Just when you think your Wednesday was doomed to be boring, along comes Lucasfilm to resuscitate some much-needed life into Star Wars. Look, we love The Mandalorian, and we love The Clone Wars, and we’re still processing The Rise of Skywalker, but everything Disney+ is offering us seems pre-packaged for fans. The franchise needs new voices; it needs a new point of view. It needs a badass to rally a legion beyond the usually suspected fanboys.
On, what’s this? Variety is reporting that Leslye Headland has been tapped to front a female-centric Star Wars series centered around a part of the timeline as of yet unexplored? You had our curiosity. Now you have our attention.
Headland is the co-creator and director of multiple episodes of the Netflix series Russian Doll. Those in the know are already standing at attention. Those that are not, need to hop on over to our ranking of the 50 Best TV Shows of 2019, where Russian Doll easily cracked the top five and our Liz Baessler hailed the series as “an absolutely captivating charge into the frustrations of the unknown.” Oh yeah, it gets real like that.
Russian Doll cannot be contained as another spin on the Groundhog Day conceit. The series is not an action-movie version a la Edge of Tomorrow, or a slasher movie twist like Happy Death Day. The trailers woo you in with the Bill Murray rewind premise, but where it goes from there is one hundred percent original and utterly thought-provoking. Russian Doll is the kind of narrative that has you revaluating your path and the paths others walk around you every day.
If Headland has a take on George Lucas‘ long time ago, far, far away galaxy, then we all need to take notice, and not just folks like me who are already in the bank for anything tangentially Skywalker. Headland is the kind of creator who can inject a radical jolt of energy into a realm we’ve wandered for forty years. Looking at another chunk of the timeline, away from the tragedy of Darth Vader and his tagalong son, Headland can landscape a realm to herself, where newbies can set up shop without fearing the scorn of the old guard (ugh, well, you know those trolls will always be out there, but their voices are getting smaller as the larger the arena of fandom increases).
The second season of The Mandalorian hasn’t even aired yet, but they’re already prepping for a third. The world cannot get enough Baby Yoda. There is also the long-awaited Ewan McGregor Obi-Wan Kenobi show and the Diego Luna Cassian Andor Rogue One prequel gearing up production. The known Star Wars universe is well-covered.
Let’s talk about the unknown.
Earlier this year, Lucasfilm announced the launch of its High Republic publishing campaign. These novels would be focused on a time in the Star Wars universe 200 years before The Skywalker Saga, but well after the Knights of the Old Republic (this may or may not mean anything to you, but for certain fans, this is a great cinematically untapped period that has excelled in comic books and video games). Lucasfilm rolled out the red carpet for reporters covering this event, hoping the possibilities would capture our hungry imagination.
It definitely did, but we’re movie and TV people. If you want us to get jazzed for the High Republic, we’re going to need a little more than glorified expanded universe content. A Disney+ series is just what the doctor ordered, and would guarantee a few extra sales on those books and comics they’re peddling.
Now, there is a part of me that would like to believe that Headland won’t touch the High Republic. I want to go back to the second season of The Mandalorian for a moment. Rosario Dawson has been cast as The Clone Wars hero Ahsoka Tano. She deserves her own series. She’s a tremendous badass who turned her back on the Jedi when she realized they were a bunch of failable chumps puppeteered by the Emperor, and she was one of the first war heroes produced by the Rebellion.
The Mandalorian may or may not explain what she was up to during A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back. Cool, that era is not untapped, but what about the time between Return of the Jedi and The Mandalorian? This period is probably a little less exciting than the High Republic and hits a little too close to home with these other stories already being told around this time, but dammit, I want my Ahsoka show!
Gah, but my needs are being catered to constantly. Star Wars doesn’t need me. I’m not going anywhere. It needs fresh blood untainted by Anakin, Luke, and Rey Skywalker. Leslye Headland has a chance to seriously shake up the franchise. She’s not a fall-in-line filmmaker. She’s a revolutionary. Star Wars needs her revolution.