There is a problem brewing over at Lucasfilm and it’s not exactly coming from something fans are willing to admit. It’s coming from the tethering to the original saga films and making all films directly connected to them.
Anthologies were supposed to open doors for new and original stories within the Star Wars universe, but have become some fan-fiction corner. Focusing energy on films for Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Boba Fett, The Hutts, and Yoda isn’t exactly expanding upon what has come before. It’s shining a light on the mystery of the original films, which for better or worse isn’t terribly creative but pure fanservice. Solo and Kenobi have been explored in multiple novels, canon or not.
Most fans will see these films (no matter what they are), but the expectations we originally had when Disney bought the rights that they would seek new stories and characters.
Rebels which consists of great new characters is attached to saga because story group and the studio has issues moving on to other eras. Rogue One was fine, but I think if they had replaced the characters with the ones from Rebels it would have been slightly more cohesive. The problem seems to be that we’re now entering a path of predictable prequels with the anthologies but there is a way to stop this train.
I’ve been quite vocal that the best way to combat this uninspiring path is to start developing films in other eras, mainly, The Old Republic. Removing anthology films from direct connections to the original films and characters, allowing filmmakers to really make something new and allows Kathleen Kennedy to give creatives more wiggle room narratively.
It sounds like the issues have been that Kathy Kennedy, Larry Kasdan, and story group are the gatekeepers. When directors and writers are working with established characters it makes it harder to deviate from a studio vision or notes. Creative freedom could return if they make a string of films set a thousand years in the past, allowing screenwriters to actually add something new and fresh to the universe.
Fewer conflicts concerning creative decessions might lead to directors sticking around to complete the film they were hired to make.
Old Republic era is before rule-of-two, allowing the Sith Empire to finally be explored and seeing how that worked at one time. It’s also a way to possibly rework Jedi training practices and mythology somewhat tarnished in the prequels.
The cinematic Old Republic video game trailers from Tim Miller and Blur have cemented that this era could have some complex stories to mine. Also, a great era to develop original films.
Some filmmakers I’d love to see tackle some Old Republic movies include Ava Dunervay (Selma, A Wrinkle In Time), Ryan Coolger (Creed, Black Panther), Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, Monster), Justin Lin (Star Trek Beyond, Fast and Furious 6, True Detective), and Tim Miller (Deadpool, Terminator, Thor: The Dark World).
It remains to be seen when and if we’ll see Lucasfilm move into other eras in the Star Wars lore, but I have my fingers crossed it’s sooner rather than later.