All of this, I think, is part of the fundamental problem with Star Wars. It’s clearly a “franchise,” and it feels like a “franchise.” When the first Star Wars came out 40 years ago it was fresh and new and funny and interesting and ground-breaking in its use of special effects. Now the Star Wars model is old and tired. When was the last time somebody had a good laugh, or even a chuckle, at a Star Wars film? I’m guessing it probably coincides with the last time Harrison Ford was on the screen. And when you’ve got obsessive fans debating every instant of a film for consistency with what has gone before and comparing it to the eight prior episodes, you’re never going to achieve “fresh” and “fun” status. Every successive film is weighted down, more and more, by the ponderousness of the Force and the Jedi and the Sith and the increasingly confusing plot lines and story arcs. How can anybody be expected to keep it all straight?
And the fact that every Star Wars movie seems to involve a lightsaber duel between a good character and a bad character, and a Death Star plot device, and heroes saving the universe from evil and seeking redemption, doesn’t help. Who here didn’t react to the commercials for the new film with a shrug and the rueful thought that there’s another long lightsaber duel we’re going to have to sit through — like the lightsaber duel between Luke and Darth Vader, or the lightsaber duel with Darth Maul, or the lightsaber duel by the molten lava that caused Darth Vader to need all of his protective clothing, or the lightsaber duel in the forest. Lightsabers are nifty, elegant weapons, to be sure, but there are only so many ways to have a lightsaber duel — and changing the setting for the duel really doesn’t change that. I find myself longing for Han Solo to pop up during one of these interminable lightsaber duels and shake his head and say there’s no substitute for a good blaster.
I’ll go see this newest Star Wars film because I’ve seen the prior eight and I suppose I need to, to close the book on what once was great. But I’m hoping that this latest Star Wars is the last Star Wars. Really. It’s time.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas — but who cares? I mean, come on! We’re less than two weeks away from the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the geek world is in full Star Wars madness mode.
I’m not much for trying to figure things out before I go to see a much-anticipated movie, so I’m not going to actually read any spoiler reveals or try to guess what might happen to Han, Luke, Leia, and the new generation of Jedi warriors. I’d rather take my Star Wars pure and unadulterated by anything other than approved previews. So for now, I’ll count the days until the movie hits the theaters, check out safe stuff like the Spanish language poster printed above, and think: that movie looks like it is going to be pretty cool.
There’s some bittersweet humor in Ford’s injury, because in the original Star Wars trilogy the Millennium Falcon was viewed by everyone except Han Solo as a piece of intergalactic junk. There was always a question about whether the light drive or the shields would work, and Solo and Chewbacca and R2D2 spent hours working on the ship and trying to tie down some loose circuit or faulty system. The fact that a malfunctioning door in the Millennium Falcon broke the ankle of the actor who plays Han Solo therefore is ironic indeed.
But here’s the thing: Ford is back on the set after only two months, and filming has resumed. Ford was recently seen on the red carpet at some event and was walking without a limp or any assistance.
Speaking as a 50-something guy who is still somewhat gimpy after toe surgery six months ago, I’m stunned at what Ford has done. For a 71-year-old guy to bounce back so quickly from a broken ankle is nothing short of amazing. It just shows why Harrison Ford was the perfect Han Solo — and also the perfect Indiana Jones, for that matter.
The new Star Wars movie, featuring all three of the actors who created the iconic characters of Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker, is set for release on December 18, 2015. Mark your calendars!
When we last saw Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, they were on a forest moon, celebrating the death of the Emperor and the downfall of the Empire, surrounded by happy Ewoks and the ghosts of Yoda, Darth Vader, and Obi Wan Kenobi.
When George Lucas decided to make The Phantom Menace, he was taking a risk in reinvigorating a beloved and colossally popular movie franchise — but the risk involved in reintroducing the familiar characters from the original Star Wars movies in this latest feature is even greater. What has happened to Han and Leia? Did they get married and have kids, or did something happen to keep them apart? Do any of the characters die? Whatever happens, people will be second-guessing the story, and the fact that this new film won’t be directed by George Lucas is just going to increase the scrutiny.
I loved the original Star Wars films and fondly remember watching the first movie at the old University Flick theatre next to the Ohio State campus and then going back to see it again and again. I’m looking forward to being reintroduced to some of the most iconic movie characters of all time, but I’m warning new director J.J. Abrams — handle with care.