The recent box office success of R-rated comic book films such as “Deadpool” and “Logan” has everyone thinking about taking various properties in a more mature direction. Few franchises have the rich catalog of characters to draw from and ability to take risks with films as much as “Star Wars” does.
While there are certainly lots of reasons that both Disney and Lucasfilm could shy away from making an R-rated “Star Wars” movie, there is some precedent for moving in that direction. George Lucas’ live-action television series was to be set in the seedier parts of the galaxy far, far away and starring the underworld characters of the universe, while being described as “Deadwood in space,” a reference to the very adult HBO series. In this list we look at 15 characters who could star in a film that would justify an R-rating.
15. BOBA FETT
Boba Fett was a character who seemed ready to seize the spotlight in a Josh Trank directed stand-alone film until Trank abruptly pulled out of the project, and the film was shelved indefinitely. Fett is a bounty hunter who wears Mandalorian armor and has all kinds of daddy issues thanks to being a clone and having watched his progenitor die at the swing of the purple lightsaber belonging to Mace Windu. He has long been a polarizing figure in fandom. Many fans love him because of his cool look, while other fans mock him for seemingly getting killed in a rather lackluster show of martial skills on the skiff above the Sarlacc.
Fett’s armor has reappeared in canon in the “Aftermath” trilogy of novels. It was found by Jawas and taken by a character named Cobb Vanth who served as a sheriff on Tatooine. Whether this storyline was intended to serve as the new Boba Fett is unknown, but much like the other bounty hunter on this list, Boba Fett is particularly well suited for an R-rated film. Imagining Boba Fett in a “John Wick” or “Dredd” style movie could have a ton of big screen appeal.
14. DARTH PLAGUEIS
Darth Plagueis already starred in the 2012 novel “Darth Plagueis” by author James Luceno, but that story is now considered a non-canonical legend. What we know of Darth Plagueis in the new canon is that he was a male Sith Lord and the master of Darth Sidious. He is likely to still be a Muun, the species behind the Intergalactic Banking Clan, but he has not officially appeared in the new canon yet. The book was incredibly well reviewed but what elements of it may remain in canon are still to be determined.
According to Palpatine, Darth Plagueis had mastered the incredible ability to manipulate midi-chlorians into creating or extending life. A film set around Darth Plagueis as an evil scientist in the vein of Doctor Frankenstein conducting experiments in Sith sorcery and potentially with a young apprentice, Palpatine, at his side could make for some very different and very dark Star Wars storytelling.
13. DOCTOR APHRA AND THE MURDER DROIDS
Doctor Aphra stole the show in Marvel’s “Darth Vader” comic book series and earned her own solo-title, “Star Wars: Doctor Aphra.” While her tale is currently being ably told by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Kev Walker, she seems like one of the brightest stars from the new canon and begs for big screen treatment. The self-described “rogue archaeologist” would seem to fit perfectly in line with franchises such as “Indiana Jones” or “Tomb Raider.” Two obvious genres are an adventure such as a galactic treasure hunt or a horror film involving uncovering something evil in a tomb.
Aphra would fit right in with Lucasfilm’s current emphasis on female protagonists. It is, however, her droid companions that could take Doctor Aphra in the direction of an R-rating. Triple-Zero is a protocol droid that specializes in both etiquette and torture, while BT-1 is an astromech assassin droid. These evil analogs to C-3PO and r2-D2 have the skills to pull any adventure with Doctor Aphra to the Dark Side.
12. GENERAL PONG KRELL
The Besalisk Jedi General took part in one of the best story arcs of the entire series of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” The season four arc taking place on the planet Umbara featured the clones led by Krell fighting savagely against the newly introduced Umbaran army and their unique technology. General Krell was known to sacrifice the lives of his clones liberally in battle and in truth had a vision of the future which led him to believe the way of the Dark Side was the only path of survival. While the events of the story arc preclude a movie set after those events, it does still leave open the possibility of a prequel film.
The Besalisk species have been seen onscreen in “Attack of the Clones” through Obi-Wan’s pal, Dexter Jettster. Krell is a much more in shape and imposing presence. An action flick featuring this enormous brawler could feature a pretty high body count.
11. QUINLAN VOS
Quinlan Vos was created for Dark Horse Comics by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema, based on a Tatooine background character in the “The Phantom Menace.” Making his comics debut in 2000 in “Star Wars 17: Emissaries to Malastare Part 5,” Vos quickly became a fan favorite and a staple of the Dark Horse Comics run of “Star Wars” comics. The Kiffar Jedi’s special ability in the Force was psychometry, the ability to touch items and garner a glimpse into the past involving that item, like where it’s been or how else handled it recently.
Vos was included in “The Clone Wars” series as well as co-starring with Asajj Ventress in the novel, “Dark Disciple.” It is possible that a film starring Vos could be an adaptation of that book, which could certainly earn an R-rating. It is also possible that a tale set during the post-Order 66 time frame involving Vos could be shared, assuming that he was able to survive.
10. LANDO CALRISSIAN
Lando Calrissian may be the suavest man in the galaxy. The gambler, smuggler and rebel found his calling as Baron-Administrator of Cloud city before the Empire took that away. We have fresh stories involving Lando at both ends of the current timeline. In Chuck Wendig’s latest novel, “Star Wars: Aftermath: Empire’s End” we see an interlude chapter that features Lando and Lobot retaking Cloud City from Imperial holdouts. Meanwhile, the “Han Solo” stand-alone film that’s currently in production stars Donald Glover portraying a younger Lando. Perhaps Glover could star in a spin-off?
While most of the characters on this list could justify an R-rating based on violence, Lando could justify such a rating based on adult situations and romantic entanglements. It seems unlikely that Lucasfilm would make an explicitly sexy “Star Wars” movie, but Lando is probably the one character who could pull such a film off and still make it consistent with the character and the universe.
9. KYLO REN
Adam Driver made his debut as the conflicted villain Kylo Ren in “The Force Awakens.” When we meet Kylo, he is already a fully formed villain despite his internal conflict that shows him fighting off the pull of the light side of the Force. We do get a tease at his backstory as both leader of the Knights of Ren and apprentice to Supreme Leader Snoke. We see, through Rey’s flashback, the Knights of Ren slaughtering Jedi at Luke’s new temple, which triggered Luke’s exile and a large number of the events in “The Force Awakens.”
Violence is something that fits with Kylo Ren and it is easy to see him earning an R-rating. Some possibilities are that we could see an early glimpse into the Knights of Ren, either the formation of that group or Kylo’s joining of an existing version and becoming its leader. We could also see a story about Snoke’s temptation of Kylo and what could make him pull away from both his parents and his uncle.
8. THE INQUISITORS
An old idea that was re-imagined are the Inquisitors, a group of Dark Side Force-users who served the Empire. The television series “Star Wars Rebels” brought us a series of Inquisitors in their unique armor and with their mass-produced lightsabers. In that series, we are introduced to The Grand Inquisitor, the Fifth Brother, the Seventh Sister and the Eighth Brother. In E.K. Johnston’s novel, “Ahsoka,” we are further introduced to the Sixth Brother.
It is believed that many of the Inquisitors were once part of the Jedi Order who were twisted by Darth Vader to serve the Dark Side and the Emperor. The Inquisitors served as Jedi hunters and assassins, traveling across the galaxy and often operating alone. We have only seen a portion of the Inquisitors, so there is still a great opportunity to further flesh out how this order works. It is easy to imagine a tale focused on hunting a group of Jedi survivors or a mission to assassinate an early Rebel figure.
Maul was resurrected by George Lucas for “The Clone Wars” animated series, going from insanity to vengeance. Maul returned in “Star Wars Rebels” as an older character who seemed to have lost everything except his desire for revenge against Obi-Wan. Maul attempts to take Ezra as his apprentice and tempt him to the Dark Side, that attempt has seemingly failed but during it Maul learned the location of Obi-Wan on Tatooine. This all sets up a confrontation between Obi-Wan and Maul in the episode “Twin Suns.”
It seems perfectly natural that they might explore the possibility of Maul starring in his own film. We have had early Maul stories set before “The Phantom Menace” multiple times, but never on screen. We also have a large swath of time between “The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels” that is largely untold except for the “Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir” miniseries that is the only comic book series by Dark Horse Comics still considered canon.
6. DARTH BANE
Darth Bane was created by George Lucas as part of his backstory for the Prequel films. Bane was first referenced in “The Phantom Menace” novelization before appearing in comics and getting his own novel trilogy written by Drew Karpyshyn. Bane was planned to be brought into “The Clone Wars” series with Darth Revan in the “Mortis” trilogy of episodes before that plan was abandoned. He finally did make his canonical appearance in “The Clone Wars” episode “Sacrifice” on the Sith homeworld of Moraband. He was the founder of the Sith Rule of Two and his line of Sith culminated in Darth Sidious’ takeover of the galaxy, as seen in the “Star Wars” films.
Bane presents the obvious point of entry if Lucasfilm wants to set a film far back in the timeline. A popular character within the fan community, there is already a built in reservoir of passion that could help get buzz going for such a movie. A Jedi and Sith War and the consolidation of the Sith in the person of Bane would be very intriguing content and potentially well worth an R-rating.
A giant lizard in a spacesuit may sound kind of silly, but when you actually see Bossk onscreen in “The Empire Strikes Back,” he is one of the coolest looking of the assembled bounty hunters. Bossk appeared a number of times in “The Clone Wars” series as well as in the new canon books and comics. Bossk is a Trandoshan, a species comprised of natural hunters who have a historical rivalry with the Wookiees.
A character armed not only with a blaster but also with massive claws and teeth is a recipe for blood and gore. In what’s now considered “legends,” Bossk did some crazy things like regrow limbs and eat his father, so you could take his character to some pretty dark and strange places. An ultra-violent “Star Wars” film focused on a difficult bounty or a war within the Bounty Hunter Guild between various bounty hunters would be perhaps the most action packed and violent “Star Wars” film possible.
4. BARRISS OFFEE
Barriss Offee is a character with multiple back stories to draw upon. She appeared in “The Clone Wars” as a friend to Ahsoka Tano and returned later as a political extremist who framed Ahsoka for a terrorist bombing. Before she appeared on the television series, she had other appearances, the most prominent of which was in two novels known as the “MedStar Duology.” These books “MedStar I: Battle Surgeons” and “MedStar II: Jedi Healer” were written by Michael Reeves and Steve Perry, and were both published in 2004.
It is to these novels that we would look to for a movie featuring Barriss. The novels are basically “M*A*S*H” in space, telling the story of a Republic mobile surgery unit that works to patch up clones and their allies on the front lines of the fight against the Separatists. Featuring a wild cast of characters with Barriss at the center, it is easy to see a film as real and brutal as “Hacksaw Ridge” set in the “Star Wars” universe.
3. JABBA THE HUTT
Jabba the Hutt may be a giant slug, but he is also the gangster king of Tatooine. Jabba has made a number of film appearances already, appearing in “Return of the Jedi,” “A New Hope” Special Edition, “The Phantom Menace” and “The Clone Wars” animated film and series. Unfortunately for Jabba, he was never really the focus of any of these stories.
As the Star Wars universe’s gangsters, it is only natural that a gangster movie in the mold of “The Godfather” would be contemplated and that in telling such a tale one of the natural choices to star could be a younger Jabba the Hutt. The story of Jabba’s rise to power, how he gained control of Tatooine and earned a seat on the Hutt council is one that would be a violent tale of criminal empire building. Leaving a trail of slime in addition to a trail of bodies and broken lives should earn any Jabba film the R-rating.
2. ASAJJ VENTRESS
Asajj Ventress was created for Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Star Wars: Clone Wars” series of animated shorts. Her character design was based on concept art for a Sith Apprentice for “Attack of the Clones.” She was used in comic books fairly extensively, but really rose to prominence as one of the main characters in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” In that series, we see her backstory changed and expanded making her a member of the Nightsisters of Dathomir and showedvher time being raised and trained as a Jedi before her Master is killed and her path down the Dark Side began.
Ventress meets her ultimate end in the novel “Dark Disciple,” which co-starred Quinlan Vos. However, her burial in the magical waters of her people on Dathomir does give some potential for resurrection, so it is possible she could be brought back for a new adventure. She already had a scene cut from television by Cartoon Network where she kissed and then impaled a Clone Trooper with a lightsaber through the chest, so you know she is just the right mix of sensuality and violence to earn an R-rating.
1. DARTH VADER
No list of potential R-rated characters would be complete without the Dark Lord himself. Darth Vader had one of the most talked about and long awaited scenes in “Rogue One.” The image of Darth Vader at the height of his powers mowing down a corridor full of Rebel troopers is one that no fan will soon forget.
Can you extend that menace and make it work over an entire film? Absolutely. The best part about a Vader film is that as long as James Earl Jones is around to do the voice, you can have just about anyone in the armor. Fans have long contemplated a film set after Order 66 with Darth Vader hunting down surviving Jedi. While there are potentially other tales to tell, this one screams out to be shown on the big screen. Vader is both a marketing and merchandising monster, and it seems highly likely that a stand-alone film starring Darth Vader will be considered.
Which “Star Wars” villains (or heroes) do you want to see in an R-rated movie? Be sure to tell us in the comments!