To celebrate the re-release of Heir to the Empire, your friendly bloggers here at Unbound Worlds held a little movie casting game. Now that I think about it, there are plenty of other standalone novels and series that would be cool to see on either the big or small screen. Given that it started as a film, Star Wars has always been an incredibly visual experience, but with such talented authors mapping out the Expanded Universe, printed stories of the galaxy far, far away often have cinematic qualities. Star Wars fans love the communal experience of sitting together in a theater and watching the events of “a long time ago” unfold in front of them. With Episodes VII-IX nowhere in sight, I thought it might be fun to scout the vast array of Star Wars literature and pick the story that could best make the jump from page to screen.
After much deliberation, I’ve narrowed down the list of page-to-screen candidates to the five books and series listed below. Which would you prefer to see made into a movie or TV show? (Obviously, this poll, like the Heir to the Empire casting game, is just for fun.)
The X-Wing series
Many fans cite Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston’s nine-book series (which will grow to ten with the release of Mercy Kill next July) as their favorite EU stories. They appeal to classic trilogy fans who enjoyed the movies’ starfighter combat and wanted to see more of Rogues like Wedge Antilles and Wes Janson. There might be too many books for the entire story to become a movie series, but I’d love to see a TV show based on the adventures of Rogue and Wraith Squadrons. Space combat is obviously a focus of the books, but there would be ample opportunity to explore cool new planets and experience life at “ground level” in the fledgling New Republic.
Who doesn’t love a good horror movie? As we approach Halloween, let’s think about how cool it would be to bring the goriest and creepiest Star Wars novel to the big screen. Set in the very Old Republic, the book follows a Sith Lord on a demented mission and a Jedi from the Agricultural Corps whose unique gift makes her the only person who can stop him. With its mix of ritual sacrifices, mad-scientist experiments, a zombie apocalypse, and good old-fashioned lightsaber dueling, Red Harvest is unique enough to take a fresh approach to cinematic Star Wars, yet still grounded in the galaxy far, far away that appeals to average fans.
The New Jedi Order series
The Expanded Universe’s longest novel series also features some of its most dramatic moments, from the deaths of Chewbacca and Anakin Solo to the torture of Jacen Solo to the invasion of Coruscant. While you could never fit the major events of the NJO into even five or six movies, I could see the story of the Yuuzhan Vong War play out over the course of multiple seasons of a weekly TV series. Each stage of the war could get its own season. The Yuuzhan Vong themselves would look amazing on-screen, and their organic ships, armor, and weapons would evoke memories of War of the Worlds and Independence Day. This gritty, battle-centric series would feature side-stories focusing on the nature of the Force and the struggle of the Solo family.
Shadows of the Empire
Given that the introduction to the Shadows of the Empire trade paperback describes the multimedia project as “Everything but the movie,” I just had to include this book on my list. Like the X-Wing series, Shadows of the Empire is immersed in the Original Trilogy era, but even more so, because it’s bookended by The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. By combining Luke, Leia, Han, and other familiar characters with all-new heroes and villains like Dash Rendar, Prince Xizor, and Guri, Shadows of the Empire bridged the gap between the OT’s latter two installments while embellishing on such compelling sub-plots as the galaxy’s criminal underworld and Darth Vader’s pursuit of his son.
The Republic Commando series
Even though Karen Traviss’ books about Delta and Omega Squads were more science-fiction than fantasy (as opposed to the films themselves), her collection of clone commando war stories has a devoted following among EU readers. The soldiers’ camaraderie would hook viewers in the same way as Band of Brothers, encouraging them to come back week after week for more pulse-pounding Clone Wars drama. Given the success of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network, I’m confident that a live-action series set during the same war and focused on Traviss’ two clone squads would be incredibly popular.
Okay, there are your five options. The poll closes next Friday, November 4th at 11:59pm ET. As they said in The Phantom Menace: “Vote now! Vote now!”