Reporting Patrick Braud
So Disney will be taking over the Star Wars franchise and begin putting out new movies. The dust is settling and the directionless rage and incredible delight of nerds have both had time to run their course.
Like it or not, it’s happening. So if you were part of the “directionless rage” camp, join me and consider channeling all of that energy into something productive. Think of it, friends. This is a rare opportunity; George Lucas is no longer overseeing all of the creative aspects to Star Wars.
Whenever these movies get made, there will be new writers and directors in addition to Lucas standing by. But talented writers and directors – something Star Wars hasn’t seen in a while, HEYOOOO — could handle most of the movie. Holy $#!t, you guys. This could be incredible.
It could also be “Oh, my God!” terrible. It could be like that Clone Wars movie but every character is Jar-Jar and that offensive gay stereotype Hutt.
However, this also means that we now have more opportunities for more awesome Star Wars things; stuff we always wanted to see that never made it to the big screen. Whether they were ideas from the novels, games, or comics, just from our own heads, or even motifs from the older movies we want back, it could happen now. After discussing it with fellow Star Wars fans, we realized that this could be Disney’s chance to give us things like:
Darth Vader was a classic villain. One of the first times you see him on screen, he is holding a dude by the throat, which he eventually crushes. He’s a giant in a black suit and skull respirator with a fabulously low voice going around and choking bitches — even his own subordinates. Alright, especially his subordinates, which only makes it more evil.
Emperor Palpatine was also pretty delightfully evil, but we didn’t get to see too much of him until the prequel trilogy. And even then he spent most of his time overacting or throwing lightning at people, which was kind of old hat by then. Still, the premise behind his infiltration of the highest levels of government, instigating a war and using that to take basically take over the galaxy is pretty damn evil, but it was a lot of paperwork and not a lot of karate.
We got some cool moves out of Darth Maul, but he was dead after having said about three sentences and was replaced by another old dude throwing lightning. General Grievous and Jango Fett also could have been a good evil cornerstone for the movies, but their badass exploits are pretty exclusively in the expanded universe. Instead, they went out in ways unbecoming of their deeper badassery.
We want more developed bad guys, and a good way to do it is with a better Empire. This movie is likely going to be post Return of the Jedi, the Empire is still probably going to be around because honestly, all the Rebels did was blow up their most expensive space station, take out some of the leaders, and kill a few battalions. The Empire stretched across the galaxy! They’re still going to be there but if they’re still behaving like the Empire that has become rife for pop culture mockery, they’re still going to be a joke.
We want to see stormtroopers that can actually hit targets, officers that are concerned with more things than whether or not they’re going to be force choked, and an all around greater sense of badassery and less paperwork. Give us stormtroopers ravaging villages under the direction of cold, tactical imperial officers with the Emperor’s badass crimson guard as support. That or try and make some larger point with their ineptitude, like stormtroopers being such bad shots because they’re all poor draftees from space slums.
Maybe they want to take it in a new direction, which they kind of did with galactic trading companies building robots or whatever, but the real draw to Star Wars is all about the struggle between the Jedi and the Sith. Another aspect that has been touched on in the expanded universe is the prevalence of a lot more Jedi and Sith in the galaxy. Way more than like, two or three. We’re talking an army of people with red lightsabers, here; an army that could get into some pretty sweet battle royales. There were far more Jedi ever onscreen than Sith, and of the few Sith that showed up, only two got actual development.
Expanded Side Characters
Most of you are probably thinking about Boba Fett. Let’s be real here. Fett’s legend is in the expanded stories outside of the movies, because if you watch the movies you just see a guy in cool armor get accidentally killed by a blind guy. So what about his brethren, the Mandalorians? Imagine the possibility of seeing a ton of these dudes on screen. That’s like, a billion Boba Fetts. They can walk a line, too, because they’re kind of like human Predators in the sense that they just like killing people by an honor code. So they can be kickass bounty hunter or slightly creepy anti-hero, all apparently from the country of Space New Zealand.
But what is absolutely a must is more Wookiees. Like, way more. So many more. That scene in Revenge of the Sith doesn’t count because that was roughly 30 seconds of Wookiee and that was THE WORST TEASE, George Lucas. I want that scene again, but for a full five minutes. Then I want to see a Wookiee actually rip a guy’s arms off for beating it in chess.
I mean this in the sense that across six movies, there were about three ladies who had lines. Two were protagonists for three movies each, and one was Mon Mothma.
Leia and Amidala were actually kind of awesome. Leia was more of a badass than Luke in A New Hope and was also a senator. Her mother, Amidala, was queen of a planet that was blockaded by a robot army that she evaded and then came back to mess up and retake her world. Both actually decent role models for girls, as they combine active badassery with retaining positions of high prestige and power. But it’s just those two. And they also do things like get captured a lot and be forced to wear metal bikins or strategically get their shirts ripped to show their abs while fighting giant cats.
Now, we here at the Man Cave are absolutely not against a metal bikini now and then, but good writing and well-developed characters are also important. Realistically there should be more than one woman for a given generation, and those two or more ladies should be given just as good of development as their predecessors.
More Sets and Costumes, Less CGI
Finally, it’d be nice if there were less green screens this time around. There was a lot that looked good, but even more that just looked fake and hokey. Green screens are pretty prevalent even in movies representing contemporary landscapes rather than futuristic places, but the Star Wars prequels would go so far as to fully animate characters with CGI, then not spend the money to make them awesome.
Let’s get back to General Grievous. In the acclaimed animated Clone Wars shorts that aired back in 2003-2005 before Revenge of the Sith came out, he was a total badass. But that’s because it cost less money to draw him being a total badass than it did to make him as such with CGI. By the time we see him on the big screen, he just stalks around coughing, then spins some lightsabers around and gets his hands chopped off before being unceremoniously shot to death. Obi-Wan was kinda mad about defeating him because he ended up having to do it by shooting him. That’s how crappy that fight ended up, because it would have cost too much to CGI a really kickass lightsaber fight between them.
That’s okay, you guys. I don’t want to speak for everybody, but I feel like most of us are totally cool with you throwing makeup on a martial artist and then having a really kickass lightsaber fight. You don’t need to animate an expensive robot, we’re fine with people and easily costumed aliens. We’d just rather everything look a little less fake or end up being super anti-climactic. Though a caveat for this is that a CGI budget would be very well spent on some kickass force powers, throwing stormtroopers through walls and stuff like in The Force Unleashed game.
That said, Disney, you can probably do whatever you want and we’ll still go see it. It’s Star Wars, and we’re beyond excited and we really just want it to be good. You’ll still make a boatload of money regardless, but this is the opportunity to get a new generation hooked on the franchise and stick with it like we did, rather than just making a cash cow for kids who are interested in flashing lights. It’d be a long-term investment, but it would be worthwhile, because then our kids would introduce their kids to the series, thus ensuring your sci-fi dominance for a long, long time.
Patrick is a writer and comedian living in Chicago. He’d like to thank George Lucas for his childhood and also for the breadth of material for his nerdy creativity. He’s got a Tumblr which very often uses Star Wars as a topic and you can follow him on Twitter @fatfraud.