If Disney were so inclined, The Rise of Skywalker could serve as the ideal set-up to 6 different Star Wars spinoff movies. When Disney purchased Lucasfilm for a tidy sum, one of their boldest creative decisions was to begin releasing spinoffs between the main Star Wars episodes, telling lost stories across the franchise’s timeline. The first of these was 2016’s Rogue One, which endured a slew of rewrites and production difficulties, before ultimately dominating at the box office and attracting rave reviews for its rugged war movie tone. Sadly, lightning couldn’t strike twice. 2018’s Solo‘s development was similarly traumatic, and didn’t enjoy the same lucrative theatrical run or plaudits as its predecessor. The spinoff concept has since been abandoned, with TV shows such as The Mandalorian and the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series picking up the slack on Disney+.
Sadly, Star Wars‘ spinoff troubles quickly bled into the main series. Rian Johnson‘s unconventional The Last Jedi ruffled feathers and deviated considerably from the template forged by J.J. Abrams, while 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker fared little better. The conclusion of the Skywalker saga, Abrams’ Star Wars return was criticized for introducing a host of new plot elements without the necessary degree of explanation or development – an odd choice for a finale that was already juggling ample storylines.
The Rise of Skywalker‘s cluttered narrative can be illustrated by the sheer amount potential spinoffs the movie sets up. Whether by coincidence or design, The Rise of Skywalker teases stories that go tantalizingly unexplored. Some have since been picked up in novels, comics, etc., while others have been quietly brushed under the carpet. Nevertheless, all of them could potentially become spinoff movies in their own right, had Disney not already dropped the idea after Solo. Here are all 6 Star Wars spinoffs that The Rise of Skywalker paved the way for (and probably won’t happen).
The Rise of Skywalker inexplicably buries one of its most compelling narratives – the Stormtrooper rebellion. Much has been said of John Boyega’s Star Wars experience, with the actor expressing disappointment over Finn’s sequel trilogy character arc, and it’s certainly easy to see where the actor’s coming from. Finn makes a groundbreaking choice in The Force Awakens by consciously committing mutiny on the First Order, and Boyega’s character looks destined to inspire other disgruntled Stormtroopers to fight back in The Rise of Skywalker, when the Resistance are desperately in need of reinforcements. While Finn does lead a unit of First Order rebels at the Battle of Exegol, most of the heavy lifting occurs off-screen.
While seeking the Sith wayfinder, Finn coincidentally encounters Jannah and her companions on Kef Bir, all of whom quit the Stormtrooper life. Colin Trevorrow’s original Star Wars 9 script saw Finn actively inciting rebellion during the final battle, but he and Jannah play a lesser role in The Rise of Skywalker. A spinoff movie could begin by detailing the moment Jannah and the other ex-Stormtroopers decided to leave the First Order, and how they managed to do so without being sliced in two by Kylo Ren. The spinoff might then overlap with The Rise of Skywalker, showing the Battle of Exegol entirely from the point of view of Finn’s team, and simultaneously paying off the unresolved hint of his Force powers.
Return of the Jedi offered the merest whiff of Leia being Force-sensitive when she revealed she’d “always known” that Luke Skywalker was her brother (don’t kiss him then?), but The Last Jedi turned the galaxy’s Princess into a fully-fledged Jedi as she called upon the Force to fly through space. The Rise of Skywalker went even further, dropping the huge bombshell that Luke had actually trained Leia as a Jedi apprentice. She even made her own lightsaber! The sibling duo’s training period is the kind of material Star Wars spinoff dreams are made of, and while Mark Hamill’s age and Carrie Fisher’s sad passing unfortunately make this story an impossibility in live-action, a treasure trove of tales from Luke and Leia’s training await.
The Rise of Skywalker‘s novelization expanded a little upon Leia’s Jedi training, but the film gave only a frustratingly brief glimpse at padawan Leia. While live-action may not be an option, Leia’s journey between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens feels ripe for exploration in a feature-length animated Star Wars adventure. The spinoff could elaborate upon Leia’s knowledge of Ben Solo, the creation of her lightsaber, her on-off relationship with Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker‘s ongoing attempts to rebuild the Jedi.
As the only main member of the original trilogy cast yet to return, it was no surprise to see Billy Dee Williams rock up as Lando Calrissian in The Rise of Skywalker. Fans wondered what the lovable rogue had been up to since the fall of the Empire, and while his later years sound exciting, Star Wars fans have yet to see them realized in live-action. Lando’s dealings between the original and sequel Star Wars trilogies have been partially documented in comic and novel form (Shattered Empire, Aftermath and Last Shot help fill in the blanks), but arguably the most intriguing part of Lando’s post-Empire life remains almost entirely untouched.
When the First Order began to rise from the ashes of the Empire, Luke Skywalker set about investigating this dark new disturbance in the Force, and embarked on a journey with his old pal Lando to discover the truth. While Hamill and Williams perhaps couldn’t get away with playing younger versions of their Star Wars characters any longer, the partnership of these two main characters is a fascinating tandem that would make a great buddy movie-style adventure – Luke the severe and troubled Jedi Master, and Lando the laid back renegade pilot. The spinoff could bring back Donald Glover as Calrissian, while recasting Luke with a younger face, or take the animated route with Williams and Hamill offering the vocal talents – something the latter is absolutely no stranger to.
And it’s not just Lando’s past raising questions in The Rise of Skywalker – his future does also. When Calrissian returns in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, he comes with a tragic post-Return of the Jedi backstory. As confirmed by The Rise of Skywalker – The Visual Dictionary, Lando fathered a child after the Empire fell, but she was taken away by the First Order and never seen again, with Lando still unaware of her ultimate fate. Jannah, meanwhile, has no idea where she came from before serving as a Stormtrooper. The Rise of Skywalker‘s closing celebration sequence includes a touching moment where Jannah and Lando connect, setting up future adventures for the pair as they both set out to free other youngsters captured by the First Order.
The scene heavily implies that Jannah is Lando’s daughter, but never confirms the link or develops their story further. If Jannah and Lando aren’t related to each other, their exchange in The Rise of Skywalker looks random at best and creepy at worst, but in a classic case of Schrodinger’s Bantha, fans will never know for sure until Star Wars confirms or denies the popular theory. The further travels of Lando and Jannah is one of the more obvious Star Wars spinoff routes to explore, and Billy Dee Williams would be the perfect age to reprise his most famous role one more time.
By far the most controversial element in The Rise of Skywalker is the return of Sheev Palpatine as the overarching Star Wars villain. The final installment of the sequel trilogy reveals that Palpatine survived his tumble down the Death Star shaft, but neglects to reveal how or what he’s been up to since, leaving so many questions unanswered. Who are the Sith Eternal? How did Palpatine orchestrate the First Order? What’s the story behind Snoke and cloning? The Rise of Skywalker is so vague about Palpatine’s revival, everything from the film’s novelization to The Mandalorian has added pieces to the jigsaw. Even so, the transition from a failing Empire to a thriving First Order is a story in itself, especially with the debut of Richard E. Grant’s General Pryde, who could potentially feature in a Palpatine-driven spinoff covering the unwritten origins of the First Order.
A Sith-heavy spinoff would add to the underdeveloped Rey Palpatine reveal, and shine a light on the mysterious Ochi – the Sith assassin Palpatine sent after his lost granddaughter. The divisive reveal of Rey’s parentage came with very little precedent or foundation, and a spinoff delving into the First Order‘s deepest, darkest secrets could help remedy that.
Like revealing Leia’s Jedi training and teasing Lando’s child, The Rise of Skywalker casually dips a toe into the backstory of Poe Dameron when the story moves to Kijimi, but fails to elaborate on his background in any meaningful way. The audience meet Zorii Bliss and Babu Frik, who both know Poe from his past as a spice runner, and while their presence in The Rise of Skywalker is fleeting, there’s evidently a huge untold “young Poe” story bubbling beneath the surface. This period in Poe’s life is partially covered by the Poe Dameron: Free Fall novel, but would make a compelling live-action spinoff nonetheless. Both Bliss and Frik deserve more time to shine, and a younger actor could replace Oscar Isaac in the Poe Dameron role, as Alden Ehrenreich did for Solo.