Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy recently did an interview with Rolling Stone and said something that a lot of comic fans can take issue with. Regarding the future of the franchise, Kennedy said, “There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels.” She added, “We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be.” Well, here’s four comics they could use.
Set in the time immediately following Revenge of the Sith, this story details how a group of surviving Jedi plant a trap for Darth Vader in the hopes that they can take down the Emperor’s right hand, responsible for the deaths of so many Jedi. It ends with Vader’s obsession with finding Obi-Wan Kenobi nearly costing him his life. It also shows the short-sighted nature of the Jedi as taking out Vader takes priority to preserving the Jedi order.
This is just one issue of a comic, initially published by Dark Horse is a dense 32 page story. We see the flaws of the Jedi. All that’s missing is something the prequels never were able to get across. The Jedi have serious faults in their ideology. Of course there were moments, such as the Librarian not believing something could be missing from her records. The Emperor exploited those faults and it wasn’t until it was too late did Yoda realize that there needed to be a longer plan to topple the Sith.
Unfortunately, the Jedi in this story don’t see the flaw. Of course, being a single issue story, John Ostrander condenses their plan until it fits the briefest of timescales. A television series could explore each Jedi more in depth and have an audience actually believe that their plan has a small chance to succeed. Imagine the end of Revenge of the Sith. We knew how it would end, and we still felt the excitement of Yoda’s battle with Palpatine. Most viewers would assume that Vader will best these Jedi, but the hope would be that some might escape. Of course, one suggestion would be to highlight the hope of the Jedi as Obi-Wan watches young Luke from afar, perhaps at the end after Vader stands triumphant against his foes.
The Dark Times / Blue Harvest
Dass Jennir was not a perfect Jedi. He wasn’t the best of them, but he was able to survive Order 66. I imagine that this would be an excellent series as well, perhaps a sequel to Purge. Jennir is not the greatest of the Jedi, but is ready to do what is needed in order to survive and keep the Dark Times from corrupting everyone around him. There is a very dark moment at the end of the first story arc that has Jennir faced with the evils of the slave trade in the new Empire. In rescuing a town on Cato Nemodia from violent criminals, Jennir does eventually find love that carries him on his new life.
Darth Vader does feature heavy in the story for Dark Times, especially in the end. I don’t know that he’s needed, but it might add some continuity. The crew of the Uhumele is a perfect bunch of supporting characters. As a few of them die, it becomes clear that this story is much darker. I was amazed when reading this series how much this felt like the Star Wars universe. If this tone could be maintained, we don’t need to venture outside of Jennir and the crew of the Uhumele.
I’m not opposed to Jennir’s story from the end of Republic being used, including watching a Jedi Master send away his Padawan. It ends with Jennir’s story from the beginning of Dark Times. Jennir is suitably flawed, but his story has a definite happy ending that defies the tone of the Dark Times the Empire has thrust the galaxy into. Jennir is a character trying to live up to the Jedi code. Unfortunately, he begins to learn the galaxy no longer has use for the Jedi.
The strength of this story is how much it doesn’t rely on the nascent rebellion or ultimately the Empire. The shadow the Empire casts is broad, but it doesn’t need to be anything more than that. The Mandalorian is showing us that all we need to have in order to be engrossed in Star Wars is a good character that the story revolves around. Let’s just hope that Kathleen Kennedy is paying attention.
Knights of the Old Republic
There was a time when everyone thought that Knights of the Old Republic would be the next saga for Star Wars. This is one case where Lucasfilm doesn’t need to follow the series too directly. It’s also the one of these series that I would love to see as a film rather than a series. The opening story of a Padawan on the run from corrupted Jedi is a good story.
It could also open the way for a sequel that could draw from the video game story of Darth Revan. If Revan doesn’t show up in a KOTOR film, fans might revolt. There might be a great deal of push to incorporate the video games, especially the first one. I think that meshing the comic series with the video game would be an ideal solution. It would also keep audiences on their toes.
Since Disney bought Lucasfilm, Knights of the Old Republic ceased being canon. This is an opportunity to make it canon, taking parts of the story that work best for film. It also allows Lucasfilm to ignore those elements that don’t work for a narrative that isn’t interactive. The story could also preserve the mystery of Darth Revan’s identity.
Of course, the hardest part of the Knights of the Old Republic is that it’s set 1000 years in the past. It also has a level of technology on par with the Star Wars universe we’ve come to know. The timeline could be malleable, but we begin to have it cross over with the timeline of Yoda. The goal of a proposed series of films set in this time would be to help explain this lack of advancement. It’s doable, but there are pitfalls to be taken.
This is a ripe era for stories that feel similar but can reveal differences to what the audience is expecting. This can keep the audience guessing about the direction of the story. It is a bit of a gamble, though and requires excellent writing and direction. It also requires attention to keeping details from being too close to the familiar stories. Of course, Kathleen Kennedy may want to go in what appears to be a more familiar direction.
We can always move the ball forward even more following The Rise Of Skywalker. I would shy away from the Yuzahn Vong invasion during the time between , just because the Sequel trilogy doesn’t mesh with such a concept. The thing that’s good to draw from here is the rise of a new Sith Order. Another strong concept is the Grey Jedi, serving a new galactic empire as Imperial Knights. The more traditional Jedi are portrayed as warrior monks and the product of an older age.
Of course, Lucasfilm might want to keep the Skywalker legacy as minimal as possible. Of course, they may not. Some may say that it isn’t Star Wars without a Skywalker. One advantage to the use of Cade Skywalker is that he wants no part of his legacy as the story opens. This gives a different direction to take the use of the Jedi. It also shows the traditional Jedi falling to the new Sith Order.
This eventually gives us the chance for a great battle between the Imperial Knights and the Sith. We’ve not seen such combat since Attack Of The Clones. We could also see drama between surviving Jedi counselling the Imperial Knights. It also gives a chance to change the focus from the Skywalker family to someone else, perhaps an Imperial Knight torn between her peers and a history that feels more like where he or she belongs.
I think the smart money is on a direction somewhat like this. The time seems right in the story for a larger organization of Force users. It doesn’t have to be identical to the old Jedi Order. A new Sith Order can learn from the mistakes of the Empire and use numbers to overwhelm the Imperial Knights. It could also see a focus within this larger scope on a small group of heroes. If Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm want to move on from the legacy of Skywalker, it has plenty of opportunity to do so.
There you go…
There’s four stories that could be the basis of a new series of stories set a long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away. Kathleen Kennedy doesn’t have to use them. There’s also plenty of novels and video games to use for source material. There’s also the issue that Kathleen Kennedy has her contract expiring in 2021.