Film-Usable STAR WARS Expanded Universe Characters
Plenty of intriguing actors have tested for roles in Star Wars Episode VII. In spite of some hints, those roles themselves remain a mystery. Here, I survey established non-film characters who could reasonably make the jump to screen...
We have recently learned that Star Wars Episode VII: Unknown Subtitle will be set thirty years after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. That bit of information does not actually reveal much, aside from confirming that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are approximately the right age to reprise their roles as Luke, Leia and Han, respectively.
With all of the rumors of younger actors (and maybe Gary Oldman, his name a coincidental pun in this case) up for new roles, this seems like a good time to speculate on which, if any, characters from the so-called "Expanded Universe" will be used in the new films.
First off, I know that we have been led to believe that the "EU" will not be the basis of these new stories. I certainly do not think that any of the books/comics/games are going to be adapted verbatim. However, I suspect that we will see at least a few characters and plot elements utilized in the forthcoming films. There is a lot of good material to mine, and it can easily be re-assembled to fit the timeline and setting of Episode VII+. Maybe none of that will happen, but official denials are rarely worthy of putting one hundred percent trust in. I won't believe ANYTHING until I see it on screen. In the meantime, our imaginations can run wild.
Again, this is simply speculation for the sake of having fun. I am not delusional, but rather enthusiastic and hopeful.
This list is intended as a brief summary of EU characters that I feel are usable in the new movies, and hopefully as an interesting primer in these characters for anyone who has not explored Star Wars beyond the films and television shows so far. Some of these choices are obvious; others less so. I have attempted to select individuals who potentially make sense in the context of the ongoing cinematic saga. I am not concerned about how these match up to the “casting sheets” that have leaked, describing ages and physiques of the potential new roles. I’m taking the opposite approach here.
While I generally feel that the new films should avoid using Clone Wars-era characters, there are a few, such as Ahsoka Tano and Cad Bane, that I would like to see in live action if their individual continuities permit. However, I am limiting this exercise to those who have yet to appear onscreen at all.
Beware: mild (to perhaps moderate) spoilers are included. I have tried not to gratuitously give away information beyond what is necessary to provide basic descriptions, but if you’d prefer not to know anything, best to avoid this editorial.
On that note, here are my suggestions, categorized by a rough simplification of good/evil and labeled by type…
Naturally, the key heroic characters are likely to be New Republic members and/or Jedi – yesterday’s Rebels, re-branded for a new age. Here are some of the most significant/usable such EU characters:
Mara Jade – Luke Skywalker’s Counterbalance
Probably the most-used EU character (she appears in hordes of books, several as a main character). A human female with red hair and a “dancer’s figure,” Mara is force-sensitive and was previously a personal assassin of Palpatine’s, operating under the title Emperor’s Hand. After Palpatine’s death at Endor, she faded into the underworld, using her talents to find plenty of work. But she still carries some serious psychological baggage, including something specifically related to Luke Skywalker.
Jade uniquely ties together the Empire, underworld and Jedi in a single package. An intense, no-nonsense individual, she can butt heads with Han Solo or anyone else. Among her many talents is the ability to use a lightsaber.
Corran Horn / Kyle Katarn – Soldiers w/ Pasts
The former is the lead character of the X-Wing: Rogue Squadron books, the latter the lead character of the Dark Forces video games. Horn led a past life as a Corellian Security officer (basically a space cop from Han Solo’s home planet/system) before joining Wedge Antilles' re-organized Rogue Squadron. Katarn attended the Imperial Academy and was a stormtrooper before defecting the Rebel Alliance. The reason that I have grouped these two together is their shared quality of discovering themselves to be Force-sensitive later in life. They’re popular characters with colorful pasts who go on to become part of the new generation of Jedi.
The Solo Kids – The Next Generation of the Skywalker Bloodline
In the EU, Han and Leia have three children: twins Jaina and Jacen, and younger son Anakin. Predictably, they’re all very strong in the force, due to their mother. Jacen is established as being attuned to life forms, Jaina having an affinity for piloting and mechanics. Eventually, the New Jedi Order series of books takes Star Wars, and this next generation in particular, into some very heavy territory. In any event, it is a safe bet that Episode VII will include at least one character modeled on one of the Solo kids.
Borsk Fey’lya – The Pesky Politician
Fe’yla is a Bothan – but not a spy. He is one of the members of the New Republic’s High Council, along with Leia, Mon Mothma, etc. A rather ire-some, difficult politician, Fe’yla often plays the role of devil’s advocate, but he is a valuable part of the complex political dynamic. Also, Bothans are awesome looking, with expressive fur and pointed ears.
Kyp Durron – The Tortured Force Prodigy/Renegade Jedi
Durron is very similar to Anakin Skywalker, a young man (although in Durron’s case, actually nearer to adulthood) in horrible circumstances who is rescued by a kind stranger (Han Solo) and turns out to be possibly the most powerful of Luke Skywalker’s first generation of Jedi-trainees. However, like Luke’s own father, Durron has a great deal of conflict and anger inside owing to his own past, and predictably goes off the rails, becoming a great danger to the galaxy due to his incredible ability in the Force. Durron also gives Han a chance to be the mentor and concerned big brother-figure, as he attempts to talk Kyp down from the latter’s path of chaos.
Star Wars villains post-ROTJ can typically be broken down into three categories: military remnants of the Empire, Dark Jedi or Sith, and invasive alien forces. Of course, there are always Huttese crime bosses and bounty hunters, as well as random separatist or ideological insurgents, but those are typically relatively small players on the galactic stage. Following are the most prominent EU villains:
Grand Admiral Thrawn – The Strategic Military Genius
A member of the Chiss species, Thrawn (short for “Mitth'raw'nuruodo”) is generally human in appearance, only with blue skin and red eyes. One of the elite-level Grand Admirals (the highest rank in the Imperial Navy), Thrawn is a tactical virtuoso. He studies the art of other cultures to gain insight into their battle tactics. Away on a mission to the Unknown Regions at the time of the Battle of Endor, he returns to find the Empire in disarray and on the defensive. Taking the reins, he becomes an incredibly formidable foe for the New Republic.
Thrawn represents an alternative from the typical “dark side of the force” villain. His threat is in his ability to outthink his adversaries, much more a “brains” than “brawn” foe. Nevertheless, he would possess an incredible screen presence with his otherworldly appearance, sense of mystique and regal arrogance.
Ysanne Isard – The Deft, Cruel Intelligence Czar
Isard is the head of Imperial Intelligence, basically an evil version of M from the James Bond stories. After the Imperial forces splinter in the wake of Endor, she becomes one of the New Republic’s biggest problems, operating from a secret location on Coruscant and using her covert-operations resources to effect damage, a wraithlike puppet master who gets into her enemies’ heads as much as drawing their blood. Her prison Lusankya is notorious for both its unknown location and for the fear that anyone who escapes may in fact have been turned into double agents.
Even though the Empire may be long gone, thirty years after Endor, a character type like Isard could be very interesting as part of a new story.
Joruus C’Baoth – An Old Order Jedi w/ Dark Secrets
White- bearded like a wilder version of Obi-Wan Kenobi , Joruus C’Baoth is a famous Jedi from the old order who was part of the legendary Outbound Flight project. Mysteriously, he resurfaces around the same time as Thrawn. Luke thinks that he may have found a mentor who can teach him about the Force, but is C’Baoth really what he seems?
Nom Anor / Yuzzan Vong – And now for something truly disturbing...
The focus of the exhaustive New Jedi Order book series is the invasion of the extra-galactic alien Yuzzan Vong, terrifying beings who use living technology, worship many gods and seem to exist outside of the Force. Nom Anor is a covert operative who has been laying the ground work for the invasion for years, sowing the seeds of chaos in the New Republic.
Tatooed and self-mutiliated (they do have shape-shifting disguise technology to hide their appearance when needed), and employing specially bred Jedi-hunting creatures, the Yuzzan Vong are the “hardcore” bad guy alternative to the Sith. It’s unlikely that Disney will allow Star Wars to get anywhere near as dark as the actual Yuzzan Vong storyline, but a toned-down version could be an excellent change-up and source of conflict.
Return of the Sith
The Sith, per se, do not often figure into the EU stories immediately post-ROTJ. The Jedi Academy Triology books feature the spirit of long-dead Sith Lord Exar Kun, and the divisive Dark Empire comic series features a “reborn” version of Palpatine, but aside from that, dark side foes are typically in the form of fallen Jedi, Nightsisters and so forth.
However, the Sith do eventually come back into the picture, and without saying too much, their reemergence hits close to home. This is an obvious way to take the stories, but I would hope that restraint is used as there is much more to Star Wars than the Sith. In particular, the EU reemergence of the Sith is precipitated by the severe toll of conflicts with other adversaries, which I think is a smart path to take in building a complex, rich storyline.
(By the way, the outside characters on the graphic above are Lumiya (left) and Vergere (right) - the character alluded to by the hand and lightsaber in the center is Darth Caedus, whose true identity is a big spoiler and best left to the imagination unless one is truly interested in getting in deep.)
Between the Republic/Jedi and the Empire/Sith, there is a whole universe of Star Wars. Neutral parties, the criminal underworld and black market, and plenty of mercenaries dot the starscape. Like Han Solo in the original film A New Hope, these groups and individuals often get pulled into the conflict in spite of their best efforts otherwise.
Talon Karrde – The Resourceful Smuggler & Information Broker
After the death of Jabba the Hutt, Karrde became the most prominent "not exactly legal" businessman in the galaxy. But he is not really anything like Jabba. More of a neutral, pragmatic entrepreneur. His vast network of information, suppliers and contacts gives him plenty of paying clients from all sides of the galactic/political conflict, and one of his employees happens to be Mara Jade.
Karrde is a classic “unaffiliated party” who is valuable to both the Empire and the Republic. He does not, as a rule, get involved personally, but of course that can be a difficult principle to maintain. After all, he does have standards.
Qwi Xux – The Naïve Scientist
An Omwati with blueish skin and feather-like hair, Qwi Xux is a brilliant scientist and was one of the lead designers of the Death Star’s primary superlaser weapon. Lest she be seen in a purely negative light for that, however, Xux is actually a combination of naïve and brainwashed, believing that her work was actually being used for mining. When she encounters Han Solo at the secret research and development installation that she works, her world gets turned upside down. Is she a victim or a criminal? The Death Star is also not the only superweapon technology on her resume, unfortunately.
Dev Sibwarra – A Human Spokesman for Terrifying Alien Invaders
Sibwarra is a human who was abducted by the reptilian Ssi-Ruuk and conditioned to be a medium of communication between them and other species. (Similar to the Borg’s use of Piccard as Locutus in Star Trek: The Next Generation, in a way.) A man between worlds, so to speak, Sibwarra begins to rethink the ethics of his alien masters after encountering Luke Skywalker. He has the chance to help the young Jedi, but is there any possibility of escape for Dev himself? This type of character could be very interesting to explore.
Guri – A Beautiful, Deadly Android
Guri is a human replica droid originally functioning as the bodyguard of crime boss Prince Xizor in the Shadows of the Empire story. A blonde human female by appearance, she possesses superior strength/etc as a result of actually being a very sophisticated artificial life form. (Limited comparisons can be made to the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica.) After Xizor’s death, Guri found her creator, had herself reprogrammed, and made a "change of career," blending into the shadows.
Shadows of the Empire, set between Episodes V and VI and encompassing everything but a film (novel, comic, video game, toys) is likely to be designated official canon. Regardless, due to being an android, Guri will not age and could reemerge to be an excellent supporting character in a film set decades after her last known appearance.
A race of shorter-than-human beings with pale grey skin, the Noghri are superior practicioners of both stealth and hand-to-hand combat. They were long under the employ of Darth Vader as his personal assasins as a result of a large-scale deception perpetrated by the Empire to gain loyalty. Vader passed their “custodianship” to Thrawn, who uses them as part of his complex plot to bring down the New Republic. The entire situation is very loaded, though, and the Noghri are concerned with honor above all else.
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So, there it is. Am I crazy? Did I forget someone? It's fun to dream, but sometimes one drifts far out from reality.
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