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Since Rogue One has proven to be a tremendous success, Lucasfilm will no doubt be looking ahead to the next spinoff — the origin story of Han Solo — with eager anticipation. Although we're not expecting a Rogue One sequel, it's entirely possible that one character could make an appearance in the next spinoff; Donnie Yen's Chirrut Imwe looks to have real mileage...
Why Could We See More Of Chirrut Imwe?
The character of Chirrut Imwe was used to introduce us to a mystical order known as the Guardians of the Whills. #RogueOne didn't exactly give us a wealth of information about this order, and their tie to the Whills — a concept George Lucas toyed with back when he was first creating Star Wars — makes them particularly intriguing. Lucasfilm has added a whole new element to the Star Wars franchise, and fans are eager for more information.
Curiously, though, Chirrut's story doesn't seem to be over. In an interview with ScreenRant, Donnie Yen revealed that he worked closely with Lucasfilm to draw up Chirrut's backstory (including his blindness). Significantly, though — and unusually — he's not allowed to discuss this backstory.
"That's a backstory actually, we did a lot of back and forth discussions and research between actors, producers, and directors so that is something…it’s probably (motions a large book) this thick of materials and research, but I'm not allowed to talk about it."
Tie into this the fact that the Guardians of the Whills are said to be almost extinct in The Ultimate Visual Guide for Rogue One, and it's pretty clear that any exploration of the Guardians in the past is likely to involve Chirrut somehow.
How Could Chirrut Appear?
The future of Star Wars clearly lies as much in spinoffs as in the Skywalker Saga (indeed, Lucasfilm is considering ending the Skywalker Saga completely after the trilogy began with The Force Awakens). The good news with those spinoffs, though, is that they could be set at any time in the Star Wars canon — they could predate the Prequels, they could be set during the Clone Wars, or they could even extend the history of our beloved galaxy far, far away into the distant future!
The next spinoff is a Han Solo origin story, starring Alden Ehrenreich as a younger version of the famous smuggler. Is it possible that the Guardians of the Whills — who are clearly envisioned as a background concept in the Star Wars universe — will appear? Specifically, is it possible that we'll see a younger Chirrut?
Han Solo is famously dismissive of the Jedi in the Original Trilogy, telling Luke:
"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid."
That doesn't mean he hasn't encountered spiritual and religious orders in the past, though; in fact, that attitude suggests he may well have crossed paths with them, and been left unimpressed. I can picture him being far less impressed with the Guardians of the Whills — whose chants he would view as mumbo-jumbo and whose weapons he would deride — than he would be with a Jedi, whose lightsaber deflection is easily a match for "a good blaster at your side"!
Given Jiang Wen's Baze has lost his faith by the time of Rogue One, is it possible that Han's skeptical attitude to the Force is rooted in the same events that shook Baze's faith?
Never Tell Me The Odds!
I think there's a fair chance that the Guardians of the Whills, and Chirrut specifically, will appear in the Han Solo spinoff. Lucasfilm is clearly working on an intriguing overarching narrative, and Chirrut's backstory is a key part of that. With the Han Solo spinoff sure to be set in the backwaters of the galaxy, the film is perfectly suited to further develop the Guardians of the Whills. I'm not expecting the movie to give us all the answers about this mysterious order; rather, I'm expecting them to play a secondary or even tertiary role (as they did in Rogue One), with more tidbits revealed that fans will enjoy piecing together.
If I'm right, then we only have two years to wait for more information on the Guardians of the Whills. I love the boldness behind the concept, with Rogue One daring to actually add a whole new element to the Star Wars mythos. And given how brilliant I consider the character of Chirrut Imwe, I'm really hoping we'll see more of him!