Pop-Ed: Star Wars, Episode 7

daniel cohen ruminates about the thought of the new trilogy…

The original Star Wars Trilogy are the greatest films ever made. Out of all the movies I’ve seen in my lifetime, there’s no doubt these are the films I’ve watched the most. This is probably true for a lot of people. Everyone always goes back to Star Wars. With the recent announcement of Disney acquiring Lucasfilm, and the confirmation of a new trilogy, I absolutely have to throw in my two cents. But before we do that, let me take you back to a time before we knew there was an Episode VII…

The years leading up to the Episode VII Announcement:

The original Star Wars Trilogy are perfect films. All 10 out of 10. And yes, that includes the Ewoks. Now with regards to the prequels, there are typically three different philosophies: People who defend the prequels wholeheartedly, people who detest the prequels, and then there’s the third camp, which is where I fall in — Hate the first two, but like Revenge of the Sith. I don’t need to list what’s wrong with the prequels. Everyone and their mother has done that to death.

When Revenge of the Sith ended, I was satisfied. I was able to move on from Star Wars. Yeah, I know there’s a crap load of expanded universe shenanigans, a cartoon show, and terrible video games, but as great a Star Wars fan as I am, I cared only for the films. If it wasn’t in the movie theaters blasting the theme with the crawl, it wasn’t Star Wars to me.

When you love a certain property, there’s bound to be a bunch of lackluster crap that builds around it, whether it be another movie, TV, comic, whatever. But I’m always able to separate myself from that stuff, and still enjoy what I originally loved. The Matrix is a perfect example. I can still love the first Matrix, and not have to think about the sequels. But with Star Wars, it’s been really hard to do that. I hated how a CG film called Clone Wars with Stinky the Hutt was being shoved down my throat. I hated how there were so many horrible video games that were virtually unplayable. I hated how George Lucas kept altering the original trilogy. There were so many negative elements surrounding Star Wars, it got to a point where I didn’t even want to look at my Star Wars DVDs. But when I took a quick five minute break from work last week to check the news, there it was right in front of me: ‘Disney acquires Lucasfilm, new sequel trilogy coming.’ I’ve just now been able to process this.

On Disney Acquiring Lucasfilm/The George Lucas Legacy:

The reason I was so elated to read there was going to be a sequel trilogy was first and foremost that Lucas would not be writing or directing it. Now I want to be very clear about something — I appreciate everything George Lucas has done. The man practically gave me my childhood. He gave us Star Wars. I’m not one of these assholes who say, ‘Screw George Lucas, he did the prequels.’ Lucas has been a huge influence on my life. But…the fact of the matter is the prequels are bad movies (except Episode III), and Star Wars deserved better. I appreciate that Lucas has graciously stepped aside, and given the franchise to a place where it belongs. With Disney’s past acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, this sequel trilogy is now in a place where it can reach the heights we all thought the prequels could get to.

But at long last, let’s get to the matter at hand – my early thoughts on the sequel trilogy…

The Sequel Trilogy (What I Don’t Want to See):

1) No Prequel Nonsense

This one’s pretty self-explanatory. This is basically all the crap that made the prequel trilogy reprehensible at times. Overdone CG, battle droids going ‘Roger, Roger,’ C-3PO puns, characters solely designed to sell action figures, horrible acting, yadda, yadda, yadda. We all know what made the prequels bad. I get that merchandising is part of Star Wars, but just make good movies, and the toys will sell themselves.

2) No Expanded Universe Crap

I don’t care about Mara Jade. I don’t care about Skywalker twins. I don’t care about Grand Admiral Thrawn. I DON’T CARE! And I certainly don’t care about fanboys complaining about how the 9,000 books and comics have to be adapted and respected for the sequel trilogy. NO! For once in my life, I want to go into a Star Wars film and not know what’s going to happen. The unknown is exciting to me. This trilogy has to be 100% completely original.

3) Don’t Force Anything…

Whoever is chosen to write (editor’s note — it’ll be Little Miss Sunshine’s Michael Arndt) and direct this thing, I don’t want them to feel like they have to do certain things that are Star Wars. I want the new talent to be able to do what they want to do. Aside from saying ‘A long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away,’ and opening with the Star Wars theme and crawl, let them do what they want. Fans need to accept that these Star Wars films are going to have a different feel. You may not get those iconic Star Wars camera dissolves. And we also need to be prepared for the fact that John Williams may not score the music. I know…this is a scary notion. But maybe the director wants to go with someone else. We all need to be prepared for these changes. Remember what happened with 2006’s Superman Returns. Bryan Singer was so desperate to cling onto the 1978 Richard Donner world of Superman, and that film sucked. Whoever directs this movie shouldn’t try to be George Lucas…direct it how you want to direct it.

The Sequel Trilogy (What I Do Want to See):

1) Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia (they don’t have to be main characters)

I would love to see Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher back in these roles. But…they don’t have to be the primary focus. They can be the Obi-Wan Kenobi’s and Yoda’s of the series. Older characters. Mentors. I think the new trilogy should be about new characters, but I feel like these two belong in the background. And as far as Han Solo goes, yeah, I’d like to see him, but let’s not get our hopes up for Harrison Ford…we’ll see. I think Luke and Leia are much more important.

2) A Great New Villain

This might be the single most important element I want to see in this new trilogy. This was a massive weakness to the prequels. Darth Maul and Count Dooku…eh. And I know the Emperor eventually took the forefront in Sith, and Ian McDiarmid was awesome, but it was still a familiar character. I desperately want to see a dark, scary, and even deeply disturbed villain in this new trilogy. I want to walk away saying, ‘I loved him like I loved Darth Vader, but for different reasons.’

3) Ewan McGregor

Okay, calm down. Let me explain. Now, this really isn’t that important to me, just something I think would be cool. How extraordinary would it be if Ewan McGregor showed up in front of an old Luke as a force ghost. Now why would he show up as Ewan McGregor and not Alec Guinness? Here’s my little dream Star Wars scene:

Luke: Why have you returned as a young man, master?
Obi-Wan: Master? Luke…you are the master now.

As I said…that’s my little dream scene.

The Director:

When the director for Episode VII is finally revealed, it will tell us a lot. This is absolutely critical. Now before I reveal my pick, I just want to preface it with this. I have a feeling a lot of people will disagree with my choice. But in the end, it’s quite simple. As I said, the Original Star Wars trilogy are my favorite movies, so when I think of who I want to direct a Star Wars movie, why would I not want the best director working in Hollywood today, and that director is….

Christopher Nolan

Look…it’s not going to happen. And yes, I know his style doesn’t exactly scream ‘Star Wars.’ But he’s such a talented filmmaker, he’ll be able to adapt to Star Wars, and will also be able to make it his own. I can’t think of anyone better to helm the franchise.

Looking Beyond the Twin Suns of Tatooine:

I’ve rambled on long enough. Bottom-line…maybe this sequel trilogy will suck, I don’t know. All I know is I’m excited for Star Wars again, and that it has a chance to redeem itself.

Remember, the force will be with us…always.

 

Daniel Cohen is the hard-boiled Film Editor for the Pop Break. Besides reviews, Daniel writes box office predictions, Gotham reviews and Oscar coverage. He can also be found on the Breakcast. If Daniel was sprayed by Scarecrow's fear toxin, it would be watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on a non-stop loop.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Christopher Nolan would cast Jason Gorden-Levitt as Luke’s ambiguously gay sidekick, Nibor, who reflects blaster shots back to their sources by virtue of having learned to manipulate the matrix.

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