We all know that Disney is using the Marvel model for the release of films beginning with STAR WARS: EPISODE VII next year, alternating primary saga films with standalone movies that explore George Lucas‘ science fiction universe. We also know that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are scripting the first two of the non-Saga films which, as far as we know, are still on track to begin releasing in 2016. Rumors have flown for quite some time that the first films may center on Boba Fett, Han Solo, Yoda, or even Obi-wan Kenobi. With those all being characters in the STAR WARS films released to date, the question would be whether these spin-offs would feed into the main films like Marvel has been doing.
In a recent interview, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy addressed this and puts to rest the comparisons between Lucasfilm and Marvel and their approach to releasing movies.
“George was so clear as to how that works. The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, episode seven falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters (from the standalone films) in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it’s a roadmap that George made pretty clear.”
George Lucas has always been fairly lenient about the Expanded Universe and STAR WARS, but always kept the Saga close enough that the canon rarely ventured outside of the stories of the Skywalker clan. Kennedy did state that this was one of Lucas’ directions, which may have been part of the deal when he sold his company to Disney.
So, while this does not mean the standalone films have to all be origin stories, it does mean that even if the spin-offs take place within the same space and time as STAR WARS: EPISODE VII and beyond, the characters will not be built into the story through individual films. There is still a hell of a lot of story to mine in what STAR WARS has to offer that would never require the Phase approach Marvel uses, but it still feels somewhat limiting to know that they can’t even if they wanted to.
STAR WARS: EPISODE VII hits theaters on December 18, 2015.