If anything was more surprising than the sudden announcement of Disney's "Star Wars: Episodes VII-IX," it was that audiences would also see standalone films set within the franchise's universe. What is perhaps more interesting, however, is that the entire gamble appears to have originated from the godfather of a galaxy far, far away: George Lucas. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy revealed that the possibility of individual "Star Wars" films came from Lucas.
"George talked to me about doing this when I first came aboard," Kennedy explained. "He had often thought about doing it and he had actually written down three or four thoughts and ideas, directions you could go. Obviously inside the mythology there were lots of opportunities. So that was the first conversation I had."
Kennedy wouldn't go into specifics about just what kinds of ideas these were, but she did admit that a young Han Solo film wasn't among them at the time. "Rogue One" also apparently came from John Knoll, Industrial Light and Magic's longtime visual effects supervisor.
"...[W]e certainly talked about origin type stories, but we didn’t get into the specifics of that,” Kennedy said. “We talked a lot about the Jedi and the foundational ideas that George had thought about when he created the mythology. It was sort of spit-balling ideas.”
As for the future of the entire "Star Wars" franchise post-2019, that's something that will be addressed in the coming months. There are only two confirmed "Star Wars Story" movies confirmed so far: a young Han Solo tale set to release in 2018, and next month's "Rogue One," which takes place before the events of "A New Hope." A lot rests on the success and reception of next month's one-and-done tale, including whether or not the higher-ups will continue exploring non-Episodic releases.
"There are [possible movies] that we have been talking a lot about...But we are planning to sit down in January, since we will have had 'The Force Awakens' released, now 'Rogue One,' and we’ve finished shooting 'Episode VIII.' We have enough information where we can step back a little bit and say, What are we doing? What do we feel is exciting? And what are some of the things we want to explore?”
As such, it seems that a lot more than a Rebel coup is riding on Jyn Erso and her crew when "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" hits theaters on December 16.