Even though I don't really understand it, The Last Jedi received its fair share of criticism from fans (even though it has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, just sayin'). While that film was commercially successful, grossing over 1.3 billion dollars at the box office, the origin story Solo that released just five months later struggled significantly. All future standalone films have reportedly been put on hold at Lucasfilm.
In the midst of all this fan division, what's the answer for Star Wars? Where does it go after Episode IX? Lucasfilm may have found the answer in the past. Yes, Solo was set in the past (and technically so is the entire Star Wars franchise, but you know what I mean). I'm talking about going back even further, to one of the Star Wars universe's most interesting periods: the Republic.
By now, you've probably heard that Disney has resurrected Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the popular television series that aired on Cartoon Network from 2008-2013 was returning for a seventh season after its abrupt end. The announcement was made at San Diego Comic-Con this past week alongside the premiere of a trailer for the new season, which was met with cries of delight from fans in the audience.
Nerdist reports that some fans who watched the trailer at Comic-Con were literally in tears over the beloved show's return. Now, don't get me wrong, I still think there's plenty of enthusiasm for the sequel films out there, regardless of what certain groups of fans want you to think. But universally loved shows like The Clone Wars may be Disney's key to mending the divide between TLJ fans and the original trilogy diehards--and they seem to already be moving in that direction.
As an example, also announced at Comic-Con were two novels set in the Republic era. The first, Queen's Shadow by E.K. Johnston, will follow Padmé Amidala's transition from young Queen of Naboo to senator in the Galactic Senate. Another, Master and Apprentice by Claudia Gray, will chronicle the story of Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi before The Phantom Menace.
It's true that the prequels were not particularly well-received among Star Wars fans either, but most fans agree that the themes of political intrigue are certainly a bright spot in the Star Wars universe. Plus, the ability for non-theatrical media to explore main character's backstories only enriches the current films without causing controversy over casting decisions or reshoots (such as Solo suffered).
Still, the rumor mill is churning with the possibility of a trilogy of Knights of the Old Republic films coming from recently hired Game of Thrones writers David Benioff and W.B. Weiss. Knights of the Old Republic remains a fan-favorite video game, and while set much earlier than The Clone Wars, proves the unique opportunity the Republic era presents to unify Star Wars fans. Will Benioff and Weiss enter that territory with their trilogy of Star Wars movies? It remains to be seen, but Disney's increased focus on stories set during the time of the Republic are suggestive.
All this isn't to say that I think that Disney is abandoning its current films (after all, the same panel that announced the aforementioned books unveiled plenty of Solo-related content as well). And they shouldn't. But the galaxy far, far away is big--and delving into some new storylines might just be the right way to go.
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I'm a sci-fi/fantasy lover & writer who especially likes talking about Star Wars and futuristic tech. I like finding new things & finding the beauty in old things, especially in my "Everyday Snippets" series. I hope you'll join me on my blog and unleash your imagination!