Rogue One and the Problem with Star Wars Spin-offs
There are two reasons for this. First of all, a Star Wars movie every year is just ridiculous. Star Wars is not the Marvel Universe, where every character has their own storyline that only occasionally crosses over into other character’s worlds. Star Wars is supposed to be one epic story and (until now) each new episode has felt like a special event. The spin-offs, regardless of their quality, will dilute the Star Wars brand and make it feel not so special anymore. Spin-offs are what you make when you’ve run out of ideas, not when you’re starting out on a new trilogy.
Second of all, as these rumours (if true) confirm, mixing the spin-off movies with the regular episodes will just confuse casual audiences and make any changes in tone more jarring. Rogue One shouldn’t feel like other Star Wars movies, and if Gareth Edwards and co want to make a darker, more war-like movie, I’m fine with that. But the general audience obviously won’t be and will wonder why it doesn’t feature any of their favourite characters and isn’t as lighthearted as The Force Awakens. If Disney had waited to make the spin-offs, or explored these stories in another medium like television instead, the change in tone wouldn’t be as jarring (no one complains that the Marvel Netflix series are far darker and more violent than the movies). Making spin-offs that have to please the family audience that went to the previous Star Wars movies is just limiting them artistically. These movies should be made further down the road, when the audience is more prepared for a different take on the saga.
Having said that, I’m totally down with an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off with Ewan McGregor. Even have the plot worked out – it should be a detective movie like the best part of Attack of the Clones. Have Obi-Wan reluctantly called out of hiding to solve a murder or find a kidnapped child on Tatooine and then he uncovers some major conspiracy. It would be the Chinatown of Star Wars movies. Lucasfilm, give me a call.