Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How "Star Wars VII" Should Go. Tom's Version

Before I dive too far into my introductory post, I would like to share where I stand on Star Wars in general. Prior to the news that J.J. Abrams was attached to direct, the series has had a lukewarm feel for me. While I accept that it was technically impressive for its time, I am not entirely sure if the hype justifies the product. I have been to a local Comic Con and have been chased by remote controlled R2D2’s. I’ve seen the cosplay and know the culture. Still, my bigger issue just lies in the depth of the series.

I am not heavily into sci-fi, which may be the first issue. Still, the very idea of Star Wars doesn’t feel worthy of the numerous installments that it had. True, I’ll accept that initial trilogy, but let’s not forget general concept. This is about a family torn apart by bizarre circumstances. There is a central group of characters and they solve their peril. Fair enough. However, with the announcement that there will be yet even more, I just wonder how this family thing will pan out.

Truthfully, that is the issue with it. These characters don’t really much going for them to deserve a legacy outside of a handful of films, but not seven, which all felt to be building to something grand. Maybe it is the inconsistent character development or the lack of philosophical depth, but this family isn’t the most interesting thing in this galaxy. Having to follow their lives and face rewriting history to alter once coherent characters is just too damning.

With all of this said, I am not looking forward to whatever may come. Still, in order to predict where things could go, let us look at the team assembled. Abrams has become the go-to guy when wanting to give your franchise a makeover fresh with lens flares. While it is the black sheep of opinions, I feel that he is way better at original material, as I consider Super 8 to be his best film directorial effort to date. Add in writer Michael Arndt, whose credits include Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine. Two great films that give me hope that fresh eyes can help. That is until I noticed that he wrote Oblivion, which continues Joseph Kosinski’s quest to not make a boring movie. I feel like Oblivion is going to be the type of Arndt that we get, and I don’t know that we need that.

Then we have the parent company: Disney. Remember how Disney did wonders with Marvel movies, leading to The Avengers’ phenomenal opening? This is generally where I begin to consider exactly how the marketing of Bad Robot and Disney will mesh together to form the most mysterious promotional circuit imaginable. Over the past decade, nobody has made more ambiguous trailers for big films than Bad Robot. It culminated in Cloverfield and has probably been J.J. Abrams’ gimmick ever since. Now consider Disney. They built up to one big super movie with five films: a gamble that essentially paid off. While Star Wars is already guaranteed to do gangbusters, I predict that what we’re going to be introduced to is not so much a new story, but the beginning to a new arc.

Basically, Disney has proven that they like to build to something grand. With Star Wars 7 still two years off, there is no way of knowing what we’re building towards just yet. Still, it is a marketing gimmick that when sided with Abrams could become one of the greatest or most annoying campaigns in film history, depending on overkill.

With this established, I will follow it up with more speculation of the actual plot. If the film will be building to something new, what exactly do we start with? Provided that we follow chronology from the sixth film, Darth Vader is dead and everyone is celebrating with Ewoks. Evil is punished. Maybe this is more a reflection on my desire to go all psychological, but I feel like the film will begin as this tale of the old hands letting the new guys come forward. Basically, Luke goes back to being a farmer on Tattooine and is falling into the simple life. Possibly as a mentor to some young kids.

Still, his passion is fading and he no longer finds the joy in fighting evil, as he has grown old and doesn't feel like he could handle any more loss in his life. While whittling on his porch one day, trouble comes brewing and his past comes back to haunt him. He is too old to fight, but thanks to his relationship with the kids, he is able to teach them to take over and fight the fight.

It would be daft to really go any further. What I feel is that we’re going to see the familiar characters from the initial films aging and hopefully passing the torch with grace. From there, they will probably become either minor or nonexistent roles in the remaining films. In a way, this is like the Rocky montage of a film, though probably exceeding two hours. They will manage to pay respect to the series, but accept that the Skywalker family has had their moment in the sun and now it is time to explore a new world with new people. I feel like this is the only way for the series to truly remain fresh. Keep the characters intact, but do realize that the Skywalker story has reached its limit and just move on to someone else’s story. Or get really creative and make each film an individual character’s origin story and then make the third, fourth, or whatever number film into the assembling.

In fact, that is how I feel the films will go. We’ll introduce new characters through the mentoring of the old hands and then get them together for one super film. Whether or not it will be successful is another story. At very least we’ll always know that John Williams will be there to at least move units of new music. With Kathleen Kennedy also at the helm, I am almost expecting Abrams’ style to borrow from the Amblin production model and be somewhat whimsical and youthful. Basically, Super 8, but in this established universe. It is a model that she helped build with Steven Spielberg, and since he makes a lot of money doing that, it makes sense that she has other people do that.

I apologize if this is beyond logic, but the franchise is in dire need of a face lift. They have long been stuck in the grating “I hate George Lucas” phase and needs to accept that these are movies. While my initial hope would be that this series had a dignified finale 30 years ago, I realize that corporations need money, and thus needs to rely on the past to build a future. I am not expecting this to be great, but hopefully it isn’t the most embarrassing thing that Disney has released since Planes.

Now since this is part of a friendly contest between me and Mike to start off this collaborative blog strongly, please click here to vote on which Idea you liked best for the new Star Wars. The poll closes on the 9th of June at 10 pm so please spread the word!

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