I’m diving into two touchy subjects here today. A)Most fanboys seems to think The Holy Trilogy is untouchable, and B) most of us are sick and tired of remakes/reboots. But before you let out a cheesy Vader-style “NOOOOOO!!”, hear me out.
There are two undeniable facts we need to accept in order to move on with our lives. The first is that remakes/reboots aren’t going anywhere any time soon. For heaven’s sake, we’re getting a Spider-Man reboot within 6 years of the final installment of the first trilogy. I’m ok with this on the grounds that I don’t want my kids to think Spiderman is all about emo eyeliner and dancing through the streets. The second undeniable fact is that as Star Wars gets older as a series, it gets further away from what made it great. Thanks George Lucas for such unnecessary additions as Greedo shooting first, midichlorians, young Anakin replacing old Anakin in the final scene of Return of the Jedi, and of course Jar Jar Binks.
What these changes tell me is that Lucas desperately wants his saga to endure despite age and continue to suck in new fans. Gotta sell some toys after all. But it also tells me that he is too out of touch and possibly too close to the material to allow it to fully develop new angles, light, and tones that could carry it into the next couple of generations. I’ve seen high quality work come from video games, comic books, and novels that take place in a galaxy far, far, away. And you know what the difference between the movies and those formats is? Old George had little to nothing to do with the writing and development of the alternative mediums. Every one of his moves in the series, including the entirety of the newer trilogy seem very obviously to be a cash grab based on what he thinks the fans want. It has become apparent that what he thinks and what we want are two very different things. I want Han to shoot first…he needs to have that dark edge. I want the mystery of the force to be as powerful as force lightning, I want a crusty old Anakin standing next to crusty puppet Yoda and crusty Alec Guinness. And for the love of Jabba, I don’t want Jar Jar Binks. It’s time to hand it over George, and here’s why:
Star Trek(2009) proved that with a proper talented fanboy and some fresh eyes on a stale franchise, wonders can happen. JJ Abrams maintained the overall themes and fun nature of the beloved-series, as well as made it accessible to a whole new generation of not only fanboys, but mainstream audiences alike. Granted, Abrams found a loophole to reinvent the original series without destroying it via time-travel and parallel reality, which I would not recommend for Star Wars. But let’s face it: The acting in the original Trek was campy and corny. The same can be said of much of the cast of all Star Wars films, except Harrison Ford. This might be indulgent, but I think that he’s immune to criticism…ever.
But it’s a well known fact that Lucas’s writing was, to put it nicely, disgustingly stale. Carrie Fisher, still faithful to the Original Trilogy, often complained about the horribly technical jargon that Georgey ladled into the script. It’s no wonder the performances are often over-the-top and over dramatic. How else were they gonna make this stuff interesting? For some, that’s part of the charm. As time goes on and the newer generations become more accustomed to higher quality performances in their sci-fi, these films are simply going to turn some folks off.
The re-imagined Battlestar Galactica has, in recent years, filled the ever-widening sci-fi/fanboy void left by Star Wars. As it stands, when my kids get old enough, I intend to show them BSG before Star Wars. Mainly because I don’t feel I have to apologize for BSG. It’s solid, well-written, with space battles more epic than the final battle in Return of the Jedi, which used to be my favorite scene in anything. Ever.
This is a prime example of taking what doesn’t work out, and tweaking what does work to create something bold and fresh. The themes and epic nature of Star Wars has become watered down to the point where even if they released Episodes 7-9 tomorrow, I would only go to the theater out of a sense of obligation with very low expectations. While Revenge of the Sith had some of the best moments in all 6 films, these moments were conceptualized and known as canon years before, back when George still had some edge.
I would like to say that the lightsaber battles are the saving grace of the new trilogy, and this style of fighting is much preferred to Luke’s uncalculated, wild swinging. Those are really the only scenes that get me excited anymore. There are definitely inherent problems with recreating the Star Wars universe. Do you write the story just as it was before, and simply recreate the scenes? Or do you risk it all and tell a story no one will see coming? An unenviable task to be sure, as there will be a backlash the likes of which have never been seen. But before long, it won’t be about you and me anymore. This is about the kids of the future. Do we choose to keep this relic as our own, risking further detachment from future pop culture? Or do we sever our ties and make a sacrifice for the good of the epic saga enduring down the line? The potential is still in there, just buried deep below George Lucas’s piles of money.
What would an episode of this series be like, written, directed, and performed by some of today’s most talented artists? Sound off below on your thoughts!