By Keith Johnson
In the interest of “dessert first,” here’s my predictions, followed by support…
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Billy Dee looks good for his age but he couldn’t pull off a 20 something Lando.” Right, but ever since “300” anyone can be (or wear) anything. The Bulloch/Fett issue is not the same for Williams/Calrissian. Lando is a lover not a fighter and his voice is still pure velvet. All the rest would take less technology than Golum.
But there’s another big reason why Disney would give a Lando Calrissian movie more than just a passing thought. Any backstory about Han And Chewie would also be about Lando. Disney is first and foremost a product license company. A second movie in that same time frame would give them a chance to recycle toy molds & designs and refine their marketing of Rogue One toys, games and other product. Besides the marketing argument for the individual 2018 movie itself there’s the much broader, Mega-Corp, multi-product line, public relations benefit…
Latest installment aside, both Disney and the Star Wars franchise have been accused more than once of a lack of diversity. Critics of each have pointed out that even when there are non-white characters they are often a villain, a fool or other assorted lowlife. Predictably, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens drew fire from the other camp when it brought us two unlikely “diverse” heroes; Rey, one of Disney and Star Wars’ very few strong women and Finn, one of the only non-white heroes. It would seem that there was some conscious effort to add diversity to TFA just like Disney has tried to do (with mixed success) in their Princess lineup. Living 10 miles from Walt Disney World, “The Mouse” is the center of this part of Florida’s economy and I can tell you that “The Disney Corporation” (capital “T”) does NOTHING by accident.
Which brings us to yet another option for a character backstory movie: Mace Windu. Sam Jackson has been a lot busier working on movies than Billy Dee has been in the last 15 or so years and he hasn’t lobbied quite as much to be back in Star Wars, though he has mentioned interest. That said, when asked about his favorite rolls Jackson often cites Mace Windu. And Sam Jackson is big enough to have some pull in the Star Wars world. He’s why we have purple light sabers. It’s his favorite color (incidentally it’s mine as well), often present in his movies and he requested his character’s lightsaber be purple, “as you wish.” (So, you’re saying, “there’s a chance”). Yes, but less likely than Lando. I would more expect Jackson/Windu to have a flashback sequence in Rebels season 3 or later.
Either way it’s a good chance that Disney and Star Wars will continue to combat critics who claim a lack of diversity for the foreseeable future and an announcement of a standalone movie with a popular African-American actor as the hero would go a long way for the public relations department at Disney Corporate. (Maybe just enough to increase the numbers for Rogue One in ethnically diverse markets.) if so, we’ll probably hear about it as the Holiday 2016 toys make their debut in the fall.
One other potential character to showcase could be a young Yoda. This idea has been brought up a few times on discussion panels but always in a nebulous, “wouldn’t it be neat” kind of way. It doesn’t really fit in with any of the existing assets though so it would require an all new set of planets, ships, characters and stories that might be all for naught if rejected as unfamiliar to those invested in the current 50 year I-IX time frame and 40 years of merchandising. I wouldn’t give much credence to it at all if it weren’t for Frank Oz’s renewed involvement recently.
Finally, I would like to posit a dark horse candidate for a future stand alone movie: Darth Maul.
In my search for news of potential movies, games & more, one name always got a reaction from the Star Wars panel members themselves, Darth Maul. Especially when you hear Dave Filoni talk about Maul you really get the impression that he wants to say more. Dave brought him back from the dead once and now anything is possible. Maul is just such a perfectly cool, purely evil villain. There’s no hesitation, no conflict, no doubt, just obedience and destruction. If you absolutely had to be bad, you’d want to be Maul. His very appearance tugs at our subconscious traditional visual for the devil himself. He snarls, he spins, he’s determined, menacing, relentless and ruthless. If you haven’t yet, you MUST watch the fan film Darth Maul Apprentice. It’s so good that if someone told you it was the first 17 minutes of an actual Disney Star Wars – Darth Maul backstory movie, you would believe them. I’ll be back with support for my far fetched “Maul movie” (directed by Dave Filoni) theory in another article but for now let’s just say Darth Maul is one of a handful of characters possible in one of the next several (even numbered) years.
So for the potential beyond 2018 Star Wars movies we have; Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian, Mace Windu, Yoda, Darth Maul and finally, Tarkin. What? Did he say Tarkin? Yep, Tarkin. At first I thought that was a ridiculous longshot, why Tarkin? The answer is longer than you think and will also be in a future article regarding my crazy theory on Snope. For now let’s suffice to say that IF there is a Tarkin movie it would likely be just before or after Episode IX.
2021 Star Wars new trilogy I – A New Order? Hope Fades? Empires Never Die? (Likely a story about the emergence of the first order from the rubble of the empire. This could also be where Luke goes into presumptive self isolation a la Yoda & Obi-Wan)
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Keith is the proud patriarch of a Star Wars fan family of four. Born and raised in Chicago and the north shore suburbs, Keith describes his life as a progression of moves ever closer to Walt Disney World. Close enough now to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks from his back yard, Keith currently divides his time evenly between family and volunteer work for eNable. Specifically, Keith is one of very few permanent, active volunteers working for the Enable Community Foundation. ECF is the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports, coordinates and directs a worldwide group of volunteer e-Nable members who give away 3D printed prosthetics to kids and veterans. Keith & family are up on most local Star Wars connections and frequent the Central Florida theme parks and festivals. They are fans and collectors of all things Disney or Star Wars, from LEGO to Infinity to Star Tours to Clone Wars & Rebels. Expect some great footage and short interviews of WDW Star Wars events and celebrities.