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One of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Mace Windu is a badass Jedi Master like no other. In part, of course, that's because he's played by none other than Samuel L. Jackson - and Jackson is to badass what Spider-Man is to bad quips. Of course, poor Mace Windu came to a sad end in Revenge of the Sith, betrayed by Anakin Skywalker and blasted off into the Coruscant night-sky by Palpatine's wrath.
But could he ever return?
Samuel L Jackson, a massive Star Wars fan, has simply refused to believe that it was the end of his time in the franchise. He passed on a video message to fans attending Star Wars Celebration Orlando 2017, and reiterated his hope to return:
"I am not dead … Mace Windu is awaiting his return. Let’s make it happen. Kathy you’re sitting right there."
Let's face it, we know that getting a hand chopped off is pretty much an occupational hazard for a Jedi, while Mace wouldn't be the first Jedi to survive an impossible fall. But would this be a good move for Lucasfilm? And if not - is there any other way Sam Jackson could reprise the role?
Could Mace Windu Work as a Starring Character?
Rogue One may have been a blockbuster hit, but it was also perhaps the grandest, boldest experiment Lucasfilm has ever conducted. Would a spin-off, standalone Star Wars movie work? The film's tremendous success has emboldened Lucasfilm, leaving the studio free to explore further spinoffs and standalones. No doubt we'll hear more on that front over the course of Star Wars Celebration.
Jackson, of course, is a top-rate actor; he's more than capable of standing at the forefront of a film. Meanwhile, the character of #MaceWindu wouldn't take much effort to flesh out; the hard work was done in the old Expanded Universe, most notably in Matt Stover's tremendous novel Shatterpoint.
Shatterpoint envisioned Mace Windu as a unique Jedi Master, one who stands at the brink of the Dark Side itself. He's learned to channel his inner Darkness, though, adapting it into a uniquely aggressive fighting style known as 'Vapaad'; Windu is literally the only Master of Vapaad, and he's wary of teaching it to others. Other Jedi would find that Vapaad brings them dangerously close to the Dark Side, but for Windu it was a way of dealing with the fact that his character and temperament are close to the Dark Side already.
Meanwhile, Stover gave Windu another Force-power; the ability to sense 'shatterpoints.' Just as a crystal can be fractured if struck in just the right place, in just the right way, so a Force-user with the ability to sense shatterpoints can sense the flow of history around him.
In the Arena at Geonosis, Windu sensed that Dooku was a shatterpoint; instead of killing Dooku, though, he chose to save his friends, and so doomed the Galaxy to the Clone Wars. Excitingly, the idea of 'shatterpoints' has just returned to the Star Wars canon; it's referenced in Chuck Wendig's recent novel, Aftermath: Empire's End.
As you can see, the character of Mace Windu is one with real hidden depths. Samuel Jackson is willing to return as the character, and I have to say that I strongly believe there's a rich vein of untapped gold in this idea.
How Could Mace Windu Return?
Here's the catch, though; I'm afraid I don't accept that Windu survived Palpatine's attack. For one thing, I can't imagine a badly-wounded Jedi Master lasting long in the dawning days of the Empire, especially as he'd be stranded on Coruscant. We know that Palpatine ordered a planet-wide lockdown, one that Bail Organa barely escaped. What's more, the survival of Windu would fit awkwardly with the canon novels and potentially even with #StarWarsRebels.
So I'm sorry, Sam Jackson, but I don't think that's the right approach to take. What may work, though, is if Lucasfilm set a Windu film earlier in the timeline - either before the prequels, showing Windu's rise to power as a Jedi Master, or even during the #CloneWars. Lucasfilm has proven willing to adapt the old Expanded Universe into its new canon; the story of the Death Star plans was previously explored in the EU, and Grand Admiral Thrawn's backstory has been seamlessly adapted. They could potentially do the same with Shatterpoint, one of the highlights of Star Wars fiction.
I have to be honest that I'm not holding my breath for this to become a reality. Samuel Jackson may long to return to the Star Wars franchise, but right now I see no sign that #Lucasfilm is interested in telling that story. Still, who knows? "Always in motion, is the future," Yoda said, and he was absolutely right. Like Samuel Jackson himself, we can only hope...