Here’s a good idea for any sci-fi franchise whose real estate covers several galactic sectors: Disney confirms it’s going to release stand-alone Star Wars films along with the more saga-ish Episode [x] movies. My council o’ nerds long ago wanted to see something called Tales from Star Fleet where the Star Trek universe would pick new ships or locations, new characters, and just tell interesting stories that didn’t require yet another weird thing happening to the same bunch of people. It would also let universe-wide events happen that the core casts could react to later without requiring a ton of backstory. Now that I think about it, it’s a lot like what Marvel (a subsidiary of DisneyCo, all hail the mouse) has done successfully with its film franchise.
For sci-fi movies (and TV, while we’re at it), it makes a ton of sense if your franchise has enough fans to warrant the output. I see loads of advantages:
• You can re-use props and/or computer models (ships, droids, Gungan firing range targets, etc.), and whatever your mook armies are made up of (stormtroopers, redshirts, etc.) won’t need to be re-created every season. Someone should see if the old Starship Troopers armor can be used somewhere in Star Wars, just to add that franchise to the list of ones that have recycled those outfits.
• Characters in one-off movies/shows could potentially die, which heightens the stakes a bit. Cast regulars, as we all know, often come with lots of plot armor, making whatever the threat is a bit less concerning. On the flip side, a one-off character might be too awesome to never see them again, and they could play a big part in the main saga going forward.
• The stand-alone stuff can supplement the main story, making it a little more plausible. Sci-fi franchises often have leaps of logic that make casual viewers scratch their heads, if not laugh, while fans get annoyed because “if you read issue three of the comic book, looked up the Gizmotron of Arctus in the tech manual, and saw the DVD extra for the third movie, that would totally make sense!”
Of course, the big hazard is violating canon, but it gives fans something to argue over, right?
The real work will come when there’s days worth of movies/shows for Star Wars and some lunatic edits the whole lot of it together in chronological order.