Before the acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise by Disney that introduced the long-awaited continuation of the stories of the Original Trilogy heroes on the big screen, the Star Wars mythology had been fleshed out thoroughly in the “Expanded Universe” of novels, games, comics, and various other media since the publication of Timothy Zahn’s acclaimed Heir to the Empire in 1991, the first published media to extend the Star Wars story beyond Return of the Jedi. The entire Expanded Universe has been, essentially, removed from existence and confirmed as non-canon since the acquisition, and the former Expanded Universe is now known as Star Wars Legends. In its place, all media published since the acquisition is part of the new Star Wars canon that most recently continued on-screen with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
One of the most interesting developments with the Disney acquisition of Star Wars has been the production of Star Wars Anthology films. These films, which are more or less spin-offs to the main saga (numbered) films, will explore characters and stories not present in the direct narratives of the “episodes,” with the first Anthology film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, releasing in theaters this December.
Even though they are no longer “canon” to the franchise, there are plenty of high-quality and interesting entries in Star Wars Legends that could provide a solid framework to future Anthology films that would also give long-time fans the opportunity to see some of their favorite stories return to the fold. Let’s take a look, in no particular order, at five of these Star Wars Legends novels that would work well on the big screen.
[Note: I’m not including stories that heavily feature Han Solo or Boba Fett as both of these characters have already been confirmed (or “confirmed,” in Fett’s case) to receive films of their own in 2018 and 2019, respectively.]
Star Wars: Shatterpoint
Of the many Jedi introduced during the Prequel Trilogy of films, Mace Windu (played in the films by Samuel L. Jackson) easily became one of the fan favorites. As a wise member of the Jedi Council and a wonderfully experienced warrior, Mace had the potential to become one of the deepest characters in franchise history. Unfortunately, though, his exploration on film was limited, and even Star Wars: The Clone Wars didn’t develop him further as much as it should have.
The best depiction of Mace Windu to date is in Matthew Stover’s Clone Wars-era novel Shatterpoint. In the novel, we get a look inside of Mace Windu’s head as he attempts a mission to recover his lost former Padawan, Depa Billiba, from his jungle home world. Through the course of the novel, Mace battles both himself and the Dark Side of the Force, struggling to deal with the fact that the galaxy is at war for the first time in a thousand years.
Shatterpoint is notable for its extremely gritty feel, and the influence of Heart of Darkness (and its film adaptation, Apocalypse Now) is prevalent throughout. Despite the fact that he is a noble Jedi Master, Mace Windu’s connection to the Dark Side through his emotion and fighting style proves to be a continuous struggle during the adventure. An adaptation of this story in an Anthology film would allow further exploration of one of the most popular characters from the Prequels (and it helps that Samuel L. Jackson has expressed interest in returning to the character), and the subject matter could be much darker and emotional than a typical Star Wars film tends to be.
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan
One of the biggest losses with the reclassification of the old Expanded Universe into Legends is, without a doubt, the Knights of the Old Republic franchise. The series, which covered very well-received video games, novels, comics, and an MMORPG, has remained incredibly popular with even non-Star Wars fans because of its depth, great characters, and exploration of a mostly unknown part of the Star Wars timeline.
While plenty of characters from the series are loved by fans, the most popular, arguably, is Revan, the Jedi-turned-Sith-turned-Jedi that was the protagonist of much of the Knights of the Old Republic media. Shortly before the Disney acquisition, Revan’s story was fleshed out even more with the release of Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan, a tie-in novel to The Old Republic. Revan’s story features enough material and characterization that it could easily fill out even a trilogy of Anthology films, and I think re-introducing the character to new canon would go a long way in showing fans that things they really loved about the old universe can still be relevant in the world that’s being built today.
Also, wouldn’t it be cool if Kylo Ren’s mask design were somehow inspired in-universe by Revan?
Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi
Arguably, the early days of the Jedi can be considered the most unknown part of the Star Wars timeline. Even pre-Disney, the formation of the Jedi and the early knowledge of the Force weren’t explored until well into Legends history. The series that went furthest in exploring this mystery was Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi, a comic and novel series (the novel Into the Void is featured in the above image) that detailed the beginning journey of the Jedi.
Instead of a direct adaptation, a Dawn of the Jedi-esque Anthology film could function as its own story to establish a new history for the Jedi. Where did they come from? Why do they view the Force in the way that they do? What do the Sith have to do with their history? Why did lightsabers become their most well-known symbol? All of these questions could be answered in a film that explores the history of the Jedi, and the story delivered could fill in even more backstory to the Jedi Order that we got to see in the Prequels and The Clone Wars.
Maybe we could even see more of Yoda’s species?
Star Wars: Dark Forces
I’ve been a huge fan of Star Wars practically since birth, but my first considerable exposure to the Expanded Universe was through Dark Forces, a computer game that told the story of Rebel mercenary Kyle Katarn as he helped stop a plan by the Empire. The game proved to be so popular that it spawned several sequels that established Katarn as a successful Jedi Master in Luke Skywalker’s renewed Jedi Order. The character even went on to have prominent roles in many Legends novels, and his story has been remembered as one of the best character arcs in Legends history.
Kyle Katarn is a character that could be cleverly established in a post-Return of the Jedi film that shows his adventures during the formation of the New Republic while also using him to explore the new generation of Jedi being trained by Luke. Even if Lucasfilm doesn’t want to use him in a Jedi role, Katarn could be a valuable asset (and maybe even an untrained Force user) to the Rebel Alliance and New Republic, and it would be interesting to see his story intertwined with the formation of the Resistance.
Star Wars: Kenobi
I’ll be honest, the main reason that I wanted to make this list was so that I could advocate for an Obi-Wan Kenobi Anthology film. Unlike the very vocal minority, I’m a incredibly huge fan of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Despite its fair share of flaws, the Prequels are ripe with world-building and political intrigue that fills in more depth and backstory than they get credit for. The overwhelmingly best thing about the Prequels, though, is most certainly Ewan McGregor’s portrayal of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Throughout three films, McGregor’s Kenobi quickly became a fan-favorite aspect of the entire Star Wars franchise, and Del Rey capitalized on this popularity with the publication of Kenobi, a novel that fills in (some of) the gaps in Obi-Wan’s history between when he left Luke with his uncle on Tattooine at the end of Revenge of the Sith and when he saved Luke from a group of Tusken Raiders near the beginning of A New Hope.
Recent Star Wars comics have started to show more of Obi-Wan’s time on Tattooine, and Kenobi could easily fit into new canon with very few changes. Ewan McGregor has repeatedly expressed interest in revisiting the character on-screen, and Lucasfilm’s use of him in a vocal cameo for The Force Awakens proves that the relationship between actor and studio is as strong as it’s ever been. Hopefully, recent rumors will prove true and lead to an announcement of an Obi-Wan-centric Anthology film.
Who knows, maybe it could tie in well with Rey’s possible parentage.
What do you think of my choices for Star Wars Anthology films? What others would you like to see on-screen? Let us know in the comments down below!