Guest Post: A New Hope - The Return of STAR WARS

Thanks to my friend Vinny for today's excellent guest post about the imminent return of new Star Wars movies.

A New Hope: The Return of Star Wars

The Force is awakening.  Star Wars is about to bloom again, only this time, minus its creator George Lucas.  With Disney now in control of the galaxy far, far away, what will their vision, and deep wallets, bring?  As we near the release of the extended trailer that will give us the first detailed look into The Force Awakens, I have been thinking about what could go right and what could go wrong when this new era of Star Wars begins.

Abandoning George Lucas’ Original Story Ideas

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
According to Lucas, the makers of The Force Awakens have gone in their own direction, choosing not to follow the basic storyline conceived decades ago with the entirety of the Star Wars saga.  This is significant because the failure of the prequels lay in the execution of the story, not the story itself.  So it could stand to reason that proper execution would result in a cohesive and satisfying conclusion.  Developing an entirely new story is risky, and personally, disappointing to not see the story as originally conceived.

You’re all clear kid!
Let’s face it, besides The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas’ track record with sequels is not great.  In fact, it seems the more control he has, the more juvenile the films tend to be.  Return of the Jedi, The Phantom Menace, and even Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade all, to some degree, have a measure of juvenile silliness.  Add to that the cringeworthy love story of Anakin and Amidala and the disastrous Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and it becomes more reasonable to think that Lucas’ concept for the sequel trilogy should be avoided.

J.J. Abrams Direction

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
Abrams is the first director to helm a Star Wars film without being under the thumb of George Lucas.  At first glance, a little outside artistic vision might not be a bad thing, but Abrams’ calling card as a director is flashbacks, and with rumors swirling about the casting of a young Leia, appearances by Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, and Abrams' desire to focus more on the old characters, I worry that this movie can become bogged down in nostalgia rather than taking a leap of faith and moving forward with new characters and adventures.

You’re all clear kid!
There’s no denying that Abrams did an excellent job with the Star Trek reboot.  He managed to move the franchise forward while honoring and maintaining the integrity of the original series in a way that fit perfectly with the Star Trek spirit.  Successfully navigating perhaps the most finicky of franchise fanbases should give Star Wars fans reason to believe.

Disney Controls the Universe

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…
The iconic superheroes of the Marvel Universe come with stories that have been told through comic pages for decades.  Disney wisely realized that they could create a large over-arching movie universe using these creations.  The trade-off is that the individual films become more episodic, resulting in more thinly drawn characters and villains.  The arch is the star.  Star Wars' success is based very strongly on the characters and their relationships.  In fact, the failure of the prequel trilogies had its roots in too much focus on the over-arching events of the story, rather than character development.  Star Wars movies planned out over 3, 5 or 10 films could significantly impact the feel of each episode.

You’re all clear kid!
Disney is sure to bring both visual and story consistency to the franchise that was lacking between the original and prequel trilogies.  Star Wars, unlike most other franchises, is a truly unlimited universe in time and space.  There should be no need to artificially stretch storylines.  The canvas for creating exciting stories and strong characters is infinite.  Having paid 4.5 billion dollars for the franchise, one would assume Disney understands that.

We'll soon find out if the Star Wars saga has taken the right path or the wrong one!