SOLO: A Star Wars Story That Compels You to Build on Existing Content

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SOLO: A Star Wars Story That Compels You to Build on Existing Content

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Solo: The Star Wars story fans may have never known they wanted to see!

With its highly-anticipated theatrical debut just 2 weeks away, the overall expectation and excitement among longtime Star Wars fans is at an all-time high.

In the world of content creation and marketing, it makes sense why there is such a massive Star Wars fanbase. However, there is an even bigger lesson on content building that can be learned from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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Image via Shutterstock.com

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Look at the Franchise

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a trilogy unlike any trilogy ever seen before: A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. When the trilogy reached its epic conclusion in 1983, many people expected that to be the end of the big-screen adventures.

They were proven wrong in 1999, 2002 and 2005 thanks to Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Not only did this trilogy serve as a prequel that introduced fans to the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker, but it also shifted what became known as the original trilogy further along in the Star Wars timeline.

Many people expected that to be the end of the big-screen adventures.

They were proven wrong again in 2015 with The Force Awakens, in 2017 with The Last Jedi and next year with Episode IX. The new trilogy picks up where the original trilogy left off – bringing the total count to 9 episodes (for now). Don’t forget about Rogue One – which basically placed a bridge between the prequel and original trilogies.

However, this profound lesson in content extrapolation returns to where it all started: 1977.

The Very First Star Wars Movie

It can become very overwhelming to think about what is now known as the Star Wars universe. However, the entire world of follow-up sequels, prequels, trilogies, spin-off stories and merchandise would not exist without the 1977 movie, Star Wars.

  1. A young man who feels he is destined for more but has no idea to what extent he is correct.

  1. A young woman raised as a royal who feels compels to fight for the resistance.

  1. An ambitious pilot with a shady past who accepts a job with a life-changing payday.

  1. A masked monster of a man controlled by darkness who is compelled to eliminate any signs of light and balance that get in his way.

Written and directed by George Lucas, not even some of the core cast members expected it be successful at all – much less earning $775 million at the worldwide box office. Until Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial dethroned it 5 years later, Star Wars set the record as the highest-grossing film of all time.

One movie. One story. Keep in mind that the plot twist about Darth Vader being the father of Luke and Leia did not come up until later in the trilogy – a trilogy that would not have existed without building content from that first film. Yoda – an iconic character known for his uncanny wisdom and trusted talent of sensing the future – was not introduced until Empire Strikes Back either.

Fast Forward to Solo

Who knew that more than 40 years after Star Wars debuted that there would still be new stories to tell? Adding new episodes and new adventures is relatively easy for the Star Wars universe since The Force Awakens introduced a new group of core characters into the equation.

Solo: A Star Wars Story proves that there is apparently still a substantial amount of content buried within the lines of the original trilogy as well. At the very beginning, Han Solo was essentially a supportive character thrown into the mix for a dose of comic relief and overconfidence blended with memorable dialogue, boldness and action scenes.

However, Star Wars shifts the primary focus on the Skywalker family – Luke and Leia. As the trilogy unfolds, that is where the spotlight remained. Even when the prequel trilogy was introduced, fans learned the history of the Skywalker family starting with Papa Bear Anakin and Mama Bear Padme. When the new trilogy picked up with The Force Awakens, more fans were still concerned about the Skywalker family than anything else – wondering, “What are Luke and Leia up to now?”

Most fans assumed that Han and Leia would still be together, possibly be parents and still be able to communicate with each other well without using a lot of words. The Force Awakens allowed fans to check off both of those items from their list, but the primary focus was still on Luke.

  1. Where is Luke?

  2. What is Luke up to now?

  3. Why is he not on the screen yet?

  4. Why did he leave his lightsaber behind?

  5. Why is he standing on that mountain by himself?

  6. How long has he been growing out his hair?

  7. Why is he just standing there staring at Rey?

  8. Why did the entire movie go by without Luke saying anything?

  9. Why was there not a post-credits scene that showed Luke say something?

When the final chapter of Han Solo’s story was revealed in The Force Awakens, there was a sense of closure – especially when the realization emerged that Luke would have to return to avenge his friend’s death. However, Solo: A Star Wars Story helps us to appreciate that there were still quite a few questions from Han Solo’s life that were left unanswered. Han Solo played a supportive role in the original Star Wars stories. It obviously was a big role but never a leading role.

  1. Where did Han Solo’s life story begin?

  2. What happened during his childhood?

  3. When did he start making shady life choices – namely, how he made his living?

  4. How did he become close friends with Chewbacca?

  5. When did he first start doing business with Jabba the Hut?

  6. How did the Millennium Falcon come into Han’s life?

  7. How did he become friends with Lando Calrissian and why is it that Lando is the only one who mispronounces his name?

In the true fashion of Disney and LucasFilms, not very much has been revealed about Solo: A Star Wars Story. However, based on the details that have been revealed, it is clear that at least some of these questions will finally have answers and perhaps leave plenty of room for new questions to be answered in future films and stories.

Here Are the Lessons Learned…

When you look at the big picture and take the time to dissect Solo: A Star Wars Story and the Star Wars franchise overall, here are some of the major lessons on content building that stand out:

  1. Quality Content Comes with Its Own Layers: All content should have layers. The best part is that all quality content already has them. It is not something that you must force into your content. As you work hard to develop it from scratch, you are also creating those layers as part of the process. When building new content that grows from within the cracks of your existing content, all you must do is explore those layers. Find the unanswered questions within them and create quality content filled with those responses.

  1. Content Order Does Not Have to be Linear: When creating content, the order of your narratives and topics does not have to be linear. You could start with A and skip to Z before coming back to L, M, N, O and P. Just because #1 may get you started does not mean # 2 has to be the very next stop. The key is to make sure it all connects – not that it is all in order. As shown from the Star Wars franchise, you can still create phenomenal content without following a set order or sticking to a linear timing schedule.

  1. It All Goes Back to the Questions: At the end of the day, it all goes right back to the unanswered question(s). The core of the best follow-up sequels, prequels and spin-offs is just that: a question. What questions are your customers and clients asking? What do your viewers and readers want to know? Remember, the worst sequels and spin-offs are the ones that no one asked for or even needed. Just because it seems like it will be a good follow-up does not mean that it is one your audience Always focus on their needs more than your wants.

The Star Wars franchise will not stop growing anytime soon. Some may argue that Disney taking over made that possible – breathing life into content that was already put to bed. However, if you pay close attention to the original content and point of origin, it becomes crystal clear that George Lucas created the need for this content over 40 years ago.

What content does your audience need from you? What will be your Star Wars story?

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Annie has over 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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