I know at least one ScienceFiction.com reader who may want to turn back from reading the contents of this article, but remember, don’t shoot the messenger! It seems that the time has come, and as Disney looks to the future of the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, they are starting to make plans to move beyond the characters and stories established in the existing canon and move toward original characters and ideas to carry new films for the future. The success of ‘Rogue One’ seems to be a confirmation that fans are eager to see the franchise takes steps in that direction (even if the argument could be made that a lot of ‘Rogue One’ relied heavily on established stories and characters, most of it centered around brand new characters, locations, and a new story explaining how the Rebels got their hands on those Death Star plans). This information comes to us thanks to the good folks over at Coming Soon, who had the good fortune to sit down and interview Gary Whitta recently, who was the screenwriter who co-wrote the story of ‘Rogue One.’
Here’s are some excerpts from the interview:
ComingSoon.net: Do you think there will ever come a day where there will be a Star Wars movie with no Vaders or Yodas or Boba Fetts or Stormtroopers? A story that is a wholly new thing divorced from all the stuff George originated but still very much in the spirit of that universe?
Gary Whitta: I think you’ve already seen us get 90% of the way there with “Rogue One.” Yes you see Leia, yes you see the Death Star and Vader, because those are elements of that story and they belong there, you can’t tell that story without those characters. But for the most part, 90% of that story is completely new characters. Completely new planets and places you’ve never seen before. It’s a Star Wars movie with no Jedi! You don’t see a lightsaber once until Vader pops it out at the end. It doesn’t have any spirituality or mysticism… a little bit through Donnie’s character, but it’s very different DNA to the Star Wars films that have come before it. I really like the fact that we tried to do something different. The next spin-off is ‘Han Solo,’ that’s another familiar character, but I think increasingly you’re going to see… One of the thing things we really want to do at Lucasfilm is create a universe and not keep relying on old legacy characters. We’ve got Rey and Finn and Kylo Ren, they’ve already introduced a new generation of characters. Whatever kind of Star Wars films they’re making 10 or 20 years from now, I don’t think they’re going to be relying on the same legacy story elements as we have in the past.
ComingSoon.net: It would be cool to see something totally new, without the baggage of, “Should Vader do this or should Vader do that?”
Gary Whitta: Yeah, I quite agree. I’m speaking purely as a fan. I obviously have no idea what their plans are for the franchise. I did my small piece of it, but it makes sense to me that you don’t want to keep telling the same story over and over again. You want to tell new stories.
And based on how ‘Rogue One’ went, it does not look like the new filmmakers are going to be looking to pull too heavily from the old Expanded Universe material, aside from borrowing elements that worked best and using them for their own stories, but only after tweaking them to fit their own plots and characters. Which in the end, does make sense, because at this point there is just no way to make the Legends timeline work with the films Disney is doing, and I would rather see filmmakers come in and make the best films they can in the ‘Star Wars’ world, and not feel like they have their hands tied by 30-year-old continuity that only a select group of fans are aware of.
Normally I would promote sharing your opinion in the comments below at this point, but I know some (who already have expressed annoyance in the past) will already have a few things to say, so feel free to share your thoughts anyway.