12:15pm PT by John DeFore
Critic's Notebook: 16 'Star Wars' Spinoffs to Fantasize About
Months before they'd get to see Rogue One, the first of the Star Wars Story spinoffs, fans were more than ready for the other offshoots to follow. One posted a tantalizing video online that, using footage from the franchise and 2015's Last Days in the Desert, imagines a movie tracing Obi-Wan Kenobi's long years of exile on Tatooine. Elsewhere, we lapped up every bit of gossip about 2018's untitled young Han Solo project.
Longtime Jedi-lovers still go to bed dreaming of the best Christmas present Santa could give — news that Disney, taking a lead from reboot-happy superhero franchises, is throwing out Episodes 1-3 entirely and having them officially reimagined by someone like J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon or Jon Favreau. In the meantime, we at The Hollywood Reporter offer our own fantasies of Star Wars spinoffs to come.
Who doesn't want to see Obi-Wan wrestle with regret and hopelessness, clinging to his faith in the Force as he slowly retreats to become the hermit known as Ben Kenobi? Ewan McGregor surely wants to do it. We want Steve McQueen to direct.
Who is Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow), who opens The Force Awakens by giving Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) the map to Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) hideout? What did he mean by "This will begin to make things right"? Find out in a then-and-now story of espionage and atonement directed by Susanne Bier. In flashbacks, the young San Tekka (Alexander Skarsgard) does what he must to keep tabs on the Empire for a nascent Rebellion. Decades later, Von Sydow embodies the character's monk-like pursuit of the enlightenment he knows only the Force can bring.
A Martin Scorsese picture, in which an ambitious young disciple of the Sith (Rami Malek) attempts to outmaneuver the evil top dog. Meanwhile, a quintet of generals (Tom Hardy, Daniel Craig, Ben Whishaw, Ciarán Hinds and Michael Fassbender) jockey amongst themselves while plotting a coup to divorce the Empire's governance from the "sorcery" of the Dark Side. (John Williams, never averse to borrowing from other composers, has agreed to subtly work the chords of "Gimme Shelter" into a menacing new Imperial theme.)
Untitled Princess Leia Film
Before she became a rebel leader, Leia Organa was just a sharp-tongued teen princess with a vague feeling that she didn't belong in the world around her. Sofia Coppola tells her story; insiders say she's considering Mad Men's Kiernan Shipka, who dyed her hair dark brown to sell herself for the part.
In a screenplay written as a lark by Elmore Leonard in the late '80s, a middle-aged Lando Calrissian struggles to bounce back from the failure of Cloud City, fending off creditors and dealing with guilt over having betrayed Han Solo — who is now off starting a family with a princess while onetime ladies' man Lando sleeps alone. Sure, he's already played a Star Wars character in the prequels, but Samuel L. Jackson stars in a Quentin Tarantino film that recaptures the bittersweet flavor of Jackie Brown.
A Fine Mess
C-3PO and R2-D2 endure long years of ownerlessness, bouncing from one godforsaken corner of the galaxy to another in this comedy recalling, among other classics, the Hope/Crosby road movies. Directed by Wes Anderson, so expect to see every damn compartment on at least one starship — and don't miss the Bill Murray cameo!
Nicolas Winding Refn brings the vibe of Drive to a bloody, dialogue-free film starring the coolest bounty hunter in the galaxy, Boba Fett. Count on plenty of shots of neon reflecting off the hero's visor. Score by Giorgio Moroder.
One Hutt Too Many
In a lean, mean film reminiscent of Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars, a mysterious blaster-slinging drifter gets caught up in a rivalry between two powerful Hutt gangs. Alden Ehrenreich features in a comic interlude as Han Solo has his first dealings with Jabba, but Ryan Coogler's film devotes most of its attention to star Michael B. Jordan.
Untitled Knights of Ren project
Oldboy's Chan-wook Park explores the genesis of the group from which Kylo Ren would spring: devotees of the Dark Side who worship the fallen Darth Vader and live solely to avenge him.
An Elegant Weapon
Simon Pegg plays the droid engineer overseeing development of the new R2 line who, while tinkering in his home lab, accidentally invents the light saber. Convinced this is just what the Jedi Knights need, he spends the rest of the film in a bumbling attempt to reach the Jedi Council — only to succeed thanks to the ingenuity of his newly completed astromech droid. Edgar Wright directs a script by Wright and Pegg.
Mos Eisley Blues
In Lynn Shelton's ensemble comedy set in Tatooine's spaceport town, one man's "wretched hive of scum and villainy" is another's final hope: A three-time loser (Sam Rockwell) tries to convince two younger friends to help him start a bantha-exporting business. But freighters big enough to haul the giant beasts are hard to come by, and business meetings at the corner bar tend to devolve into drunken shouting matches with non-human locals. (An uncredited Guillermo del Toro helped design some of the new Cantina critters.)
Something Fearful, It Is
Shortly after settling into his hiding place on swampy Dagobah, supposedly an uninhabited planet, Yoda senses another intelligent life form. Disturbingly, the Force offers him no further insight, but as brief encounters with the shadowy figure grow more frequent, it becomes clear his new neighbor means him harm. We'll see a new side of the wizened Jedi master in this frightening film by The Babadook's Jennifer Kent.
Untitled Old Han Solo Project (Working title: That's the Idea, Solo)
The antic final months of the rogue's post-Rebellion smuggling career are the focus of this film written and directed by star Harrison Ford. Because, as everyone knows, Ford simply can't get enough of playing Han Solo. In fact, the actor has spent months in a cutting-edge motion-capture studio so that his likeness can be used in Solo yarns long after his death.
The Small Beasts of Endor
Documentarian Werner Herzog uncovers the truth about Ewoks, the forest vermin who were dishonestly depicted as cuddly primitives in Return of the Jedi. "Here, in the suffocating forest, the feral Ewok pursues elusive prey..."
The Falcon Files
Starting in the days when it was a state-of-the-art flying machine, we meet each colorful character who owned the Millennium Falcon and, one way or another, lost her. Richard Ayoade directs and plays a barely competent mechanic hired by many of the ship's owners; Maz Kanata, of The Force Awakens, makes several appearances. Han Solo and Chewbacca are absent until the final scene, when they walk in on a fateful gambling tournament with Lando Calrissian.
Shadow of the Force
In a four-hour epic whose story picks up immediately after the close of the rebooted Episode III, Paul Thomas Anderson watches the newly christened Darth Vader establish his reign of terror. Though the Lord of the Sith never removes his helmet and is voiced throughout by James Earl Jones, Vader is played by Daniel Day Lewis, who lived in a monk's cell and spoke to no one during production.