Future 'Star Wars' films to ditch original characters? 'Rogue One' writer explains why

Lucasfilm plans to move beyond Star Wars legacy characters.

Star Wars
A still from 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.' instagram.com/starwars

One of the most highly anticipated films of this year is 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi,' scheduled to be released on December 15. It will continue the Skywalker saga with the return of Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker; a story that is set to conclude with Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019. Then we have the Han Solo prequel coming in 2018. Other than these however, the future of legacy characters in the Star Wars universe seems bleak.

ComingSoon.net sat down for an exclusive chat with 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' screenwriter, who hinted that Lucasfilm, the production house that makes the Star Wars films, is planning on moving away from the iconic characters introduced in the original trilogy from 1977 to 1983, as well as featured in the prequel trilogy of episodes I to III.

The original characters include the Skywalker family with Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, their father Anakin Skywalker who becomes Darth Vader. Other recurring legacy characters include Han Solo, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2. Han Solo, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2 were also featured in J.J. Abrams' 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens.'

"I think you've already seen us get 90% of the way there with 'Rogue One.' Yes you see Leia, yes you see the Death Star and Vader, because those are elements of that story and they belong there, you can't tell that story without those characters. But for the most part, 90% of that story is completely new characters. Completely new planets and places you've never seen before," Whitta says. Indeed, the new characters were the highlights of 'Rogue One.' They were ordinary characters caught up in an extraordinary situation. And unlike in the Skywalker saga movies, none of the lead characters survived.

Whitta also revealed that Lucasfilm plans to gradually move away from the established iconic characters and expand the Star Wars universe. He said, "One of the thing things we really want to do at Lucasfilm is create a universe and not keep relying on old legacy characters. We've got Rey and Finn and Kylo Ren, they've already introduced a new generation of characters. Whatever kind of Star Wars films they're making 10 or 20 years from now, I don't think they're going to be relying on the same legacy story elements as we have in the past."

There was a lot at stake for both Lucasfilm and Disney regarding 'Rogue One.' Had the film not generated as positive a reaction from audiences and hardcore fans, the future of Star Wars movies would become very limited to tried and tested stories and characters. Luckily, that wasn't the case and audiences both new and old, took to the new characters as warmly as they did the original trilogy characters.

"It's a Star Wars movie with no Jedi! You don't see a lightsaber once until Vader pops it out at the end. It doesn't have any spirituality or mysticism... a little bit through Donnie's character, but it's very different DNA to the Star Wars films that have come before it. I really like the fact that we tried to do something different," Whitta said. He has all the right to be proud of what he and the others at Lucasfilm, including director Gareth Edwards, had been able to achieve. It should be noted that the idea for the story of 'Rogue One' came from Industrial Light & Magic's Chief Creative Officer John Knoll. Exciting things lie in store for avid Star Wars fans and audiences all over the galaxy.

This article was first published on March 17, 2017