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The Future Of Star Wars: Possible Plots For Episode VII

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In the most surprising and exciting piece of news in years, the Walt Disney company has bought Lucasfilm and is planning at least three new Star Wars films. While there is already a treatment in existence for the first one, and the company is still locking in the creative team and focus for a 2015 release, we thought we’d offer some fun suggestions based on the expanded universe…

Background
Timothy Zahn’s book trilogy first hit shelves in 1991, before the prequel films were more than a rumour on the wind. Set five years after the events of Return Of The Jedi, it finds Han and Leia expecting twins and Luke leading the rebuilt Jedi order. But Grand Admiral Thrawn, the Emperor’s last surviving Warlord, has gathered the remnants of the Imperial Fleet and wants to take back the galaxy by force.

How It Might Work
Obviously, the presence of Luke and co means some potentially controversial re-casting of the main characters, unless performance capture is factored in, which is a big risk. But the novel trilogy offers a thrilling chance to see our heroes back in action and a compelling villain in Thrawn, long a fan favourite in the books and games.

Background
Set further on from the events of the original trilogy, this series of interconnected novels finds the Galactic Alliance starting to splinter and trouble within the Jedi order caused by, of all people, Jacen Solo, Han and Leia’s son. The young Jedi causes a rift with his uncle by suggesting that force (and not necessarily the Force) might be the way to deal with unhappy systems wanting to leave the union.

How It Might Work
This gives plenty of opportunity to cast younger actors and launch a story that would be a sprawling, layered tapestry able to support not just a new trilogy but other movies to boot. You could still bring in the original trio as their original characters, but keep them in supporting roles around a younger principal cast.

Background
21 years after the second Death Star fell, the New Republic faces problems much like those in the Legacy books. But here the threat is not so much from within as without: the Yuuzhan Vong, a powerful alien race from outside the Galaxy, decides it wants a piece of prime Republic real estate. The Jedi must defend the Republic, and Jacen Solo is featured once again.

How It Might Work
As with the Legacy idea, the New Jedi Order makes use of underappreciated characters and an equally intriguing villain. It also allows for a shift from the usual rebels vs Empire ideas to something fresh and different – which could be the kick the series needs.

Background
While most books either fill in nooks and crannies between the films or extrapolate what happens after Episode VI, graphic series Dawn chronicles the difficult early days of the Jedi Order, full of disputes, strife and sacrifice even before the two sides of the Force had coalesced. We follow several Jedi warriors who must deal with their own troubles as well as those of the galaxy at large, in a period long before the rise of the Empire.

How It Might Work
Separating the story from any need to feature cast members who have gone before makes for a real change, and who doesn’t want to find out how the Jedi order fared in its early days? It wouldn’t quite fit the “Episode VII” title, what with being an ancient prequel, but otherwise it could be very interesting.

Background
This is one of the more unusual suggestions, since this story has technically been brought to life in a variety of formats: computer games, books, comics and more. But it’s also set in a different era, filling in some of the time between Revenge Of The Sith and Star Wars. Our main villain is Galen Marek, AKA Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice who is dispatched to hunt down and destroy Jedi warriors.

How It Might Work
Though putting the story between the trilogies might dilute the narrative tension (we know he doesn’t kill all the Jedi) and it also doesn’t quite fit the “VII” numbering, it’s still an interesting area to explore. Either that, or move the story to the post-Return of the Jedi era and have a dark new threat hunting our heroes.

Background
More historical adventures, this time set approximately 4,000 years before any of the Star Wars films (so long after Dawn but long before everything else). The task in the first game is to take on the threat of a powerful Sith Lord with big plans to – you guessed it – take down the Jedi.

How It Might Work
Digging into the deeper history of the universe could only be a good thing, especially if it provides a chance to feature the earlier clashes between the Sith and the Jedi and the even deeper issue of corruption and slavery spreading throughout the galaxy. The sequel, The Sith Lords, offers even more story opportunity, as a rogue former Jedi has to rely on his wits to halt a Sith attack. Star Wars without the frills, anyone?

Background
Another trip to the years immediately following the Battle Of Endor, this one goes full throttle with the OTT plotlines, having Emperor Palpatine’s consciousness transferred to a cloned body and Luke agree to become his apprentice (under duress). Han, Chewie and the rest try to rescue him even as Palpatine creates massive new weapons and takes aim at various planets. Some things never change, eh?

How It Might Work
We’d probably ditch the cloned Palpatine thing (after all, he’s not exactly a new threat). But Dark Empire is loaded with cinematic ideas, including Luke successfully crash landing a captured, Alliance-controlled Star Destroyer on Coruscant and Leia proving to be a total badass yet again by stopping the big threat. Oh, and Boba Fett’s back! Hooray!

Background
Wedge! Wedge gets to be the focus of a story. Michael A Stackpole’s book – which kicks off the X-Wing series – is set after Jedi and finds our hero leading up a new squad of pilots and commandos to fight off remaining Imperial troublemakers and other enemies.

How It Might Work
Admittedly, Denis Lawson might not be called upon to step back into Wedge’s uniform, but the idea of a top gun group of X-Wing pilots and troopers battling the remnants of the Empire is certainly one we’d watch. In fact, we’d watch a trilogy and a spin-off TV series featuring this lot, and then buy the action figures.

Background
Introduced in Heir To The Empire and married to Luke during the Legacy Of The Force series, Mara Jade is tough, smart and interesting enough to deserve her own spin-off film. Hers is a compelling story, since she attempts to kill Luke in revenge for Palpatine and her conversion to the lighter side of the Force. Not only that, but she has a child with Luke and even (spoiler alert!) gets a tragic end when she learns Jacen Solo has become a Sith apprentice and tries to kill him. Bad move…

How It Might Work
Give Christina Hendricks a lightsaber. There may be a few other tiny details to work out, but that’s the essential element.

Background
First published in 2006, this comic book series shoved the clock forward to 125 years after the fall of the Empire. Featuring Luke’s descendent Cade Skywalker, it finds a newly resurgent Sith (because you just can’t keep a Bad Sith down) under the leadership of Darth Krayt.

How It Might Work
Another storyline that benefits from having no members of the original cast (though we could see Mark Hamill popping up in a cameo as Ghost Luke), it offers the chance to go far beyond the original Wars timeline and sprinkle new ideas in among the traditional battle between good and evil.

Background
Almost ever since Revenge Of The Sith, Lucasfilm has been working on a live action Star Wars TV show that would be set between Sith and A New Hope, and would focus on the more peripheral characters of the franchise – yes, fanboys, characters like Boba Fett – and the underworld of the Star Wars universe, particularly Coruscant. It was intended to be “complex, dark and adult”, but otherwise to fit the tone of the movies.

How It Might Work
The series was stalled by budgetary concerns, but perhaps the concept could be retooled for feature film use. With planned hour-long episodes and arcs running throughout, and with Game Of Thrones style character development, it might be amenable to trilogy-ification. Of course, since it’s all under wraps it’s hard to say how easy that would be, but it’s an option. We would expect Disney to be looking hard at the possibility of a Star Wars TV show in any case, however, just as they have with S.H.I.E.L.D. so this might yet see the light of day in its original form.