C'mon Hollywood: Quality over quantity is key for the future of Star Wars!
We’re all excited for more STAR WARS. The very prospect of seeing anything from a galaxy far, far away grace the screen post RETURN OF THE JEDI is a near-unimaginable prospect that put most of us in a fanboy “high.” George Lucas set aside his spite for the angry fans and, in a monumental business decision, handed over the keys to his universe to the Mouse House. The news that “broke the Internet” has spawned a cavalcade of rumors and speculation down to the smallest minutia, working up fanboys like a pack of sharks on a whale carcass.
The news that there would not only be a new STAR WARS film, but a new trilogy, (outlined by Lucas) is something that both excites and unnerves. Then, came the announcement that not only would there be a new trilogy, but a new film every 2-3 years thereafter. Suddenly, we’d gone from never seeing a new STAR WARS film to being inundated with them. I think once the fangasm’s end and rational thought reemerges, the idea of seeing STAR WARS saturated everywhere will start to become kind of a nightmare in the classic “be careful what you wish for” sense.
Blink past the year 2015 and we’ll be in the midst of action figures, lunchboxes, backpacks, pencil sharpeners, t-shirts, pajamas, cartoons, TV shows, and every other marketing tool in the shed, hitting like a tidal wave of Lucasfilm. We all know that shit’s coming regardless, but just how much could be a deciding factor in how special STAR WARS can be after it’s soaked into our every fiber. Lucas has always been a marketing phenomenon. Partnering that with Disney? That’s a Keanu-Reeves “Whoa” for sure.
If you think about what makes the original trilogy so special, besides the qualities of the films themselves, it’s the fact that they felt rare, like lightning in a bottle. Before the new trilogy, the original was something precious and special, appreciated as an once-in-a-lifetime epic that continued to ignite passion in fans young and old everywhere. Many “old-school” fans may argue that the new trilogy ruined that and the argument holds some merit. However, I also think that the new trilogy opened the doors to STAR WARS for the next generation and kept the mythology alive, even if it doesn’t measure up to the original and alienated fans of old. The next one will no doubt do the same.
Of course, the backlash of the new trilogy didn’t exactly inspire Lucas to charge full steam ahead into another expansion. Instead, he was adamant about closing the doors forever. "Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" he told the NY Times just last year (and long before the announcement of the Disney sale). And he’s stuck to those words. Even now, with Kathleen Kennedy producing and screenwriter Michael Arndt (TOY STORY 3) on writing duties for STAR WARS: EPISODE VII (with a director yet to be named) Lucas has stepped back from the plate to watch the game unfold. It’s probably the wisest thing he could do. Because, let’s face it, there’s a lot riding on whoever steers the creative ship on the next entry. Not only will they set the stage for the future vision of the films, but they will accept full blame or accolades depending on the film’s critical and commercial success or failure. An announcement for that position will potentially be given this month, which will send fans into yet another frenzy of speculation and excitement (or rage).
While all of these developments are chock full of the excitement and anticipation of seeing STAR WARS in a new light from new creators (with potentially old characters), the prospects for the future have the possibility of being too much, too soon. It’s easy to dismiss that, but I predict that regardless of which direction Disney decides to go with their new franchise, there will be plenty of fans who grow absolutely sick of seeing STAR WARS everywhere. And make no mistake, it will be everywhere. Is that the worst that could happen? Yeah, probably. I mean, the movies could really suck, too, but that’s doubtful. In fact, I’m banking on them being something really spectacular. But, my concern is that the franchise will blow up to such epic proportions that it will lose the luster of something that was held in such high esteem, made special through it’s sacred originality and mythological traction throughout the years, instead replaced by an industrial machine of STAR WARS films, cartoons, spin-offs, and products raining from the sky like Flint Lockwood’s FLDSMDFR.
So, while I’m super stoked to see the STAR WARS franchise continue, it’s my hope that the folks at Disney don’t get overzealous, as is usually their way, and flood the marketplace with a series of “canned” films that have to reach a deadline and spinoffs that do nothing for the mythology other than produce new cheap toys and shitty kids clothes. Based on Kennedy and Lucas’ intentions, my fingers are crossed that they’ll treat the STAR WARS universe with respect and focus on quality over quantity in the long run and continue the tradition of bringing in new generations of fans with the same kind of passion that's come before. Otherwise, it’s just going to fill your basement with stacks of overproduced plastic figures and your shelves with another boxed set that can’t measure up to what the excitement was all about to begin with.
FUN STUFF: Check out the trailer for the first STAR WARS film ever released, EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE and then contrast that with the last film released, EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. Oh, how things changed...
|Extra Tidbit:||Return of the Jedi is the most nostalgic of the Star Wars films for me. I was seven years old when it came out and the most cognizant of the experience, seeing it multiple times in the theater and getting wrapped up in the entire lore of Star Wars. Which film from the series fits that bill for you?|