6 Things I Want From Star Wars Episode VII
I am about to say something so shocking that I may be banned from the Internet: I like the Star Wars prequels. Please, put your torches and pitchforks down. I’m not saying they’re good movies, or that they’re filled with exciting new characters; but I will say that the Star Wars prequels are fun entertainment, and they expand the Star Wars universe in brilliant and exciting ways. Nothing will ever be as good as the original trilogy, but I still like them, despite their many flaws.
Which is why I am completely on board with Disney and J.J. Abrams making a whole new trilogy, starting with Episode VII in a few years.
I love Star Wars, but I am by no means a rabid fanboy. I never saw the original trilogy in theaters. The best I could do as a kid was a beat-up copy of Return of the Jedi on VHS. I had seen all the films when I was really young, but it wouldn’t be until well into my teens before I finally saw full, quality versions of all three films. That was more than enough to get me excited for the prequels, and I saw all three movies on their opening weekends, and I remember loving each and every one of them in the theaters.
Heck, I don’t even mind Jar Jar Binks. Uh…was that going too far?
Anyway, I’m excited to see what happens in Star Wars: Episode VII, so I’ve decided to do up a list of six things I want to see in the next Star Wars movie. And I’d love to hear your ideas in the comments blow.
6. Ignore the Expanded Universe
I love the Star Wars Expanded Universe as much as the next guy. I even did a previous list on my favorite EU characters. But when it comes to the actual film series, the fans are just going to have to let go. This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but it has to be done. I wouldn’t mind J.J. Abrams taking some inspiration from the Expanded Universe, but it would be foolish to try and adapt an existing novel or comic book.
For those who don’t know, the Star Wars Expanded Universe is basically every novel, comic book, TV show, cartoon, video game or whatever else that tells new stories in the Star Wars universe. And believe me, that list is exhaustive. Lucasfilm has always been great about letting the Expanded Universe really expand, and most of it has been greenlit by the executives in charge. The EU isn’t just a bunch of fans writing fan fiction under the noses of Lucasfilm, it’s all fully licensed, properly accepted canon. The Expanded Universe stretches thousands of years into the past, with stories about the first Jedi, to decades into the future, with novels and comics galore about the children of Luke, Han and Leia.
What I’m saying is that the years following Return of the Jedi have been carefully and meticulously mapped out in the Expanded Universe. And those stories are beloved by fans and have been previously OKed by Lucasfilm. So when Abrams and his people make these new movies, they’re probably going to run roughshod over everything that has already been established in the EU. It’s going to suck for the fans, but I think it’s necessary for the new movies to work properly. Abrams has to have the freedom to tell the story he wants, and if that means changing or reclassifying the existing EU, to be it. The movies are the only canon that really matters.
And just think how much fun it will be to create even new Expanded Universe material based around the new trilogy!
5. Don’t Undo What Came Before
All that being said, the Expanded Universe has still done a great job of continuing the story of Star Wars. Han and Leia settled down and had a couple of kids. The Rebel Alliance became the New Republic, and had to contend with the Imperial Remnant. And Luke founded a new Jedi Order filled with new recruits. And that is exactly what I want to see in Abrams’ new movies. I want him to continue the story in a sensible way without undoing what came before. Don’t tell us that the Empire is still alive and well, and that our heroes are still fighting the rebellion. Don’t tell us that Luke is the only Jedi in the universe. Don’t undo the accomplishments of the other films. Find ways to move on.
Despite what everybody thinks of the prequels, they still fulfill the basic job of leading into the original trilogy. Characters, events, themes and plots continue from one trilogy into the next, and that’s exactly what should happen with the new trilogy. I want to see Abrams continue the story of the Skywalker family. Maybe Luke has a few children, or Han and Leisa pop out a few rugrats, and then the trilogies all become about a different generation of the Skywalker lineage. I want to see the Rebel Alliance struggle to build a new government in the aftermath of the Empire. I want to see the Jedi start to come back.
I also want to see an original story. Come up with something new for the characters to do. I don’t want to see Abrams and company just hit the reset button and try to subtly remake the original movies, like how Star Trek Into Darkness is basically just a remake of Wrath of Kahn. Don’t just create new, young surrogates of Luke, Han and Leia to redo the same stories as before. Don’t just create a New Empire and a New Rebel Alliance to replay the same battles as before. Take the universe, take the characters, and do something original with them all.
4. Do Something Clever With the Empire
I think we can all agree that killing Emperor Palpatine and blowing up the second Death Star would not lead to universal liberation overnight. The Empire had a pretty tight stranglehold on the universe, so the Rebels had their work cut out for them. The Expanded Universe had a lot of fun with what remained of the Empire, calling it the ‘Imperial Remnant’ and writing about various power struggles between the remaining officers. Grand Admiral Thrawn Rose to power. And clones of Palpatine started popping up like rabbits.
Like I said before, I don’t want Episode VII to do anything with Thrawn or the Expanded Universe stories, but I want them to do something with the leftover Empire. Their leaders are gone, they’re out of power, but they’ve got all these Star Destroyers and Stormtroopers lying around. Maybe they all turn to piracy. Or maybe a few planets stick it out and the Empire gets its own seat in the new Senate. Maybe you can buy discount TIE fighters or those rigid gray Imperial uniforms on the black market. Star Destroyer Demolition Derby?
All I know is that if I ever get to write a Star Wars story, it’s going to include a feared bounty hunter known throughout the galaxy for wearing the unique armor of a past warlike regime: the Stormtroopers.
3. Female Protagonist
I’ve heard this idea bandied about, and I whole-heartedly approve. If they do give Luke Skywalker some children to star in the new movie, would it really be so bad if he had a daughter instead of a son? Star Wars is a universally beloved franchise. No matter what anybody thought of the prequels, the franchise is still hugely popular, and people will line up in droves to see the new films. So why not use the power and prestige of Star Wars to start breaking down some Hollywood inequality barriers?
We live in a world where Rocket Racoon is going to star in a movie before Wonder Woman. Where big franchises like The Avengers and Star Trek only have one woman in their ensemble cast.
Star Wars could be different. Star Wars could take a stand and weather whatever criticism is hurled its way (And yes, there could be criticism. We still live in a world where people were up in arms over that interracial Cheerios commercial, remember?). People are going to see the next Star Wars movie, regardless of the main character. So I think Abrams should be bold and give us a female lead. It’s working wonders for The Hunger Games.
2. New Lightsaber Color
I think yellow would be good. Or maybe orange.
Whoever the new lead Jedi is going to be, I say give them a new lightsaber color. I don’t know what the new color could signify, it would just be new and interesting. And it would be fun. Isn’t that enough of a reason?
The lightsaber is one of the most icon things to come out of Star Wars. But they’ve been restricted in terms of color, which makes sense if you’re trying to keep the mythos under control. The colors obviously mean something, it’s simply never been explained in the movies. Jedi use blue and green lightsabers, without explanation. Bad guys use red lightsabers, also without explanation. And Samuel L. Jackson used a purple lightsaber, because he’s Samuel L. Jackson, and that’s all the explanation you need.
So why not come up with a new color to give the new lead character? Again, I’m thinking yellow.
This one is a must. I want the big, furry guy back in the saddle for Episode VII, no ifs, ands or buts. Luke, Han and Leia are all coming back, no matter how old Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher have gotten. But surely wookies don’t age at the same rate as humans, right? Chewbacca may have some gray streaks in his fur, but I’m sure he could still be activate and up to no good. He’d be the perfect sidekick for the new protagonist. In fact, if the new protagonist is Han and Leia’s daughter, then surely Han’s life debt would transfer to the kid, right? Chewie would be the ultimate cool uncle! Chewbacca and the young Solo Jedi cruising around the galaxy being heroes with their yellow lightsabers and their Millenium Falcon. It would be perfect!
Chewie is a cultural icon. Have I ever told you people how much I love it when celebrities and other figures treat Chewbacca like a real person? He’ll show up at awards shows or in comedy skits and everybody just treats him like Chewbacca. I just love it! And now is the chance for his return to glory.
I’m also in favor of Peter Mayhew returning for the role, if he can do it. I like to think he and Harrison Ford get together for drinks every once in a while.
What do you want to see in the next Star Wars movie? Surely the script is already written and pre-production has begun, but we don’t yet know anything about plot, characters, villains or anything else. So now is the perfect time for fun speculation! Do you want to see a new Sith lord? Should Anakin Skywalker come back as a Jedi Ghost? Do you demand that the Expanded Universe be used? Let me know in the comments!