The Star Wars universe has been rolling quite nicely since JJ Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story meeting commercial success and a new entry in the main franchise looming for later this year. A Han Solo film is also coming down the line, but as with Rogue One, the studio wants to expand past the characters that all fans know.
Rogue One screenwriter Gary Whitta recently spoke to SuperHeroHype about the possibility of a film that separates itself from the more known quantities. Whitta said “I think you’ve already seen us get 90 percent 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 percent of that story is completely new characters. Completely new planets and places you’ve never seen before. It’s a ‘Star Wars’ movie with no Jedi! You don’t see a lightsaber once until Vader pops it out at the end.”
Whitta doesn't want to limit the Star Wars toybox, saying “One of the thing things we really want to do at Lucasfilm is create a universe and not keep relying on old legacy characters,” said Whitta. “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.”
The hallmarks will always be there, but it's good to know that the studio wants to keep integrating new characters and concepts as opposed to just relying on the tried and true.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from writer/director Rian Johnson, is in post-production now for a December 15, 2017 release. The film follows-up and continues the story of the next generation of the saga as Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren find their place in the galaxy and follow the legacy of Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo. Daisy Ridley returns to star as Rey, with other returning stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong'o Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern join the cast in as-yet-unrevealed roles.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is slated for release on December 15, 2017.