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Mike Flanagan wants to make a Star Wars horror movie. We have a few ideas for him.
Horror icon Mike Flanagan would like to bring his gifts to a galaxy far, far away.
As the years of stories in the now-defunct Expanded Universe and many stories in the Disney era have demonstrated, there's room for all manner of genres and subgenres in the Star Wars franchise. Yes, at its core Star Wars will always be a place for epic space opera with sweeping action setpieces and romantic notions of heroism and destiny, but whether we're talking about the Western and Samurai-influenced vibes of The Mandalorian or the war movie grittiness of Rogue One, there's room for other kinds of Star Wars stories too.
There's even plenty of room for scary stories in Star Wars, as anyone who watched that ice spider sequence in The Mandalorian Season 2 will tell you. From the moment Darth Vader stepped onto that Rebel cruiser in 1977, horror has had a place in the franchise, even if it hasn't always been front and center, and the franchise's fans know this. Over the weekend, Midnight Mass and Hush filmmaker Mike Flanagan went a bit viral when he tweeted about his dream of making a horror film in the Star Wars universe, and whether he was being serious or not, the response to his stated wish shows there's an appetite for what Flanagan might bring to the table.
There's such an appetite for it, in fact, that we haven't been able to stop thinking about what a Star Wars horror movie might look like, particularly in Flanagan's hands. So, here are three ideas for where such a dream project could go in a galaxy far, far away.
The Haunting of Mustafar
If we've learned anything from its appearances in three different Star Wars films, it's that the planet Mustafar is a pretty eerie place. It's got this weird shifting climate thing going on, there are rivers of lava, and of course it's the place where Darth Vader chose to build his private citadel in the years after his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet surface led to his final transformation into a Dark Lord of the Sith. All of that combines to make Mustafar an intriguing blend of Sith-driven supernatural atmosphere and high emotional stakes.
Whether it focused on Vader, one of his acolytes, or a group of other characters who just happen to be on the planet, a supernatural horror story set on Mustafar, diving deep into its lore and reputation, feels like something that's right up Flanagan's alley after stories like The Haunting of Hill House and Doctor Sleep. Imagine what Vader's castle and the Dark Side energy lurking around it would feel like 30 years after the death of the Sith Lord. Imagine what it must have been like in order to draw Vader there in the first place. There are creepy vibes to spare.
The Mask of Momin
Through stories like Oculus and Ouija: Origin of Evil, Flanagan has proven he's adept at stories about cursed, haunted objects, which makes him perfect for a story about an artifact like The Mask of Momin. As Marvel's Darth Vader comics chronicled, the mask once belonged to a Sith Lord who possessed great power and taught heretical views on how to wield the Dark Side. When he died, a part of Momin's essence was preserved in the mask, which became a powerful, dangerous artifact that was locked away in the Jedi Temple...until Vader and Darth Sidious freed it.
The thing that makes the Mask of Momin particularly ripe for horror storytelling is the way in which it can possess its wearer, giving Momin control of a body even after that body has died, which means there are scenes in Star Wars where a long-dead Sith Lord is puppeting a corpse around a room. Marvel's Darth Vader comics have already told the story of how Vader tried to use the mask to help design his fortress on Mustafar (again, lots of creepy stuff happens on Mustafar), but there's a long history to the Mask of Momin that could be mined for even more horror stories. And hey, if it's not the Mask of Momin, we're sure Flanagan could find another cursed Sith object to frame a story around if given the opportunity.
Night of the Death Troopers
Star Wars is a franchise that makes heavy use of The Force, whether we're talking about Jedi, Sith, or people who have a few untrained talents they can use out in the world. That means there's a lot of room for supernatural storytelling, but there are just as many frightening things in the galaxy that can scare you through purely natural means. That could mean a monstrous alien creatures creeping up out of the darkness...or an all-too-human enemy hellbent on your destruction.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story introduced a new brand of Imperial Death Troopers to the franchise, giving us elite soldiers with menacing armor and even more menacing voice scramblers, making them look and sound like grim reapers stalking the landscape. Rogue One didn't make much use of them beyond intimidation, but a filmmaker like Flanagan could change that. This is the director who gave us Hush, one of the most effective home invasion thrillers of the last decade. Imagine those powers turned on a story in which Death Troopers are trying to capture or kill someone through one long night of cat and mouse, whether it's at some remote Rebel base or a private home on a distant planet, where a lone holdout is doing everything they can to survive against the Empire's deadliest servants. That's a tension-laden Star Wars story we'd love to see.