The best stories ever told can be found inside a droid. An R2 unit as a matter of fact. Somehow, this little droid never got its memory wiped clean like its counterpart, C-3PO. The most influential story ever told is of the Skywalker saga. And this droid knows it all. The constant fight between good and evil and finding that balance between it all is something that has kept us Star Wars fans on the edge of our seats at times.
With the sequel trilogy and entire Skywalker saga coming to a close with the release of The Rise of Skywalker in December, one has to wonder what more avenues for storytelling can be used than just walking into a theater with your favorite Star Wars popcorn tin. That answer is pretty easy, actually. With Disney launching its very own streaming service on November 12th, the future of Star Wars storytelling is more than just an experience at a theater. Now, this experience can be found within the walls of your own home.
However, one has to wonder, how will storytelling differ than that of a traditional Star Wars film? To be honest, the answer is simpler than you’d imagine. Back in the day, when George Lucas hired Dave Filoni, who was a young animation director in Pittsburgh at the time, little did we know that Dave Filoni would be considered as The Chosen One years later. Filoni understands Star Wars. He gets it. He understands what fans want and what they expect of a franchise they’ve grown to love. He also has a complete history of the Star Wars story in his data banks just like that little R2 unit. If anyone gets Star Wars, it’s Dave Filoni.
The knowledge of Dave Filoni is almost unparalleled. This is why storytelling is Dave’s unique niche. When any story in the Star Wars universe is being crafted, Dave is the go-to guy for your questions on whether if you’re story can fit within the Star Wars canon.
“There isn’t a thing that we do in the storytelling space that I don’t check with Dave.”Kathleen Kennedy
I wonder how it feels to be that guy. Although it’s probably an amazing feeling to be known as the expert on Star Wars, I’m pretty sure it’s also very tiring at times, especially at the same time when you’re hired to direct your very first live-action Star Wars TV episode.
The Mandalorian will be the very first Star Wars TV show in the franchise’s history. That’s a big deal. But also, a lot of pressure. However, even before the first season has been released, a second season was announced. The Disney executives really must have liked the work creative executives like Dave Filoni, Jon Favreau, and a multitude of others have done. That’s got to be an amazing feeling. It means that storytelling-wise, they’ve done something right.
This past summer, at Disney’s D23 Expo, another Star Wars TV show was announced with the likes of “Hello there!” With previous shows announced prior to D23 like the untitled Cassian Andor series, it was all but certain that we’d see Ewan McGregor reprise his role as Obi-Wan Kenobi once again in some fashion. With years of rumors of a standalone Kenobi film being in the works, the best news fans could hear was that we’d be able to get even more screen time with one of our favorite Jedi’s, Obi-Wan Kenobi, via a TV show on Disney+.
In all honesty, I think that going the TV show route with such a popular Star Wars character like Kenobi is the best option in terms of storytelling. More screen time isn’t the only reason, but also the ability to hopefully better flesh out his story in a more meaningful and impactful way. And from what I can tell, Kenobi story writer, Hossein Amini, is on the right track.
The upcoming Kenobi series is expected to start shooting sometime in July of 2020. In the meantime, storytelling-wise, what is the Kenobi series about?
“It spans the period between episodes III and IV…it’s a period where there is a lot of change in the galaxy and a lot of hardship. So, for Obi Wan’s character, he has a lot to adjust to given the loss of his close friends and the order that he believed in.”Hossein Amini
After suffering a huge loss from an once apprentice gone Sith, I’m sure hardship isn’t quite the word he’s looking for. In any case, writing a story based on the most emotional and difficult part of a major character’s life has got to be challenging.
“For a writer that is a difficult journey to explore because there is so much conflict in terms of internal and external and that’s what you’re always looking for in a story. When things are going great it’s difficult to wrangle a story out of that because there is nothing to struggle against in both the interior and exterior sense. So, I’ve always been drawn to situations that revolve around some kind of crisis.”Hossein Amini
Focusing on a major character’s struggle after a huge intergalactic event like Order 66, is something that’s best told in a TV show format. Fitting Kenobi’s final story arch into a 2-hour film isn’t probably the best way to go. Comparing the two, why would storytelling benefit from an episodic series versus a standalone film?
“The situation is so complex both for him personally and in a way, the state of the galaxy, you sort of need time to explore it and to be honest there are loads of other stories within that period as well, it’s quite a few years. There is so much going on between episode III and IV that hasn’t been explored. The idea of being able to go into a character journey plus the politics and plus all the vastness of the Empire and what’s going on is exciting just because it feels like a proper period of history and sometimes that is hard to do in two hours.”Hossein Amini
Great storytelling is essential to Star Wars. If you have the option to explore more new worlds or to shed a tear or two, I’d take both. This is how we win.
With the Kenobi series expected to release on Disney+ sometime in 2021, many more TV shows are already in the works.
During Disney’s 4th Quarter earnings conference call with CEO Bob Iger, Bob decided to drop some exciting Star Wars news. When asked about the future of storytelling in the Star Wars universe, Bob acknowledged the hiatus of movies after The Rise of Skywalker, with the next major film expected to release sometime in 2022. However, he also added that THREE more Star Wars Disney+ series are currently in development.
As of right now, no one outside Lucasfilm knows what these stories could be. Rumors have swirled around a time or two about a possible Solo spin-off series in development, but nothing has yet been officially announced.
In the end, with new outlets of storytelling being opened up through the likes of Disney+, the future of Star Wars is bright. Stories will be told. Tales will be sung. But in the end, stories like these will be remembered for generations to come.
Just remember to bring the popcorn when The Mandalorian releases November 12th on Disney+.
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