Advice for Star Wars VII and Beyond…

I’m not a filmmaker, a director, a producer, or a screen writer, but I have enjoyed my fair share of Star Wars. I grew up with it. I adored it. I had the toys and the video games. I shed tears at the travesty of the prequel films (actually I didn’t cry, though tears are justified in any case).

Despite this, I have maintained restraint regarding the upcoming films, because my experience has shown me that it is better to be surprised that a film is actually good, than to be let down because it didn’t meet my expectations (ahem… J.J. Abrams’ previous films and shows…)

I am however quite interested in how they will turn out. Like many, I am just itching to learn what the films will be about, and the length at which J.J. Abrams keeps such information makes the itching that much worse. Unlike others, I will refrain from speculating what the plot will be, because at this point, there is no sense in trying as my guesses are as good as anyone else’s. What I will do is provide some brief points that would behoove the new films to heed, in my own limited opinion.
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  • Star Wars IV: A New Hope

The start of it all. It was a great introduction to everything we needed to know. The good guys, the bad guys, and the extent to which either was willing to go to satisfy their goals. We met our heroes, and basically fell in love. The one problem I have with A New Hope is that (especially compared to its sequel) it’s too bright of a film. Don’t get me wrong, I greatly adore the optimistic heroism, the mythic tone, the call to adventure, all that jazz. It’s just that it’s a bit too squeaky clean in some of its presentation, at least by comparison to the next one…

  • Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back

Widely regarded as the best sequel ever, it’s also the best film so far in the entire franchise. Take everything about the first one, dig deeper, get darker, up the ante, and you have everything that is good about The Empire Strikes Back. While nothing seems as intimidating as flying towards a giant Death Star, watching the inexorable march of AT-ATs through the snows of Hoth strikes a dread all its own. If there were a weak point in this movie, it would have to be… … … Hold on… … … Yeah, I’m really trying… … … Okay, so there isn’t much wrong with it. Maybe the incestuous kiss. Or how Yoda talks, but that’s just characterization. So yeah… a great film, with a great twist. Just make another one of these, J.J.

 

  • Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi

A satisfying conclusion to the saga. Our heroes confront their gravest odds yet, and we see this whole thing finally comes to a close. Luke confronts the home of his past while saving Han from Jabba (who had been hounding him since the first film), before heading off to face his uncertain future. The weakest point in this film is, arguably, the Ewoks. I think George Lucas got a bit carried away with this one. They are just so darned cute, but it does provide a stark juxtaposition against the galaxy-spanning Empire, who is defeated by a meager force rebels and their teddy bear allies. At the end of the day, everything resolves in a way that promises things will be better for our heroes, even if they enlisted the help of stuffed animals.
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  • I-III: All of the prequel films

I can’t deny that they exist, just as I can’t deny to myself that I exist. As necessary as my conception and birth are to my present state of living, I’m glad I didn’t experience my parents’ copulation or the likely nasty and painful affair that was my birth from the womb. I cannot say the same for the prequel films, which I did experience to my great disappointment. Like any trauma that affects us, I have decided it best to look forward not back, and accept the prequels as a dark, yet necessary chapter.
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So what now? Well first of all, don’t make films that you’ll need to remake again two decades later by adding unnecessary new scenes and special effects. Don’t mar your work this way, and you should be golden. Seriously, though, the new songs and and Hayden Christensen’s sudden appearance in the newest revisions of Return of the Jedi are just horrid, even if the songs replaced were campy and 80s. Campy and 90s is infinitely worse.
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Don’t dumb it down for us. Lot’s of us older and aging fans don’t need to see a juvenalized retreatment of our beloved universe, nor do we want anymore teddy bear aliens, or Jar-Jar fucking Binks. Please pardon the expletive. Give us the appropriately shady, mature, yet still fun and adventurous setting that has enough mystery and enchantment that causes even the more jaded of us melt in our seats at the theater.

Keep it classy, Abrams. No contemporary humor. No commentaries on modern society that won’t make any sense in 2050. In fact, no commentaries whatsoever. Just give us Star Wars. Keep it about that, and we’ll be happy. Don’t try to make a film that leverages you into U.S. Presidency, just stick to what you know, and hopefully that will be enough. And learn more if you don’t know a lot. Please. No shame in admitting that.

Think about a classy film like “Lawrence of Arabia”. How many special-editioned, enhanced, revised, re-edited, re-visioned, versions of this film have you seen? None? Exactly!

Make a film that will stand the test of time. That’s all I ask.

If you have any thoughts, criticisms, or feelings you’d like to express on this matter, feel free to share them.

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