A few weeks ago, while on The Sarlacc Pit Podcast, I discussed my thoughts on the rumors of a live action TV series getting fast tracked. My opinion was that Disney wouldn't want to do anything that might risk pulling audience interest away from the sequel trilogy by giving them a 'free' version on television simultaneously. So imagine my surprise when Bob Iger came out and announced that standalone Star Wars films were not only also in development, but that they will be released in the same window as the sequel trilogy.
As I've already discussed, I'm thrilled at the thought of having Larry Kasdan involved in new Star Wars films. The fact that he's been confirmed as a consultant on Episode 7, as well as being involved in the standalone features is even better. So why, you might ask, would I think that too much Star Wars might be a bad thing?
Let's explore some of the rumors that have been bandied about as far as standalone films.
Yoda. This one seems to be the hardest to believe, personally, as when taken outside of the 'SAGA', the only periods of Yoda's life that are available to explore are his origin and first few hundred year. Speaking as a fan of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, I don't know if The Young Yoda Chronicles would sustain my interest. I picture the little green guy rising above being picked on by his peers (another chance for an E.T. cameo!) only to follow a Jedi Jack LaLane on the road to becoming the great Jedi Master. Um, thanks, but I'll pass.
Han Solo. While the adventures of a young Han Solo does appear to be a ripe area for mining (moreso than the adventures of Young Luke Skywalker—moisture farmer and womp rat hunter!), that does go against the statements about the standalone films being focused on minor characters. Han and (I can't imagine them not including) Chewbacca are far from minor, though their adventures prior to Episode IV would be interesting to explore. So let's say they do go down this path. The primary challenge will be finding someone who can walk the line of portraying a young Harrison Ford portraying Han Solo without it becoming an actor doing their best Han Solo impression. To those who think it can't be done, I'd suggest you go back and watch Ewan Mcgregor's performance as Obi-Wan in the prequel trilogy. While he's not playing Alec Guinness, he adopts enough of his mannerisms and speech patters to sell it without it becoming a parody.
Boba Fett. This is the no-brainer, slam dunk character to build a standalone franchise from. A fan favorite whose shoes can be filled by anyone (despite fan's tight association with the men/boy who played him). What's not to love? Can you imagine Boba Fett in remakes of A Fistful of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More. How cool would it be to see anything along those lines, where the emphasis is on the story in which this mysterious character is a part, without feeling the need to further tie him in with the rest of the SAGA (yes, we must be reminded that the character whose screen time was close to that of the Dianoga in Episode IV went on to become a pivotal figure in the conflict that set the galactic empire in motion).
Time will tell as more information is released with regard to the Sequel Trilogy and standalone films, but it's hard not to embrace the idea that it's a good time to be a Star Wars fan.