A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… on a dark and stormy night…
As October approaches and the world focuses its attention on all things spooky and pumpkin-flavored, Star Wars fans face their yearly reminder that they have never been given a horror film set in their favorite fictional universe. Has the franchise flirted with the genre before? Most certainly! However, this has largely taken place in the world of novels, comics, and the occasional Clone Wars episode (I’m looking at you “Brain Invaders!”). With the horror genre experiencing a genuine renaissance right now, the time is perfect for a full-fledged Star Wars horror movie.
While writers, artists, and filmmakers have explored all sorts of genres within the Star Wars expanded universe, the theatrical films have rarely strayed outside of their Sci-Fi lane. To Disney, a horror story might seem like a risky investment for a theatrical release, however, recent office box trends show that audiences currently have a ferocious appetite for the grim and the ghastly.
The highest-grossing horror films of 2022 have accounted for nearly $500 million in earnings so far this year. Huge hits like Nope, Scream, and The Black Phone are clear indicators that audiences are hungry for horror right now. Audiences are ready and there is a wealth of potential material available to filmmakers to adapt into a macabre motion picture.
One of the most obvious choices for a Star Wars horror film would be an adaptation of Joe Schreiber’s chilling Death Troopers novel or its prequel Red Harvest. These novels apply the classic zombie movie formula to the world of Star Wars to great success. These novels are practically screaming to be brought to the big screen as they follow the archetypal zombie movie framework perfectly.
If Disney feels like a chilling theatrical tale is too financially perilous, they could utilize their streaming platform to produce the film or even create a limited series around the concept. Last year, Mike Flanagan revealed that he would love to direct a Star Wars horror film. Who better than the creator of the acclaimed House on Haunted Hill series and director of the equally lauded film Doctor Sleep to handle this project?
Let’s hope that Marvel’s upcoming Werewolf by Night film is an indication that Disney is interested in telling more horror stories with their major IPs. For now, Star Wars fans will have to re-read their copies of Star Wars: Dark Legends or Ghosts of Vader’s Castle while they dream of one day seeing things going bump in the night on the big screen in that galaxy far, far away.