Now that we know that “Godzilla” director Gareth Edwards will be directing the first “Star Wars” standalone film, it’s time to start thinking about a new film genre problem: The backstory to an iconic character. When it comes time to tell an origins story, you’re going to run into overly rabid character fans out there who will nitpick every morsel of detail. Ultimately, anyone who takes on the origins of an iconic “Star Wars” character is going to face as much scrutiny as J.J. Abrams is right now. While the writer of this first origins story (Gary Whitta) may be going in with the frame of mind of a longtime “Star Wars” fan, getting continuity right is always a tricky balance.
We’ve seen plenty of examples where backstories of famous characters show them as a kid or teenager dealing with seemingly more peril than they do when adults. How did those particular backstories work, and can backstories become so over the top that they lose any sense of continuity believability?
Does “Star Wars” Have the Most Fun with Backstory Continuity?
No matter what you think of the “Star Wars” prequels telling the backstory of Anakin Skywalker, you can’t deny the clever connections to the later films were smartly planned. Even if you hated everything else about the prequels, watching it initially to catch the obvious and also subtle references to things that happen later was extremely fun. This still works if you haven’t seen the prequels in a while and you’ve forgotten some of those references giving full circle to the entire saga.
You have to assume the new stand-alone “Star Wars” films that show either the backstory of Han Solo or Boba Fett will do the same thing. However, you have to hope they won’t do what the “Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” did and show the character in situations that seem overly excessive before even turning 18 years old.
If you remember the above TV series utilizing a young Indiana Jones, it seems he experienced more incredible adventures than he ever would as an adult. Someone with that many experiences before adulthood would seemingly have a lot more battle scars than what we see later with Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.
With the retcon trend already being used more widely in telling backstories recently, there may be much more creative freedom allowed in future origin stories of iconic characters. That may have to be applied especially to the origin story of Han Solo as we’ll likely see him go through the same excessive experiences that a young Indiana Jones did. Then again, Han Solo may be much more interesting considering his rogue background. Plus, you can’t help but wonder if they’ll also show a young Chewbacca and how he and Han first met.
You also have to guess the “Star Wars” origins stories will once again play up on the sly references to things that happen later. It seems that “Star Wars” has done that better than any other origins tale ever has, all thanks to the galaxy far, far away having such an expansive universe.
But can this idea be applied to other characters away from fantasy and sci-fi?
Origin Stories of Other Characters
It seems the majority of origin stories we see on TV or in movies are comic book characters or ones from sci-fi and fantasy. The rare projects that somehow took on the origins of famous literary characters or a character from a movie usually failed miserably. One reason is because the actor they’d hire to play the younger version was so far off on continuity that it wasn’t even worth the effort. Some characters have such distinctive features that showing them with a young, fresh-faced look is the worst side of this genre.
We have to hope they won’t do that with Han Solo and Boba Fett, even if a younger actor ultimately has to be hired to play them younger. It’s the only thing keeping the origins stories from not coming close to the edge of turning contrived. Going with more believability in physical features and situations will only help make it more plausible rather than turning it into an alternate universe scenario as we’ve seen in the new “Star Trek” franchise.