Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is almost here, and there’s a lot of pressure riding on the film, as the first Star Wars universe spinoff movie that could either launch or kill the fledging “Star War Story” brand. But that hasn’t stopped fans from theorizing what the future spinoffs could be about.
SPOILERS FOLLOW FOR ROGUE ONE (AND THE GENERAL STAR WARS FRANCHISE):
One of the things that makes the Star Wars universe special is the lived-in feel — characters drop casual references to fantastic events, with fans and writers taking it upon themselves to fill in those gaps, whether it be new theories or the now-defunct Legends canon. In fact, Rogue One is just one such story, telling the tale of how the Rebel Alliance came to acquire the Death Star plans from A New Hope in the first place.
I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this R2 unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.
But the backstory of the Death Star heist is one of many such instances of throwaway lines and alluded references that are scattered throughout the movies that could be great topics for more Star Wars Story films, should Rogue One be successful. To that end, we’ve put together a list of some more possible Star Wars backstory lines that could come up in future films, comics, novels, and franchise installments somewhere down the line.
“You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon? … It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.”
Best as: An unnamed 2018 Han Solo prequel Star Wars Story film
The Millennium Falcon is one of the most iconic space ships in Star Wars, if not all of science fiction, but the history of the heavily modified YT-1300 light freighter (and how it ended up in Han Solo’s possession) is something we know little about. And, as Han is quick to boast, it managed to make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. It’s clearly a formative moment in Solo’s life, as he feels the need to correct Rey about it when it comes up in The Force Awakens. There was something of an explanation for the Kessel Run in the Expanded Universe novels, but seeing that Rogue One helped answer the question of why the Death Star had such an exploitable weakness, this feels like prime territory for the upcoming standalone film in 2018.
“That wizard is just a crazy old man.”
Best as: A Star Wars Story spinoff movie
As we already know from the previous Star Wars movies, Obi-Wan Kenobi ends up spending the remainder of his life stuck on Tatooine, in hiding from the Empire and watching over the young Luke Skywalker. But we know almost nothing of what Kenobi is up to during that time: does the Empire send bounty hunters or Imperial agents to try and find Luke? Does Kenobi really manage to leave behind a life as a Jedi Knight and general to spend decades as a hermit in the Jundland Wastes? And while the tale of Obi-Wan would be good in almost any format, a movie in particular could let Ewan McGregor reprise his role as Kenobi, something he’s keen do to.
“Copy, Rogue Leader.”
Best as: Battlestar Galactica-esque TV series
The Rogue Squadron is a legendary group of pilots in the Star Wars universe. In the original Star Wars EU, the squadron’s origins are originally as Rogue Flight, which along with Renegade Flight made up the rebuilt Red Squadron following the Battle of Yavin, and was later commanded by Luke Skywalker during the Battle of Hoth and later by Wedge Antilles to destroy the second Death Star at the Battle of Endor. In the Expanded Universe, unit was central to Michael A. Stackpole’s X-Wing series, which remains one of the best parts of the old canon. A Rogue Squadron series could simply take the rough concept: i.e., Top Gun in space and run with it, draw inspiration from the almost Ocean’s Eleven-esque Wraith Squadron novels, or from more serious works such as Battlestar Galactica. Rogue One shows that audiences are willing to accept a darker Star Wars story, and Rogue Squadron could do just that.
“Someone must have told them all about my little maneuver at the battle of Taanab.”
Best as: Donald Glover spinoff movie
Alluded to as the reason Lando Calrissian was promoted to a general in Return of the Jedi, the reference to the Battle of Taanab highlights how little we know of the actual military history of the Rebel Alliance outside of the few engagements we’ve seen in the films. Even the old Expanded Universe didn’t really touch this line. While Rogue One certainly highlights another aspect of the fight to free the galaxy from the rule of the Galactic Empire, there’s plenty more to be told of how this small, ragtag group of fighters managed to succeed in fighting against the incredibly military firepower of the Empire on the massive, interplanetary scale of the Star Wars universe. With Donald Glover taking on the role of Calrissian in the upcoming Han Solo film, maybe there’s space for this event to get some coverage, or even a standalone film of his own.
"Well, the bounty hunter we ran into on Ord Mantell changed my mind."
Best as: Standalone novel in new Star Wars canon
It’s a throwaway line while Han and Leia are fighting / flirting as Han prepares to leave Hoth and the Rebellion. But the incident on Ord Mantell — presumably of a bounty hunter trying to claim the death mark that crime lord Jabba the Hutt has put on Solo’s head — is another untold story, one that presumably can shed light on the relationship between Han and Leia during the post-A New Hope years of the Rebellion.
“I have the death sentence on 12 systems!”
Best as: Not being further explained
Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina is a short story anthology telling the stories of all the random aliens and people of the Mos Eisley Cantina. Thus, we know that the man who threatens Luke is Dr. Cornelius Evazan, a mad, failed surgeon who ran horrible experiments on patients. The anthology teaches a different lesson for this quote than most of the throwaway lines referenced here: not everyone and everything needs to have an elaborate backstory. (Similarly, Evazan and his cantina companion, Ponda Baba, also have a brief cameo in Rogue One. This, too, does not need further explanation.)
BONUS: "They used to be called Guardians of the Whills, now they're just troublemakers"
Best as: Tie-in novel
The quote here comes from Rogue One, in reference to Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus, a pair of former guardians of the Kyber Temple on Jedha. The pair seems to believe in the Force as an actual (hokey) religion — Malbus, perhaps, a little more disillusioned than Chirrut — and while it’s unclear if they possess Force abilities or just believe in the concept, there’s clearly more to be explored here. The pair clearly have a history, and Îmwe drops a couple of cryptic lines: “we’ve been in worse cages than this.” These two were one of the many highlights of the film, and there’s definitely more to be seen from them. Additionally, the “Whills” touches some deep Star Wars lore: The Journal of the Whills, which is mentioned in the novelizations of the original Star Wars and The Force Awakens (supposedly similar to The Red Book of Westmarch from The Lord of the Rings saga), and it would make for a good thing to explore.
A continuation of a rich tradition of expanding on the lore from the movies that came before
Many of these throwaway lines and ideas have already been throughly explained in the former expanded universe, unlike Rogue One, which tells an entirely new story. But with Disney and Lucasfilm getting a second chance to rewrite Star Wars history, it’s entirely possible we could see new answers to some of these hinted-to questions in future movies and books farther down the line. And in that vein, Rogue One (and presumably, future Star Wars Story films) represents a continuation of that rich Star Wars tradition of expanding on the lore from the movies that came before.
(And seriously, please make a Rogue Squadron movie.)