All right, my apologies in advance for another Star Wars-themed blog, but I really need to address this. Over at TheForce.Net, an “anonymous” (aren’t they always?) source posted this little tidbit of information:
Mr Lucas was overheard by an associate of mine at a private party in Los Angeles discussing the use of new digital technology. He mentioned a Star Wars Series, between Episodes VI-VII possibly with HBO. Also, Star Wars, Episodes VII – IX and a probable new director were discussed.
Now, the first part of this isn’t really news to anyone who has paid attention to Star Wars for the past few years. We all knew there was a live action TV series in the works since filming started on Episode III. However, all previous reports indicated the series would fill in the gaps between Episode III and the original 1977 Star Wars Episode IV. This scooper goes on to open up a whole new can of worms with that last statement about the possibility of a new director taking control of Star Wars and making Episodes 7-9, which is something that Lucas has stated on the record numerous times would never happen. I realize ol‘ Georgie has said lots things on the record then turned around and contradicted himself (original, non-special edition DVD’s anyone?), but I just have to ask, why the hell would anyone want to see this happen?
Lucas was nearly crucified by outraged fans for making the Prequel Trilogy (though they lined up and put each episode over $300 million at the domestic box office), and despite rumors and speculation indicating the contrary, I don’t believe he has much (if anything at all) written about a possible third saga.
For those of you who think making Episodes VII-IX is a good idea, I’ll pose this question: what they hell would they be about and who the hell would be in them? I mean, isn’t the story over? Wrapped up nice and tight with a pretty CGI bow? We saw the Emperor come to power, we saw Anakin grow up, we saw him fall into darkness and become Darth Vader, we saw Luke and Leia born, and we saw Anakin redeem himself by sacrificing himself for Luke and chucking the Emperor into the reactor shaft. That’s all, folks! Story’s over, right? Where could you possibly go from there? And more importantly, if you do go there, will it be any good?
Yes, obviously, a talented creative mind like George Lucas can think up a million ways to continue the story of the Skywalker family, but to make an analogy and quote the great Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park: “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” We all know the old Stan Lee chestnut “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility”, and Georgie Porgie needs to heed these words carefully before he goes sticking his hand in the Star Wars cookie jar again, lest the franchise slip into mediocrity and over-saturation.
For sake of argument, let’s say Lucas does decide to go ahead and continue the Star Wars saga after the TV series wraps up it’s run. Let’s assume, for this scenario, the TV show is an hour-long, 13-episode a season HBO show that premieres in January 2009. In an interview before the Rose Bowl Parade Monday, Lucas said he saw the TV series as running about 26 hours, which would fit neatly into two seasons. Therefore, if production went smoothly, the show would theoretically end in May 2010. But let’s go with the worst case scenario of late 2011 for the end of the TV show. This would put the start of production for Episode VII no earlier than June 2011, and going by the production schedule of Episodes III, audiences wouldn’t be able to sit down and watch the film until May 2013.
By that time, Carrie Fisher would be 57, Mark Hamill would be 62 and Harrison Ford would be an elderly 71! Not to mention the peripheral players like Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels, who would all be well into their 60’s by the time this movie started shooting. Still want to see this? Forget about their age, it would take nothing short of a miracle to sign all of them to three picture commitments, especially Harrison Ford, who fought with Lucas to have Han killed off in Return of the Jedi.
So, we have three main protagonists in a major motion picture with an average age of 63. This is obviously a huge problem when you factor in fast-paced action sequences and Hollywood’s obsession with youth. I know exactly what you’re thinking right now, “It’s okay! Luke and Leia can be the wise old Jedi mentors who train a new generation of younger Jedi Knights, which would include the offspring of Han and Leia!” Great. Fantastic. Fine. There’s just one problem with this, who are they going to fight? Heroes are only as good as their villains, and weak antagonists can mean death for a movie (I’m talkin‘ to you Trade Federation). The remnants of the Empire are probably long gone by this time, The Emperor is dead, and I don’t want to hear any of that “Emperor Clone” bullshit. That would cheapen a great character, turning him into some kind of bad, boogeyman horror movie cliche’. I also don’t want anything to do with any of the so-called “Expanded Universe” baddies from the comics and novels. They all suck. Tell me you’ve read a really good Star Wars novel and I’ll call you a damn liar. That stuff is all horrible. So what are you going to have greybeard Luke Skywalker and his whiny Jedi trainees do for one movie, let alone three?
I’m sorry, but as much as my Star Wars fanboy side would cream his pants at the sight of more Star Wars movies, I just don’t think it should happen. I can’t envision a scenario where it would be worthwhile to make these films. But, hey, you never know, Lucas could hand the reigns over to someone really cool like Joss Whedon or Christopher Nolan, or some young renegade with wild creative ideas about the Star Wars universe that would blow our minds. Doubtful, but anything is possible. Remember that scene in Episode III when the Emperor was telling Anakin all about Darth Plaguies the Wise and how he could manipulate the Force to create life and even resurrect the dead? Perhaps this mystery character (who is technically Luke’s Grandfather) could pop up again and cause trouble for the Skywalker family. Hmmm….