Why ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Shouldn’t Focus On Han, Luke And Leia

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As is typical with J.J. Abrams’ projects, there’s been very little heard from the STAR WARS: EPISODE VII camp since its announcement in October 2012. So far we’ve got a concrete release date (Friday 18th December, 2015), R2-D2, and… not much else. Every working actor under the sun seems to have been linked to the sequel in one form or another, and yet so far we haven’t had a single casting confirmation.

Aside from the cast, the other aspect of the sequel that’s been hit by the rumour-mill time and time again is undoubtedly the plot: first, Michael Arndt (TOY STORY 3) was set to pen the script, and did; then, Abrams and EMPIRE STRIKES BACK writer Lawrence Kasdan took over, apparently due to creative differences. Indeed, it now turns out that Abrams has seemingly abandoned most of Arndt’s script, which was based on George Lucas’ original drafts way back in the 1970s, and taken it upon himself (with Kasdan’s help) to rewrite it altogether.

And that’s no understatement: where Arndt’s script focused on the offspring of our trio of heroes, Abrams has decided to leave all that business until episodes eight and nine, instead focusing EPISODE VII on Han, Luke and Leia. Supposedly, this is to give our heroes a ‘proper send-off’ and introduce their kin naturally, but it’s actually a really bad idea.

Think about it for a moment: how much did you enjoy seeing an ancient John McClane or Indiana Jones running around the screen in A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD/KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL respectively? Sure, the latter was a good romp, but that wasn’t really thanks to Harrison Ford, and the less said about Bruce Willis the better. I’m not arguing that they’re past their prime in terms of acting ability, simply in terms of being able to convince in action roles.

Which, if Han, Luke and Leia are lead characters, you can be sure we’ll see Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher trying to cope with in EPISODE VII. The expanded universe of STAR WARS is huge, and the books are filled with stories of Jedi Leia kicking bad guys’ arses with a pink lightsaber, but how well that will translate onto the silver screen with aged actors is another matter entirely.

All of this is secondary, however, to the real reason Abrams shouldn’t waste a core sequel film on Han, Luke and Leia. They’ve had their time to shine; they’ve had a proper send-off at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI (I mean, an Ewok treehouse party? What more do you want?), and to do any more would surely burden EPISODE VII with far too much nostalgia and not enough STAR WARS action.

It’s easy to see why he’s doing it, of course. The prequels are so (wrongly) lambasted among STAR WARS fans that Abrams will surely do whatever he can to sever ties with them and reconnect with the original trilogy. But that shouldn’t mean making another film around its protagonists. We need new characters; new stories – we don’t want RETURN OF THE JEDI 2, we want EPISODE VII: A NEW DAWN (or whatever).

A trilogy of films should be just that – a trilogy. It shouldn’t be the kind of nonsense we saw with the likes of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, where the second and third films carry on directly, while the first stands alone. They need to be a cohesive three parts, which both STAR WARS trilogies so far have been. If EPISODE VII focuses on Han, Luke and Leia, and then EPISODES VIII and IX on their offspring, it’s very unlikely that the trilogy will feel cohesive.

There’s one more STAR WARS rumour doing the rounds at the moment, buried away in the plot details circulating the web – a certain character has been written into EPISODE VII, one whose very existence is perplexing: that of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s daughter or granddaughter. Yes, it seems that STAR WARS and continuity issues will still go hand in hand under Disney’s supervision, much as they did under the not-so-watchful eyes of old George Lucas (see: flying R2-D2, Vader building and then forgetting Threepio, the very existence of Ahsoka Tano, et al).

Anyway, if this nugget of information rings true, then Abrams must surely be screwing around with classic characters for the hell of it. Obi-Wan spent most of ATTACK OF THE CLONES and REVENGE OF THE SITH chastising Anakin for how close he was to Padme, and yet, unless he’s been bonking Sandpeople while in exile on Tatooine, he must have also fathered a child during that period too. And I’m not sure which of those two options sounds more out of character.

Of course, it could be that Abrams will write this all together in one brilliant, cohesive trilogy (thus presuming he’ll even write the other two sequels). But based on this single, unfounded rumour that will probably turn out to be bullshit anyway, you can colour me extremely worried that EPISODE VII is about to get bogged down in nostalgia and references at the expense of anything fresh. And the STAR WARS franchise could really do without another fan backlash.

So help us, J.J. Abrams. You’re our only hope.



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expand the universe JJ, no need to be scared.  Star Wars has already reached it's lowest point.  Idt you can get much lower (and I like the prequels(well, I like young Obi-Wan and the non-movie universe))

I swear to god if there is time travel in this movie....