look at what Star Wars Rebels has done on TV. The crew of The Ghost has been going on adventures for years, and while their paths have crossed with famous people from the Star Wars movies, they've earned notoriety for their own accomplishments. That's what these Anthology movies should be striving to do. Give fans new characters to love and appreciate rather than retread the characters we already like. Deliver exciting new stories rather than give further background on people whose pasts didn't need to be explored further. With Star Wars books, comics and video games being released regularly, it's not like these established characters are lacking a platform to shine further. The Anthology movies are the prime place to widen the Star Wars mythology with fresh material without interfering with what the main trilogies are accomplishing. Don't these kinds of stories sound more appealing than seeing how Jabba the Hutt rose to power?

The Anthology lineup will continue on May 25, 2018 with the release of the Han Solo movie, but you can get your Star Wars fix before that when Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released on December 15.

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Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.