EDITORIAL: Making A Successful STAR WARS Movie
Despite its continuing popularity the Star Wars franchise took a big hit after the Prequel Trilogy. This editorial aims to look at some ways to make the saga successful again. Hit the jump to find out more!
Watch the embedded video below for a comprehensive look at making a not terrible Star Wars film or conversely read the transcribed article beneath that. The video's better though. Probably.
The cultural phenomenon that is Star Wars has taken some big hits recently, specifically between the years 1999 and 2005, the era that marked the release of the Prequel Trilogy. Though these three films are not without their redeeming qualities they resulted in a massive blow to the good faith that was built up over the years after three ground breaking films, cutting edge video games and a decent, though somewhat inconsistent expanded universe.
The purchase of Lucasfilm by Disney is an opportunity to make things right again, to wipe the slate clean. There’s so much potential to make this saga fantastic again, maybe not to the extent the originals those were, especially the first two, those were like catching lightening in a bottle and it’s hard to catch lightening in a bottle. Besides, if you’re holding a bottle when it’s hit by lightning you would definitely be killed, probably immediately.
Misunderstood metaphors aside, this article aims to look at some ways to make the new Star Wars films successful again. Does that mean anyone involved in these films needs my help on this? Not in the slightest, BUT I’M DOING IT ANYWAYS! Beginning with…
Decide On A Villain Or Villains
First off, pick a major villain or villains and stick to them. There needn’t have been any of this okay here’s your villain, his name is Darth Maul. Oh sorry, he’s dead. Nevermind him, what about this different guy who’s a ninety year old man introduced halfway through the second movie. Do you like him? Irrelevant, he’s dead. Oh and this Grevious guy you’d never heard of until the start of Episode III? Also dead. He’s the most dead. Audiences need to be given time to build a healthy understanding of the villain’s motivations and to fear them. Not so much fear in the respect of ‘that’s a scary looking monster man,’ but fear them for what they could do to a protagonist if they were put in the same room. That’s the difference between your Darth Vader’s and whoever ended up being the villain from 2011’s Green Lantern. I would know that if I didn’t fall asleep watching it on a plane.
Allow For Real Time To Have Passed
When the sequel trilogy hits in 2015, 32 years would have passed between it and Return of the Jedi. So ideally the movie should allow for real time to have passed between those two films. This is only worth mentioning due to this bizarre idea that some film makers have gotten this past five years or so that you can de-age an actor digitally or in fact entirely recreate them using CGI and it looks totally acceptable. The end result is always a near Polar Express level of jarring. Seeing Harrison Ford in a brown wig and having his wrinkles airbrushed away like a Sex and the City movie poster would be a painful cinematic experience. This technology has a long way to go and quite frankly a new Star Wars films isn’t the best place to take it out for another test drive.
Forgot The Prequels (sort of)
This seems like an obvious one but ideally they’d want to cut as many ties as possible with the prequels. Despite being as unpopular as they are, Episodes I to III are official Star Wars canon making it impossible to erase their existence. And that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean they need to be referenced of have any characters carry over. A lot continuity isn’t taken seriously anyways within those films themselves, the idea of midiclorians was only brought up ever in Episode I and the implication that Anakin was created by the Emperor or whatever that opera conversation was about was mentioned once and then dropped immediately. These and others things are yes, things that did happen, but should have no impact on the future instalments. Samual L Jackson has made mention that he’d like to return as perhaps a one handed jedi or a ghost, neither of which work. If he was still alive where has he been for the last five or so decades? And if he’s a ghost nobody living would recognise him. The only actor that would make some sense in returning would be Ewan McGregor reprising his role as Obi Wan, albeit deceased, this would be simply down to Alec Guinness being unavailable due to being both dead and hating Star Wars. But even then, having him appear it’s a bit of a stretch.
Built Some Sets And Puppets And Stuff
Since around the mid 90’s there’s been an overabundance of green screen use and CGI characters used in cinema as opposed to practical sets, prosthetics and puppetry. CGI is at its best when it’s enhancing a prop or set that already exists in the real world. Even some of the most iconic special effect moments in cinema that people believe are computer generated are in fact practical effects. Much of the t-1000 liquid metal…stuff from Terminator 2 was done using prosthetics or puppetry, as is most of the raptor kitchen scene from Jurassic Park. And of course more recently the Inception spinny hallway thing was a real spinny hallway. The point is just because it’s easier to CGI in a background or a character doesn’t mean you should, it can work really well like when creating a distinct comic book world world like Sin City, but not much with your Sky Captain and the World of Who Remembers That Film.
Add A Love Story
Next to the Darth Vader-Luke Skywalker I am your father moment probably the most emotional scene from the Original Trilogy was Han Solo being frozen in carbonite. That scene is crazy intense, the music ramps up, Chewbacca’s all flinging guys around but most importantly it’s heartbreaking because seeing Han and Leia separated in such a dramatic fashion is devastating. You can see when Han tells Chewie that he needs to look after her whilst he’s away that he means it and that these two characters really love one another. Point being one of the main reasons Empire resonates so well with audiences is because when you boil it down, it’s a love story, a love story dressed up with robots and space worms and limb loss, but a love story none-the-less. The new films would probably benefit from a well fleshed out love story that’s results in a union of characters in a natural way that makes sense in the context of the film. In other words the opposite of what we were made to endure in the prequels.
Great Creative With The Spinoffs
It’s been said that in addition to a new trilogy Disney will be releasing a number of spin-off films that will take us places and tell stories that the sequel films couldn’t. This is of course the whole concept behind the expanded universe and it currently includes some fairly diverse ideas, such as Death Troopers, a Star Wars horror story set just before A New Hope. The great thing about spinoff stories is that you can literally tell any story in any time period, ranging to the formation of the Old Republic to thousands of years in the future and ideally Disney and Lucasfilm should take advantage of that. These stories could just as easily run parallel with the sequel trilogy but they don’t necessarily need to be limited to just that.
Additionally any Star Wars spin off story should ideally deal with new a new character we haven’t seen before in any film incarnation. With the exception of perhaps Boba Fett, there aren’t any existing characters that would really require their own movie, and even with Boba Fett he’s become significantly less interesting since his appearance as a ten year old New Zealand boy. That’s not to say existing characters couldn’t make appearances, but the focus should be on people either introduced in the Episode VII, VIII and IX or entirely separate characters.
Thanks for reading/watching everyone! Sound off in the comments with your thoughts on what would make a good Star Wars film and be sure to check back this same time next week for Part Two of Making Star Wars Not Terrible! Or don’t at all, both of those things are viable options.
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