A blog about Star Wars and especially about my thoughts and ideas and musings as we wait for Episode VII.

lørdag 9. november 2013

The return of Star Wars

Hello and welcome to this blog. As a lifelong Star Wars - fan, I am now getting excited about the upcoming seventh episode in the saga. I will use this blog to discuss news and rumors, but mainly to try and construct - over time - a vision of what I'd like to see and/or not see once Episode VII hits theaters in December 2015. This is why I have called the blog Star Wars: Episode VII: The Dark Legacy, because that's a title I find appropriate for several reasons (which I'll get back to).

There are a few entertainment franchises that I hold very dear. There is George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire (see my Stormsongs blog), Steven Erikson's The Book of the Malazan Fallen, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and various role-playing game products, especially good old Forgotten Realms. All fantasy stuff. But the one that has always been with me, and always will stay with me, is Star Wars. It's kind of weird really that I haven't blogged about the saga before. Maybe because I spent shamefully many hours at various forums dedicated to the movies. I do not have much love for the prequel trilogy, but I still call myself a Star Wars junkie. I'll probably be dissecting the prequel movies for what worked and what didn't as well as I'm getting ready for the sequel trilogy. I'll be picking my wish list of actors for Episode VII, suggest plot lines, talk about why certain suggestions put forth by other Star Wars fans aren't all that great, and it will be all from one individual's point of view, of course.

With that out of the way, what do we know about Episode VII at this point? The answer is simple. Not much. Only this week (yesterday) it was revealed that Lucasfilm has started an open casting call and the parts to be auditioned for are a young girl (seventeen) and boy (eighteen-twenty). That's it! Of course, there's a lot of rumors including the return of the main characters from the original movies, but nothing's confirmed at this point. We know some technical details (producers, writers, sound supervisors, composer etc.) but nothing about the story.

What we can deduce from Return of the Jedi  is that no matter what the writers do, they are in for some difficulties when it comes to making Episode VII a natural continuation. The story was firmly concluded back in '83 when Vader redeemed himself by throwing the Emperor down the shaft aboard the second Death Star. Not only did both Sith Lords die, the movie also saw the demise of other villains like Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt with his entire retinue. Leia and Han got together, Luke and Leia learned they were siblings, Yoda became a ghost...there is not much more to develop. With the second Death Star destroyed and the Imperial flagship, the Super Star Destroyer Executor, both destroyed, whatever remained of the Empire at the end of the trilogy would probably scatter on the galactic winds. At once, a finale, but also giving the writers of Episode VII (Arndt, Kasdan, Abrams) a clean slate, so to speak.

Except...

For some reason George Lucas thought it was a good idea to take out actor Sebastian Shaw from the Endor Return of the Jedi, when Luke Skywalker turns to see Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda as ghosts watching the proceedings (how come they appeared on Endor but never showed up at Cloud City? There's an unresolved point that we can bring into Episode VII - the "why" of Kenobi's line, "If you choose to face him, I cannot help you" - paraphrased) ... uh where was I? Got derailed by my own addenda here. Yeah, anyway, now Luke turns around and suddenly this young ghostly fellow in Jedi robes pops up. Luke doesn't look perturbed so if we are to reckon this change as canon, it must mean he understands that the fellow is in fact his father, looking younger than Luke himself. Why am I mentioning this? Because it is such a lousy change to make if there's no reason behind it. Shaw was perfectly fine as the old Vader. If the scene was changed only to show that Anakin 'died' once he became Vader, it holds up theoretically but it still looks awfully dumb. Not only did he terrorize the galaxy for umpteen years, he gets to look good in the afterlife as well, unlike Obi-Wan who did good. But what if Lucas decided to put Christensen in the scene because he had/has an idea for Episode VII and beyond? If so, this suggests that the Force will be central again. An elderly Luke Skywalker in the sequels could be quite powerful with these three ghosts backing him (and maybe Qui-Gon Jinn too, who for some untold reason only appears by voice).
celebrations and replace him with Hayden Christensen. Now, in the DVD and blu-ray editions of
This in turn makes me dread the return of Hayden Christensen to the saga. I think two movies were more than enough of him. Sometimes I wonder if he was a CGI character too. Anyway.
Since I want to make the altered ending of Jedi make sense - somehow - I am adding for my own vision of the next episode, the idea that Force Ghost Anakin is needed for the sequel trilogy to flow naturally from the previous six episodes. It is, after all, one story and it would be strange if the three last episodes were totally unrelated to the six first.
In addition, there are several key plot points (I'm not sure 'plot point' is the correct word here, but bear with me) introduced in the prequel trilogy that never got explained and as such may have been saved for sequels (I doubt it, by the way - I doubt it very strongly - the prequels don't seem to have been made with that level of dedication) - and most of these points relate to the Force, the Jedi, and the Sith.

So, the casting call is out and we know the story will feature a young lady and a young man. From the lines of dialogue given to the actors auditioning, it is clear these two are not related; they are probably a romantic pairing. One of them, if we are to believe the stories on the Internet, the girl, finds a lightsaber and wonders what it is.
Since the sequels by necessity should feature a Skywalker if the story wants to remain a Skywalker saga, I am thinking (and so does the rest of the Internet) that this girl might just be Luke Skywalker's daughter (or Leia and Han's daughter), thirty years after the Battle of Endor. Age-wise, it matches.

One could, by the way, argue that the next films could be about the Solos instead. Prequels = Skywalker, Originals = Skywalker + Solo, Sequels = Solo. That's just an example of how you can retain a certain rhythm without having to Force yourself into a Skywalker-corner, though I do not doubt at all that the sequels will be about a Skywalker (or two).

I'm not sure the movies even need Luke, Han or Leia. Yes, it would be fun in a way to see the olden goldies return, but at the same time it could lead to awkwardness. I mean, didn't you find Indiana Jones IV just a little awkward? They could be background characters, people say, but that would be kind of strange too. They could be the main characters, and that would be strange too. No matter how I approach the issue of Hamill, Ford, and Fisher returning, I find it awkward. Of the three, I lean most toward Hamill because he's a great (and underrated) actor who I believe could make a believable aged Luke Skywalker. And he may be needed as a link between Anakin and the female lead.

There are many other things to consider as well. How has the galaxy changed since Jedi? Who rules? Did Luke 'pass on what he had learned'? What happened to the Imperial fleet and troops? Did Han and Leia get on with it? And so on, and so forth.

I have only a sketchy vision or idea so far. I am thinking that the defeat of the Empire did not usher in a New Republic. Instead, star systems would gain independence, which led to a galaxy of loose alliances and each system on its own. Maybe Leia and Mon Mothma did try to restablish the Republic, but failed (failures of the previous Republic and its Jedi Guardians could be a reason); maybe someone else, a Moff or whatever, tried to rebuild the glorious Empire, and failed. What I'm thinking is that when Episode VII begins, the galaxy is no longer united. Simple as that. Warlords rule certain star systems, others have gone back to monarchies or other -ies. Luke Skywalker has not built a Jedi Order because there's no one around to teach (unless he taught Leia, but I think that with all that happened to him, he has gone into seclusion not wishing to pass on what he has learned because he dreads the Dark Side's influence which he saw so clearly in his father; this, in turn, could lead to Luke being Forced to come out of hiding and teach people the ways of the Force when needed). The Jedi, if people remember them as they were which shouldn't be too hard, may not be looked upon favorably at all. The idea of a united galaxy may be in decline, but then something happens that only a united galaxy can counter? Food for thought, eh.

Next post I'll give some specific examples of things I hope they avoid when making Episode VII, as well as take a look at which characters from the existing movies should have a place in the sequel trilogy. No matter what, it's once again exciting to be a Star Wars nut. Oh, and I'll explain why I think The Dark Legacy is a good title for the seventh episode. Until then, may the Force be with you.


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