Why the New STAR WARS Trilogy Should Be Set in the Distant Past or Future

The Star Wars films thus far have focused on the Skywalkers, familiar characters, and known timelines. The standalone films Rogue One and Solo are spinoffs, sure, but they’re set within established time periods and include faces we know. It’s time for Disney and Lucasfilm to break out into the large, rich galaxy they have at their fingertips, and they have an opportunity to do so with Rian Johnson’s brand new Star Wars trilogy.

Announced on Thursday, these three new films will “introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.” Wherever this story is set, I know when it should be set and that is not anywhere near the established timeline of the films, animated series, and other canonical material. Think about it. When the first film in this trilogy is released, how novel would it be if no one could ask Johnson about whether [insert known character] here will appear? How terrific would it be for such a question to be positively absurd because the trilogy is in no way tied to the existing films?

I can’t wait.

Hearing the phrase “never before explored” is intriguing. The potential to develop mythology and create from a blank slate has to be an exciting prospect for Johnson. I’m unsure if the lore Lucasfilm mentions includes only canonical material or stories from Legends. In the current storytelling universe, we’ve only gone 25-30 years back in time before the Battle of Yavin (the marker of time in the Star Wars universe) and only about 30-35 years after.

They could flip the clock back thousands of years into Old Republic era. I could see Disney wanting to include the Jedi in some way because it’s something consumers know and respond to (also, sweet sweet lightsaber merchandise), but it doesn’t mean we have to see the same old thing. Going backwards affords Lucasfilm the opportunity to go hardcore into how the Jedi began and their conflicts with other organizations in the galaxy. Because the Old Republic era spans so many thousands of years, they could eschew points covered by Legends. I do not want to hear the name Revan, so help me.

Or they could program coordinates to territory mostly unmined by Legends and entirely unexplored in canon by going hundreds of years past Episode IX. After enough years, events won’t really connect to the sequel trilogy and Johnson could shape the future of universe in addition to its present.

If Lucasfilm and Disney decide to stay within the timeline we know, the only setting I can imagine to fit (other than something completely out of left field) would be the Unknown Regions. The area has been mentioned in the current storytelling universe in Thrawn, Aftermath: Empire’s End, and several other books and comics, but we haven’t spent much time there. It’s so far removed from the universe we know that Johnson could world build in an era concurrent with the prequel, original, or sequel trilogies without the usual constraints those time periods bring.

It’s the prime time to get away from the Galactic Civil War, the First Order, the Resistance, and any mention of the last name Skywalker. The Star Wars galaxy is expansive, so let’s go explore.

When do you think the new trilogy should be set? Do you think they’ll focus on something other than Jedi? Make a Force powered leap to the comments and share your hopes and dreams.

Images: Lucasfilm, Giphy, BioWare/LucasArts

Amy Ratcliffe is an Associate Editor for Nerdist. She likes Star Wars a little. Follow her on Twitter.

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