Star Wars VII: So Very Tired

Hey guys, did you know that George Lucas sold LucasFilm Ltd. to Disney? Okay, so everyone on the planet and any extraterrestrials who are fans of Star Wars or Indiana Jones are pretty aware of everything that has happened.

It’s an exciting time for everyone, or maybe it’s a time of dread, who knows… either way, Star Wars: Episode VII, VIII and IX are coming and Disney is making it happen.

The announcement has taken awhile to sink in, and in that time I’ve had my initial reactions and judgements… none of which were very positive. It all really stemmed from the fact that I valued that LucasFilm and everything connected to it was independent. It had become a big bad empire in itself but it was its own empire, separate from all of the others out there. I had always imagined that when George Lucas retired, he’d simply leave the company to one of his trusted associates who would then run the company from then on. Instead he sold it to Disney and then one of his associated took charge as described anyway.

It was a shock, a pretty huge shock… but the bigger shock was the fact that out of this deal would actually spawn a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, the Sequel Trilogy as it were, or will be. Did any of us see this coming? Not one of us saw this coming, at least not one of us who wasn’t some crazy theorist who based their beliefs on hopes and dreams and the voices in their heads.

No matter what any of us may think about it, good or bad, Disney seems pretty damned committed to bringing us more Star Wars and cashing in on their new acquisition. At first I wasn’t fine with it, but after the initial shock, I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Star Wars in the future because it’s going to change a lot of things for older fans and introduce a new generation to that galaxy far, far away. . . .

A universe in continuous expansion

One of the first things that came to mind when the reality hit me that the Sequel Trilogy was being made was the question of where the Expanded Universe sits with this new trilogy. Since “Heir to the Empire” was released over a decade ago, the folks over at LucasFilm licensing have been trying to keep a solidified canon, declaring that all of the EU stories are set in the same universe and related to each other.

When the Prequel Trilogy was released, George Lucas used quite a lot of elements from this Expanded Universe in his movies, but at the same time he changed a lot of things about what the EU had already established as well. This caused a problem of contradicting information and events were retroactively changed around the Prequel Trilogy to try to make sense of a lot of the discrepancies. It was tough but many authors/writers that contributed to the EU managed to work through the big ripple effect the Prequel Trilogy caused into the EU canon and it survived.

As I think of the Sequel Trilogy and what effect it will have on the EU, the only thing that comes to mind is that it will end up destroying the EU entirely… I mean, there’s no way the Sequel Trilogy is going to be based off of any story already created in the EU. It’s a movie trilogy and has to work by movie rules and focus on appealing to the greater masses. Whatever story they come up with for the Sequel Trilogy, it will end up being something completely new, overriding what has already been established in the EU set after the Battle of Endor.

The Sequel Trilogy will rewrite the universe fans know, making way for a new Expanded Universe… and to be honest, I don’t mind that happening. I’m sure that whatever we get in the Sequel Trilogy, there are sure to be quite a lot of nods to things in the Expanded Universe like Lucas had done before with some of the elements of the Prequel Trilogy. All won’t be lost…

Return of the heroes

It’s been 35 years since Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill first graced the movie screens in Star Wars: A New Hope, and they gave us a great round of three movies that none of us will ever forget. They portrayed some of the most iconic characters is cinema history… and with the Sequel Trilogy they’ve potentially been given another chance to play the roles of Leia, Han and Luke respectively, again.

All three of them are interested in reprising their roles, and if their characters do return, there’s no one else I’d want to play those characters but them. It wouldn’t feel right if it was anyone else and I imagine the crafting of the story for the Sequel Trilogy is based heavily around portraying the heroes of the Original Trilogy at an appropriate age for their actors. I have no doubt they’ll return since there’s a lot more hype to be generated from the return of these actors than without.

Of course, the question everyone probably has is if having them return would be the right thing to do. Luke, Leia and Han are such larger than life characters that have been held up for so many years that having them return could be pretty jarring.

This is the primary reason why I think the Sequel Trilogy should not be based around these characters. While I have no doubt they will be there, I’d rather they were more in the background as support characters for a new generation (of unknown actors, please).

Mark Hamill is the easiest of the three to work in since Luke Skywalker can become the old wizard character and be a mentor for our new characters. While his role may be larger in the first sequel movie, I expect him to fade more into the background as the story progresses.

Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford are much tougher to work in, however the key to this whole thing, I think, is to keep the screen time of these characters to a bare minimum. They should feel like they’re always there working in the background but never the focus.

Overusing any of these characters would end up hurting the characters more than anything else. These characters are pretty damn iconic and they should be handled as such in the Sequel Trilogy. Let a new generation of heroes rise from this trilogy with the old cast merely providing support.

Remembering your roots

One last thing that goes through my mind is whether the Sequel Trilogy will try to go back to the roots of what made the Original Trilogy great. Without going on a rant complaining about the Prequel Trilogy, it did lack a lot of what made the Original Trilogy great. A lot of it had to do with how the films were made, while the OT used practical effects and sets, the PT relied way too heavily on computer generated imagery to the point where most of the PT wasn’t filmed, but rendered.

I’m hoping that the people responsible are able to see the value of going back to an older style of film making with the Sequel Trilogy. By all means, use computer generated material, but at the very least give the actors something to look at that’s actually real and not a green screen with a marker attached to so the actors know where to look. We’ve seen movies in recent years that use practical effects that look extremely good, just take a look at the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. It can be done and it should be something to strive for.

I’m also hoping we don’t see any recognisable actors in the Sequel Trilogy… aside from some obvious exceptions. I’d rather not suddenly see, I dunno, Ashton Kutcher in a Star Wars movie (the stuff on nightmares). I just can’t buy it and no one will be able to look at the movies and see whatever character they’re meant to be portraying, they’ll just be thinking… “Wow, Ashton Kutcher is in Star Wars”…

Whatever does happen with the Sequel Trilogy, at this point in time, I want to remain optimistic that something wonderful can come of all of this. Maybe it can… we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Jeff Moeller

    I definitely agree with you on a few points: that the original actors must be who plays Luke, Han and Leia, and that they should not be the main characters in the story. Like you said, I could see Luke being in the first movie a decent amount, like Obi-Wan in EpIV, but they definitely need new heroes for these movies.