8 Star Wars Spin-off ideas you won't have seen elsewhere

23/03/2017

Following the success of Rogue One, and with the confirmed third spin-off still yet to have a confirmed focus there are a plethora of articles and videos exploring options for further Star Wars spin-off films. However, I find that most, if not all, of these articles are severely lacking in any sort of imagination to the point where it feels like the list was put together in about 5 seconds and then the justification came later. Having been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember, and having enjoyed various parts of the 'Legends' expanded universe, I bring you an alternative list that takes a greater look at this 'Legends' universe and also looks at other film types that could be made within that galaxy far far away.

I should note first, several usual suspects that you most certainly won't be seeing in this list. First, Yoda: Yoda is a character whose backstory is shrouded in such mystery and vagueness that many deem him a perfect fit for a spin-off. There is so little known about himi that we do not even know the name of his species - a minor detail that is known of even the most passing of characters. But the risk of such characters, and one that is certainly true of Yoda is that whatever backstory may be written and canonised could never compare to that which the individual mind can conjure up. In short, trying to give a backstory to Yoda is a task destined for failure and disappointment. The same can be said for the next name you won't see - Boba Fett. To say that Fett is iconic would be selling him short. Never before or since has there been such fervour for such a, let's be honest here, minor character. The original trilogy did a masterful job of building up the character - never seeing his face, and never showing much emotion. The job was completed with the fear in Han's voice when he hears Fett is there during the melee above the sarlaac pit. We've already seen the effect of expanding on this character with the prequel trilogy when his childhood appearance brought much ire from longtime fans. And finally, you will not see Obi-wan Kenobi appear on this list. I genuinely cannot fathom his inclusion elsewhere. Obi-wan already had a whole trilogy! And it was dire! Not to mention the Clone Wars, and Rebels spin-off cartoon series that he has appeared in. There's literally only 1 part of his life left unexplored, and during that time he was living quietly as a hermit, watching over Luke Skywalker from a distance. It doesn't exactly make for the most compelling viewing. So if that is who won't be in the list, let's see what does make the list.

 

8. Naga Sadow

If you're a fan of the expanded universe, this is a name you will have heard a lot, but still might not know a lot about. Taking place roughly 5000 years before the events of the Star Wars films, Naga Sadow is one of the earliest, and most powerful Sith Lords of all time and his spirit carries through to the time of the Old Republic (more on that later). It was during his rise that the Republic first discovered the Sith homeworld and empire, by 2 republic explorers. Naga Sadow captured them, then staged an escape claiming military assistance to leverage the citizens' fear, in a parallel to some modern-day politics, and start a war with the Galactic Republic. The Sith onslaught was unstoppable, until Sadow was turned on by his apprentice allowing the Republic to turn the tide and win the war. As well as being a much spoken name in the 'Legends' universe, this parallel to modern-day political fear mongering  in real life could give this spin-off a social commentary not barely seen from the Star Wars franchise.

 

7. Smuggler Heist movie

When Disney first announced their intention to bring forth other Star Wars films that were not tied to the Skywalker Saga, initial excitement was enormous. Think of the possibilities! One of the ideas that really struck a chord with me, was to simply take an established cinema trope but then move it into the Star Wars galaxy where it hadn't been used before. One such trope is the heist movie. Imagine a Han Solo type character leading a band of smugglers in a light-hearted Ocean's Eleven style film where they succeed in a heist from under the noses of the Hutts. This would be something completely new for the Star Wars universe; a lighter tone that doesn't take itself too seriously and can just have fun. It opens up opportunities to introduce more new characters, similar to characters we already love like Han, but without the risk of upsetting fans by going against their idea of established characters.

 

6. Darth Bane

You may not be familiar with the character of Darth Bane, himself; but you are most certainly familiar with his legacy if you ever watched the prequels. Throughout both trilogies there has been a rule regarding the Sith, vocalised at the end of Episode I: The Rule of Two. There is a master, and an apprentice, and no other Sith. Darth Bane was the sole Sith survivor from the Jedi-Sith war 1,000 years before the ends of the prequel trilogy. Bane recognised that the selfish quests for power among the Sith, often turning on their own, had undermined their efforts against the Jedi. He took on an apprentice and started a new philosophy dubbed the Rule of Two with a Master to embody power, and an apprentice to crave it. As with any successful world-building, many fans yearn to understand the galaxy far far away deeper, and to know more of its history. A film that encompassed the ending of the Jedi-Sith war, the destruction of the Sith, and Bane's new beginning with his apprentice could provide a multi-faceted film giving that depth fans crave, while also keeping 1 foot linked to the films we've seen before.

 

5. Stormtrooper Corps

The beginning of The Force Awakens offered us a tantalising taste of seeing into the world of a stormtrooper, from their perspective. The stormtrooper in question, ends up not having much in common with his fellow troopers and soon shed that part of his life but if the goal of a spin-off movie is to explore the Galaxy Far Far Away from different angles, what angle could be more different than by following a squad of stormtroopers and experiencing things from their perspective. There are lots of different routes that could be taken with this too. If we use past films as an easy reference for the different angles such a film could take, there are many films it could emulate: Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, Jarhead, Full Metal Jacket; the list goes on. Such a film could also serve to further blur the lines between the shades of grey that Rogue One began to introduce. Perhaps the goal of the squad of stormtroopers is to restore stability in a region the Rebels are trying to destabilise/liberate. Whilst from other films we know that the Rebel cause is noble, when the gaze is so far removed from the major players perhaps things won't seem so black and white anymore.

 

4. Exar Kun

Exar Kun was one of the most powerful Jedi, and Sith, of all time. In a story that mirrors Anakin Skywalker's to a degree, he became exceptionally skilled with a lightsaber and had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. But this thirst became a concern for the Jedi Council who worried the search for knowledge would become a search for power. In what could be a marquee sequence of a Star Wars movie, Kun travelled to the Sith Tombs on Korriban and faced trials from the resting Sith spirits. From this point onward he was changed and aligned with the Sith. He journeyed to Yavin-4, enslaving the Massassi warriors and sought to rule more than Yavin-4. In doing so he encountered another fallen Jedi Ulic Qel-Droma. The fallen Jedi's armies fought in a long battle, after which the two joined forces with Kun as Master and Qel-Droma as apprentice. They waged war on the Republic until they were pushed back to Yavin-4. A this point Kun enacted a unique ritual, sacrificing his armies to keep his spirit alive. This spin-off would be a good choice for its familiarity of themes with the story of Anakin, but enacted through a different set of events. The trials on Korriban and the ritual on Yavin-4 would especially make for interesting viewing.

 

3. Rogue Squadron

After the lightsabers, and the Force, and the Jedi and Sith what comes to mind when thinking about Star Wars? It is, of course, the star battles. There is a thrill that comes from these battles and a certain beauty in their chaos. It would also serve as a nod to one of Lucas' main influences when making the original trilogy being the dog fights of WW2 films. Some cite Top Gun as a film to mirror, but I would suggest a more serious tone. There's a number of different mission types that could be encapsulated too. We've seen dog fights, and they are of course spectacular, and a brief bombing run was shown in Rogue One but there's definitely room to expand on that. On top of those, you could potentially include a tense convoy mission where we're constantly wondering if they are going to be discovered, and then the drama as they are and have to fend off the Empire. Finally, just as Rogue One acted as a sort of Episode 3.9, you could make this an episode 6.5 by incorporating the Battle of Jakku that left all the destroyed Star Destroyers on the planet's surface.

 

2. Eison Gynt & Barel Ovair

The tale of these two Jedi is a classic tale of fallen Jedi, but with a dramatic final twist. On the surface, their story might seem very similar to that of Anakin Skywalker or Exar Kun but there's a lot more intrigue here. After Ovair took Gynt as his padawan, the pair journeyed the galaxy seeking out and studying mysteries of the force. This alone gives plenty of potential material to cover in a film. As with Exar Kun before them, their ambition led them to Yavin-4. They were unable to fight against the Massassi and fled into the temple and resting place of Naga Sadow. It's unknown what happened inside. Weeks later Ovair returned to Coruscant telling of the horrors he faced with Gynt, and Gynt's tragic death.

Years later, however, Gynt mysteriously returned seeking to kill his former master. Attacking, in the middle of the city the 2 fought in a very public battle. Ovair finally won out, killing Gynt, his success over the dark side being hailed. All was apparently well, but the truth was different. Ovair was descended from a family of Sith Infiltrators attempting to bring down the Jedi Order from within.

 

1. The Old Republic

Of course, it had to be. If The Old Republic doesn't mean anything to you, it's a safe bet you've not explored the Expanded Universe. The setting of the Old Republic takes place over 3000 years before the Original Trilogy, and is the setting of a series of games by Bioware. The setting is very expansive spanning 300-500 years. It encompasses several wars. The first was the Mandalorian War, when the entire Mandalorian clans sought to bring down the Republic. This was followed by the Jedi Civil War, when 2 Jedi - Revan and Malak fell to the Dark Side and sought to take over the galaxy themselves, and finally the Great War when the Republic was invaded by the Sith Empire, ruled by the one true Emperor of the Sith. Of all this history, the most well known is that of Revan and Malak, with the former being one of the most beloved characters in the entire Expanded Universe. However, for this reason this is not where I would start and would instead look to explore the events we know of, but not in great detail.

Given the vast breadth of history there is to cover here, you could easily get another 9 episodes from this, even more if desired. I would therefore start with the Mandalorian Wars.

Often cited as background story in other tales, than explored directly it immediately gives an opportunity to delve deeper. The story known of is already very nuanced. The Mandalorian clans launched an all-out assault on the Republic, with many planets falling to them, and millions of innocent lives lost. The Jedi Council were adamant they could not intervene, that fighting a war would only lead to the dark side. 2 Jedi, Revan and Malak, could not watch the innocent lives being lost any longer and led a rebellion against the council's decree that saw many Jedi join the fight on behalf of the Republic. Led by Revan, a powerful Jedi and master tactician they turned the tide of the war before a final battle saw the activation of a super-weapon that devastated the planet of Malacore V and the fleets of both sides. Whilst the final cost was heavy, there was finally peace. Whilst the galaxy returned to order, Revan and Malak disappeared into deep space not to be seen for many years.

Revan and Malak returned many years later, only now they called themselves Sith Lords and waged war on the Republic themselves. Revan was eventually betrayed by his apprentice Malak and captured by the Jedi. His memory was erased and retrained as a Jedi apprentice. Revan fought against Malak who revealed to him his true identity. Despite this new knowledge Revan completed his redemption by defeating Malak and shunning the dark side.

The now weakened state of the Republic meant the timing was finally right for the one true Emperor of the Sith to bring his empire out of deep space and attack the Republic, as vengeance for their defeat in the First Great Hyperspace war a millennia before.

With thousands of Jedi and also thousands of Sith, this war eclipses all others before or since. The scope of this story allows for story tellings from many different viewpoints - both light and dark, and neutral, with far too many catalogued events to detail here. It is, without question, the largest untapped source of the Expanded Universe and also the most beloved and it's suitability for movies is unmatched.

 

What are your thoughts, are there any stories you think I've missed?

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