How The Star Wars Standalone Movies Will Be Different And Is Boba Fett Still Alive?

Continuing my coverage from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens junket, today I bring you Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy, who helps to explain how the Star Wars anthology movies (i.e., the "A Star Wars Story" films) will be different from the Star Wars Saga movies. Along the way we might even learn something about the rumored Boba Fett movie. Hit the jump and learn how the Star Wars standalone movies will be different.

Make Your Own X-Wing Pilot Helmet

The Saga Films Will Focus on the Skywalker Story

Kathleen Kennedy explains that "the Saga films are primarily the soap opera centered around the Skywalker family." This isn't very surprising, as it's something she has said before. And yes, aside from the old Legacy characters (Luke Skywalker and General Leia) we don't yet know who else might be of Skywalker descent in the new film.

Some fans have speculated that Finn and/or Rey must be Skywalker descendants. However, as recently as the Force Awakens press conference, John Boyega has strongly hinted that we may not even find out the heritage of the two main characters Finn and Rey, at least in this film.

Rogue One 70mm

The "Star Wars Story" Movies Will Be Genre Stories

Something I've never seen stated before is the fact that the Star Wars Story films will actually be tackling various genre stories set within the Star Wars universe. Kennedy told me "the standalone films can be a wide variety of genres inside the Star Wars universe."

When asked if Rogue One was Lucasfilm's heist movie, Kennedy said, "It is to a certain extent." This is kind of like the approach that Marvel Studios has been taking with their films, with Winter Soldier being a conspiracy thriller and Ant-Man being a comedic heist film.


Star Wars Standalone Movies Will Be Different From Marvel Movies

But Kennedy is only willing to entertain the comparison only so far:

It is definitely in the genre thinking but Star Wars is very different than Marvel in that they basically build their stories around characters, and then they seed those characters in different stories. Star Wars, you know, is a place, it's a universe, so those stories are constructed a little differently than Marvel.


Each Movie Can Have Its Own Sensibilities

With the Star Wars Saga movies there is an established feel, tone, and look which can't be veered from too much. But like the animated series, the Star Wars Story standalone movies can have their own unique feel. Kennedy explained that was the reason for the filmmakers they have hired thus far:

They are really being designed as standalone movies which is fantastic for the filmmakers we bring in, and the actors we hire, because it's a different sensibility.

Not Being Developed to Create New Franchises

Another thing that surprised me was that Kathy says that the Star Wars Story standalone movies "are not being designed to necessarily build new franchises." So don't expect to see a Han Solo sequel in development; these are standalone stories that as Kennedy says will "very definitely have a beginning, middle, and end." Of course, I assume if a movie did monster box office, a sequel could still happen.

star wars prequels

The Standalone Films Won't Just Be Prequels or Stories About Characters We Know

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm and the new saga and standalone films were announced, it seemed to me that the Star Wars Saga films were going to follow the legacy characters and follow the events/story we know about, and the Star Wars Anthology films would focus on introducing new characters and new stories in this galaxy. But so far it seems like the opposite. When I mentioned this to Kathy, she was quick to interject:

No, no. It just so happens to be Rogue One is the precursor to New Hope and yes, this Han Solo idea but I would not argue that we are setting up any kind of prequel notion with these standalone movies. I think that's so far just coincidence. And to be perfectly honest, we have changed the order of those at the last minute, so that's not the intention at all.

Did you catch that last sentence?

boba fett in star wars battlefront

Is the Boba Fett Movie a Sequel?

That last sentence is really interesting because the only film we know about that was affected by that last-minute order change is the Boba Fett movie, which was supposed to be directed by Josh Trank. We have heard two definite things about that film from good sources: it involved Boba Fett in a primary role and it was to be some sort of space "western." We could speculate that Kennedy might be saying that that film was not a prequel as many people assumed.

The Star Wars 1313 video game was secretly a prequel story showing young Boba Fett's rise to become the infamous bounty hunter we know from the original trilogy. Many assumed that when that when that video game was canceled, it was a sign that Lucasfilm would explore the story in the rumored Boba Fett film. But maybe that movie is actually not a Boba Fett prequel, but instead a Return of the Jedi sequel story?

Last we saw Boba Fett in the movies was in Return of the Jedi, when the infamous bounty hunter fell into the Sarlacc pit and was assumed dead. Fans have spent three decades theorizing about the bounty hunter's fate. Lucasfilm historian J.W. Rinzler says that George Lucas once told him that Boba Fett survived the events of Return of the Jedi: "Yes, he does. I have been in meetings with George where he confirms that Fett survived. If it comes from George then it's true!"

But not so in this new universe where the Lucasfilm Story Group, not Lucas, controls the future of the franchise. Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo said at Star Wars Celebration that "Boba Fett is both simultaneously alive and dead in the Sarlacc pit until a story pulls him out." Years ago we even pegged that as one of 10 Star Wars mysteries that the Star Wars standalone movies could potentially explore.

It also should be noted that the new Journey to the Force Awakens novel Star Wars: Aftermath showed someone buying Boba Fett's armor. How did the armor find its way out of the Sarlacc pitt? Did scavengers reclaim it or did the infamous bounty hunter escape?

knights of the old republic

The Stories Can Take Place Anywhere in the Timeline

Kennedy confirms that "the stories can fall pretty much anywhere on the timeline." We could see Star Wars stories set in the far past (Knights of the Old Republic anyone?) or Star Wars films set in the far future (probably less likely), or a Star Wars film like Rogue One which will take place almost directly before the events of A New Hope. There are unlimited options and Kennedy happily states "there is no strict guidelines for what we're doing."


Everything Will Be Connected By the Lucasfilm Story Group

The purpose of doing away with the expanded universe was to make it possible for all these stories to really exist in the same universe. Kennedy explains:

George allowed that expanded universe to really go its own way. And some of it was extraordinary and really well done. And some of it, less so. But it didn't follow any narrative structure and we felt with all of the development that was going to go on in all these different areas, [that] would make things too chaotic. And we didn't abandon it because we thought something was wrong with it, we abandoned it because it had gone in too many different directions without any oversight by George, and that's something we're trying to rectify. So the concept of the expanded universe is similar to what we're continuing to do, but within a bit more structure.

And more structure means that everything will be connected, from the movies, to animated TV shows, to books, to even theme park attractions:

What's brilliant about what Kiri Hart is doing inside the story department is, we're really looking at everything we're doing. Our story group looks at and gets involved with animation, anything we're doing with games, anything going on with theme parks, anything thats happening with publishing, even certain things inside DCP. We are very closely tied to any of the narrative storytelling in those divisions because that does have to make some kind of sense. We don't want something heading off in some direction that completely undoes what was setup in another story.