Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Star Wars Episode VII: Unpopular Opinions

Those who know me or follow my blog know that I am kind of a Star Wars Prequel apologist.

Not everyone agrees with me, but that's fine, I'm used to it.

Then this happened and, like many of you, my initial reaction was NERD RAGE. For a moment, I felt the pull of the dark side. You know how Luke reacted when Vader threatened Leia? Yeah, that was me.

But then, like Luke, I realized that I had to be stronger. I would not fall like the fans before me.

In all seriousness, I don't think this is the worst idea in the world. Disney buying LucasFilm and announcing to produce the "Star Wars" franchise in perpetuity (potentially forever) does not inherently bother me, and I'll explain why.

When it comes to "Star Wars", I've never really cared about the plot. The plot has always been the weakest part of "Star Wars".

No, the greatest strength of "Star Wars" is its universe. The potential is nearly limitless. There's a reason why there's so much material in the Expanded Universe. When it comes to raw ideas, "Star Wars" has always had a knack for capturing the imagination with its myriad alien races, the mysterious nature of the Force and those who wield it, and technology that ranges from smooth and elegant to jagged and oily.

The story of the "Star Wars" films has never been some sacred artifact. This isn't like making a sequel to "Lord of the Rings" here.

If you immediately think that there's no way a "Star Wars" sequel can be good, then I don't want to know you. You have no imagination.

I think there's a lot of potential to tell new and interesting stories and draw from the popular Expanded Universe material, though I don't think you necessarily HAVE to. I mean, just look at the wealth of "Star Wars" fan films. Any "Star Wars" fan worth his salt has at least one thing they've always wanted to see or know more about. I for one have always wanted to see a story that doesn't vilify the dark side and explores the concept of a society of dark-side Force-sensitives who don't seek violence and domination.

That said, I do worry about a few things that could go wrong. But if they follow these two rules, I think they have a decent shot at making something good.

1) DO NOT RECAST THE MAIN CAST. It's no secret that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford (and the rest) are getting on in years. That doesn't change the fact that they ARE those characters. Casting new people would be absolutely ridiculous. Nor should they do that weird "Tron: Legacy" thing of using CG to make them "appear" younger. That won't work. What they SHOULD do is set the next trilogy about 25 years after the end of Episode VI. Yeah, that means they skip the well-loved Timothy Zahn novels, but I don't want to see those novels turned into movies without the original cast. I want to see something new and I want to see the torch passed to NEW characters (preferably characters that aren't human).

2) DO NOT BLATANTLY IGNORE THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE. Obviously, not the ENTIRE Expanded Universe is considered canon, but most people do consider Timothy Zahn's "Thrawn Trilogy" to be pretty much acceptable. Fans accept it, other writers accept it... it's accepted. I think the best thing for everyone is if they just treat it like it happened. Contradictions are bound to come up, but as long as they operate from a place of respecting past work, I think they'll be on the right track.

I'm not saying the next "Star Wars" movie won't suck. I'm just saying there's no reason to assume it HAS to suck. This movie should have fan support, otherwise they'll just make it in spite of us. And I don't want that.


  1. I guess I don't understand why people would nerd rage about this at all. If anything it means the writing will be better. Lucas has been trying to avoid doing these movies for ages, threatening fans with "Oh now you wont see episodes 7, 8, and 9" for ages and Disney has taken that away from him. GOOD I say. Lets see what he wrote years ago. However, I don't think casting the original cast is any sort of good idea. Yes, they are icons, they are very much the characters they portrayed, but there is no way at this pint I can see any of them playing the role again. For me, it's too late. I'd rather see new carefully picked actors who can look the part just as well, and I gurantee that's what Disney is thinking.

    I think fans take invest too much into "OH but that's not what it was..." and nostalgia. This is not a remake, this is a continuation and I think fans need to let go of that and enjoy it for what it will be. I mean come on, without Disney we would have never seen these films anyway. I for one want to know what happens outside of people's well written and published fan fiction.

    1. I would agree with you if I thought that the characters were important enough to warrant casting new people. In my opinion, they aren't. Luke, Leia, and Han all had their time to shine. Just like how Obi-Wan dies in Episode IV to pass on the torch to the next generation, I believe the next film should have the same process. New primary cast of characters, but have older versions of the previous characters influence the initial direction and introduce the new cast. And it's not because I think the original cast is sacred or anything, it's just that I think that making more "Star Wars" movies about the characters and the plot from the original sextet is a bad move, even if the original actors were still young enough to play their parts again. There isn't nearly as much potential there as there is in making a completely different story with new characters and new villains.

  2. All fair points, but I think they are trying to contiue what Lucas already made. I mean, I for one want to see it, but you are right it's kind of past time in a sense. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens!

  3. George Lucas has pretty much explicitly stated that he's going to pretty much ignore the expanded universe. Sorry fans of Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade, but your continuity is about to get commandeered by Jar Jar flying a space bongo full of red matter.

    1. This would the first I've heard of that. There have been rumors floating around, but nothing from the man himself that I'm aware of. Do you have a link? Even so, it would only matter if George Lucas had any kind of creative control. Yes it's his outline and yes he's still on as a consultant and yes the new boss has stated that she wishes to get as much input from George as possible, but it really all depends on who they get to direct. If they get someone who grew up a fan, they might insist that Mara Jade and other popular elements from the Thrawn Trilogy be involved.

      It's easy to be pessimistic because then you can only be pleasantly surprised, but I just don't see any reason to hit the panic button yet.

  4. I'm not panicking, I'm completely fine with movies and books inhabiting divergent continuities, but that's probably what's happening: