A long time ago, in a pop culture landscape far, far different from ours, ‘Star Wars’ was a phenomenon that inspired devotion and passion not just from its die-hard fans, but even casual viewers that rated the film highly.
Several unnecessary special editions and three prequels that stunk worse than the inside of a tauntaun later, that devotion has turned into an apologetic shrug.
What do you do? Well, if you’re The Walt Disney Company, you buy Lucasfilm. Three years after purchasing Marvel Entertainment, the House of Mouse has struck again, snapping up George Lucas’ legendary studio to the tune of more than US$4 billion—and they’re promising ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ in 2015.
But with an increasingly jaded fan-base, what can Disney do to revitalise the ailing franchise?
Geek god, Joss Whedon
May the Joss be with You.
Give the keys to the Jedi Council to Joss Whedon. He’s the director behind Marvel’s ‘The Avengers’, one of the biggest summer blockbusters of all time. Our geekier readers, however, will also know him as the creator of ‘Firefly’, a short-lived television series that some would say was one of the very best sci-fi shows of the last 15 years and arguably a spiritual descendant of the original ‘Star Wars’ movies.
Both ‘Firefly’ and ‘Avengers’ were praised for their razor sharp wit and wonderful characterisation—two traits that made the original ‘Star Wars’ films such massive hits.
Whedon seems like a no-brainer, but other directors who are known for smart action and who could be worthy of consideration are ‘District 9’s’ Neill Blomkamp, ‘Iron Man’s’ Jon Favreau or ‘Source Code’s’ Duncan Jones.
“When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not.”*
Another key thing that made the original trilogy such a milestone for an entire generation—and that was missing from the prequels—was the effortless chemistry between the three main cast members – Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as Han, Leia and Luke, respectively.
The banter, the on-screen camaraderie, the cheekiness—these are the kinds of things that you just can’t recreate with a new cast. We’re not saying it’s impossible, but no matter how good any new actors might be, we’ll always compare them to the Han, Leia and Luke that we remember.
So while a sequel shouldn’t recast the original three leads, it could have them reappear. Get Ford, Fisher and Hamill to revisit these characters set 40 years after ‘Return of the Jedi’. This pleases the older fans—and leaves plenty of room for the next clan of Solos and Skywalkers to take centre stage.
(*Yoda in ‘The Return of the Jedi’)
George with the new Jedis
“There is … another … Skywalker …”**
For those of you unfamiliar with anything ‘Star Wars’-related beyond the six movies, the universe of those films has spun off into the stuff of geek legend. Han and Leia have twins. Luke finally settles down with a former-smuggler and has his own rugrats. Chewbacca … well, the less said about Chewie’s future, the better (no, it doesn’t involve Lindsey Lohan, a case of tequila and a particularly sordid evening in the seedier back alleys of Alderaan, in case you were wondering).
From novels to comics, Disney’s job is practically half-done, really. All the Mousey execs need to do is pick one of the more popular expanded universe story arcs, and, voila, instant sequels!
(**More famous words from Yoda in ‘Return of the Jedi’)
“All Jedi had was a bunch of muppets.”***
One of the bigger criticisms levelled at the prequels was that Lucas relied way too much on CGI. Space battles, pod races, aliens, and even some of the backgrounds—it seemed like that human element was as overrun as Han was in the Death Star’s hallways.
We’re not saying do away with CGI completely, but where possible, a return to more practical effects would be cool. Look at Yoda in the original three movies—even though he was nothing more than a muppet essentially, he looked real. In the prequels, however, his CGI’d self seemed, ironically, less lively.
(***Quote is from the movie ‘Clerks’, 1994)
Kill Jar-Jar Binks
And make it real nasty too.
Wayne Rée is a copywriter by day, a (hopefully) soon-to-be self-published author by night, and a complete doofus almost all the time. He was partly responsible for Singapore’s very first tattoo magazine FlashINK, so if you want to blame anyone, he’s as good as any. In the last decade, he’s worked for numerous publications and websites. He’s got an unnatural obsession with comics, science fiction and the music of Nine Inch Nails. And he loves talking about himself in the third-person, the egomaniac.