Disney just bought LucasFilm for $4 billion dollars, causing a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of souls suddenly cried out in pain and anguish.
Maybe because they did cry out in pain.
Now, you can argue that this is not so bad, because (1) this definitely means George Lucas isn’t directing new STAR WARS movies, which does, indeed, avert disaster, (2) Disney didn’t do half bad after it bought Marvel and started pumping out IRON MAN movies and CAPTAIN AMERICA and THOR and such, which leads to the Ultimate Fanboy Fantasy of (3) Joss Whedon directing a STAR WARS movie, which would cause the universe to implode out of sheer awesomesauce.
HOWEVER: All those reasons are destroyed by the Death Star of one simple truth.
And no, that truth is not the fact that Disney buying STAR WARS means we will be swimming in all kinds of direct to video trash aimed at five-year-olds, along with special editions and special-special editions and God knows how much other new nonsense the Disney factory will pump out, month after month, year after year, until kids who grew up watching STAR WARS movies band together and march upon the House of the Mouse to burn that sucker down.
Here’s why STAR WARS: EPISODE 7 OR WHATEVER is a terrible idea: the hero and villain are both dead.
But oh, you say, we’ve still got Luke and Leia, Han and Chewie, C3P0 and R2-D2. They’re still alive, right?
Sure. I bet Jar-Jar Binks is still breathing after the Death Star blew up for a second time. That’s beside the point. Who’s the hero of STAR WARS? Who’s the villain?
Those two serious questions need serious answers. If the answers stink, or make no sense, the new movies will stink no matter how many dollars you throw at the screen in CGI nonsense.
Luke isn’t the hero. He’s only in the last three movies.
Obi-Wan seems like the hero, and is heroic, but he’s dead for the last three movies. He’s a glowing spectator, and his role is mentor anyway.
Han Solo is a great character, but he’s not the hero. He’s comic relief and part of the love subplot with Princes Two Buns on Her Head.
The Shiny Robot Who Complains A Lot and his pet tin can, hey, they’re in all six movies. Are they the heroes? No. More comic relief. More sidekick action.
Hmm. We seem to be stuck. The hero is AWOL … except he’s not.
This is really Darth Vader’s story. He’s in all six movies, and he’s got a real character arc: Darth is good, gets really whiny and turns to the Dark Side — that’s the first three (prequel) movies. Then he gets conflicted about the whole Dark Side thing, wants Luke to join him and kill the emperor (THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK) and finally sacrifices himself to kill the emperor and save his son.
Darth Vader goes from slave to Jedi, from Jedi to Sith, then Sith to Jedi again. He finds redemption. It’s his story.
So: who’s the villain?
Well, at first we thought it was Darth Vader, because he really was the bad guy in the first STAR WARS movie and such. The emperor barely got any screen time until RETURN OF THE JEDI.
Don’t let the sea of mini-bosses fool you. Darth Maul, Count Dooku, Jabba the Hut, the Trade Federation dipsticks, General Grevious Chest Cold — all those guys are random nonsense. They sell toys, fine.
The villain through all six movies, however, is clearly the emperor.
Accept no substitutes.
Here comes the Big Stupid Problem
And now we come to the giant flipping problem with any future STAR WARS movies: who’s your hero and who’s your villain?
Because your real hero, Anakin / Darth Vader, is a goner.
Your real villain, Emperor Wrinkly Pants, got thrown down a bottomless pit in the Death Star right before that sucker went all kabloomy for a second time. He ain’t coming back.
Unless the new movies are going to be space opera-style romantic comedies about Han and Leia’s Big Fat Alderan Wedding, or Christmas on Tatooine, you need a villain worthy of the surviving band of rebels and Jedi, seeing how they’re not rebels anymore. They won. They’re in charge.
Sure, there are all kinds of books out there, books I don’t read, that supposedly tell the story of what happens after the Ewoks do their jub-jub dance and shoot off all kinds of space fireworks. People tell me the Sith aren’t really done for, that Luke sort of turns bad, or Han Solo and Leia have a dozen kids and half of them turn into angsty teenage Vader wannabes or whatever. And that there’s some kind of thing where the emperor gets cloned, or random Sith Lords and remnants of the old Imperial army and navy and marines (no Air Force?) come back for more space battles and such with stormtroopers who can’t shoot straight to save their lives.
None of that will fly.
Why? Because the first six movies kept telling us, over and over, that Anakin / Vader was The One, just like Neo in the Matrix.
They beat us on the head with the fact that the prophecy told us Anakin would wipe out the Sith and bring balance to the Force, and peace to the galaxy. Also, that he would cut marginal tax rates by 20 percent and eliminate capital gain taxes entirely, because that’s how you create jobs in places like Tatooine.
Either they lied to us for six movies or they didn’t.
Another hurdle: Yoda and others kept saying stuff like “always two, are there” when talking about the Sith — a master and an apprentice. Now, this wasn’t entirely consistent, since the emperor had Darth Maul and Count Dooku at the same time, but those movies also included the anti-reality field known as Jar Jar Binks, which means anything that happens in those flicks doesn’t really matter or count.
A third hurdle: if you bring in a secret new villain from the outside, or invent five new villains to throw at our remaining collection of random heroes, then it just becomes an incoherent mess.
The bottom line is we’re in for more movies that may stink more than the prequels, if that is possible. And more commercialized nonsense like this Darth Vader – Emperor dance-off on Kinnect or whatever.
Reformed journalist. Scribbler of speeches and whatnot. Wrote a thriller that was a finalist for some award.