Star Wars needs to play with more genres
One of my favorite things about Andor That’s how much it plays into the genre of political thrillers. It’s a new take on a galaxy far, far away that makes it truly intriguing to watch. I hope AndorThe success of opens the door for more shows like this.
Star Wars is heavily inspired by westerns as in The MandalorianEast Asian culture with the creation of the Jedi, and it’s absolutely fantastic space opera like Flash Gordon. But we rarely get out of those few genres with on-screen content.
It’s a place where I think the Marvel Cinematic Universe surpasses Star Wars. The MCU plays in so many genres. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a spy thriller like Andor. The ant Man is a heist movie. Hawk Eye is bordering on a Christmas special. She-Hulk: Lawyer is a sitcom. A lot of Thor is high fantasy. The MCU has horror, period war dramas, coming-of-age stories, and parts are a slice of life. Their films and shows have martial arts, afrofuturism, space operas and much more. While the Marvel formula for many of its movies is pretty simple and straightforward, changing genres based on featured characters has kept the MCU viable over the years.
Star Wars could really learn a lesson to extend to all sorts of audiences. Andor is a step in the right direction, but there could be so much more work in different genres. Where is the Star Wars romantic comedy? The comedy of work? Can you imagine a show in the vein of Office in a rebel base? Our very own Corey Cummings recently explained that it was time for Star Wars to release a horror movie. A documentary-style movie filmed through the lens of Imperial propaganda about the life of Emperor Palpatine would be scary to watch. Something I love that Pokemon have done recently is introduce their new creatures like nature documentary. galaxy of creatures did this as a short on youtube, but i would watch a special or film crew documenting the animals of the galaxy. It could also detail the trials and tribulations of their process. A Star Wars reality show would be awesome too. The latter, I’d even vote against making it canon so it could be a direct parody with Star Wars characters. There must be a lot more satirical shows outside of the LEGO, Robot Chicken, and Family Guy specials.
There are so many possibilities that Star Wars could do to have exciting new content for all ages.
We’ve seen a few examples of Star Wars popping up in a variety of genres, though many of them have come from small projects like books or been experimented with in their respective shows.
clone wars never hesitated to play with genres. Zombie clones and geonosians are a real horror. Same with just about anything Nightsisters. Remember that horror doesn’t have to be just for adults. Goose bumps and The owl house are proof of that. Zillo Beast episodes are a tribute to monster movies. Many of Padme’s solo episodes are political thrillers. They had comedic episodes with Jar-Jar. Heck, even Jar-Jar had romance too. Much of Ahsoka’s perspective is a coming-of-age story. The episode “Bounty Hunters” is a tribute to Akira Kurosawa’s samurai film Seven Samurai. Mortis’ bow is very high fantasy. Some episodes had steampunk elements. Then, of course, at its core, it’s a war story that has its own plethora of subgenres.
Part of clone warsLongevity is definitely the team’s willingness to change formats and never stick to one genre. If the Zillo Beast isn’t your thing, hang in there for two episodes because something different will happen. Youth arc on Ilum not your thing? It’s good because it’s someone else’s favorite.
I think the closest thing to a workplace comedy is one of my favorite Star Wars novels ever written, which is Throw: Alliances. And I’m already imagining raised eyebrows at that choice so let me explain.
I don’t think Timothy Zahn wanted to write a comedy with bad guys, but the truth is he did. This book is canonized crack fanfiction, and as a fanfic writer myself, I say that with the utmost respect. I read fics along the same lines as Throw: Alliance even before the book is published! They had summaries like “Thawn and Vader team up on a big mission!” But Thrawn knows a secret about Vader and hijinks ensue!
The first 250 pages of this book are pure comedy gold. In two separate timelines, Thrawn and Anakin/Vader attempt to outdo each other, constantly failing them in the wildest ways. Thrawn literally knocks Anakin out, because Thrawn thought Anakin would be smart enough not to be unconscious. A pack of insects attack and crash into Vader and their bodies cement the Dark Lord of the Sith to the ground. He’s just kind of sitting there like, “SUPPER is my life now I guess.” At another point, Thrawn rips the lower half of his shirt to make a rope. So he basically runs in a crop top for the back half of the novel. Only Anakin Skywalker can think of the wacky plan to use the Force to parade a dead man like a puppet through the streets to try and trick the bad guys that their buddy is still alive. Secondary characters also get in on the action. Rukh and Commander Kimmund (one of my favorite Star Wars characters) plays almost beat to beat the constitutional peasant scene of Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Kimmund demanding respect as the First Legion and Rukh essentially saying, “Well, I didn’t vote for you.” Meanwhile, Karyn Faro and Padme are tiredness for the whole book, watching all the boys being a pack of wild idiots for 250 pages and doing things themselves.
Throw: Alliances is hilarious and was such a surprise to basically get a workplace comedy with bad guys. This format also made the end shot much more difficult. After giggling for the first 2/3 of the novel, the fun stops. Vader is done playing and is reprising the role of the Dark Lord he is known for. There are very real threats of people dying. In the past timeline, Anakin nearly turns to the dark side and out of anger triggers a series of events that decimate an entire planet. The ending punches you in the gut because the good times are over. The comedic format of the first half really made this ending work so well. I tip my hat to Timothy Zahn for that.
I would also like to see both the return of Jedi Temple Challenge and other similar projects. Jedi Temple Challenge touches that nostalgia factor in me as someone who grew up Legends of the Hidden Temple. Being a series of competitions, there was a built-in drama of not knowing which team would win. It was so pure and wholesome with stellar Ahmed Best in his role as Kelleran Beq. It also added to the canon in many story segments that were creative and fun. I would love to see more shows run in the competition genre. Heck, if we wanted to go darker, imagine a dramatized show like squid game in the Star Wars universe. Something like Imperials or Zygerrians pitting people against each other for amusement. It would be terrifying to watch.
There seem to be more expansions in other genres as we take a look at future plans. Star Wars: Visions set the stage for anime in Star Wars. Granted, anime is a medium, not a genre, but we got to see the series play with different genres important to Japanese storytelling. With the second season covering even more animation studios around the world, I can’t wait to see what each of these countries brings to a galaxy far, far away. Skeleton crew also looks very promising. Early reports say it’s like stranger things in space which is an intriguing prospect for me. Even the next preschool series Adventures of Young Jedi excited me to witness the era of the High Republic on screen in contrast to the darker history of The Acolyte.
I really like the idea that we are moving towards more genres in future projects. I would love to see the animation pick up on this topic more. The bad lot and Tales of the Jedi are still very clone wars stories. At least star wars rebels and star wars resistance break out of this mold in their own way. It makes me nervous for the animation side of things that always clings so desperately to Clone Wars’ success instead of trying new things.
Still, Star Wars Live looks brilliant on that front. I hope the franchise continues to expand into new genres and continues to learn from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in this way.