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Why Star Wars Episode VII Should Exist And Why It Shouldn’t

The internet is currently on seizure mode after the bombshell announcement of Disney buying all of Lucasfilms and not even hesitating to announce Star Wars Episode VII.

I can’t even begin to count the number of meme pictures floating out there, as evidenced by the featured image on this post. Trust me, it took me a good 20 minutes to finally settle on just one picture amidst the “Finding Yoda”, Sith Lord Goofy concept, and Vader kneeling before Mickey Mouse images.

Now that we know Star Wars will be continuing there’s a few things that we should take into account: 1) Lucas will not be directing it nor does he have creative control, 2) the new movie(s) will be of an original story, and 3) the big source rumor right now is that Luke Skywalker will still be the focus.

That last one is just a big rumor but I’m actually hoping that sheet of source rumors is correct as that means there’s a chance Joss Whedon would direct the movies. In that case, my entire argument against new Star Wars movies will be invalid and I will line up on opening day dressed as a terrible version of the Hulk with a lightsaber and tattered robe.

Anywho, let’s get to our main attraction: the debate! Senior Editor Cassidee Moser and I are at a head here. We are both big Star Wars fans but we disagree mightily on there being more movies with original plots. Let’s start with the “For” side of the debate with Cassidee and then I’ll follow up with the “Against”.

Either way, may the force be with the fans right now.

 

 CASSIDEE’S “FOR”

We’ve been here before…angry nerds get all up in arms over the fact that their beloved franchise looks like it might be in for a significant change.

Being a Star Wars nerd myself, I have to come through and say this; chill the heck out. Sure, the next film is going to be put out under the Disney banner. But that’s no reason to take things to such a cold extreme.

Go back a few months with me, if you will, to the release of The Avengers. The film was a runaway success, trouncing even the Dark Knight and becoming touted as one of the best superhero movies ever made.

Let’s not forget, folks, that Marvel is now under the Disney banner as well.

Here’s the thing; Disney is smart. They’ve expressed in the past that they want to build up more of their adult and “masculine” brands, departing from the flowery princess appeal they’ve had with little kids. Among others, we’ve seen this with the likes of Pirates of the Caribbean and with the latest Marvel releases that have been put under their care. Sure, Disney appears in the credits. But nothing about those movies screams “kiddie” to me.

Now, Star Wars is more than just a franchise. It’s an institution, a near cultish phenomenon that has spread out to include comics, cartoons, games, books, and of course, film. It has a history and backlog of lore that spans thousands upon thousands of years, all carefully cultivated by artists and writers who have a very distinct and clear vision of what this universe is and where they want to go with it.

Disney would be stupid to ignore this and just plow through and make it some sort of churned-out garbage for the sake of money. They understand the importance of the brand, and I really have faith in their ability to respect it and its fans by creating a suitable seventh entry in the film series.

It’s not like they’ve pulled just anyone to come and take over as well. The current co-chair of LucasFilm will be taking over as executive producer of the films, and is essentially responsible for the Star Wars brand once Lucas himself leaves. She’s not new to the company, and since it is her career, I’d be willing to bet she knows her stuff when it comes to Star Wars and the Star Wars universe.

Plus, I think we can all agree that the best films in the series were the ones that George did not write or direct, anyway. And with him being gone, there’s some serious potential for a great director and writer to step in and take the series in a fantastic new direction. Plus, we can finally cut out all of the fat that made the new trilogy so lackluster (*cough cough Jar Jar Binks).

Now, while the Thrawn trilogy would be interesting, it doesn’t seem totally feasible. The old actors are, well, old, and it simply doesn’t seem like a logical step to take at this point in time.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t borrow from some of the universe’s later fiction and tell a completely separate tale set long after the events of the original trilogy. In fact, I’d love it if they did just this. It’s time for a new story outside of the Skywalker family, really. In fact, the act of George Lucas passing Star Wars on to a new generation should be a welcome signal to move the franchise forward in a new direction. It’s suffered from some fatigue after I, II, and III, and despite what disgruntled fans might think, Disney could be the one to give it the legs it so desperately needs.

So go make Star Wars, Mickey. You might just be it’s only hope.

 

Ron’s “Against”

Call me a lore freak or whatever you want to say but I’ve read most of the Expanded Universe and fans know from interviews that Lucas respects the amount of effort and work put into creating the “C-canon” for Star Wars. I can’t find the link right now but I remember reading an interview where Lucas felt that another trilogy would undermine the work done, especially that of Timothy Zahn.

Zahn is the author of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire, which serves as the direct sequel to Return of the Jedi. It is part one of a larger story called The Thrawn Trilogy. Those books are extremely well done and read out just like a Star Wars movie. You could virtually see the movie unfold in the words, which to me was always something I wanted out of the books I read. It doesn’t stop there, though. After The Thrawn Trilogy we get another masterfully woven tale with Dark Empire and Empire’s End. Right there we have the workings for Episode VII to XII, two trilogies which is the number rumored to be in store for this franchise under Disney (read below about why this is still a problem).

Although Lucas respects the work done in the EU, it is also known that he doesn’t really care about preserving it. It isn’t called the C-canon for any small reason. Still, there was always a hint of hesitation due to the work out there detailing so many years before and after the movies that Lucas created. You can go thousands of years back and hundreds of years forward thanks to the books, comics, shows, games, and more mediums.

Disney is now threatening everything that long-time fans have known about Star Wars. Canon classes aside, Thrawn is a giant presence in Star Wars lore thanks to what Timothy Zahn put out there and started. To undermine that work would be a crime to this franchise. I understand Disney sees way too much profit in continuing the films but what is so bad with taking established Expanded Universe content and putting it on the screen? Lucas isn’t around anymore to say no. Anyone who has read The Thrawn Trilogy or really any of the EU would agree that would be the best course of action. If you haven’t read any of it, seriously pick The Thrawn Trilogy up and see what my complainin’ is all about.

 

 

I also understand that not everyone has read the Expanded Universe stories and this wouldn’t be a big deal but there’s another problem: age. This is rumored to be an original story continuing the tales of Luke, Han, Leia, and most of the original cast. It’s not the 70’s and 80’s anymore, Disney. These guys don’t even look the part anymore. Even if you were to go into the future a tad and start out with old versions of the characters (which they really are in real life now), it would be a shame to see Luke’s character like that. You could always see Han and Leia taking the safe route and settling down while Leia sometimes helps out politically, but Luke would never stop training and teaching the ways of the Force. Face it, the cast can’t reprise these roles.

Ahh, as much as I would love to see more Star Wars live-action movies, especially with Lucas out of creative control and directing, I just can’t sit here and let the Expanded Universe and all that work go down the tubes. If they can void The Thrawn Trilogy, they can void any era in the Expanded Universe. They wouldn’t dare touch the Old Republic era but Legacy, New Jedi Order, New Galactic Republic? All of those eras are up for the trash bin if this goes through.

For me, it’s Expanded Universe or bust. I’m not going to waste my money watching the original cast doing their best to reprise roles from 30-40 years ago.

However, the most important thing to think about is the age of the actors from the movies. That makes The Thrawn Trilogy kinda tough to do since Luke, Leia, and Han are so pivotal in the story. That also means Dark Empire would be out of the question by the time it rolls around to filming. So where do you go in the Expanded Universe? Two different directions: New Jedi Order and Legacy.

Cade Skywalker, aka a total badass.

For Episodes VII-IX, we head later on in the future to when Luke founded the new Jedi Temple and started training Jedi Knights. Luke is older and his wisdom becomes the learning tools need to train the next generation of Jedi. Our two main characters can be Jaden Korr and Kyle Katarn. The story can be the hardships of keeping the temple and new order together and battling adversity. Then for Episodes X-XII we’ll head hundreds of years into the future where Cade Skywalker is and we get to see just how well Luke’s Jedi Order flourished before the Sith Empire came back with Sith Lord Krayt. This would bring so much Sith lore into the movies that it would really show moviegoers just how big the Star Wars universe really is. With Darth Bane, Nihilus, and Andeddu making appearances it may even spark interest in buying books and comics about the EU. Disney could work with authors to re-release the EU material and make tons of money.

That just seems like the best course of action. As great as continuing Star Wars with The Thrawn Trilogy and Dark Empire would have been, they’re way past the opportunity. This would be a chance to show two more eras of Star Wars lore and spark a lot of interest in other material.

 

 

Discussion

Now that our debate is over, we want to know what you all think. Do you want more Star Wars movies? Who do you agree with here? What direction would you take the franchise now with it in Disney’s hands?