It has been a lesson in futility trying to wrap my head around the idea of a series of movies based upon the origins of Star Wars characters. For the past week I've gone back and forth on this idea at least four times. (I should add: I spend my free time thinking about dumb things.) On one hand, there are an assortment of interesting characters that might be interesting to see in a standalone film. On the other hand ... well, this is Star Wars, so that other hand has most likely already been sliced off by a lightsaber.
The thought of anyone other than Harrison Ford playing Han Solo seems ludicrous. Honestly, even the thought of Harrison Ford playing Solo again right now seems ludicrous. Han Solo is the perfect character. (Actually, let me clarify that: Solo is the perfect character in Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back. He's far from perfect in Return of the Jedi -- a severely underwritten role that Ford, by then a huge star, phoned in.) Although there's been no formal announcement on who these origin stories will focus on, the smart money is on Solo, Yoda and Boba Fett.
I can live my life without seeing a young Han Solo do whatever it is Han Solo did in his youth. I mean, I'm sure he's quite the scoundrel, but that's forever Ford's role and Ford just has such a presence -- he oozed "Man, this is all kind of stupid, but here we are" -- and nobody is going to have the guts, frankly, to recreate that.
Yeah, yeah, Boba Fett could be cool. But, here's the thing about Boba Fett: The less we knew about him, the cooler he was. He's got, what, three lines of dialogue in The Empire Strikes Back? And we all loved him. Now, thanks to Attack of the Clones we know pretty much everything about him. More than we ever needed to know about him. Of these three, Fett seems the most appealing. (I have absolutely no interest in watching a teenage Yoda hang out at the local Gas 'N' Sip, or whatever.)
There are, however, two characters who were woefully under-represented during the prequels, and -- considering their importance to their respective allegiances -- could actually make for interesting stand alone movies.
(And before anyone brings up the Expanded Universe, it's already been made clear that the new movies won't be paying attention to the Expanded Universe. So all we officially know about these characters up to this point is what we learned in the movie. Remember, in the Expanded Universe Boba Fett was once a Mandalorian named Jaster Mereel. Well, we now know that's not true.)
Grand Moff Tarkin
To this day, I still don't understand how the Star Wars prequels were made without Tarkin playing a major role. (Tarkin is seen, briefly, while Vader stares at an under-construction Death Star at the end of Revenge of the Sith.) Or, for that matter, why anyone would even want to make the prequels without Tarkin.
(As an aside, as a child, I was always fascinated by Tarkin. This was primarily because, for whatever reason, he didn't have a Kenner action figure. From the original Star Wars line, Kenner took the time to make Power Droid -- who served pretty much no purpose whatsoever -- but not the highest ranking official from the Galactic Empire that we meet in the movie? OK, yes, he died in the movie and perhaps Kenner didn't think children would want to play with a character who is dead. Well, Greedo died, too, and we got a Greedo action figure. Maybe it's because kids wouldn't want an action figure of an "old man." Well, that didn't stop me from owning a Ben Kenobi figure. Anyway, I digress. I digress a lot.)
By the time we get to A New Hope, Tarkin has a lot of authority. So much that he seems to be Vader's boss. No one in the original trilogy had this kind of authority over Vader except for The Emperor himself, so what made Tarkin so special? I don't know the answer to this question. That's why there should be a movie to explain this.
A movie about Tarkin would be a movie about the rise of the Empire itself as well as an origin of the Death Star. It might as well be called Star Wars: Death Star. Who wouldn't want to see a movie called Star Wars: Death Star?
Who should play Tarkin? Would anyone turn down the chance to watch Christoph Waltz, as Tarkin, connive his way through the ranks of the Empire to become one of the most powerful men in the galaxy? (OK, yes, I'm aware that's extreamly wishful casting.)
With a Tarkin movie, this provides access to pretty much every member of the Empire, including Darth Vader.
As for Tarkin's polar opposite in the Rebel Alliance:
"We are hoping to form an alliance in the senate to stop the chancellor from further subverting the constitution."
These are the words spoken from Mon Mothma during a deleted scenes from Revenge of the Sith. Also, it's insane to me that all of Mon Mothma's scenes in Revenge of the Sith were cut.
When Mon Mothma showed up during Return of the Jedi, an 8-year-old me thought to myself, Oh, she must be important. This is what's insane to me: Grand Moff Tarkin and Mon Mothma have so much to do with the Galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance, respectively, yet their roles in the prequels are next to nothing. Like Tarkin, the name of a Mon Mothma movie could be called Star Wars: Rebel Alliance. Who would not want to watch a movie called Star Wars: Rebel Alliance?.
But, seriously, why create two such interesting characters that obviously have so much influence and do nothing with them?
Anyway, I understand the world we live in and I understand, in 2013, what governs movies that are made. I do hope we all enjoy the Han Solo and Yoda movie that none of us really want.
Mike Ryan is senior writer for Huffington Post Entertainment. You can contact him directly on Twitter.