The Guardians of the Whills
Deadline’s emphasis on “martial arts elements” makes us think of Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe from Rogue One. That film introduced fans to Jedha and its ancient Jedi temple, a place protected by Chirrut and his fellow Guardians of the Whills. Chirrut himself was quite the martial artist. Despite being blind and not Force-sensitive in the same way Jedi are, he managed to mop the floor with an entire regiment of Stormtroopers and even shoot down a TIE Fighter.
By that point in the Star Wars timeline, the temple and its guardians have seen better days. But maybe this new series could flash back to the glory days of Jedha and the Guardians of the Whills. We could learn more about this mysterious organization and the sacred texts they safeguard. We could see other heroes like Chirrut who perform incredible fighting feats without the benefit of Jedi powers. Like Lucas Books’ upcoming High Republic initiative, this would be a chance to see the Jedi Order in its prime and explore a time long before the events of the movies.
Ahsoka Tano’s Solo Series
Perhaps the simplest option is that the Headland series is one we’ve already heard rumors about. Various outlets have confirmed that Rosario Dawson will play Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian: Season 2, with The Hollywood Reporter indicating the show is setting up an Ahsoka-driven spinoff series. Could Headland’s project be that Ahsoka spinoff?
This would certainly tick most of the boxes in terms of being a female-driven, martial arts-heavy action thriller. And it’s certainly a project Star Wars fans have been clamoring for. The only problem with this theory is that Headland’s series is said to explore a new piece of the Star Wars timeline, and we’re not sure a Mandalorian spinoff really qualifies as “new.”
Still, with so much ground left to cover in between the original and sequel trilogies, maybe an Ahsoka series can still count. There’s a lot such a show could cover depending how far it ventures from the setting and time period of The Mandalorian. We may even finally learn Ahsoka’s fate in the era of the First Order and whether she’s actually dead in The Rise of Skywalker. Or, if the series doesn’t merely over the same period as The Mandalorian, we could find out what happens when Ahsoka and her friends travel to the far side of the galaxy at the end of Star Wars Rebels.
A Rise of Skywalker Follow-Up
When it comes to the current, Disney-approved Star Wars timeline, the events of The Rise of Skywalker represent the furthest known point. The movie certainly sets up future storylines, but for now fans can only fantasize about what happens after the Resistance finally defeats the First Order.
We could see this new series picking up on one of several loose ends from Episode IX. It’s possible it could chronicle the continuing adventures of Rey Skywalker as she charts a new course for herself and tries to usher in a new generation of Jedi. However, we’d expect that that story to be reserved for future movies, assuming it’s ever told at all.
Or perhaps Headland’s series could follow Naomi Ackie’s ex-Stormtrooper Jannah as she ventures out to find her family and understand her past. While the movie never explicitly reveals this, we know Jannah is Lando’s long-lost daughter, so hopefully Billy Dee Williams would be able to reprise his role again. The series could also focus on Keri Russell’s Zorii Bliss, another character who faces an uncertain destiny at the end of Episode IX.
A Solo Spinoff
According to writer Jon Kasdan, there’s currently no sequel to Solo: A Star Wars story in the works. That’s unfortunate, given how much unresolved plot is left over by the end of that film. It seems a shame to throw in a Darth Maul cameo and not follow up on it.
Assuming Lucasfilm ever revisits this branch of the saga, TV seems a more likely outlet. And there are certainly ways of building a female-driven Solo spinoff. The series could focus on Emilia Clarke’s Qi’ra as she navigates the dangerous inner circle of Maul’s Crimson Dawn organization. Or it could pivot to Erin Kellyman’s pirate character Enfys Nest and the role her Cloud Riders played in building what came to be the Rebel Alliance. Or why not both?
Here, again, the only problem is that this may not qualify as a “new” part of the Star Wars timeline. On the other hand, there are years of time in between Solo and A New Hope. Much of that period is still shrouded in mystery, especially when it comes to smaller characters and conflicts like these.
Star Wars Movies That Need to Happen
Star Wars: Underworld Returns
Before selling his company to Disney, George Lucas had been developing a live-action series called Star Wars: Underworld. While the project was shelved due to its immense cost, no fewer than 50 scripts were commissioned along the way. We have to assume Disney isn’t just letting all that material go to waste. And now that The Mandalorian has proven it is possible to do a live-action Star Wars series without breaking the bank, maybe the time has finally come to revive the Underworld premise.
As the name suggests, Underworld was intended to shine a light on the criminal underbelly of the Star Wars universe. The series was supposed to be set in between Episodes III and IV, but there’s no reason it couldn’t be transplanted to another era that allows for more storytelling freedom. Just give us a badass new female protagonist and a few familiar Star Wars organizations like the Hutt cartels and Black Sun and we’ll be good. Heck, why not focus on Black Sun and frame the series around Shadows of the Empire villain Guri, a deadly assassin droid masquerading as a human woman?
The High Republic
We mentioned The High Republic previously as an example of how a Guardians of the Whills series might be handled, but it’s entirely possible the new show could be an extension of High Republic initiative itself. Even though Lucasfilm purposely picked this setting (roughly 200 years before the movies) to give creators plenty of space and freedom, we wouldn’t be at all surprised if the scope eventually expanded beyond comics and novels to include TV projects and video games. When you consider just how many Star Wars stories are crammed into the four years that comprise the original trilogy, there’s surely plenty of room for everyone in the High Republic era.
The High Republic is meant to showcase the Jedi Order in its prime, in an era where the Jedi are more like crusading knights than outdated monks and military leaders. We’d love to see a series framed around Jedi Master Avar Kriss, a character set to make her full debut in the upcoming book Star Wars: The High Republic – Light of the Jedi. While Kriss is a full-fledged Jedi Master in that book, the series could explore her younger years showing how she honed her reputation as one of the finest warriors in the entire Order. The only thing better than a martial artist is a Force-sensitive martial artist.
Bastila Shan and the Old Republic
While the classic Expanded Universe features numerous stories set thousands of years before the movies and in the era of Darth Revan and the Mandalorian Wars, none of that material has definitively carried over to Disney’s Star Wars timeline. So far, there have only been rumors about a remake of 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and a report that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss’ canceled Star Wars trilogy would have focused on the origins of the Jedi.
As far as we’re concerned, it’s past time Lucasfilm began fleshing out this distant piece of the timeline with new, canonical content. We could see Headland’s new series doing its part. A female-driven, martial arts-heavy series could be focused on KOTOR’s Bastila Shan, a heroine who wields a double-bladed lightsaber and fights to hold the galaxy together during one of its worst conflicts. We wouldn’t expect the series to be a full-fledged KOTOR adaptation, but a Bastila Shan series could be a terrific companion to the rumored video game remake. Or the series could focus on Satele Shan, descendant of Bastila and Revan and one of the main protagonists in the MMORPG The Old Republic. We just really want a Star Wars show about a butt-kicking, double-blade-loving Jedi warrior. Is that so much to ask?
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.