With the Han Solo spin-off movie currently in theaters and projects focusing on beloved Star Wars characters like Lando Calrissian and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the works, it looks like the Disneyfied second life of Lucasfilm will not run out of characters to milk into new movies any time soon. But once past the big names, it’s time to flesh out the franchise in a way not seen since the expanded universe was still fully expanded. This is where we would like to lend a helping hand, and pitch some stand-alone movie ideas based on background characters who might be ripe for some interesting stories on their own.
This Aqualish thug and smuggler who’s famous for getting his arm chopped off by an old hermit who turned out to be one of the only remaining Jedi masters in existence actually has a fairly tragic story, and this somber and reflective drama from Kenneth Lonergan does him justice in showing the audience that there are two sides to every coin. After he accidentally burns down his family while going out to score some Quanya, Ponda Baba takes to a life of crime, messing with the most dangerous gangsters across the galaxy as a form of self-destruction. When he finds himself unable to silence the demons in his head, he makes his way to the nearest cantina and picks fights random patrons. One of those days, he thinks he’s spotted the perfect victim—a snot-nosed teenage moisture farmer—only to lose his arm to his Jedi mentor. Unable to continue his smuggling business with one arm, Ponda Baba slides further into an unstoppable vortex of self-loathing.
This cuddly Besalisk has always tried to live a peaceful and simple life, but his surroundings rarely allowed for that to happen. One of the best brunch cooks in the galaxy, Dexter’s work inevitably pushed him to choose sides between the dark and light forces in the galaxy. After helping Obi-Wan Kenobi on various undercover missions, he finally entered the Star Wars cinematic universe when he gave the young Jedi master tips on a Kamino dart he acquired from an assassin. After the Jedi is defeated and the Empire takes over, a group of gangsters who knew about Dexter’s affiliation with Obi-Wan decide to pay him a visit and punish him for taking the Jedis’ side. During the scuffle, the gangsters kill Dexter’s beloved WA-7 waitress droid, FLO. Angered by this tragic death, Dexter decides to let go of his lowly diner owner façade and wreaks bloody havoc on the gangsters who wronged him in this hard-R revenge fantasy inspired by ’70s exploitation.
Star Wars fans briefly met Bolvan, a gunnery captain stationed in the star destroyer Devastator, when he decided not to destroy an escape pod that was shot out of Princess Leia’s ship, Tantive IV because there weren’t any life forms in it. Alas, that pod contained the droid R2-D2, who was carrying the plans to the Death Star, the delivery of which brought about the eventual destruction of the Empire’s ultimate weapon under the hands of the rebellion. After hearing of Bolvan’s disastrous decision, Darth Vader summons him to his quarters. An intense meditation on capital punishment, this silent, somber and morbid experience follows Bolvan’s travel to Vader in real time, letting the audience contemplate the meaning of state-sanctioned executions and the fragility of life alongside our protagonist.
Ever since he was born, this perfectionist Bith had an innate talent and passion for jizz, an upbeat, happy-go-lucky form of jazz usually beloved by gangsters. (Yes, this name is canon.) Even though his parents tell him that he can’t make a living with jizz, and that his life will be in danger if he performs for violent Hutts, he follows his heart and forms his band, the now legendary Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. After scrounging by as the band spends countless years playing at dingy bars and cantinas, the band takes off and turns into one of the hottest acts in the galaxy. Yet all Figrin wants is the acceptance of his father, who dies in the massive explosion while working construction on the second Death Star before he can experience his son’s success. This, and his inability to cope with his sudden fame and fortune, gradually pushes Figrin into a life of meaningless sex with Twi’lek groupies and a nasty death stick addiction. Will Figrin D’an become the greatest jizz master the galaxy has ever known, or will he be relegated back to a life of obscurity?
Even the most casual Star Wars fan should be familiar with mouse droids, those tiny black robots on wheels that the Empire uses for minor repair jobs. Even though all of them are programmed to do their simple task, Binky the mouse droid is different: he has always dreamed of becoming a tap dancer. In fact, in A New Hope, he tries to show off his skills to a Wookie prisoner, only to scamper away when the beast growls at him. This minor setback doesn’t stop Binky from doing everything possible in order to accomplish his dream. With the help of his plucky droid friends, will Binky get to the galactic tap dance contest in Coruscant in time? And more importantly, will he win? This family-friendly animated feature can easily be outsourced to Pixar, since Disney owns everything now.
Oktay Ege Kozak is a screenwriter, script coach and film critic. He lives near Portland, Ore., with his wife, daughter, and two King Charles Spaniels.