Star Wars fans have been abused for a long time.
After a 16-year hiatus, they were forced to endure George Lucas’s highly flawed prequel trilogy. Episode VII gave fans hope (some might say “a new hope”) that the franchise was back on track.
But the latest announcement on the iconic franchise just sent a shiver down fans’ collective spines.
Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow dropped out of directing Episode IX, and J.J. Abrams will jump back in the helmer’s chair.
This is bad news for anyone hoping for an unsafe, original take on the material.
…the internet has exploded with jokes and legitimate concerns over Abrams returning to helm the film. While The Force Awakens was widely regarded as a good movie, it faced some very legitimate criticism over being too much of a rehash of A New Hope. And Abrams has faced even stiffer criticism over his handling of the new Star Trek films.
But now that it’s a done deal, we’ll have to live with it. So let’s take a look at a few of the things Abrams really needs to avoid in the latest trilogy’s hopefully amazing finale.
1.No more Death Stars. Seriously. Please.
“Star Wars” may be a misnomer at this point. I’m tempted to call the series “Death Stars.” Two of the first three movies featured Death Stars, and The Force Awakens introduced us to yet another incredibly vulnerable weapon of mass destruction with Starkiller Base. It was even more destructive than the Empire’s death orbs, but just as easily taken down in the end.
This is not only bad storytelling, it’s poor strategic planning on the part of the series’ villains, equivalent to putting all of one’s death eggs in the same death basket.
It’s also emblematic of the most poignant criticism of The Force Awakens: That it was too much like A New Hope. And while I’m okay with it being similar to A New Hope in structure as well as thematically, there’s no doubt it came a little too close in many ways.
2. Don’t make our heroes too over-powered.
I don’t agree that Rey was a so-called “Mary Sue” in The Force Awakens, but there’s no denying that the movie glossed over some potentially important plot beats and made her and the good guys way too over-powered for the first film.
The problem with this is it kills tension, and good films are often good precisely because of the tension they evoke. When Rey can suddenly go toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren, after only just learning she had the Force, it kills tension. And while there may be a very good explanation for this, we certainly didn’t get it in the film itself leaving us to just speculate.
When you have over-powered protagonists, you risk taking all the wind out of a story’s sails. One of the great joys of the first two Star Wars films was just how much Luke screwed up.
In addition to these criticisms, the urge to shoehorn the plot into the Episode IV template made the transition from Return of The Jedi to The Force Awakens incoherent.
After the empire had been so thoroughly defeated, how did they quickly rise again to dominance? Also, the rationale for Han Solo and Chewbacca reprising the roles of two-bit smugglers made zero sense outside the lens of creating a nostalgic facsimile.
Rian Johnson is a truly creative director, so Episode VIII has a chance to be something special.
Regardless, the conclusion of the saga in the hands of Abrams should make die-hard fans incredibly nervous.