With news of new Star Wars films comes rumors about just about everything to do with them. While most of the rumblings have been related to the Sequel Trilogy, the spinoff films haven’t exactly been forgetting in the rumor mill. We’ve already heard rumors about the spinoff films starring Han Solo, Boba Fett, or even Yoda. But hey! It’s a big galaxy out there spanning thousands of years and even more characters. Why should those three get all of the fun?
Here are ten different spinoff film ideas that I think have some potential to play out well on the big screen.
1. Count Dooku
With the right actor, this could be brilliant! There’s a lot that we really don’t know about the Jedi Master turned Count of Serenno. It would give viewers the chance to see an action film staring a Jedi and to also get a closer look inside the head of what makes a Jedi leave the Order and become a Sith. Top it off with a cameo/small role at the end from Christopher Lee and you are set! If you doubt that they could find a younger actor who can do justice to a Christopher Lee role, check out how perfectly cast Xavier and Magneto were in X-men First Class. It could be either an origins film or perhaps just one of his adventures but either way, it has potential. Personally, I’d prefer to see an origins films that goes through his fall to the Dark Side but I’ll happily watch either.
Wait hear me out before you shake your head because it could actually work. While I think that the vast majority of Expanded Universe books are either ill-suited or completely unlikely to get the big screen treatment, this one has potential. It’s a self-contained story set during a time frame that viewers are already familiar with and it would star Samuel L. Freaking Jackson. It would definitely have to get an R-rating given the amount of warfare and horrific violence that goes on during the story and it would also definitely be darker than any Star Wars film we’ve seen before. Regardless, it’s a fantastic tale that isn’t tied to tons of backstory. Everything the audience needs to know could easily be worked into the dialogue. Not only that but Shatterpoint would feature a leading cast of actors of color which would definitely be awesome. Who wouldn’t want to see a wisecracking Nick Rostu on the big screen? And Kar Vastor? He would be imposing to say the least. Plus, SLJ swinging a lightsaber on the big screen again and getting to kick some serious butt is always a plus. I’d love to see how the director would handle how Mace sees shatterpoints because that has potential to look amazing.
Aaron Allston’s X-Wing: Mercy Kill is out now in paperback! If you have yet to pick yourself up a copy, now would be an excellent time to do so. Even if you’ve already purchased the book in hardcover or ebook format, you could pick yourself up another copy and either use it to help solve the dilemma of ‘do I place Mercy Kill after Fate of the Jedi or with the other X-Wing books?’ by having them in both spots on your bookshelf or by giving it to someone as a gift and getting them hooked on the Wraiths.
If you’re still not convinced of how great this book is, you can check out all three of our reviews.
It was pure chance that put the best book in the Expanded Universe and the worst one next to each other in the Waru Express reading list. It was also a blessing because after rereading The Crystal Star? I don’t think I could’ve kept going on this project without Starfighters of Adumar being there to hug me and tell me that everything’s going to be okay. So with no further ado, let’s talk about the Best and the Worst that the Expanded Universe has to offer.
The Crystal Star
This book has the distinction of being so awful that I had managed to block everything about it from my memory (except the existence of Waru) until the other night. For those of you who joined me on my livestream, you got to witness my descent into madness. (I believe Brian noted that the Waru Express finally broke me around 9:16 EST.) There was drinking, there was cursing, there was defeated sobbing. There was also the world’s worst Han Solo impression and some singing and some off-color jokes. And then more cursing and more drinking and more pleas to be released from my agreement to read the book. But most importantly, there was Waru. He loves you.
Ahhhh the Thrawn books. Honestly, is there anything more classic than Zahn’s trilogy when it comes to the Expanded Universe? If you’re here for the snark, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer because between these three books and another X-Wing novel? I have nothing but praise this go-round. (Shocking, I know.)
Heir to the Empire
One of the first things that occurred to me while I was reading this book is how much the Star Wars universe owes to Timothy Zahn. There is so much about the universe that I just take for granted that I’m now realizing/remembering is all thanks to Zahn. Coruscant? Zahn. Personalities for character who really only cameoed in the films but are integral parts of the EU? Zahn. Bringing Wedge Antilles to the forefront? Zahn. Introducing the best character ever, aka Winter? Zahn. I mean, I’m not saying that Zahn is god but the amount of canon he contributed is amazing.
What I love about this book and the entire trilogy is that the story still clearly feels like Star Wars but still has its own tale to tell. It’s not a rehashing of the Emperor or Vader because the villains have their own motivations and characterizations. (I’ll save my ‘Why I love Pellaeon’ ramble for another post.) Thrawn is most certainly his own character who takes a very different approach to winning the war than any other Imperial we’ve seen before. It’s pretty cool that he can study art and figure out how someone will react. And then you have C’boath who is just bonkers. His original model wasn’t much of a charmer to begin with so this probably shouldn’t be surprising.
And then we have the introduction of the ever fabulous Mara Jade. If there are people in our universe who dislike her, I don’t want to know about them. I positively adore everything about her and what she brings to the story. I’m also a huge fan of Talon Karrde and his smuggling organization that doubles as the best intelligence agency not controlled by a government. I’d happily read a book all about Karrde and his organization. Pretty please, Del Ray? Also, I will admit to also not really getting the Wild Karrde joke either until a few years ago because I pronounced the ‘e’ in my mind. Nanci isn’t alone here.
Of course, all the familiar characters are always great to read about. Zahn clearly gets Luke, Han, Leia, and Lando and writes them all quite well. Plus, I think he did a great job of bringing each of them five years forward from Endor so we see the same characters but we also get to see a logical progression for each one.
The story is good too. It’s a set up novel for the rest of the trilogy but never feels like it’s only there as exposition because it has its own tale to tell before the final page is turned. Enjoyable all around.
With the barrage of rumors surrounding standalone films in the Star Wars, Hollywood.com decided to catch up with Expanded Universe author Timothy Zahn to discuss what it takes to write Han Solo and the kinds of standalone films and spinoff projects he’d like to see in the Disney Star Wars era.
On the topic of new projects beyond regular episodic installments:
Hollywood.com:First of all, none of this has been confirmed by Disney or Lucasfilm, and I’m not looking to you at all to confirm it. I’m just interested in your perspective as a Star Wars author, and even more importantly, as a Star Wars fan, on the rumor today that the first two standalone Star Wars movies will be about Young Han Solo and Boba Fett respectively.
Timothy Zahn: All of this is at the rumor stage of course, but, the fact is, I would like to see more Star Warsbeyond the core saga. I’d like more Star Wars TV, and certainly more Star Wars books. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. The Galaxy Far, Far Away is impossibly huge with story ideas and possibilities.
On writing Han:
HW: Is there a difference between the way you wrote Han in Scoundrels as opposed to the way you wrote him in the Thrawn Trilogy or Hand of Thrawn Duology?
TZ: Oh yeah, he’s much more mature in the later books. He’s taken on more responsibility. He still chafes at it at times. But he does the jobs that need to be done. He’s more aware of what’s at stake, what the consequences could be if he succeeds or fails. And that’s because he has a family at that point, which brings a whole new set of responsibilities with it. In Scoundrels on the other hand, since that’s set right after A New Hope, he’s much more footloose and fancy free. But even then you can see that once he’s assembled the team he’s working with, he’s not going to abandon them. The seeds of “Responsible Han” are already there. But he would deny it probably.
On spinoff Star Wars projects he’d like to see:
HW: What other characters from the movies would you like to see get the movie spinoff treatment?
TZ: Lando is an obvious one. You could do a lot with Lando during the time leading up to The Empire Strikes Back. If we’re going post-Jedi era I would frankly like to see Wedge put together Rogue Squadron. I think you could have a whole series of Rogue Squadron movies that would be great. Wedge is peripheral, but he is verypopular and rightfully so. Who else helps take out two Death Stars? You could even do an X-Wing TV show focused on Rogue Squadron that, just like the books, would be peripheral to the main Skywalker-Solo saga. That means you could introduce a lot of new characters anchored by Wedge. You could make wonderful stuff out of the X-Wing books.
See, I’m not the only one who thinks a Wedge-centric film and an X-Wing television series would be absolutely fantastic viewing.
The whole interview is fantastic and there’s a lot more to read. Head to Hollywood.com’s interview for more with Timothy Zahn.
Earlier today, Roqoo Depot noticed that the X-Wing series eBook bundle finally got a date and price. You’ll be able to buy the original nine-book series on July 30th for $56.99, or about $6.33 per book. That’s a little more than a $1.50 discount each.
I’ll definitely be placing a pre-order for this, but I’d also echo what Dunc said over at Club Jade. An X-Wing trade paperback reissue would be pretty shiny and I do hope we see that one day. That said, if you’re considering getting into the X-Wing books for the first time or you’re looking to re-read them, the eBook bundle looks to be a pretty solid deal.
Last week, Shane posted the first of what will be a summer series of retro reviews and discussions looking back at the X-Wing novels by Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston. You should read it, especially if you haven’t read the books yet and are on the fence about diving into them. A few weeks before that, Nanci and I overviewed the series on the podcast. You should listen to that as well. We also interviewed both Mike Stackpole and Aaron Allston.
You might ask why we’re doing this. The books were published well over a decade ago and countless words have been spent discussing their merits. Unfortunately, despite the praise that have been heaped on the books over the years, they remain perhaps the most misunderstood novels in the entire Expanded Universe. I can’t count the number of misperceptions I run into when talking about them with even savvy EU fans.
- It’s only dogfights and lightfights.
- There are no interesting characters.
- Nothing important happens.
- There are no Jedi.
Statements like these are held as facts to many fans, despite the fact that there’s not much truth to them. The X-Wing novels are some of the highest quality books in all of the EU, but lots fans haven’t read them because they are, admittedly, different. Luke and Leia are only seen in passing cameos. Han doesn’t have a large role until the middle of the series. The Jedi aren’t the primary focus. The Galaxy isn’t about to be ripped apart by the bi-weekly apocalypse of doom. For new Expanded Universe fans, that can be a tough sell, but glossing over these books would be a mistake.
So we’re going to be spending the summer convincing those of you on the fence (and those of you who have never even considered it) to read these books before the long-awaited tenth novel hits bookshelves in August. Part of this is selfish. We want Mercy Kill to sell well because if it does, we’ll get more books in a franchise we love dearly. More than that, though, we believe that the Expanded Universe needs more quality books like the ones found in this series. Grand adventures that get back to the root of what makes Star Wars so special.
Are we going to make a sizable impact on the sales numbers of X-Wing novels? Hell, no. But if we can get at least a few people to pick up and enjoy these books, we’ll be happy. So what are you waiting for? Go get the first book.