Saturday, February 27, 2010

Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII, and IX

Hello, Space Monkees!

You know its inevitable.  Its going to happen, one day, and there's nothing you or me can hope to do about it.  George Lucas might claim that his Star Wars saga is, and always has been, six movies, two trilogies, but you know he's full of shit.  Every interview, every comment, every word he's said about his work, its all bullshit.  You can never trust a creator; they'll always tell you a white lie to make their story seem more artistic and elemental.  "The idea came to me in a dream."  "I found the historical records and a scarlet letter A in my attic."  So if Lucas says to you one (imagine you're meeting George Lucas for a second) that the Star Wars films are supposed to just be the complete tale of Anakin Skywalker*, give him a good laugh in his face for me.  Also if he tells you that everything was planned from the beginning:  Darth Vader was always Luke's father, Leia was always his sister, and that the Prequels did not create any plot holes with the Original Trilogy at all, just walk away and find somebody else to talk to.

Its going to happen even if George Lucas fights until his dieing day against it.  You know that already there are forcing in LucasFilm counting up the profits of the six films and imagining just how much many more billions this series has to offer if you throw a few more films into the market.  "Star Wars: Clone Wars" proved that even if you go out of your way to make the worst movie you can, it will still turn a profit.  All you need is that Star Wars logo.  I know if I were in ol' Georgie's place I could never ignore the riches to be won.  I mean, the series has already made 4 billion dollars in box office returns alone, that's not even counting the ever greater millions to be made on cloths, toys, Monopoly sets, video games, bubblegum, and flamethrowers.  So it might take ten years, or might take a century, but there will be more Star Wars movies.  The only thing that could stop more Star Wars is the end of film as a media altogether or the destruction of western civilization (personally I think both of those events are one and the same).  Forget art, forget storytelling, forget even quality, money beats them all.  Just know that one day either you or your children or maybe even your children's children will one day be sitting in a darkened theatre, eating popcorn, and watching Jedi Knights fight evil with their droid buddies.

But, imagining a Star Wars VII, VIII, and IX, do these movies have to be terrible?  Looking at LucasFilm's record over the last decade, one would assume so based on pattern analysis.  Let's review:  "Star Wars Episode I" - terrible, "Star Wars Episode II" - equally terrible, "Star Wars Episode III" - less terrible, but still not good, and "Star Wars Clone Wars" - therapy-inducing nightmare.  Throw the original series in and you have three good movies for every four terrible ones.  I mean, that's a better record than Michael Bay or Richard Kelly, but it isn't anything you can take pride in.  Though honestly, I'm of the opinion that any movie can be good if done right.  Yeah, I even have the slightest bit of hope for "Transformers 3" - it isn't much hope, but its there.  So I'm sure that somewhere, out there, maybe in another galaxy, there must be a chosen one.  There must be a Director Jedi who take take the Sequel Trilogy and make it as good or even better than the original movies.

Unfortunately, more likely than not, that Chosen One will never be found, and instead the Sequel Trilogy will be terrible.  I, and millions of other fans will complain - a lot - and proclaim that we'll never watch any more Star Wars films.  But then when X, XI, and XII come around, we'll just repeat the cycle.

But let's try to imagine what this magical perfect Sequel Trilogy could be like.  Let's undergo a little mental exercise and try to figure out what can be done further with this story, the right way.  Yeah, its probably impossible, but this is my blog and I can make anything happen!  This is my world!  Look, over there, its a chicken with a watermelon for a head.  My powers here are unlimited!  So I'll just make this up as I go here, and I'm sure by the end we'll reach something golden.  Or maybe not.  Who knows?  Who cares?  On we go:

(Note:  I'm just going to ignore the entire Extended Universe nonsense for this.  As far as I'm concerned, the only thing that's canon in Star Wars is the movies and that awesome N64 game "Shadows of the Empire".  Already about eight billion authors** have written novels about a post "Return of the Jedi" Star Wars universe, and the entire universe has become so complicated that Wookiepedia, a Wikipedia just for Star Wars has seventy-four thousand articles.  It would take a team of people, eight strong, to fill themselves through all that information and it would truly be impossible to make films on it all and still be "canon" with the rest of it.  And having read a few of those books myself, like the Thrawn Trilogy, I can say that they're um...  bad.  So I'll just throw it all out and start from a fully blank slate.)

The biggest problem with continuing the Star Wars story is how complete of an ending "Return of the Jedi" left us with.  Luke has completed his Hero's Journey, saved his father, destroyed the Empire, and brought peace and justice to the galaxy forever.  Where can you possibly expand upon this?  There are no missing threads, no plot threads left to expand upon.  Certainly Luke cannot be the central character of this trilogy, as his character has reached enlightened Jedi-ness.  Maybe he could use a love interest, but the other films have stated more or less that Jedis are asexual.  The only love interest Luke has ever had is Leia and thanks to a last minute retcon by Lucas in "Return of the Jedi", that idea is best summed up this onomatopoeia:  "BLUUUUCCHHH!!!"  So basically unless Luke is playing the mentor this time around, he isn't going to have much to do.  And my love of the character makes just killing him off a huge problem.  You can't just drop a bridge on inconvenient characters this immortal.

I suppose that I could simply start the story off many decades after the end of the Original Series, when all the major characters have already died in peace.  But if I did that, then it wouldn't really be much of a sequel, now would it?  Of course there need to be new characters for a Sequel Trilogy, but you can't just create a whole new cast and plot.  Why even bother calling it Star Wars then?  It could simply be my own original space opera Intellectual Property without the problems of living up to any standards of "the spirit of Star Wars" or whatever.  Clearly a true Sequel Trilogy would have to focus on the same characters left over from the original movies, just with a new problem to overcome.

Ultimately the only open plot point in the Original Trilogy that I can find is Leia.  Yoda in "Empire Strikes Back" mentions that "there is another" - another soul who can bring balance to the force.  The entire "other" plot point was just a trick used by Lucas during the original films to add a bit of tension to Luke's mortality.  Normally he would be immortal for a story like this, but when that "other" means he can die and be replace by the surprise extra Jedi.  Beyond that, the entire idea has been left on the cutting room floor, so to speak.  The sequel to that movie revealed that it was Leia, who supposedly had the same Skywalker Force powers that Luke and Vader have...  only she never really shows any signs of them except for one extremely minor instance (for you Star Wars fans, consider this a trivia question).  Leia, still needing to learn to the ways of the Force, would most likely be our best candidate for a heroine of the Sequel Trilogy.

Only one problem:  she's pretty well-adjusted too.  Leia seems pretty happy romantically with Han Solo, she's most likely the leader of the New Republic being a princess of something or other, and there doesn't seem to be much of a hole in her life that can be filled with Force training.  So what can be done here to boil up some classic problems?  Could I kill off Han Solo to build up emotional tension?  My God, what a prospect!  Murdering one of my favorite supporting characters ever!  I think by now we've demonstrated that there are not going to be any easy answers for this hypothetical Sequel Trilogy.  Unless something drastic is done in the very first Episode, nobody is going take this entire story seriously.  The worst thing we could do is rehash the entire Original Trilogy, leaving the audience to find the entire thing to be a superfluous supplement to steal more money (like it actually is, but that's just a secret between you and me).  What can Han really do here in the first place?  He only ever was the lovable rouge, a counterpoint to Luke's straight heroics.  In fact, he didn't have anything to do in all of "Return of the Jedi" either when you get right down to it***.  So honestly, I think that unless you drop the guillotine early and kill somebody who isn't going to have much to do anyway, and lead Leia onto a journey herself.

Look what trying to make a Sequel Trilogy has done to me so far:  I killed Han!  I can't believe myself right now.  Well, its either going to be Han or Luke.  Somebody major is going down.  Luke is just too powerful and Jedi-ish to be wiped out, even heroically, in the first movie.

Anyway, that leads me to the villains.  Who could possibly be a threat when you've already defeated a Galactic Empire run by Sith?  Once again, this is not easy.  A lot of the - terrible - Star Wars novels have detailed the threat of an Imperial remnant, which I find to be a frankly presumptuous notion.  The Empire is evil!  When the Emperor was killed, the entire galaxy threw off the Empire in a single grand celebration of freedom.  You can't complicate matters by leaving a few characters here and there who honestly believed in the promise of Empire.  The only Imperials you can have are purely evil sniveling cretins, preferably British and Peter Cushing.  Palpatine should not come either for that matter.  If he were to have survived his fall in "Return of the Jedi", Darth Vader's entire redemption would be cheapened.  Whatever threat there might be would most likely have to be extra-galactic.  Maybe a Sith army that's been hiding for some thousand years or so.  Maybe an expansionist Universal Empire!  Whatever it is, it has to be much more powerful than the Galactic Empire, as every sequel must push the tension up to eleven.  An army of Death Stars?  Maybe a space ship with the power to destroy a Star?  Something with the power to destroy a galaxy???  Gotta make it hard core!

Anyway, my personal theory about this entire story is that it should be one of fall and redemption.  Leia might flirt with the Dark Side, perhaps even become a fully-fledged Sith in her own right.  Hey, I'm desperate for ideas, okay?  Luke, having that special twin Force bond or whatever, will have to redeem her, through combat, kinda like a replay or Anakin vs. Obi Wan from "Revenge of the Jedi".  Only that things work out this time (I really don't want Star Wars to end in an unhappy way).  Then together, the Skywalkers defeat whatever new enemies have popped up, and bring true peace and justice and low low prices to the galaxy.


Okay, it isn't perfect.  In fact, its fairly terrible....  Alright I give!  You can't possibly do a Star Wars Sequel Trilogy properly.  Its impossible!  Even if something like this were done, and I honestly believe this would be the best way to do it, fanboys would still bitch until their teeth fell out.  Its hopeless.  You can never make them happy.  And if you don't do anything in a few more years they'll be bitching that you never made a Sequel Trilogy.  Ahhhh...  What's the point?  Even if you find a perfect storyline, you still would have to recast all the classic parts.  Can you imagine a Han Solo without Harrison Ford?  Man, this entire line of thought is just a waste of time.

Lucas, you can do your Sequel Trilogy yourself.  Count me out of it.


On the other hand, I do like money.  Yeah, count me in, screw the fans.  There's nothing that could be made that possibly could be worse than "Clone Wars", after all.  Just give me a call, and send the sacks of money.  I'm sure it'll be any day now.  Yup, any day now.

* One of the strangely less-vocalized complaints about the Star Wars prequels (its easy to miss something considering how much is wrong with those movies) is that they throw Luke into the background, and push Darth Vader as the central character of the series.  Having grown up with Luke and his Hero's Journey, I find this idea to be strange and even offensive.  Darth Vader makes for a good villain - nay, the BEST villain - but when he's trying to be the protagonist, well...  you know the results.  It isn't pretty, needless to say.  Preferably a sequel trilogy would push Anakin/Darth back into a secondary role.

** As you can imagine, quite a lot of writing talent has been wasted on this series.  Its truly unfortunate that some authors cannot come up with original stories and must instead leech off the work of somebody else.  As for myself, I'll keep my own Fanwanks to these very short blog posts, instead of putting any real energy into them.  Unless of course, Lucas, you want somebody to create VII, VIII, and IX for you.  I'll be there then.

*** I think the only reason Han was kept alive was purely do to fanservice.  If Han has in fact been killed during the course of the Original Trilogy, people would grow to resent Luke, seeing him as a far less interesting hero than everybody's favorite Scruffy-Headed Nurf Herder.  Dear me, this is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.


  1. I've always had one question about Star Wars: Why did they still call Leia a princess after Alderon (spell?) blew up? She isn't a princess anymore. Could she still be an important political figure? Of course, but being a princess means that you are in line to take over a country/world when you are needed. Without her planet, though, she is just a force-having woman, no matter how hot she is in a metallic bikini.

  2. Have you seen Space Balls? It's a parody on all the Star Wars movies, and it's pretty much the only star wars related that's any good except IV, V and VI. And Xepscern, it's spelled Alderaan

  3. Trivia answer! Gotta get this done before someone steals it. You're referring to Episode V after Luke gets his ass handed to him by Vader. Leis detects him, possibly by using The Force herself.

    Also Upfinnarn, somewhere up there Blue mentioned "Star Wars flamethrowers." Maybe this is a reference to Spaceballs?You never know. I don't want to see deriding; just thought I should mention it.

    Love and Peace,

  4. Correct on both count, Alma. The flamethrowers were a reference to Space Balls. And Luke's Force conversation with Leia in Episode V was the trivia answer! You win!

  5. You know, I really hate the whole Clone Wars movie/series. Yet, I really enjoyed Star Wars Episode II. The way I see it, the series really did end at VI, and no additional movies will change my view. The best thing for Lucas to do, in my opinion, is to finally create Star Wars Battlefront III. As long as they don't turn it into something like Battlefield: Bad Company, I will be fine with it.

  6. I thought some books were already written for episodes VII, VIII, and IX but never made into movies. I don't know, that's just what I heard. I read it years and years ago in my SW obsession back then, and I remember reading somewhere that Chewbacca died in one of them as well, and Han and Leia named their son "Luke" as well, and he became the new protagonist...? I dunno.

  7. Ol' George will probably make an animated sequel trilogy one day. Mark Hamil, Carrie Fischer, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Daniels'll probably reprise their roles as Voice Actors, James Earl Jones'll be snubbed in favor of that Hayden loser, and Harrison Ford will refuse to come back because a)he's been wanting to get out of Star Wars since back in the The Empire Strikes Back days (hell, he never actually auditioned for A New Hope) and b)he'll think that the idea of even more Star Wars films are ridiculous.

    Or, and Lucas'll have Ewan McGregor voice Ben's Ghost. God I miss Alec Guinness.

  8. The inglorious basterds, though an awfully hard to follow movie, was supposed to be a revision of World War II. Honestly, it could have been made far better.

  9. Don't forget about the hauntingly terrible "Star Wars: Holiday Special". Although George does actually seem to feel deep shame for that...

  10. han and leia did not name there kids luke, chewbacca is dead and the sequel will deal with the death of Luke Skywalker and the future of the jedi order. The only major hole in the expanded universe that no one has covered in between 60 years after VI and 150 years after so i figure the movies will be in there. And the books are actually quite good. Sure the writing style isn't always the best but they are still good stories.

  11. blue i just was thinking about the clone wars and thinking of lucas and ashoka this is horrifingashoka will not die lucas will find some way to bring in the original trilogy oh my god episode 5.2 starring ashoka in hans place noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  12. Impressive. You predicted Han Solo's death 5 years before it happened.