With the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, we can expect a never-ending procession of Star Wars spin-off films being released over the next… infinite amount of years. Some people have a problem with this, claiming that you can have too much of a good thing. I for one think that this argument is flawed. Bacon, for example, is a good thing. But it’s not like I’m never going to have bacon again, just because I’ve already had heaps of it. Give me more bacon, I say. And by bacon, I mean Star Wars.
We’ve already had Rogue One, and there’s a Han Solo film on the horizon, with maybe a Boba Fett feature to follow. However, at some point the creatives who are mining the universe for film ideas might begin to scrape the bottom of the character barrel. So in order to fend off possible poor choices for Anthology spin-off films, let me present four characters who I think don’t quite have enough going on to warrant their own film.
A character who has literally had a personality bypass, whose name is a portmanteau of ‘robot’ and ‘lobotomy’, probably isn’t a good choice to build a story around.
Lobot’s backstory is reasonably promising but a little dry. In the Marvel comic series ‘Lando’, the chief tension of Lobot’s character is his struggle to maintain his personality while using his implants to help Lando Calrissian with his schemes. At one point, Lobot has to completely sacrifice his personality in order to help Lando escape a sticky situation. A noble sacrifice, perhaps, but not quite enough to justify a two-hour runtime.
Lobot’s chief contribution to the canon has been to offer totally bald men an easy option for fancy dress parties. Simply stick a Gordon Gecko mobile phone to the back of your head with double-sided tape and you’re good to go.
Who? You remember, the bad guy from The Phantom Menace. What’s that? You still don’t remember? Oh yeah. That’s because he was a terrible character. Essentially interchangeable with his second banana Rune Haako, Nute Gunray has all the menace of a sock puppet.
He’s the one on the left. I think.
It took me a long time to realise the true meaning of the title The Phantom Menace. It gives away the fact that the villain’s scheme is essentially phony. Nute Gunray is tasked by Senator Palpatine to set up a trade blockade of Naboo in order to force an impasse in the Galactic Senate so that Palpatine can sieze increased powers. Are you still with me? Did I put you to sleep with the most boring villainous scheme in the history of cinema? Sorry. But then again, you have to credit George Lucas with trying something other than having the good guys blow up yet another death star.
So what would a Nute Gunray anthology story look like? Perhaps it could be an origin tale of a young capitalist whose rise to prominence within the Trade Federation is due to his being a stickler for rules and regulations that others find too boring to get to grips with. It could have a union angle, a la On The Waterfront. The crunch comes when Nute, his career blossoming, has to make the tough choice to fully mechanise the Trade Federation workforce while staring down union thugs. Ironically, Nute is in love with the daughter of the head of the union. Will Nute choose love over career? And would his girlfriend notice if he swapped places with Rune Haako for a night or two?
A capable pilot, the guy who’s got the hero’s back, the ultimate wingman who lets others take the credit. Wedge Antilles is the Goose to Luke Skywalker’s Maverick.
Wedge takes part in key battles in all three of the original trilogy, and even fires a shot that helps blow up the second death star. And yet I realised something about this character recently. I know the name well, but I have no idea what he looks like. I’ve seen these movies many times, and can just about summon a screening of Empire in my head while sitting in a fish and chip shop waiting for my order to cook. Having said that, what Wedge looks like, what he says, what he does… when I search my memory banks, there’s nothing there. Capable wingman, sure, but memorable character? That’s a negative.
Portrayed by an actor whose name I can’t be bothered googling, depite the fact it would be faster than writing this sentence, whose emotional range veers wildly from stern to serious, Wedge isn’t given much to do other than recite his call sign. In fact, the Wedge Antilles lego minifigure seems to have a greater emotional range than his human counterpart.
Biopics of musicians always make for good entertainment. What about a tale of a musician prepared to pass up a career touring the galaxy in order to lead the house band at an infamous gangster’s lair? That could work. However, I feel that watching a blue elephant playing an instrument with his feet would probably get stale pretty quickly.
According to the various websites that chronicle this kind of filled-in backstory in absurd detail, Max Rebo, the leader of the Max Rebo Band, agreed to take the gig at Jabba’s palace not for money, but for an endless supply of food. Has Rebo never heard of a rider? No real musician would mistake a side table of snacks for a fee. But then again, when you watch Max playing the red ball jett organ, it’s clear he’s pretty much just key mashing. Max probably couldn’t command much cash money with those chops. Even if he never misses a gig.
See also: Spare Me Your Bullshit Star Wars Theory