One of the things that people always mocked about the Star Wars expanded universe was the way it kept circling around to the same characters again and again, milking every moment possible from them. Say what you will about George Lucas' tenure as the keeper of the Star Wars flame, he never treated the movies like Tales From the Cantina. But now Star Wars has gone corporate, and the kind of junk that used to be saved for comic books or poorly written young adult novels will be part of the cinematic canon.
Entertainment Weekly reports on two more Star Wars standalone movies in the works: a Boba Fett movie and a Han Solo movie. The Boba Fett movie will probably have fanboys squealing with joy because it'll be set in the scummy world of intergalactic bounty hunters, and we all know that fanboys love dark and gritty things. But the Han movie will likely appeal to no one, as this will be a young Han Solo movie. Disney thinks we're all dying for the Han Solo origin story (I hope they have a big, portentuous scene where he gets his vest).
I don't know which feels more wrong-headed to me; the Boba Fett movie will be jus the latest flogging of a character who only worked when he was mysterious and to the side. Everything we have learned about Boba Fett - including seeing him as a boy in the Prequels! - has only lessened that mystique and made the character progressively lamer. It's like The Osbournes; did you younger readers know that Ozzy Osbourne used to be a dangerous rock and roll star who was considered a wild man?
The Han movie is what makes me fear for the entire new Star Wars enterprise. The idea of a Young Han Solo Adventures is so dumb, so wrongheaded, so damaging to the character, that I have to think Disney has no clue what they're doing with these movies. Not only will they attempt to run this shit into the ground with six movies in six years, they're going to take Solo down with them.
Here's the problem: we like Han Solo because we like Harrison Ford. The multiple attempts to replace Harrison Ford with someone younger in the Indiana Jones franchise has proven that we just don't like it. Whether it be the catastrophe of Mutt or the quiet, noble failure of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, nobody cares about Harrison Ford's characters if Harrison Ford isn't playing them. Period.
Hey, maybe these will be good movies. I doubt it, but that possibility always exists. Still, the sheer money-grabbing nature of making movies intended to cash in on the most popular characters, whether or not those movies will help the legacies of those characters, bodes ill for everything coming in the Star Wars universe. I said it yesterday and I'll repeat it today: we're about to look back at the Lucas years as a model of restraint when it comes to whoring this stuff out.