The Star Wars Story films are going to be interesting experiments. Telling cinematic stories that take place outside of the normal saga films is a great way to expand the universe. However, the Star Wars Story films we know of are fairly safe tales. We’ve already gotten Rogue One, a look at how the Death Star plans were obtained. The next Star Wars Story is going to be an adventure about a young Han Solo. These seem like pretty secure ideas as far as audience interest goes.
But, before we even knew what the title of Episode VII was, there was a project brewing that could have been something very intriguing. It was an idea that would have included a controversial director and a plot that paid homage to a genre that inspired the original Star Wars.
Seven Jedi: A Star Wars Story
The samurai films of Akira Kurosawa were an enormous influence on Star Wars. Specifically, the classic The Hidden Fortress features plotlines that directly parallel the original film. In keeping with this spirit, the very first Star Wars Story film was rumored to be a take on another Kurosawa classic, Seven Samurai. In that film, seven ronin (samurais without masters) are hired to defend a farming village from a band of vicious bandits. According to early reports, this first anthology film would have taken place sometime during the timeframe between Episode VII and Episode IX and would have involved seven aimless Jedi banding together for a common cause.
Remaking Seven Samurai and placing it into a different genre is nothing new. The Magnificent Seven – which was recently remade itself – placed the story into a Western setting. In fact, it had already been appropriated for a Roger Corman production back in 1980 called Battle Beyond the Stars. Fun fact: the special effects for that film were designed by a very young James Cameron.
What’s even more amusing is that the same concept was used for a fan trailer made back in the mid-’00s. That just goes to show how appealing the idea could be. Well, if this Seven Jedi film had actually gotten off the ground, it was going to be helmed by a director with some serious clout.
Jedi v Sith: Dawn of Awakening
The founding director of the DC Extended Universe, Zack Snyder, was in talks with Lucasfilm to direct this first standalone picture. Yes, we nearly got a Star Wars film from the same person who made Sucker Punch. Snyder’s meeting with Lucasfilm took place only a few months before the release of Man of Steel and buzz was highly in Snyder’s favor. After that film came out, it looked like Snyder’s star had somewhat dimmed due to the mixed response to his Superman outing. Whether or not this had anything to do with his involvement in a potential Star Wars venture is unknown.
However, even though Snyder didn’t actually make a Star Wars film, he did put together the cheeky mashup trailer that you can see above. Plus, you can see remnants of this original anthology idea in both his upcoming work and Rogue One. Snyder has said that Seven Samurai is influencing his take on Justice League. Also, the idea of a band of outcasts coming together for a mission does sound an awful lot like Rogue One.
Hopefully, the Star Wars Story films will embrace these kinds of ideas and give us movies that feel both fresh and celebratory of the many pieces of fiction that helped inspire Star Wars. The Seven Samurai idea is still a good one! And if Disney wants to take inspiration from ideas that were made into fan films, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a Troops movie.
I’m half-kidding about that. …Maybe one-third kidding.