January 2014 is a month that will live in (many) Star Wars fan’s mind as a time of infamy. Starting that year off, Disney announced they would be removing most of the previous two decades’ worth of Star Wars material from the canon, or official record of the Star Wars universe. Books, games, comics, all alike were being cut out to make room for new Star Wars stories told under the Disney banner.
But fans can rejoice because almost just as immediately, it became clear that new Star Wars stories could borrow or dip into the old EU for characters and stories for inspiration. Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series certainly did this, and species and planets which appeared in the EU continue to pop up in the new canon.
With a new trilogy of Skywalker-focused films coming and even more Star Wars stories coming out in the intervening years, the time is ripe for many characters to make their film debut. Here are the top 10 old EU characters we want to see make a reappearance in the new films:
10. Nom Anor
In the late 90s, George Lucas spearheaded a book series chronicling a galactic invasion by a race of beings called the Yuuzhan Vong. Just prior to this, a mysterious character began appearing in comics. His name was Nom Anor and he would later be revealed as an advance agent for the Yuuzhan Vong. Nom Anor was smart, sneaky, and deceptive. He also had a lot of respect for the non-Yuuzhan Vong he lived around, gaining a lot of fans as a somewhat sympathetic bad guy.
How would he appear? If Nom Anor showed up in the films, he would likely serve as more of a wink to the fans of the Yuuzhan Vong. It doesn’t seem likely to me that the Vong would ever show up in full force in a Star Wars film, but adding Nom Anor as a saboteur and provocateur could be a good time indeed.
Who could play him? Nom Anor wears a black cloak, Sith style, almost all the time. Whoever plays him would have to exhibit a lot of charisma from underneath a hood. Also, given much of his face wouldn’t be seen, his voice would need to be epic level for fans to really enjoy him. This is why I think Benedict Cumberbatch would make a great Nom Anor. He has the vocal talents and acting range to portray power without having to be on full display.
9. Kyle Katarn
Originating in the video game series, Dark Forces, fans got to go on an adventure with Kyle while he took out a secret plan by the Empire to create a new type of stormtrooper: the Dark Trooper. The Dark Trooper turned out to be a droid and, as the prequels showed us, there probably isn’t much to be afraid of in the cinematic version of battle droids. But Kyle was cool all the same and he eventually became a Jedi!
How would he appear? Given that battle droids are *so* prequel-era, time shifting Kyle’s story to earlier in the canon would help his cause. This is why he’d be excellent in the new Rogue Squadron movie. I know, I know, he won’t be there (probably). But the pre-A New Hope era would be a good spot for the Empire to try out a stormtrooper-droid project and let our guy Kyle feature.
Who could play him? Kyle is great as an experienced soldier and hero, someone who isn’t really young. He should have Han Solo’s experience without the sarcasm. The Walking Dead‘s Andrew Lincoln could definitely play the gritty Kyle Katarn, giving him gravitas and energy.
8. Darth Revan
Another “hero” that players were able to join along in an adventure was Knights of the Old Republic‘s Darth Revan. Playing as an amnesiac, the hero of this game eventually learned that *he* was the fabled Sith lord. Players were able to choose between turning back toward the path of evil or embracing the light side of the Force.
How would he appear? With the new Star Wars story films able to go anywhere in the canon they want, a tale from the Old Republic era is probably eventually likely, albeit maybe many years down the road. If they go back that far, Revan’s appearance could happen.
Who could play him? If the story around Darth Revan is whether he turns to good or evil, you’ll need an actor who can stand right on the edge. In the game, Revan’s face is typically not shown (players could depict him however they wanted), so there isn’t an actor out there who could be disqualified. I think you’d want someone who has shown an ability to be both hero and villain, so I think Denzel Washington could be the guy. He’s intense and could give fans the impression he’s about to fall to the dark side at anytime.
7. Dash Rendar
Shadows of the Empire once told the tale connecting Empire Strikes Back to Return of the Jedi. In that story, a snarky, sarcastic, handsome smuggler named Dash Rendar plays the hero and flirts with Princess Leia. Oh, and he also loves his starship, the Outrider. Sound like someone you know? Well you aren’t alone. Everyone thought that Dash was simply a stand-in for Han Solo (who was frozen in carbonite at that time) and he probably was.
How would he appear? Since the principle actors are too old now, Shadows of the Empire will never be made into a movie. But Dash Rendar could basically show up wherever they want a Han-like character but don’t have Han. They could even make a movie set between Episodes V and VI where Dash Rendar attempts to rescue/steal the body of Han Solo, but mostly I could see Dash Rendar just being Han Solo 2.0.
Who could play him? Easy. Everyone has been clamoring for Chris Pratt to be the new Harrison Ford, so have him play Dash Rendar. With enough charisma, Dash could become just as iconic a character and Pratt could keep building on his empire of franchise starring roles.
6. Grand Admiral Thrawn
It’s hard to imagine now, but after RotJ, Star Wars fandom practically died out. That was, until Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire basically created what was then a for-all-intents-and-purposes Episode VII. Grand Admiral Thrawn is smart and powerful, a tactical master and fitting leader of the Empire. Most people would have this character higher on a list like this, which is exactly why I placed him sixth. (Hey, it’s my list!)
How would he appear? Don’t lose hope, fans! Thrawn could still show up in the new trilogy as the heir apparent to characters such as Grand Moff Tarkin. His appearance would go a long way toward smoothing over that whole “killing your 90s Star Wars fandom” fiasco, so I haven’t personally lost hope that he’ll appear in some form or another. There are a lot of Heir to the Empire fans who credit their Star Wars fandom to that book. One of them could just be a writer or director … hey, you never know!
Who could play him? As you can see from the pic above, Thrawn is intense. And blue. Possessing a great jawline, an understated physicality, and a ton of charisma, Jon Hamm could definitely take on the role of the admiral.
5. Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus
Okay, potential SPOILER ALERT, but rumor has it that Jacen maybe sort of is appearing in The Force Awakens as none other than AGAIN SPOILER ALERT (FOR REAL MAYBE!!!) the villain, Kylo Ren. Jacen is the child of Leia and Han, a Jedi trainee under Luke Skywalker, and eventual Sith Lord, going by the name, Darth Caedus. He is also eventually slain by his sister, Jaina Solo.
How would he appear? Well, he might just be appearing in the form of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens. If Rey, our heroine, turns out to be his sister, then all we need is for her to kill him in order to make the comparisons between Jacen and Jaina to be complete. (Okay, so maybe Kylo Ren doesn’t take over the galaxy a la Darth Caedus, but leading the First Order with your own planet destroyer is pretty damn close.)
Who could play him? It seems Adam Driver might have the role locked up. Still, after we all see The Force Awakens, we’ll see if Kylo really is the film version of Jacen.
Perhaps the biggest fan-favorite in Knights of the Old Republic, HK-47 is an assassin droid who loves to hate “meatbags”. His witty quips brought a fun lightness to his very serious work and, since he’s a droid, he’d be the perfect source of humor in any Star Wars film.
How would he appear? I don’t think one of the main trilogy films would host a character like HK-47. (Who knows, though. They had Jar Jar …) One of the spin off Star Wars story movies, though, would be a great spot to introduce him. The film wouldn’t even have to take place in the days of the Old Republic, as characters could find and revive HK-47 in any era. He’d be an excellent sidekick in any Star Wars story!
Who could play him? Call me crazy, but I’d love to hear Paul Bettany voice HK-47. Bettany, known as Vision in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, also voiced Iron Man’s JARVIS computer. So spinning that on its axis and having Bettany voice a homicidal assassin droid would bring me so much joy.
Stretching back to the 1980s Star Wars comics, Jaxxon journeyed around with Han Solo for a while. He’s belligerent, a good fighter, and kind of ridiculous so, basically, he’s a Star Wars version of Rocket Raccoon, and we know how well *that* worked out! This is why Jaxxon needs to make an appearance. (In The Clone Wars, there was a skeleton from his species, so his race is at least canon now!)
How would he appear? Given fan backlash to some of the sillier elements in Star Wars, I doubt we’d see Jaxxon in a Star Wars episodic film, but there’s plenty of leeway for him to appear in a Star Wars story and kick Imperial butt. Perhaps he could even show up alongside Dash Rendar, serving as Dash’s own Chewbacca-lite.
Who could play him? Jaxxon would look better as a motion-captured character as opposed to a practical effect, so we just need someone who possesses his physicality and could convey a lot through speech. Importantly, the character needs to be funny, so given his willingness to play superhero parts in the past (without necessarily having to be the *best* superhero), I’d go with Seth Rogen, who’s shown a good range and enthusiasm for a wide variety of parts.
2. Jodo Kast
Not everyone is brave enough to pretend to be Boba Fett, but hey, it’s a big galaxy! Jodo Kast made a mint off pretending to be Boba Fett. That is, until Boba Fett caught up with him and hijinks ensued. Jodo Kast is #2 on this list because he gives us a great opportunity at seeing another Mandalorian on screen. (Well, a guy in Mandalorian armor, at least!)
How would he appear? There’s been a lot of speculation about Boba Fett appearing in the new episodic films, but ol’ Boba would be getting up there in years at this point. So ask yourself, would you really want to see an old Boba Fett, or a younger guy in Boba Fett’s armor? Jodo Kast could be the next to wear the mantle of Boba Fett, perhaps modeling himself after the older bounty hunter. It’d be great if an old Boba Fett, sans armor that was perhaps stolen by Kast, confronted the newer, younger imposter. Hijinks ensue!
Who could play him? Almost anyone could look great sullenly hunting around in that armor, but Tom Hardy’s sort of built a career on silently fighting with people, sometimes even in armor. So he’s my pick to play Jodo Kast, whether or not he eventually meets the short end of a blaster shot by the original Fett.
1. Mara Jade
Raised in the service of the Emperor, Mara Jade is a Force-using assassin who, after the death of the Emperor, became a rogue agent and smuggler before eventually allying with and marrying Luke Skywalker. Fans have long adored Mara Jade and she has existed in a variety of EU media until her eventual death at the hands of the Darth Caedus.
How would she appear? Given the fact that Mark Hamill isn’t getting any younger, as fans, we have to expect that the Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker romance isn’t happening. That doesn’t mean Mara Jade couldn’t still appear as a Force-using Emperor’s Hand and then be re-used in other Star Wars story films. Wouldn’t it be great if she was a villain in the upcoming Rogue One? Mara Jade is such a dynamic, interesting character, Lucasfilm could use her wherever they wanted and fans would show up in droves.
Who could play her? After her starring turn in Jurassic World, Bryce Dallas Howard has the cred to get big parts. If she can get the physicality of the role down, she has the looks to play the greatest EU part available.
What do you think? Did I miss any characters? Any actors? Let us know in the comments below!