The New Trilogy…. How I would have done it!

In 2005, we watched Episode III with great enthusiasm and excitement. Then, we were saddened when George Lucas announced that the Star Wars Saga was complete and there would be no more movies. The dreams of seeing Episode VII through IX (7-9) were destroyed. Yet, we excepted it as this was a story about the life and redemption of Anakin Skywalker.

Suddenly, George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney. Every fan suddenly realized maybe more Star Wars movies would be on the horizon. The news broke really fast that yes indeed Star Wars would return with a new Sequel Trilogy that would take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi. The movies would reunite the original trilogy cast and introduce new characters. When we got The Force Awakens, we were confronted with the truth that perhaps we were deceived. Just like the Jedi were deceived by Chancellor Palpatine and the Army of the Republic.

The new trilogy wasn’t going to focus on the classic characters. It was a clear and present bait and switch. The new characters were going to be the complete focus. The original characters weren’t even given the respect to be supporting characters. No, they were basically cameos. This was the first mistake made by Disney Star Wars. You sacrificed established characters. The right course would have been introduce the new characters but they should have been an extension of the classic character story.

Episode VII opens with a crawl that informs the audience Luke Skywalker is missing. I loved this concept. Like any classic fantasy story, we set up the quest. The journey the characters must take to resolve the conflict. Where could Luke be? Was he captured? Or was he just lost? I could see this resonating out of George Lucas mind and based on his appreciate for Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. Regardless of the reason behind Luke’s disappearance, it reminded me of the exile of Yoda. Yoda wasn’t running away from the problem. He was simply waiting for the opportunity of returning to the battle. After learning that Luke went in search of old and lost Jedi Temples, I figured this could have been his motivation. He was looking for the knowledge. He was waiting for the right time to return and take on the First Order.

Then, Last Jedi was released and our perception of Luke was destroyed….

Losing Faith… or never lost.

It was 16 years between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menance – 25 years had past since George scribbled his idea for Star Wars and executed the next major phase of his story. That’s a lot of time. Also, that’s a lot of life to live between the two.

I believe George’s film making philosophy in the 1970s and early 1980s changed and is very different than his 1990s version. Or more specifically: his philosophy and attitude toward Star Wars. With all the examples I’ve provided and what he spoke about during the documentary From Star Wars to Jedi, he has definitely bent his filmmaking rules.

George, during another interview, admitted to this happening. His reason was children. He adopted 3 children from 1983 and the release of Episode I in 1999. He was making these movies for them. Or more generally – for children. Although by the time Revenge of th Sith came out I’m not sure I would say that was a kids movie (uh, man burning alive, duh). Yet, he definitely looked at this world through altered eyes.

I believe I was victim of something similar. When I was younger, my stories were so vast, incredible and fun. As I got older, I somehow stumped and blocked my efforts as my mind would question the rationale of the details. It was a difficult time. I subconsciously shutdown my own imagination. I think this happened to George. George wrote the Original Trilogy as an adult but with the spirit of his youth. As he got older, he wrote as from his youth but with a spirit of an adult.

I was disappointed. I had hoped he would have kept his original spirit. I also wish he had told himself, “if I was filming this movie in 1984 how would I have done it?” Allow the new technology to make it easier and sharper, but not lose the feel of the universe that had been shaped by real world limitations. Now, there will be no resolution as the torch has been passed. I’m not sure I have faith with the new direction. Yet, I think in the long run George lost faith in his youthful imagination. I struggled and sometimes still battle with my logical brain to keep my youthful imagination alive. As a writer, it’s imperative that the youthful imagination never is lost. I will vow to do my best….

Losing Faith…. pt. three.

In the documentary, George gives some interesting insight on his film making philosophy. One of those insights: “you don’t have to spend much film time to create an environment.” George continues to say that sci-fi movies are notorious to do this to show off the amount of work and it slows the pace of the movie. Star Wars pulled this off. Perhaps it was simply there wasn’t a budget to do it. Yet, it worked as he said. I don’t need a 3-4 minute fly-over of Manhattan to get a sense the characters are in a big city. But when it came to the prequels, I found George was showing off more and more of the environments: Coruscant, Naboo, etc. The magic of CGI and digital paintings made them great eye candy but the feel of the movies changed.

George also stated, “my effort was to use less exposition and tell the story cinematically.” Again, the prequels are riddled with dialog to tell us where the action is going. The dialog is there to enrich the story – not tell us what we’re looking at: “They went up the ventilation shaft.” “There’s a problem with the main reactor!” Both were just seen only seconds ago. Either George thought we weren’t so bright or he was catering the story to a different audience (more on that later).

The Force was also one of the big issues with the Prequels. George needed to somehow convey that Anakin is more powerful in potential than other Force users / Jedi. But how do you do that? Simple. You make it a scientific explanation. In the previous Trilogy, The Force was a mystical entity, a source for a faith and religion. Yet, in the new Trilogy, it’s all about how many microbial parasites you have in your blood. More exposition. Dialog could have easily fixed this – would have benefited the story not try to explain it. I think this tarnished the mystery and power of The Force.

In the original expanded canon, it was told that Anakin Skywalker married a young queen. This was the mother of both Luke and Leia. We never got a name nor a true definition of her royal line. We really didn’t need it. The mystery was sorta interesting. Yet, now we have the opportunity in the Prequels to explore her character. Yet, is she really a Queen. No. George’s personal political opinion interfered with the fantasy. She needed to be elected to the position because an elected official seems more moral, right? Again, this failed the overall story in a galaxy, far, far away. And by the time she was married to Anakin and gave birth she was no longer a Queen but a simple Senator.

That last example could also lead into another one: changing the previous known canon. In Return of the Jedi, Luke asks Leia if she “remembers her mother, her real mother?” This clearly points to the idea that Leia as well as Luke and Han know she was the adopted daughter of Bail Organa. Could it just be an error in the writing and Luke is projecting his own knowledge toward Leia? Possibly. But why didn’t Leia freak out and say “what do you mean, real mother!?” By the time we got Revenge of the Sith, Padme Amidala died in child birth. So how could Leia possibly remember her. (I know fans have tried to explain this as Force memory) But why did it happen in the Prequels? George could have easily supported what he’d already told the audience.

These are just some examples. Next time, I’ll propose alternatives….

to be continued….