New television shows promise a great future for Star Wars


Lucasfilm as of late seems to have adopted a new strategy for Star Wars; more focus on home entertainment than the cinema. Rather than this being a letdown, a television focus may be the best way to grow what we know and love.

The last few weeks have been a very busy time for those of us who hang out on the internet looking for information about Star Wars. Between announcements of a coming Cassian Andor series providing backstory for the covert Rebel operative from Rogue One, and possible casting news for The Mandalorian involving Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano, Disney is putting a lot into the Star Wars side of its upcoming television streaming service.

Add this to Star Wars: Resistance and the resurrection of The Clone Wars, and it would seem we are going to have dozens of hours of Star Wars shipped right to our homes. Yes, the D.B. Weiss and David Benioff films are still in development as of today, and so is Rian Johnson’s own trilogy. We are also still just over a year from J.J. Abrams apparently ending the Skywalker Saga with Episode IX.  It seems unlikely though given the box office of Solo and subsequent comments by Disney CEO Bob Iger about some slowdown for the films that we’ll get more than one movie a year.

So even with seven years’ worth of movies apparently in development, scratching the every-day Star Wars itch seems to be falling to the television screen. This is something all fans should be glad to hear.

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First, it gives an opportunity to explore more corners of the Star Wars universe. Even with Solo, Rebels, and Rogue One, the early days of the Rebellion and the Empire becoming the presence it was in the Original Trilogy is largely unexplored. The period following Return of the Jedi and before The Force Awakens has some great books out to explore, but there are a lot of things we still don’t know about the New Republic trying to fill the power vacuum left by the Empire, and how the First Order grows out in the wilds.

Those details are not necessarily something the movies need to explore in depth, whereas a television series can provide a thorough examination of events and greatly improve our understanding of events through context. Indeed, televised Star Wars already did this with The Clone Wars.

There were and are plenty of fans who felt the Prequel Trilogy left gaps in the narrative that were too large. The Clone War itself notwithstanding, it is not a stretch to argue that Anakin’s fall happens a bit too quickly in the film narrative. However, watch these films with the context The Clone Wars provides and they seem like different films. It isn’t that these films could not already be enjoyed on their own merits, but the story is honed and sharpened by knowing what happens in the space between.

With some careful writing, the same could happen for both the Original Trilogy and the Sequel Trilogy. Such writing has already happened on Star Wars: Rebels; Ezra’s journey through those four seasons showed us an understanding of The Force that contextualizes many of the struggles the theatrical Force users face in the Sequels. It is a tale epic enough to be worth close examination.

Photo Credit: Lucasfilm

The long form narrative has hit something of a golden age on TV in the last decade or so. Shows like Game of Thrones or Westworld demonstrate what you can do when you have some time to stretch out your story. Given the guarded box office results from Solo, which itself tried to be one of those gap fillers, sticking to the relatively cheaper small screen allows the stories to be told, and to find the right audience.

After all, Solo’s home video performance has been very solid. Bringing a smart TV narrative forward to be the foundation future movies can stand on might be Disney’s best and smartest contribution to the Star Wars universe.

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What do you think? What Star Wars elements do you think warrant the type of deep exploration a series can do? Comment below!