Rian Johnson, writer and director of The Last Jedi, has been given the unenviable task of creating a brand new Star Wars trilogy that is set to stand apart from the Skywalker saga which has been the backbone of this wonderful franchise for four decades. And that’s a great thing. One thing that has brought the Star Wars franchise to a skidding halt is its unwillingness to “let the past die” as one wise man (named Kylo Ren) once said.
The current trilogy is focused on a brand new set of characters who are living in a post-Empire galaxy but it’s set only thirty years after Return of the Jedi which forced the trilogy to bring back iconic characters, basically remake, beat by beat, a story that happened forty years ago, and kept the traditional ideas of Star Wars in place.
Then the two Star Wars stories, instead of focusing on characters and stories we’ve never heard of, also decided to remain in an area of the Star Wars universe that felt safe. Rogue One was a tad bit inventive as it told a tale of the rebels who stole the Death Star plans. And even though we all know what happened they still managed to make the movie enjoyable enough to become a billion dollar success despite the massive reshoots that took place through the making of the film.
Then Solo came out, which no one wanted to see, and it bombed. The people had spoken. We were tired of stories that we either didn’t care about or didn’t need. Did we really need to know how Han met Chewbacca, or how he won the Millennium Falcon, or how he made the infamous Kessel Run in under twelve parsecs, or the fact that he had a girlfriend before Leia? You see, these are all backstory plots that were expressed in Solo and while all of these answered questions were fascinating to watch in movie form a lot of people weren’t willing to see a young Han Solo movie that didn’t have Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in it. So, long story short, it flopped.
With Rian Johnson’s new trilogy he has a chance to right all of the wrongs and take us Star Wars fans on a journey that we’ve never seen before. But how is he going to do that? How is he going to break this mold that Disney hasn’t had the guts to break out of yet? Well, for one, Rian Johnson’s story is supposed to take place in a different corner of the galaxy far away from the iconography of the current Star Wars films. So, when should this trilogy take place? I think it should involve a story of characters set a thousand years into the future.
You see, if the story is set into the past then people can start connecting the dots. There have been plenty of stories that have focused on the past in the Star Wars universe. The Old Republic tale is part of that storyline that has already been fascinatingly told. If Rian Johnson makes a movie about a group of characters set maybe 500 or so years before the rise of the Empire it still feels too safe and not outside-of-the-box enough. But if he tells a story about a group of characters whose thousand year old legends portray the tales of Rey and Luke, Kylo Ren and Darth Vader, the fight between the Dark Side and the Light, then the universe can look different, the stories can be different, the conflicts can evolve, and the concept of the Force and the Jedi or the Sith can change as well without it feeling like Rian Johnson is destroying what has come before.
There can be new planets and cities, new aliens and vehicles, new villains and heroes with brand new purposes. This new trilogy has the potential to be the coolest and most original idea that has ever been spawned from George Lucas’s Star Wars…but only if Rian Johnson has the guts and the imagination to take us there.
Do you think Rian Johnson’s trilogy should be set a thousand years into the future or do you have an even better idea? I’d love to hear your theories in the comments below.
Tomorrow I’ll talk a little more about Rian Johnson’s new trilogy and some of the ideas that could be explored. I hope to see you then and I thank you for reading. May the Force be with you…always.