Warning: Major spoilers for Rogue One below!
Rogue One has been an absolutely smashing success amongst fans and critics and is likely to become another huge hit. The film was risky seeing how it’s technically the first big budget Star Wars film that doesn’t feature Jedi or any member of the Skywalker family. But what it does show that there is an audience that is desperately hungry to see new portions of the Star Wars universe explored.
There is an anthology film series in the works designed as a vehicle to explore those stories and expand upon the history of events we’ve heard about in the films. We’re already getting films around Boba Fett and Han Solo with the Han Solo flick being written and directed by the absolutely brilliant Chris Lord and Phil Miller. But if Rogue One goes on to gross a billion dollars (which it will), there’s no way Disney will be happy with just one or two of these every couple of years. So with that in mind, we’ve combed through the depths of Wookiepedia to come up with the best possible pieces of unexplored Star Wars history that could just be waiting to be adapted into the next epic hit.
1. Rogue Squadron
This feels like the biggest no brainer that has ever existed in terms of the kind of movie Star Wars nerds have always been dreaming about but thought they could never get. The adventures of Rogue Squadron are easily the most detailed out of any of the EU extended cast. The tales of Wedge Antilles and his intrepid band of pilots has just so much support behind it. Comic books, video games, novels… honestly, when we first heard Rogue One was being made, we kinda automatically assumed it was going to be a movie about Wedge Antilles until the trailers finally told us otherwise.
But just imagine Top Gun in space following the various sorties of Wedge and his crack band of star fighter pilots. George Lucas always drew a great deal of inspiration for Star Wars from World War II fighter pilot movies. The idea of seeing this idea taken to the next level feels like a dream come true. If Rogue One showed the world anything it’s the fact that people are still hungry for Star Wars stories that don’t feature the Jedi or lightsabers and are more than willing to see other more ground level stories about the folks inhabiting the galaxy far far away.
2. Shadows of the Empire
Remember the ’90s before any of the unholy mess that was the prequel trilogy? Sure, Lucas made a few changes to the original trilogy, but everyone was so hyped to see them in theaters, that we didn’t care. We bought the toys and books and everything we could get our hands on.
And man oh man, we could not get enough of it. Hell, it got so bad that they even started releasing toys for a maybe-it’s-canon-maybe-it’s-not book. It spanned that ever so crucial gap between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Leia hunts for Boba Fett with Luke. Darth Vader searches for his son while simultaneously vying for the Emperor’s favor against Prince Xizor, an alien overlord to a massive crime syndicate and gave the Sith Lord a run for his money.
Shadows of the Empire was a book, a video game, a comic book… There were even toys. It was just a hairs breadth way from being canon. It was one of the earliest attempts at creating a transmedia narrative that crossed over multiple mediums to tell one cohesive story about the events between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It was so close we could just feel Lucas gearing up for a movie announcement. And then all of a sudden it wasn’t. And then years later, Disney bought the rights to Star Wars and everything was deemed apocryphal, relegated to “legends” status.
But here’s the thing. All that groundwork is still there. Nothing has changed. We might need to get some new actors, but good lord, that goes for pretty much anything in the Star Wars universe at this point. Maybe some of the details could be adjusted or changed but given the fact that Admiral Thrawn has been saved from legends purgatory there’s no reason why Dash Rendar or Prince Xizor couldn’t somehow be reworked into the canon. Sure, it would infuriate the hardcore nerds to see new people playing old characters, but maybe some new blood and some fresh content that we were always dying to see wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
3. Admiral Thrawn
Admiral Thrawn was one of the most beloved villains to be created in the Star Wars expanded universe series of books. In Timothy Zahn’s famed Thrawn trilogy, he quickly became a fan favorite character after he took over control of the remaining Imperial fleets after the death of the Emperor.
While most of the expanded universe has become non-canon after being rebranded into Star Wars Legends, but Thrawn has managed to make his way back into continuity thanks to Star Wars Rebel’s creator Dave Filoni. Dave managed to save him from legends purgatory when he picked the character to be used as the main villain in the third season of the Rebels animated series. So now Thrawn has been brought back into canon, and there isn’t a more compelling character to build a movie around.
Thrawn managed to make his way up through the Imperial ranks due to his raw tactical genius, something that is doubly amazing considering how generally xenophobic and racist the Empire is. Basically imagine a movie where Hitler’s greatest military commander is a self-hating Jew, and you’ve got an idea of what makes Thrawn such a compelling villain. He also loves to adapt and learn the battle styles of his enemies and doesn’t command through fear like the Emperor or Vader. He values creativity from his subordinates and his adaptability is ultimately what would make him into an amazing cinematic villain to center a story around.
4. Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina
Tales From the Mos Eisley Cantina was a series of short stories for the old expanded universe about the various going on in Tatooine’s Mos Eisley and all of the shady characters it tends to attract. While none of this is canon anymore, it’s a brilliant set-up for a film that’s just begging to be made. Just imagine like a Tarantino style film in the vein of Pulp Fiction featuring several interlocking stories centered around the Cantina about various bounty hunters, smugglers, criminals, and all the shady folks we love to see in Star Wars.
It’s the kind of thing that could be a much more experimental approach that we usually don’t see, but seeing how Rogue One murdered literally every character, and in a Disney movie no less, then maybe there is a chance we might see the story about a lowly death stick dealer trying to make a big score as his path crosses other people at the Cantina.
5. Jabba the Hutt Gangster Movie
We’ve seen glimpses of the seedier side of the Star Wars universe given the fact that our favorite heroes have spent more than their fair share of time hanging around hives of scum and villainy throughout the galaxy. But we’ve never really gotten a chance to see how they really work. What would be more awesome than a sort of Godfather style film set around Jabba the Hutt where we can get a better idea of how he managed to slime is way up the ranks of the Hutt clan to become the domineering gangster we know and love. We could see him vie against other criminals as well as the underhanded tactics needed to control a galactic criminal empire and maybe even find out how he managed to get that rancor into his pit in the first place.
6. Seven Jedi Samurai
Jedi are pretty much samurai if you strip a lot of the Force nonsense off of the surface. Hell, the original Star Wars trilogy cribbed a lot from The Hidden Fortress, so it’s not exactly hard to see how doing it again would be a pretty simple recipe for success. Given Lucas’s undying loving for all things Akira Kurosawa this feels like a match made in force ghost heaven.
If The Magnificent Seven proved anything, it’s that the concept translates pretty readily into Western media. The idea is pretty sound. Seven professional soldiers hold back a tide of goons with the help of the locals. Translate those goons any way you see fit from Stormtroopers to Droids. Personally, I’d want to take things way way back, before the Clone Wars even got started. Make this a movie about some of the first Jedi Knights as they struggle to help cement order in the Republic and push back against an unruly and barbarous Galaxy.
7. Rogue 2 Electric Boogaloo or How many Bothans Really Died to Get the Plans for the Second Death Star
Making a sequel to Rogue One is going to be pretty difficult especially since just about everyone in the main cast dies heroically in their suicide mission to get the plans for the first Death Star. While you can’t bring back any characters from Rogue One you can have a spiritual sequel in showing how the Rebel Alliance managed to learn of the second Death Star. Now we can see precisely how many Bothans really died to get that information.
It might not sound like much to go on to form an entire story around, but seeing how Rogue One is based entirely around a few lines of text in the original Star Wars movie crawl, it’s not hard to imagine that a second film couldn’t be made showing the heroic sacrifice the rebels are forced to make in their attempt to retrieve new information from an even crueler empire that’s learned from their previous mistakes.
8. Adventures of Dr. Aphra
Out of all the new Star Wars comics that came out of Marvel after Disney’s acquisition, one of the most critically lauded was Kieron Gillen’s Darth Vader comic. The comic details Darth Vader’s re-ascension to power after letting the rebels manage to destroy the Death Star. Basically the comic plays out like an epic House of Cards political drama with dashes of sci-fi adventure in between. The series has become much beloved, but one of it’s most popular additions to the Star Wars canon was the character of Doctor Aphra who joins Vader in his crusade of evil.
She’s a rogue archaeologist who pilfers ancient and discarded tech. Basically imagine if you crossed Indian Jones with Han Solo and that’s basically what Aphra is. She even has her own bounty hunting wookie sidekick and two droids who are affectionately referred to as her 'murder bots' due to their homicidal tendencies. She’s the kind of character who’s perfect for a smaller film that explores some of unseen parts of the galaxy far far away in Star Wars and could bring the same sort of rogue quirky charm that audiences loved in Guardians of the Galaxy.
9. Dark Saber
Okay, so imagine the biggest problem with the Death Star. No, after the thermal exhaust port. It’s huge. It’s the size of a goddamn moon, and as far as I can tell it needs to be really close to fire, like in orbit around the planet close. Sure, space is huge, but it’s kinda hard to miss something like that. What if you gutted the battle station aspect and turned it into just a bare bones super laser with minimal thrusters, shielding, and hyperdrive to pilot the thing into position and blow up a planet before anyone could find you? Yeah, not such a great show piece for military might, but it’s one hell of a terrorist weapon. Now what if the Hutts were building one? Yeah, the criminal syndicate warlords with no sense of morality. And now you know the plot of Dark Saber.
The novel featured the usual cast of Luke, Han, and everyone else because almost every Star Wars expanded universe book did. And we’re not going to beat around the bush, the book was terrible. But I think with some polish at the hands of a screenwriter who actually knew what the were doing, this would make an awesome spy thriller. The first step would be removing all the fan favorites and making some new characters to fill the slots. Imagine 24 or James Bond except with New Republic intelligence operatives working alongside local law enforcement. Someone stole those plans for the Death Star that years ago helped the rebels defeat the Empire. Nobody knows who did it, but everyone knows that this is an absolute nightmare. See, there hasn’t really been a lot of delving into how a bunch of slugs operate a ruthless criminal empire before, and this is kinda the perfect opportunity to really stir things up and showcase just how scary they can be running things from behind the curtain.
10. Asoka Tano
Asoka has been easily one of the most fascinating story arcs out of any character in the Star Wars Universe. While originally she started out as Anakin’s insufferable teenage apprentice, she quickly grew and matured into a fan favorite character with a potentially dark fate looming over her shoulders as fans wondered what exactly would happen to her after Palpatine executed Order 66.
She managed to survive thanks to her expulsion from the Jedi Order. Afterwards, she would resurface as a key member of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars Rebels where she’d be forced to confront her former mentor Anakin in his new form as The Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader. Asoka has had a fascinating journey and her story takes place in many different eras meaning that she provides a great amount of material to craft a film around.
For all we know, she might even still be alive in the current timeline if Darth Vader doesn’t kill her in the final season of Rebels. Her arc has made her one of the most fulfilling female Jedi’s ever to be created for Star Wars, and to see her make the jump to the big screen would be the ultimate honor for all the great work Davi Filoni and his crew have done in creating the best Star Wars cartoon ever made.
11. Lords of the Sith
This one one of the more recent novels to come out of Disney’s Star Wars publishing line. We’ve been inundated with dozens of Star Wars books, but none of them quite have the logline of this one. Vader and Palpatine crash land on a remote alien world and have to survive together all while being pursued by revolutionaries seeking to put an end to their tyranny. This is an amazing set-up. Basically you have two of the most evil people in the galaxy who pretty much hate each other and don’t trust one another forced to work together into an alien backwater planet as they’re hunted down. It’s like Castaway meets Predator in the Star Wars universe featuring two of the greatest villains in cinema history. It’d be like the Suicide Squad, only good.
12. Legend of the Noghri
In space, no one can hear the Emperor’s blindly fanatical race of trained assassins murder you in your sleep. I mean, you probably wouldn’t be able to hear that anyway, but in space it would be even harder. Oh, and also the Emperor has a race of fanatical murder machines that do his bidding. The Noghri are actually have kind of a sad story. Their world was an incidental casualty during the Clone Wars, their atmosphere poisoned as a result of a massive space battle that took place above their planet. But the Noghri were too primitive at the time to know any of this. All they know is Darth Vader showed up and offered to fix everything, and now they’re honor bound to serve him. It would take a lot of convoluted effort to really have these guys shine in their own right, maybe after a whole bunch of universe expansion, but they make amazing misguided villains.
Not that you need to know that, because for the most part, there’s really no reasoning with them. And that’s why setting them loose on a target pretty much writes it’s own story. A prominent local politician is at odds with The Empire and suddenly finds himself targeted for destruction. If he can only get to the Rebels, he could hand over that ever important plot MacGuffin! His bodyguard needs to keep him alive and safe from the swarm of trained murder machines chasing him long enough to rendezvous with rebel spies!
13. Star Wars: Aftermath
One thing that made even the most dedicated and hardcore Star Wars nerd’s kind of scratch their heads was that the set-up for The Force Awakens somehow creating a status quo that was almost identical to the one seen in a New Hope. What exactly is the First Order? We know their a new group set-up by the remains of the Empire, but are they in charge of the galaxy? Who do they control? How were they formed? What is the difference between the Rebels and the Resistance, and if there is a New Republic, why did they let the Space Nazis do whatever they want and build a planet sized death laser? Abrams was essentially making a carbon copy of a New Hope to reboot interest in Star Wars and introduce it to a new generation, but the rest of us are pretty interested in how things got to be the way they are.
There are a dozen books that cover this period with the biggest being Aftermath which follows right after the battle of Endor. It shows that while the Empire was shattered after their defeat, they weren’t broken or completely overthrown overnight given their massive spread of influence and control across the galaxy. Imagine an alternate history where Hitler is assassinated at the beginning of World War II. Nazi Germany doesn’t just disappear overnight. Someone else comes to fill that power vacuum and it’s a story that die hard Star Wars fans are eager to see.
14. Chewbacca’s Life Debt
Technically we might still be getting this in the Han Solo movie, but given the fact we still don’t know if we’ll be seeing Chewbacca at all it might still provide fertile ground. The partnership between Chewbacca and Han Solo is one of the greatest in cinema history, and we know that Han Solo saved him from slavery which put the wookie into a life debt and would eventually turn the two of them them into best pals. But the actual story seems like one that would be worth exploring especially if the young Han Solo film turns out to be any good (it’s probably going to be pretty damn good), this could make for an amazing sequel.
So these are our picks for the stand alone Star Wars films we’d love to see. Let us know which story you’d like to see the most in the poll below.
Which Stand Alone Star Wars Film Do You Want to See?
Let us know what old stories from the Star Wars canon you think Disney should consider for their upcoming Star Wars anthology series.