With the recent announcement that Disney acquired Lucasfilm, the biggest news was the coming of another trilogy of Star Wars movies. This was obviously met with mixed results as many are overjoyed with the idea of actually getting more movies and others immediately assume the movies will lead to the destruction of the franchise. The only reassurance to those concerned fans is Disney would not pay over four billion just to run the franchise into the grave.
George Lucas has discussed the idea of stepping away from running the franchise.
It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.
Lucas will continue to serve as a creative consultant.
As Lucas pointed out, it's a vast universe. There are and have been a multitude of stories outside the six live-action films. With a third trilogy already being planned, the big question is, what will be the story and focus on the next trilogy?
The Rebel Alliance may have defeated Emperor Palpatine's vicious rule over the galaxy (with the help of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian and others) but that doesn't mean the story is over. As seen in the numerous expanded universe novels, defeating the Empire was just the beginning. The entire galaxy had been under the Emperor's rule for over twenty years. Despite the harsh ways the galaxy was run, there would be numerous worlds loyal to that rule and resistant to change.
The expanded universe novels have encompassed the forty years after the Battle of Yavin. This would be the perfect groundwork for the next set of trilogies. They could focus on the attempts to establish the government while pockets of those still loyal to the Empire exist. Luke Skywalker focuses on reestablishing the Jedi Temple and New Jedi Order. Luke eventually marries and even has a child. Han and Leia also married and had three children of their own.
It's not just a time of wedded bliss and domestic life. Aside from the political struggles, the heroes and entire galaxy eventually find themselves under attack by the Yuuzhan Vong (twenty-five years after Episode IV: A New Hope). The Yuuzhan Vong are an alien species from outside the Star Wars galaxy. Their religion sees all forms of technology as blasphemy and they have genetically engineered all their organic technology and ships. To add to the threat, the Yuuzhan Vong cannot be felt through the Force, which goes against the idea of all living beings having a connection to the Force.
The war lasts about five years. Entire worlds are destroyed and we saw the deaths of several major Star Wars characters. Stories after the war deal with the rise of the Sith, which also resulted in some personal losses for many.
There are many stories that have been told. The thing is the expanded universe has always remained outside of the cinematic universe under Lucas' rule. Whether or not the decision would be made to adapt these existing stories remains to be seen. Logic dictates that having movies where the outcome is already known would likely not occur. There's also the question of whether or not the original actors would be willing and able to reprise their previous roles. They may have aged since Return of the Jedi but these stories do take place about the same amount of time after. If the decision was made to move slightly after the timeline in the novels and still use some of the original actors, it could be argued that perhaps they age differently than we do in our galaxy.
Dark Horse Comics has also given us a successful run taking place approximately one hundred thirty years after the movies. STAR WARS: LEGACY ran for fifty issues with a focus on a descendant of Luke Skywalker, Cade Skywalker.
Cade was once a Jedi padawan but later became a smuggler and bounty hunter. He left his training after witnessing the death of his father at the hands of two Sith lords. He wanted revenge. Cade later was pulled into galactic affairs and eventually showed he possessed an enormous amount of power in the Force.
Going this route would be an easy option in creating new characters and casting the roles. If the idea is to make "Star Wars for a new generation," having new characters in a familiar universe could be a way to avoid the typical hatred from some long time fans. The only problem is, could characters from LEGACY or other new ones be worthy of the Star Wars movie treatment? If the movies don't feature any of the characters from the previous six movies, would old fans still care?
As much as I like the idea of going forward past the expanded universe time (to retain the element of surprise in not knowing the fate of certain characters), a third trilogy not involving the familiar characters goes beyond the idea of the overall theme of the six films. The original trilogy made it seem as if it was all about Luke Skywalker. After watching both trilogies, it's clear that they are all about Darth Vader. It's about his rise, fall and redemption. A third trilogy won't be able to have that connection. This shouldn't be a huge issue and a determinant against more Star Wars movies. It'll just be weird to have a third trilogy separate from the first two.
This is where we begin the speculation. It is a vast universe and we could always see characters and elements that had nothing to do with the battle between the Rebels and Empire. It is once again an exciting time for Star Wars fans. We thought we'd never see another live-action movie. We have to assume that Disney will want their four billion dollar investment to pay off. We'll just have to wait and see if they go with familiar characters or move beyond the timeline seen in the movies.