Friday, November 9, 2012

War Song

I'm still a bit too excited and edgy to come up with a clever, biting opening to this article. So, if it's okay with you beautiful people, I'mma skip the formal intros and get right to the main course, because I've got a lot to say about this one. Cool? Cool.

So. Star Wars.

Yup, we're going there.

Anyone who knows me in person knows that Star Wars is to me what Tyra Banks was to Will Smith circa 1992...i.e. I know too much about it for my own good and it's pretty much the only thing I ever talk about. I'm the quintessential Star Wars nut: I love all the movies, I've got about thirty Hasbro action figures, I've read a bunch of the expanded universe novels, and I've got about six different visual dictionaries on the subject. You know that alien band that's playing in the bar in A New Hope? Well, I'm such a detail-obsessed wackjob that I can tell you what that band's name is and what planet they come from. (If you really have to know, they're called Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes, and their species [the Bith] come from Clak'Dor VII. One of the instruments they play is called an "omni box". What else do you wanna know, ladies?). Yeah, I'm one of those guys. But I like to think that what differentiates me from the more creepy, hygienically-impaired members of the nerd society is that I obsess because I LOVE, not because I like to nitpick about things on internet chat rooms or show off my "skillz" to impress Goth chicks.

So, naturally, when I joined the rest of the world last week in discovering that Disney bought out LucasFilm and plans on making at least three more Star Wars movies, I went through a variety of confusing (and sometimes arousing, but we won't go there) emotions in a very condensed period of time. Face it, Star Wars is my lifeblood: sure, I'm also a huge fan of superhero movies, Lord of the Rings, LOST, Harry Potter, Joss Whedon, The Simpsons, Assassin's Creed, Pixar, Nintendo, and other nerdia (which is a word I just made up that means "nerd-media"), but Star Wars is the king. The Mac Daddy. It trumps them all. It was the first true fanboy experience that any of us had. If being a fanboy was a religion, Star Wars wouldn't just be the Book of Genesis: it'd be the entire goddamned Old Testament. And maybe the Letters to the Corinthians, too,

I wanted this TQM post to be about my personal thoughts on this revelation. And to be honest, it's still kind of hard to put it into words. Am I excited? Sure I am! I mean, George Lucas had mentioned toying with the idea of doing sequels to Return of the Jedi in the past, but we long ago dismissed those as the mere ramblings of a crazy old flannel-man, and George stated very firmly that the prequels would be the final installments in the film series. So to find out now that we're going to see a multitude of new Star Wars movies...well, it's a little bit surreal. It feels like a false rumor, or a cruel practical joke...until you find out that it isn't.

I am a bit saddened, though, that the series will no longer be part of the LucasFilm family. Disney, it seems, won't be content until they own everything, everywhere. They already locked down Pixar and Marvel Comics, and now they've added Star Wars to that list. I wouldn't be surprised if next year we'll be hearing that Disney has just spent $8.03 billion to purchase the rights to coffee. Not a coffee franchise; just coffee, period. And every time anyone buys a cup of coffee or roasts a coffee bean anywhere in the world, Mickey Mouse will reap the benefits somehow. And the year after that, it'll be doors. Wanna have a front door to your house? Not until Disney gets their cut, chump.

I'm in the middle of a little love-hate spat with Disney right now, because -in my opinion -they've been slacking. They made Hercules, then they made nothing good after that. For a long time. And then they just bought out everybody who was making good things and rode their long coattails all the way to the bank. If you were to ask me, the only worthy piece of entertainment Disney put out themselves after Hercules was Pirates of the Caribbean. It's kinda sad that the company who led the world in family entertainment back in the early nineties spends the present just sitting back getting fat while Pixar, Marvel, and (now) LucasFilm do all the hard work. But that's a matter for a whole other blog post entirely. If you ask me, Star Wars won't be quite the same without hearing that 20th Century Fox theme before the opening titles. :(

But other than that...yeah, I'm pretty optimistic! There's obviously a lot that could go wrong, but that can be said for any movie. There's also plenty more that could go right, and that's what I'm looking forward to. I'm just curious as to what the hell these new movies could possibly be about! I mean, the current 6-film saga is about Darth Vader: his childhood, youth, descent into darkness, and redemption. Now he's dead, his son Luke (SPOILERS!) has forgiven him for his injustices, the Empire is defeated, and all is right with the galaxy. For the first time in a long time, there's peace. And call me crazy, but the idea of watching Star Peace just doesn't have the same appeal. I'm sure a clever enough writer can come up with something intriguing enough to spawn a whole new series, but until then we can only speculate. And if they're hard-pressed for said writers...I'll do it. For free. Come on, Disney, you're lookin' at a free lunch here!

Though as long as we're on the subject, here are my two cents:


Whatever you do, Disney, please DON'T jump on the 21st-century bandwagon and make a hard-boiled, gritty, Star Wars Begins where Han and Leia's badass son is played by Jason Statham, and everyone wears black trenchcoats, and lightsaber blades only come in silver now because primary colours aren't hardcore enough for today's modern audiences. Just remember what made the original six movies so magical and expand upon that in every way possible.If you're going to try to be edgy and gritty, then you're not making a Star Wars movie; you're just making some other shitty movie and calling it Star Wars. Just be kids again. Design cool-looking spaceships and take us to awesome planets and introduce us to likeable characters who pilot imaginative land, sea, and air vehicles. The beauty of Star Wars is that its limitations are only defined by your own. So don't squander that opportunity, Disney, or I'm throwing away my Junior Mouseketeers membership for good.

I'm no whiny, squealing complainer...I'm not going to demand that you include Boba Fett or a cloned Emperor or anything like that. I'm putting my faith in you, creators of the new films. In 2015, I hope you pleasantly surprise me. There's only one thing I can think of that you really, really need to consider putting into these movies, only one thing that is absolutely irreplaceable: John Williams. In this humble writer's opinion, without Mr. Williams behind the conductor's baton, it just wouldn't be Star Wars.

P.S.- "Nerdia": copyright Andrew Fantasia, 2012, by the way. Just sayin'.