Saturday, January 3, 2015

A meandering Star Wars post

So, the Episode VII teaser trailer has been out for nearly a month now.

I'v said before.... not on this blog actually but in my random Social Media activity, that I don't really care about new Star Wars.  I feel the Six existing episodes tell the complete story of Anakin Skywalker.  And as an Episodes I-III fan I was bugged by how Abrams statements seemed to be trying to pander to Prequel haters.

Seeing the teaser and having digested it for awhile, and listening to the Greedo Shot First podcast (I discovered them via their  Bros Watch PLL Too podcast), I'm reminded of some of the possible post Jedi internal head canon I made up with when I was younger.

Explaining this is a long story.  I never really speculated in my head on what happened in the first three episodes much before Episode I came out.  Largely that's because I wasn't really a SW fan yet, I enjoyed the original films but I was never in love with them.  But another reason was that I didn't have a starting point.

In the Summer of 1999 I fell in love with SW via The Phantom Menace.  I spent 1999-2002 imagining in my mind what might happen in Episodes II-III and my ideas were stupid compared to what Lucas did, mostly it was all inspired by my playing the N64 video game Jet Force Gemini.  Just replacing the Drones with battle droids and so on.

Then Attack of The Clones came out and I just speculated on III, and then Revenge of The Sith came out.  At that point I started imagining what could happen in a future post Jedi Trilogy simply because my mind needed something SW related to speculate on, but eventually that all faded away, especially as the announcement of the (I assume now dead) idea for a Live Action TV series set between episodes III and IV was made my mind turned to that era.  (I have a hunch that the seed of that is effectively where Rebels came from).

Explaining what went on in that speculation is awkward, my ideas were mostly horrible and I don't remember the details.  The main thing I did that I would absolutely hate is to see done for real now that I've matured and thought about it is a Darth Sidious force Ghost.  It would be so undermining to the themes of the existing story to allow Dark Side users to live on the same way Obi-Won and Yoda can, unless of course they redeemed themselves like Anakin did.  But when I was younger I just didn't think about that, I figured there is no way to top The Emperor so just find a way to bring him back.  Now I don't really care about topping him or not, I feel the best way to do something different would be to have a Femme Fatale Sith, like a Red Light Saber wielding Mona Vanderwall...... Darth Vanderwall!

What was really weird was how these ideas related to the EU.  I never read and still never have read an EU novel.  But I'd seen toys of Grand Admiral Thrawn and the Sun Cursher and other characters/ships who's names I can't remember (like something that seemed to be a Skull shaped Death Star thing).  And since I had no ability to imagine SW esque names of my own I just jumbled those names and looks in it in ways I'm certain had no relation to their actual roles or characterizations in the EU.

I forget whether it was Thrawn or someone else (ranked as a General) who I had eventually become completely possessed by the Sidious force Ghost.  It might have been both as my ideas evolved.  Thrawn stood out to me from the look alone, being a human (for some reason I didn't notice his blue skin) called a Grand Admiral and wearing a white military uniform (rather then the colors I was used to for Imperial officers) and a Black Cape.  Made him seem higher ranked then anyone we saw in VI-IV, besides Vader and the Emperor of course.  Then I watched A New Hope again and noticed someone in a white uniform at the meeting on the Death Star and figured he was a Grand Admiral but never figured he was Thrawn himself.

For some reason it took me many viewing to notice then Tarkin was a Governor.  Comparing things structurally to the Roman Empire it still didn't seem impossible to me that a Grand Admiral could be higher ranked then a Governor.  Thinking of like the difference between a Procurator and a Prefect and a Legate and a Proconsul.

The way I grouped these things in my head was based on the back of the box of one toy advertising for other toys.  It had three rows, each with a big ship and one of two smaller ships and 3 characters, one for each was an Imperial officer.

The first row became the basis for my imaginary Episode VII which I only recall now having a female Admiral and maybe a female who either was or I assumed was a Jedi.  I forget whether or not I initially assumed her to be Han and Leia's daughter, I don't think the box named her as either Solo or Skywalker but maybe I forgot that.

Second row had Thrawn and the Sun Crusher, while the third row had a the General and that Skull thing I mentioned before.  So yeah, those ideas sucked.

I'm gonna change the subject now.

I never really started engaging in SW fandom in online social media till around when ROTS came out.  Before then I had no idea this intense Prequel hate even existed, first time I heard of any hate existing was seeing a Simpsons scene with Homer's two bar/work buddies having a toy lightsaber duel.

Before that began, I never ever in my heard or anywhere else refereed to episodes I-III as Prequels.  I simply looked at them as Episodes we are seeing out of order.  A true Prequel to me would be an Episode 0.  Besides the superficial naming distinction, Episodes I-III to me could have been very successful films if they had been made first.  Only problem is a Blockbuster doesn't let evil prevail in the end unless it's a Prequel (or something like Skyfall where he dies/goes to jail even though he won).  While something like say Cruel Intentions 2 (which I enjoyed as a guilty pleasure) is fun only for how it foreshadows and builds to the Iconic film you've already seen.  It's not a bad thing anymore then Sequels are a bad thing, but that is how they are.

I want to express my annoyance at how it's popular to say Prequels in general are a bad idea because "we already know what will happen" and I'm just like "no, not really".  You know what will happen a heck of a lot less then you do watching an adaptation or a historical film.  Or a film/TV episodes that makes an artistic choice to show you the ending (or something near it) as it's opening.

I remember how Batman Begins kept being mistaken for a Prequel (the name didn't help) but effectively it was the same thing, we knew Bruce would became Batman, something that was bound to the canon of the 89 film would have had only a few more limitations, which were superficial.

I enjoy the GSF bros because they share my hate of SW haters.  But they still do some hating of their own that annoys me.  One of them said something like "Episode VII is so much more exciting then Episode I because you know they can go anywhere" and I'm like "No, they can't, there are several places I can guarantee you they won't go".

For starters, referencing back to what I said before, Hollywood Blockbusters don't let the Bad Guys win unless it's a Prequel.  So in that sense we effectively know just as much about where the Prequels would lead, that it'll be the opposite outcome.

Because this situation has pretty much a guarantee of a full Trilogy we may see the bad guys win in Episode VIII.  In fact it's a given they'll try to echo the legacy of Empire, (I personally object to defining that as a villain victory film, it's a dark film with a downer ending for our heroes, but Vader still failed to achieve his objective).  But the Trilogy as a whole will end more like Jedi then Sith.  The only place where I'd consider a surprise possible is allowing the villains to win in Episode VII, but I think pattern wise they will want the formal celebration vibe that the ending of I and IV had, as opposed the more informal celebration of VI.

Also let's talk about character deaths.  There is a good chance we could see the Human returning characters or Chewy killed off, in fact I'm hoping Abrams has the balls to let none of them survive to Episode IX or even VIII.  But of the main new characters, maybe one could die in The Force Awakens just to give the illusion anyone can die (like Ned Stark), but it'll only be one, and if that one turns out to be Daisy's character then I will be truly monumentally shocked beyond belief.  The possibility that she might turn to The Darkside in VII or VIII is the most unexpected outcome that's even remotely possible.

It is also my personal feeling that he can't kill off Rd-D2 or C-3PO, well maybe in Episode IX but not before.  The only thing ever publicity revealed about a hypothetical VII-IX back when Lucas was considering it before doing the Prequels was that the Droids are in fact the real lead characters of the full saga (and R2 the real hero of the story), they and they alone witness all Nine episodes.  Abrams could ignore that, but it's just about the only plausible decision he could make that I'd hate, I'd forgive a Sith force Ghost before that.

Now I return to where I started, sort of.

The things Abrams said that had me worried as a I-III Fan were maybe misunderstood.  I certainly know full well Episode VII will have to look more like the OT then the PT because that's what it follows, that's where we left off chronologically.  But I also feel like logically in a Post-ROTJ Galaxy some of what was lost in Sith should be able to return now.  Not entirely the same of course.  I agree with those who said Luke should not be trying to recreate the Jedi order, but just training a Padwan or two and staying on the outskirts.  I do want to see a New Republic, however one that is far more tolerant of Separatists then the Republic of Episode II was.  To me what's really important about the PT isn't just that the Bad Guys won, it's that our Heroes were on the wrong side to begin with.  Yes the Separatists were manipulated and controlled behind the scenes by the very villain they rebelled against, but in principle they were in the right.

I think part of why Episode I was hated was because it was a very different world.  Superficially speaking it did not seem distinctively SW to many at all.  But that was expected, and part of the fun of II-III is seeing that world slowly become the world of VI-IV.

Now I think it would be nice to come full circle, for this Trilogy to show the OT world see a similar transformation.  Not exactly back to Episode I, lessons have been learned (Arda Healed is different form Arda Unmarred).  But the ways in which the PT world seemed more futuristic then the OT should certainly come back now.

The Cross Guard Lightsaber is what really peaked my hope that Abrams wasn't just gonna bend over for PT haters.  The idea that the Sith tend to be more creative in their lightsaber designs might have existed in the EU already but in the mainstream that was a Prequel convention, introduced by Maul's iconic double bladed lightsaber.

If there are some Voice only roles not cast until after filming (that's not a CGI only occurrence, James Earl Jones was the same way).  I'm really hoping for Nolan North, he's a great Voice Actor, and awesome on Pretty Little Liars.  Elsewhere you may see me jokingly make other references to PLL actors as SW characters, but only here am I totally serious, I want to hear Nolan North in Star Wars, he deserves it.

2 comments:

  1. I found a picture online of the Toys I was thinking of.
    https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7504/16242605242_6217d65dbe_o.jpg

    I mis rememebred what row Thrawn was in, and my memory it seems also confused Admirla Daala with Mara Jade, and replaced Mara Jade with a younger looking Jedi Or it might be I just confused Daala with a female name.

    Shriwirr is the skull shaped Deathstar thing I remembered. And I misrememebred or misread the name Gaeriel as the title General. And did not realize back then that that character was female.

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    1. Apparently I wasn't confused on Naala's gender, but before making that comment the first names to pop up on Wookipedia when I searched that name were male.

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