It's been 32 long years since we last saw our heroes on the big screen in Return of the Jedi. But on Dec. 18, one of the most famous franchises -- if not THE most famous franchise -- in movie history is returning to theaters in the much-anticipated next chapter of their story with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Over the next 20 weeks, we will celebrate the franchise by looking back and ranking the best, the worst, the weirdest and the most amusing moments in Star Wars history.
The Star Wars saga isn't just moving forward with The Force Awakens; It's also expanding out with a series of Anthology films, set to fill in gaps in the overall saga and provide more detail for different characters and plot developments. The first of these films, Rogue One, will chronicle the Rebellion's efforts to steal the plans for the first Death Star, and will provide an interesting glimpse into what the fight for independence was alike before the first Star Wars film.
Because Rogue One takes place between Episodes 3 and 4, there's an opportunity to bring back old characters in new ways, and rumor has it Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin will make an appearance in the film through the magic of CGI. So, with that in mind, I started thinking about other supporting characters from the six original films, which of those characters I'd most like to see again and get a little more detail about. There are obviously a number of options, but these are the 10 that most excited me.
10. WEDGE ANTILLES
This is definitely one of the more obvious choices, but there's no way I was going to get through this list without bringing up Rogue Squadron's fearless leader. There's something about the way Wedge (played by Denis Lawson) carries himself in the original trilogy's space battle sequences that makes you feel like he can do anything, like no matter what else happens, he'll pull off something brilliant and help to save the day. Sadly, that's just about all we get to see him do. It's all businesslike precision and no swagger, all execution and no background. I want to see how Wedge became Wedge, how his X-Wing became among the most feared in the galaxy. Is he a natural pilot, like Luke with his Jedi skills, or is he just a hard-working guy who practiced until it was muscle memory? What drives him to be so good at his job? It would be great to someday get a Rogue Squadron movie, or even to see Lawson return as a grizzled old pilot to train new recruits for the Resistance.
From a practical standpoint, you can't really lean on IG-88 as a character. It's an assassin droid, programmed to kill, and that's kind of it. There's just something about it, though, that makes you want to see it do more. It's a machine, but it also somehow built a private career as a bounty hunter, and actually got so good at it that it merited an invitation to Darth Vader's personal flagship. Boba Fett ended up getting the collar, but IG-88 was on equal footing with the baddest bounty hunter in the galaxy for a minute there, and there's something fascinating about that. It's a droid with a bad reputation, and I'd love to see how it got it.
8. MON MOTHMA
It was thrilling for me to see a younger version of this character, however briefly, in Revenge of the Sith. It always bugged me that the elegant, poised leader of the Rebellion was really only relegated to one scene in Jedi. Remember that great moment when she walks into the briefing room and everyone falls silent? Even Han Solo's bravado seems to die down in a show of respect. The whole Rebellion looks to her as its guiding light, and in that moment she looks like she's almost God to them. I want to know why. She became a leader for a reason, so maybe Rogue One or another spinoff film could show us why peopled followed her.
7. GENERAL VEERS
I always liked thinking about what the Imperial commanders did to earn their posts, and how the ones who survived managed to continue to carry Darth Vader's favor. Maybe it's just because I'm a fan of Julian Glover, but Veers was the main focal point of this. There's a moment in Empire, when he's leading the assult against the Hoth base, and he says to Vader, "You may start your landing." This dude is such a big deal in the Empire's armed forces that, in that moment, Vader's actually taking his cues from him. If the Imperial Army of old shows up, I'd want a character like him leading the charge.
6. JABBA THE HUTT
Jabba's got plenty of screentime as it is, but I'm fascinated by the evolution of the character that we never got to see. We see him younger and more energetic in Phantom Menace and in the New Hope Special Edition, and then he's just this motionless blob by the time we hit Jedi. How did this proud crime lord come to power, and how did he ultimately retreat to that palace? Don't get me wrong, I don't need a whole movie about Jabba, but it would be fun to see a little more detail brushed into his character. Did he inherit this power? Did he wrest it away from someone else in a Godfather-style hostile takeover. Where did he get that Rancor? These would all be very fun things to know.
5. PLO KOON
There's only so much time in any given Star Wars film, and that means that the prequels are packed with interesting-looking Jedi characters who never get to say or do much of anything. Fans of the Clone Wars already know that Plo Koon is awesome, and I'd love to see that transfer over to live action a little more. He's an expert swordsman, but he's also a gifted pilot, and though we never get to see it in the live-action films, he's also a respected mentor figure. One of the frustrating things about the live-action movies is that, with the exception of Yoda, the important Jedis are always humans. In the world beyond the films, Plo Koon gets to break that mold a bit, and it couldn't hurt to see him, and other Jedi characters, break it a bit more.
4. BAIL ORGANA
All of its flaws aside, one of the things I dig about Revenge of the Sith is the pieces of the Rebellion falling into place in the final act. We heard Leia talk all about her father and his efforts with the Alliance in the first Star Wars, and then in Sith we got to actually see how he came to be that guy...at least a little. Then Star Wars happens, and he's just Leia's father, a guy we never see, who dies on his home planet. I find that disappointing, because when he actually got to do something, Jimmy Smitts was really compelling in the role, and the idea of this compassionate Senator going all covert in defiance of Palpatine was very fun to watch. If we're going to keep fleshing the universe out, particularly the universe between Episodes 3 and 4, I'd love to see more of Bail Organa, Freedom Fighter.
3. ADMIRAL ACKBAR
Again, this is not a character that I'd want a whole movie about, but we're talking about the brilliant space battle strategist who kept the Alliance fleet pumping long enough to destroy the Death Star and defeat the Emperor, and we really only get him for a few minutes. Like other characters I've already mentioned on this list, he's a figure at the heart of the Rebellion's ongoing success, a powerful commanding presence who's clearly earned the respected of his comrades. I'd love to see a younger Ackbar, building the fleet with as many scrappy ships as he could get his hands on, leading raids on Imperial convoys, and giving the Alliance a fighting chance. Plus, where was he while Luke and company were assaulting the first Death Star? Presumably off fighting some other important part of the war that would no doubt be fun to peek in on.
2. QUI-GON JINN
Yeah, Qui-Gon already pretty much got a whole movie, but we spent much of the time watching that movie hearing about what a rebel Jedi he was, and how he was respected so much that he could be on the Jedi Council if he weren't such a maverick. If we're ever going to dig back into a time before the Prequels, I'd love to see where that reputation came from. One of the joys of having six Star Wars films, Prequel problems aside, is seeing the young Obi-Wan grow into the guy who ultimately has to put down his best friend in a lightsaber duel, then retreat to the desert for decades in the hope that he'll one day have a fighting chance again. When we meet Qui-Gon, he's already the wise Master. I'd like to see the bold, rule-breaking warrior.
I know, this one seems a little bit like overkill. After all, Palpatine is in five of the six Star Wars films (so far), plus countless other stories. He's been everywhere, and it feels like we've played him out. Here's the thing, though: I don't want a Palpatine movie. I just want to see Palpatine as he's turning into the Emperor we meet during the original trilogy. I want to see him consolidate power and push back early attempts at a Rebellion. I want to hear about the propaganda he spread and the cruelty he masked behind a veil of prosperity. I want to see him deal with resistance from uncertain senators who are too scared to fight but not, perhaps, too scared to disagree. I want to see him rise from the guy who struggled against Yoda to become the untouchable cloaked figure on a throne. Even if he's just giving a speech on a hologram, it would be nice to complete the picture.
That's our list! What do you think of our choices? What characters do you think deserve to be further explored in the anthology? Let us know in the comments!
Previously in 20 Weeks of Star Wars ...