Kenobi! Palpatine! Old Republic! Yoda!
Depending on which corner of the internet you go to (and why you go there), you’ll hear theory after theory about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a new Star Wars film, live action show, animated show, or any other form of content. It seems this day everyone has a theory.
Some of these theories are well thought out, well conveyed, and well planned for. Others are… well … less inclined to logic. The important thing is not what the theories say, but why the exist.
They exist because more Star Wars content is a good thing.
In an age where everyone has the platform to voice their opinion, it can seem like there is a lot of white noise in fandom. It is hard to get a grasp on what is real and what isn’t; but we know that anything straight from Lucasfilm is as real as reality gets. So when Bob Iger announced that there would be not only a new trilogy of Star Wars films created by Episode VIII director Rian Johnson, but also a live action series to be released on the Disney streaming service, Twitter went ablaze. Everyone had a theory of what would be the best time period, potential topics, connections to what we know, and on and on.
Again, more Star Wars content is a good thing.
Now, this is not to say that any Star Wars content is a good thing. We have seen why that is true (I’m looking at you Holiday Special… yeah you too Ewok movies… don’t think I don’t see you back there Heir to the Jedi!). Star Wars being created just to have content created is a terrible misconstruction of why Star Wars should be created. Star Wars is, was, and always will (should) be about conveying lessons and guidance via storytelling.
When this is not the case, things go badly. The Aftermath trilogy is the prime example of this in the modern era. The three novels, while they did have some high points, felt like they were created out of obligation by Lucasfilm because of the place post-Return of the Jedi novels had in the fandom. All the while, there was a very intentional effort to stay away from anything that would touch on the majority of characters we would see going forward, so as not to give too much away. This is not a knock on author Chuck Wendig, just an unfortunate set of circumstances that he was put in.
Thus far, Disney has done a fine job with allowing people to create their own stories, share their ideas, and really play in the sandbox.
In fact, the only place real missteps have happened have been in the publishing department, and even those are few and far between. Save for Heir to the Jedi and the Aftermath trilogy, and a few short stories, fandom is in general agreement that all of the major novel releases have been well written, well planned, and inspired.
The same can be said for the television shows and films. In the stead of George Lucas, Dave Filoni has continued to create Star Wars stories that get the “it” that makes Star Wars Star Wars, while simultaneously expanding the universe. JJ Abrams agreed to make The Force Awakens because he was inspired by the question, “Who is Luke Skywalker?” Even the creation of Rogue One was a collaborative effort by people inspired by the universe created by George Lucas 40 years ago.
So then, how does all of this prove that more Star Wars content is a good thing? How do we know it will not be a giant, disorganized shit show like much of the DC Cinematic Universe (not you Wonder Woman… you go on doing what you do)? If more Star Wars, particularly film and television shows, are being created by people inspired to pitch ideas to Lucasfilm, there is more heart in it. That is what things like Aftermath and Heir to the Jedi were missing. It is what TFA and Rogue One got right. Star Wars has to have a heart to it. A “why” to it.
When Lucasfilm announced that Rian Johnson would be creating an all new trilogy, the game changed. New ground was broken where Lucasfilm does not have to put out a new post-Return of the Jedi novel just because “that’s how it has always been done.” They don’t have to put out a second rate Luke Skywalker novel just because there needs to be a Luke Skywalker story out there to satiate fans. Now, with the plethora of new material being created, and good material being created at that, Lucasfilm can take the time to let things marinade, allow creators to get excited and inspired, and allow for the galaxy to grow far beyond what you could possible imagine.
It worked for George….