When Disney purchased Lucas Films a few years ago, all the old rumors began to circulate again. The rumors probably started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, and they have persisted ever since. I am of course talking about the rumors that there would be another trilogy of movies that continued the stories of Han, Luke, and Leia. I remember hearing these rumors as a kid, before Jar-Jar was even a twinkle in George Lucas’ eye. That was always the assumption, that there would be more story concerning what happened to our heroes after Return of the Jedi. It was a rumor fueled by numerous books that came out that took place after Return of the Jedi. There was the fact that George Lucas was very protective of his characters and what the authors could and could not do to them. Fans believed this meant that the movies were already written, just waiting to be made.
Then the prequels happened. Little known fact about the word prequel, no one had ever heard of it before Phantom Menace. Another little known fact, after Phantom Menace, many Star Wars fans never wanted to hear that term again. I was patiently waiting for my sequel, and instead we got Episode I. This began a whole new round of rumors. George Lucas had originally written 9 episodes for Star Wars, we had seen the middle 3, and now the first 3 were coming out, and then it was only a matter of time before the last 3 would be produced. I don’t even know how these rumors circulated so well. This was way before Facebook, and the internet was still AOL dialup, but that was the rumor. Part of me really believed it, until I saw the new prequel trilogy that created more plot questions than it answered, which didn’t make sense if Lucas had written all 9 episodes all in advance, if that were true then we would have seen Yoda and Obi Wan visiting the trade federation, Yoda as the Master and Obi Wan as the padowan (I’m sorry about the long run on sentence, but when you’re passionate about something, it can’t be avoided). After Episode 3, the word was that the story was now finished. That was it for Star Wars movies. So much for this mysterious sequel trilogy.
Then the Rebel Alliance and its heroes got bought up by a different empire. This one had big round ears. Disney came in and bought Lucas Films, including Star Wars, and the rumor mill started right up again. Why would Disney buy the rights to Star Wars if they weren’t planning on doing something with it? We all hoped that maybe a third trilogy might be in the works, and Disney did not keep us waiting long. One of the biggest stories associated with it at first was who was going to write the script for the new movie, which meant it was not already written, which also means maybe the dialogue might be slightly better. But now, Episode VII is not a rumor. It’s happening. There has been a lot of talk about what we should expect from this movie. A lot of discussion about what the story will be about and who the bad guys will be and so on. Will Luke turn to the dark side? (I hear they have cookies. Smart move, Luke) Will Han and Leia be married with children? (Great idea for a sitcom, BTW) Is Chewie now forced to sleep in the dog house? Are C3PO and R2D2 still together? These are the burning questions.
I don’t care about any of them. Not in the slightest. I don’t care what the story is, as long as it doesn’t stink. I don’t care what characters are in the film. I’m not looking for any of that. Let me tell you what I am looking for in Star Wars 7. It’s just one thing. One thing, that doesn’t really have a name so I am going to need about 500 more words to describe it, because that one thing is a feeling.
I was born in 1982. Return of the Jedi came out in 1985. Technically, that means I was alive when it came out, but chances are I either A. didn’t see it in the theaters, or B. wouldn’t remember if I had. I am officially on the older end of what I like to call the VHS generation. This is the generation of kids who never saw Star Wars on the big screen, but consumed it constantly on VHS. To the point that I wore the tape out. That was no good, because that happened when the videos were not available to buy in stores, so we had to wait until it came on TV and record it to a blank tape. Then, as I was in Jr. High, the trilogy came out on VHS, digitally remastered in THX. This is the most perfect version of Star Wars that exists to own on home video. The sound was remastered so it sounded great, but it was the last version that wasn’t the “Special Edition.” The year this came out, it was the only thing I wanted for Christmas. I told everybody I only wanted one thing. That was it. And I got it, and my life was complete. No more bad recordings, this was it. I think my parents still have that version at their house. I have been tempted to steal it and take to Wal-Mart and have them convert it to DVD. Let my kids grow up with the “Han Shot First” version. But, I digress. I never had the opportunity to see a Star Wars movie for the first time in the theater. Huge screen, loud sound, crowded house filled with other Star Wars geeks just like me. I tried to capture that feeling when the Special Edition was released in theaters, but it wasn’t the same as experiencing the story for the first time that way.
When Phantom Menace came out, I thought it would be my opportunity to finally experience it. That feeling, and to a certain extent, I did. It almost felt that way. It was the same music, some of the same characters, the same light sabers. It was almost right, but not quite. Episode I was a snore, and it all looked too “new.” This was supposed to be before A New Hope, yet everything looked newer and nicer. Plus, CGI. Everything was CGI. No more shooting on location or scale models. Computers were the future now, and didn’t look better? No! It looked like it was made in some computer world, and it didn’t feel real, like Star Wars should. By the time Episode III came out, I went to the theater with zero expectation to ever get the feeling of seeing a Star Wars movie in the theater. I just didn’t want it to suck. It sucked less than the other prequel movies.
What I am looking for in this Episode VII is that Star Wars feeling. I want the scale models and the on site filming and the real special effects. No more computer stuff, or at least a minimal amount. It sounds like our friend JJ is delivering on some of that. There are supposedly scale and life-size models of ships and other things, plus muppet like creatures and people in costumes and so on. If all of that is true, then it is on the right path, and maybe just maybe I will finally get to experience that Star Wars feeling. Just try to keep the lens flares to a minimum.