The Return of the Saga

Disney bought Star Wars and announced a sequel, a little because the Force is mysterious and there can be more written about it, a lot because it will probably make money. There’s been a bunch rumors about these movies. Here’s the facts about Star Wars VII, according to the official website:

vamers-fyi-star-wars-episode-vii-fan-made-poster-1-star-wars-episode-vii-lead-role-rival1. The score will be written by John Williams, who wrote the original score, of course, as well as Indiana Jones, Jaws, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, ET, Superman  and the theme for NFL Sunday Night Football. So this is kind of a big deal for the original geeks.

2. The release date is December 18, 2015. Which means that when the Hobbit trilogy finishes up this December, we have another fantasy epic to look forward to.

3. J.J. Abrams (Lost, the new Star Trek franchise) is directing. This is probably a good thing. Probably.

4. Michael Arndt  (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3) wrote the screenplay. This is a weird thing that is probably also a good thing. J.J. Abrams started re-writes in October.

5. Filming began in Iceland, sparking the rumor that we will return to Hoth. Definitely a good thing. Everyone loves Hoth. Especially scruffy-looking nerfherders.

Here’s the opinions of respected filmmakers (taken from this article):

“Part of me? Thrilled. Part of me? Terrified. Most of me? Thrillified.” ~Director J.J. Abrams

“So excited for the new Star Wars films! First up, three Jar Jar movies, taking us through 2019, and then the Dash Rendar trilogy! Whoo-hoo!” ~James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy)

“All I can say is my heart literally started racing when I heard…it is going to be — I can say this with 100 percent confidence three years out — the biggest movie in the history of modern cinema. The level of excitement and anticipation about Episode VII is going to be double what it was for Episode I.” ~Damon Lindelof (Prometheus, Lost)

“I can’t imagine a larger event-film for our generation than a sequel to Return of the JediStar Wars literally defined ‘the magic of movies’ to me as a child. No other film had more impact on my subconscious desire to become a filmmaker.” ~George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau)poster-lightsaber

“If you have concerns about this Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm, you are crazy. This means movies and a theme park. Relax and enjoy. In 3D.” ~Kyle Newman (Fanboys)

Here’s the opinions of one sci-fi fan who’s first crush at three years old was Harrison Ford:

First of all, I’m going to see the movies, because I love Star Wars, because I read the every extended universe book I could find, and because I think J.J. Abrams did a really nice job on the Star Trek reboot (all right, that was probably 80% Abrams and 20% Chris Pine’s blue, blue eyes.) Star Wars was groundbreaking, life-changing. It broke records and proved that sci-fi could make money. It’s a step-by-step manual to how to write the hero’s journey.

Now, my problems with the movie stems mostly from the prequels. And no, this is not about Jar Jar Binks. Hear me out:

If you take the original trilogy as its own story, (and you should, they stood alone for more than twenty years) then it is obviously the story of Luke Skywalker. Right? Orphan’s guardians gets killed, goes with a scoundrel on an adventure to save the princess and also the universe from the clutches of the Empire. Epic father twist included.

If you take the new trilogy as its own story, it’s the story of Anakin, who gets orphaned and goes to the Dark Side. There’s also slightly more politics, better action sequences, the dreaded Jar Jar Binks, and really good actors not acting very well.

But if you take the saga as a whole, then it’s the evolution of Darth Vader, from nine-year-old Anakin to angsty apprentice to Darth Vader. This reading makes the most sense when looking at everything as a cohesive story, because, of course, it’s not Luke who brings down the evil Emperor at all, but Darth Vader turning on his master (I didn’t bother to put spoiler alert there on purpose. If you haven’t seen Star Wars then you shouldn’t be reading this article, you should be watching the movies.)

And the problem with bringing out more movies, when looking at the saga as the evolution and ultimate goodness of Darth Vader, is that Darth Vader is dead (supposedly, there’s a picture…but that’s definitely a spoiler.) Dead guys make very bad saga continuers.

Unless you bring him back. (I’m thinking a Luke, I am your father…and I will be back!) Or unless you go and remake the prequels with Obi-Wan as the main character (I have a thing for Obi-Wan, thanks to a children’s book series of the extended universe called Jedi Apprentice that kept me entertained for far too long.) Either way, my problem with Episode VII is that the character arc has ended. Saga over.

But who am I kidding? Cohesive story aside, we’re all going to go see Star Wars. Harry Potter stopped putting out movies four years ago, Hunger Games and the Hobbit will be over, and as long as no other fantasy epic explodes onto the scene, we’re going to need a fix of a good, healthy fantasy series.

by KATIE AVAGLIANO / managing editor





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