Don't be Timid

As a child of the late 70s, Star Wars will always mean Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader.  When George Lucas announced the new ‘prequels’ my heart leapt with joy and sank with despair.  Never had I wanted a series of films to be good, only for my hopes to be torn asunder with the absolutely dreadful Jar Jar Binks and the terrible Jake Lloyd (playing the young Anakin Skywalker).  Whilst the opening sequence was great and Darth Maul excellent, much of the prequels was a disaster.  The stupid (and I really mean stupid) introduction of midi-chlorians really destroyed any link to the original movies.

Having watched A New Hope again this week, it’s clear that the prequels were far inferior films.  In fact, I think the massive move to CGI completely destroyed the ‘sense’ of realism the original generated.

To be fair, Revenge of the Sith had some good moments, mainly the scenes with Ewan McGregor (who played a passable Obi-Wan).  Again though, both Samuel L Jackson and Ian McDiarmid were woefully short of the skill portrayed by Guiness, Ford and Hamill in the original films.

We actually cared about Luke, Han and Leia, whereas who was really bothered when Mace Windu (more relieved than anything) was thrown out of the window or Count Dooku had his hands cut off (in one of Christopher Lee’s worst performances ever).  Watching a 100 year old Lee (only just an exaggeration) lumber around, or a ridiculously CGI McDiarmid spin around, was just painful.

In fact, most of the lightsaber battles of the prequels pale in comparison to the Luke and Darth duels in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, or even the Obi-Wan and Darth battle from A New Hope.

I’m sure by now you will have realised that I wasn’t a fan of the prequels, leading me on to the current news that Lucas has finally sold the franchise to Disney.  Let’s repeat that ‘DISNEY’; the home of Mickey Mouse.

We are now told that a new ‘sequel’ will be out for 2015.  When we heard a similar announcement before A Phantom Menace I was beyond excited to see what the modern movie making capabilities would bring to the Star Wars world.  Never has a cinema trip been so completely polar, the excitement before the showing then the abject despair after.

So, forgive me my foreboding, but I cannot see Disney really creating and developing the story in the right way.  Let’s look at the potential plot for example;

–       Luke is the last known Jedi (notwistanding Leia)

–       Both the bad guys (Vader and the Emperor) are dead.

–       The main Jedi Master is dead (so Luke can’t learn any new skills)

So, I guess we will have ‘Luke, Leia and Han go camping’.  OK, maybe I’m a feeling just a touch too negative about this, especially when you look at the latest Marvel releases (who Disney also now own).

Although, when the main star of the original series (Hamill) says “in a way, there was a beginning, a middle and an end and we all lived happily ever after, and that’s the way it should be”, you do really worry.

However, there’s a lot of talk that the original cast will be brought back together (at least for the first sequel).  Given that it’s 30 years since Return of the Jedi – it might actually work.  Perhaps some new Jedi will have been discovered and trained (by Luke maybe), perhaps Han and Leia will have had children, and they may be strong with the force, who knows.  All we need is a good bad guy and they may well pull it off.

However, we should remember that even though the original movies were a U rating, there was a very dark element to all three films; Darth’s presence in A Hew Hope, the training cave in Empire Strikes Back and the inevitable battle of good vs evil in Return of the Jedi.

They will need to find a director to bring this tension back to the films to really make them work.  And for god’s sake, ease off on the CGI – it has ruined so many films it’s impossible to list them.  Given that Lucas is still heavily involved as a ‘Creative Consultant’ I worry that any decent modern director would take on the films at all for fear.

At the end of the day, I just can’t see this as a good thing, but I would love to be proved wrong.

– Rob