I just saw Solo: A Star Wars story and enjoyed it. Like Rogue One, it managed to take a relatively obscure part of the background to the original movies and make a pretty interesting story out of it. However, having now watched both of these films, I think I've figured out Disney's formula for making them.
Potentially spoiler-y stuff follows.
So it seems if you want to make a modern Star Wars film, particularly a non-numbered one, it should feature as many of the following as possible.
- the cast should be racially diverse
- the female protagonist should have a British accent
- all Imperial officers should also have a British accent
- one of the main characters should be a sardonic droid with a dislike for humans
- the film should have little to no mention of the Force or the Jedi until right at the end when a Sith Lord should make a surprise appearance
- TIE fighters that are clearly TIE fighters but somehow are slightly different to all the TIE fighters in previous films
- as above but for stormtroopers
- most or ideally all of the main characters should be dead by the end of the film
- at as many points as possible, characters should be preparing for upcoming events by assembling or reconfiguring weapons
- have something in the trailer that was cool that didn't make it into the finished film
- jam as many weird aliens into the background as possible - not ones we've seen before, just make up some new ones
- no one should trust each other, or if they do, it should turn out to be misplaced
- scenes that obviously and deliberately mirror a scene from the original trilogy
- there should be an unresolved or unrequited love story between at least two of the main characters - bonus points if one or both of them are dead by the end of the movie
Bonus points if you get in any of these Star Wars tropes...
- at some point someone should lose an arm, or a hand
- the main characters should go into a cantina at some point
- hover cars/bikes
- conversation between two characters where one is speaking in English and the other in an alien language (bonus points if it is unintelligable gibberish)
- a relationship between a parent and their child that is strained by one of them being or doing something evil
- a really short alien
- a really tall alien
- inhabited planets that appear to be completely inhospitable
- Tatooine, or at the very least a planet that appears to be mostly desert
- someone has a bad feeling about this
That seems about right. Okay, I'm off to pitch my idea for a movie set between episodes V and VI, about a diverse group of Rebel spies and their angry droid, and their desperate attempt to find out the Emperor's travel plans re: the second Death Star. Spoiler alert: many Bothans die. What's the betting someone's already working on that?