The Star Wars trilogy has never held that special place in my heart that it holds in so many others. That’s not say that it isn’t a staggering work of creative genius, just that there are two types of nerds in the world and I happen to be the kind whose heart is ruled by Trek rather than Wars.
They are staggering works of creative genius though, and I can remember renting VHS copies of all three movies from the local video store in my hometown, and watching them whenever they were broadcast on one of the five television channels we received when I was growing up. I remember taking a trip to the big city to watch the Special Editions in theatres when they were re-released in 1997.
I also remember being over the moon when the trailer for The Phantom Menace dropped. I couldn’t tell you what movie we saw it with, but I remember going to a movie just to see that trailer. Of course I also remember being pretty profoundly let down by the entire prequel trilogy, as were most people I knew (at least the ones who weren’t in denial).
The prequels soured a lot of people on George Lucas, including me. Lacklustre direction, effects over story, and seemingly endless tinkering with all the films for every release was enough to leave a bad taste in any fan’s mouth, and for a long time it seemed like Star Wars might never, you know, be good again.
Then Disney bought Lucasfilm and once again there was hope. Fast forward to the present, we are in a new age where Star Wars is good again and there is much rejoicing. I haven’t rejoiced as much as most though, so while Rogue One was in theatres I watched all 8 movies in timeline order in an attempt to figure out why that is. So here are my thoughts.
Remember how the first cast photo of Star Wars Episode VII was mostly men? Well men:women ration just got a little better: Oscar Winner Lupita Nyong’o and game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie have both just joined the cast.
“Wait, what’s ‘The Mystery Box’?” you may be asking. The Mystery Box is something first coined by JJ Abrams to describe his approach to writing in the TED Talk he gave waaaaaaay back in 2007. The long version involves his grand father and childhood memories of a magic shop made real by way of an actual Mystery Box of Magic purchased when he was a child. The short version is that Mr. Abrams values, above all, we the viewers not knowing what is going on with his projects.
And I’m kind of tired of how that’s working these days.
Bad Robot set the internet on fire this morning with a photo showing all the cast members of Star Wars Episode VII during their first readthrough at Pinewood studios. There’s all the old cast – Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker – mixed with a healthy selection of new, up-and-coming names and established faces.