A Great Disturbance in the Force: Are the Original Characters a Good Idea for the New Trilogy?
So chances are that you, being a human being on planet earth, have by now seen the second trailer for JJ Abrams upcoming Star Wars film.
Reaction has been pretty much universally positive from Geekdom as a fan base still largely traumatised from the prequel trilogy get fired up for a return to everything they loved in the originals. A love that damn near broke the internet the minute Han Solo and Chewbacca appeared in the trailer.
This is a reaction I can totally understand. After all, the trailer does seem to have it all: Stormtroopers, X-Wings, everyone’s favourite smugglers, and what’s clearly a Sith. All the pieces are definately in place and when I watched it I couldn’t restrain a schoolboy like squeal of delight.
Except, and this is something I’ve felt for a while now, should we really be this excited to go back into familiar ground?
Let me explain; I love the original trilogies. I have watched each one of the original films more times then any three other films I own put together. I hungrily read the EU novels and played every single Star Wars game they released. Even Droidworks.
So I was just as eager as everyone else to see the Prequel trilogy, and then just as horrifically let down when I did. I saw my favourite space opera boiled down to lengthy political debates, nonsensical plots and mildly racist aliens. Worse still was the treatment of Anakin Skywalker. This was supposed to be Darth Vader? The villain a six year old me had hidden behind a pillow from? I felt betrayed.
The only comfort I had was that Star Wars had become something bigger then just the films, bigger even then the man who created it and no matter how terrible the Prequels got (and boy did they get worse) I could still spend some time in what I always considered to be the ‘real’ Universe.
All this meant that when they announced The Force Awakens I was completely stoked. Finally, there was a chance to do something really new and interesting with the world! A chance to break with the earlier films and explore the rest of what was a huge and interesting universe. I imagined the new heroes that were going to emerge, the places and worlds which had never been seen and even fantasised about some of the heroes from other media, particularly games, finding a new home on the silver screen (*Cough* Kyle Katarn *cough*).
Then the announcements came and with them, the doubt.
The original cast? Really?
Make that announcement back in the 90s and I would have thrown money at you fast enough to achieve Hyperspace, but today?
Let’s be honest, none of them are young space adventurers anymore and pretty much none of them have fronted a major film for the last ten years. All of that would be fine if their presence was just a nod to the old films but now both trailers have drawn alot of focus on the original cast. The first ending with the close up shot of the Falcon and now the second bringing Han and Chewie full screen with an appropriately heartfelt quip.
My worry is that this new trilogy, the best chance we’ve had in a generation to see meaningful new stories in the Star Wars universe, is going to tie itself in knots trying to capitalise on the nostalgia fans have for the Originals. Most likely motivated by a studio which is all too aware of the vicious hatred levelled at George Lucas after the prequels.
Then again, Star Wars: Rebels and its attendant comics and books have been providing excactly the kind of fresh takes I’ve been looking for so maybe there is hope yet and all of this is just the fears of a fan who’s been burnt before.
Maybe watch the trailer again and decide for yourself?
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