Where in “a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away” could Rian Johnson be taking Star Wars? We have some suggestions.
After 7 Star Wars movies (and the highly anticipated 8th on the way), 2 canonical animated shows and a plethora of comics and novels, Disney are preparing to unshackle themselves from the dysfunctional Skywalker family. It was announced on the 9th of November that Rian Johnson – the director of The Last Jedi – would be given the creative reigns to a new Star Wars trilogy that will focus on “new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.”. Exciting, right? This has been the announcement that many Star Wars fans have been waiting for since Disney took a chainsaw to the extended universe and badged it up as the non-canonical “Legends”. We’re finally going to see more of the galaxy far far away that doesn’t involve a Skywalker or their immediate friends/comrades.
The wording of the new trilogy announcement doesn’t give us much to go on other than it’ll be something new that has yet to been explored. Whether that includes the “Legends” content or not is still up for debate. Regardless, there are many corners of the Star Wars universe that have been hinted at but have never truly been explored. Similarly, I can’t imagine Disney and Johnson wanting to distance themselves too far from the status quo by abandoning the Jedi, Sith etc all together. The announcement got us so excited, we decided to pick 5 dream settings for the next Star Wars trilogy. Without further ado, here they are;
1). The Hundred Year Darkness
The early rumours around Rian Johnson’s work on The Last Jedi is that he’s not afraid to explore the dark and neutral side of the force. Mark Hamill confirmed as much when speaking to Disney Rewards magazine about a new take on Luke Skywalker:
‘Luke has lost confidence in his ability to make good choices. It haunts him to the core. But he hasn’t gone to the dark side. This isn’t an evil version of him. But it’s still an incarnation of the character I never expected. It has pulled me out of my comfort zone. It’s a real challenge.’
This brings us to “The Hundred Year Darkness.” Made canon by the 2015 comic book Star Wars 9: Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon, Part II, this period in Star Wars history involves the formation of the Sith and the wars it spawned. It involves an unnamed rogue Jedi exploring the darker side of the force and being cast out by the Jedi Council. The unknown Jedi then began to gain followers who eventually became known as the Sith. Little is known about who the rogue Jedi is and why they explored the dark side of the force against the Jedi’s teachings (at least not within the canon) but this seems like a setting that Johnson could explore, given that he is unafraid to explore the force in all its angles.
2). The Je’daii Order
While this period was extensively covered within the Extended Universe, it has yet to be made officially canon by Disney. This period, thousands of years before the current Star Wars arcs, tells the tale of the discovery of the force on Tython a planet with 2 moons that were bathed in light and dark. The Je’daii Order were the first group of force users who sought out a balance between the light and dark sides of the force. It’s an interesting time for the Star Wars galaxy and not one that he been explored properly since the Extended Universe was cast off. If Rian Johnson was looking for a truly fresh start, this might be a decent setting. Of course, as Disney are now intent on putting their own spin on the canon while resurrecting aspects they like (I’m looking at you Thrawn), it’s unlikely we’ll see a retelling of the EU versions of the origins of the force, but more of an original take.
3). Unknown Space
Unknown Space, or Unknown Regions as it’s often called, is the area that was unexplored by the galactic empire at the end of Return of the Jedi. Past the outer rim, it was an area of space that was dangerous to reach with solar storms, rogue magnetospheres, black holes and gravity wells killing most who tried to travel there. In The Force Awakens, parts of the Unknown Space had been explored and The First Order even created their Starkiller Base there. Still, there is much of the Unknown Space that is unknown and the events of the area during the Prequel and Original trilogy are undocumented. There’s also a “dark force” that the Emperor was obsessed with in the Unknown Region and dedicated a lot of his resources to finding to no avail. If Rian Johnson really wanted to go full on high sci-fi, basing his trilogy in this uncharted area with new alien species, new dangers and new characters would be an excellent way to give himself a clean slate while retaining the Star Wars feel. Maybe this could be an exploration film akin to Star Trek Voyager (it’s okay to like both Trek and Wars btw) and the discovery of new worlds?
4). The Old Republic
The Old Republic feels like well trodden ground at this point. We’ve had video games, books, comics, novels and many snippets in magazines about the time before the Galactic Republic. This doesn’t feel like “new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” but every other website seems to think this should be the location of the next Star Wars trilogy so I feel compelled to write about it.
The time before The Phantom Menace is largely unknown in Star Wars canon right now. Very little of what was written or produced on the Old Republic has been made canon (beyond what’s mentioned in the comics/novels) and Disney could quite easily give Rian Johnson the keys to this time period to explore as he wishes. I doubt we’re going to see Darth Revan committed to film any time soon but stranger things have happened…
“But We’ve been to Coruscant many times before?” Okay. Here me out. Coruscant is one of the most interesting planets that Star Wars has ever visited because it is a planet wide metropolis and it has so many layers. There’s a mountain of untold stories that are just begging to be told that take place on Coruscant and they don’t have to involve the Jedi (Star Wars 1313 anyone?).
I’ve been reading the wording of the announcement from Star Wars around the new trilogy, especially this part; “new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.”
What if, bear with me, Rian Johnson and Disney invented a new powerful character from a new species from beyond the borders of known space and placed them in locations the audience knew well, like Coruscant. This character arriving in the Star Wars universe and causing all kinds of chaos, either by choice or accident could have some legs to it. Basically, Crocodile Dundee meets Guardians of the Galaxy, set in Star Wars. I’d probably go and see that. Would you?