Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Star Wars - A new trilogy is born, the legacy continues...

Article author: Alwyn Ash

"The prequel trilogy felt like such a letdown, more akin to a television movie spin-off - polished, grand, but ultimately weak-scripted..."

There is absolutely no doubt that now is the time to feel excited again about the Universe that gave us lightsabers, Ewoks, a dark Empire, Princess Leia Organa's slave costume, and so much more.. The announcement that Disney was to buy LucasArts took many by surprise. Soon after the rumour mill started... With a seventh Star Wars film slated for a 2015 release, it surely cannot be long until specifics are unearthed. Well, maybe? Cast news, plot details, rumours confirmed or denied, the usual process that fans and critics go through while, behind closed doors, contracts are signed and plans are afoot.

I have been a Star Wars fan for years, and embrace the original trilogy absolute - the casting, script writing, plot developement, everything about it just... works, including originality and special effects (though there really was no need for Lucas to tinker with his creation in later years). There was, and still is, magic about those first three movies. However, the 1999 disappointment that was Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace did nothing to enhance an already perfect story. Nothing new had been handed out to the fans, the casting was poor and Lucas' obsession with CGI overuse had watered down what could have been potentially a decent idea. Though, of course, we already knew who Darth Vader had once been, that he had lived as Luke Skywalker's father, Anakin...

The prequel trilogy felt like such a letdown, more akin to a television movie spin-off - polished, grand, but ultimately weak-scripted, with bad dialogue and a casting that should have been reconsidered carefully long before production started on the project. Jake Lloyd just didn't cut it as a likable Anakin, he was far too annoying. Darth Maul was spectacular and underused, imagine how much different things could have been if the Sith apprentice had appeared in all three prequel films...?

Which leads me to Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). Though much better than the previous outing, problems still remained: Hayden Christensen was disappointing as an older Anakin (his portrayal felt like he had been cast in a teen drama) and, once more, CGI overload meant a lack of everything else. To be frank, it all felt like a routine affair, George Lucas simply going through the motions to give us what we already knew. So, Episodes Seven, Eight, and Nine...

As we have seen with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), reprising a famous role doesn't always equal success similar to the glory days of filmmaking. And so what are the possibilities of a new Star Wars trilogy, and just who should be involved?

In my opinion no past stars should reprise their original roles. Simple as that. Not unless there is a genuine reason for this decision - and they must physically suit the part in older age. Neither should past characters be recast, like in the prequel. If Lucas had played it clever, he could have set all three trilogies at different time periods and focused on seperate characters within the same Universe, allowing for multiple stories that are merely linked by conflicts against the Sith.

So the third trilogy installment would see a new group of heroes and villains, fresh battles against the remnants of an Empire that has crumbled, and perhaps a Jedi Order that begins to re-establish itself following the tragic events of Order 66, which witnessed the mass murder of Jedi Knights throughout the Star Wars Universe.

However, whichever path it takes, I am sure every fan will agree that, in the end, we just want to feel proud. Taste the excitement of its return but not feel heartily disappointed with the result. Star Wars is not a religion, no matter what some people may think - how many of you worship Jediism?

May the force be with you!