The Possible Episode VII/Episode III Link. Plus Theories, Possibilities & Connections in the New STAR WARS Trailer…

Posted: April 19, 2015 in FILM
Tags: , , , , ,
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As fandom continues to go gaga over the latest teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I continue to be (mostly) alone in maintaining a more restrained, guarded approach to the imminent new Star Wars relaunch.
But it’s getting harder and harder to do that as more and more new footage emerges.

And sure, I’m as intrigued by the new trailer as everyone else, and yes, my excitement is building to see this first movie in December. And yes, I got major goosebumps when I heard Mark Hamill’s voice speaking those immortal lines from Return of the Jedi, and yes I love seeing the Falcon or a Tie-Fighter as much as the next guy.

Anyone who reads this blog probably knows my attitude towards a new Star Wars trilogy has generally been a sceptical one: I don’t believe this new trilogy needs to happen, as I consider the Star Wars ‘story’ finished already – a complete saga, with a defined beginning and end. However, in the time now passed since Uncle George gave Disney the best Christmas present ever, I’ve had no choice but to accept this next generation of Star Wars; as such I’ve gotten more used to the idea of these new films and am open to the possibility that they may prove to be entertaining films. And knowing that they’re coming is certainly exciting on the basic fan-boy level (I was much more excited about the prequels though).

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Luke is what I’ve been waiting for. I wrote in my review of the first Episode VII teaser a few months ago; ‘There’s one definite thing I would’ve done differently if I’d been formulating this teaser… I would’ve got Mark Hamill to say those words. Imagine fan reaction if it had been Luke Skywalker’s voice in this teaser!’ Well, now we’ve got it: still no clear visual of Luke Skywalker, but we’ve got the audio and those timeless words that have been embedded into our minds for decades.

Where the first teaser a few months ago was very minimal, acting as a mere flash of intriguing images, this one gives us a lot more to go on; it also reintroduces us to our old friends and familiar sights, helping to connect us more to the existing universe we love and to be slightly less intimidated by the prospect of an entirely new world. But just as with that first teaser, it’s still something of a mixed bag. Part of the trailer looks great, looks like a fitting continuation of classic Star Wars; however, other parts look like a generic, big-budget contemporary action movie that could be just about anything from Lord of the Rings to Thor: The Dark World. The new Sith lightsaber still looks lame and the character (Kylo Ren?) so far looks kind of lame and generic too; though admittedly I’m judging based on very little information so far.

Actually, the major thing that was totally ‘off’ about this teaser were the awful words ‘This Christmas’. That one annoying, commercial element had Disney written all over it. Seriously, this is Star Wars, not some tacky seasonal Hollywood film starring Jennifer Aniston; who gives a shit if it’s Christmas or not. No way would one of the old Star Wars trailers have had those words.  On the other hand, I have to say I really appreciate that we see continue to see a pure Lucasfilm logo at the beginning here, unencumbered by any Disney logo. But this trailer immediately felt better connected to the existing films, both because of the music (especially The Force theme variation from the outset) and obviously because of our first new look at familiar, loved characters, which is what was (wisely) missing from the previous teaser.

So some notes/thoughts on this second trailer and on the upcoming film in general…

 

  • So yes, of course, hearing Mark Hamill’s voice blew me away. Fans on-line and on various sites have been arguing back and forth as to whether the lines Luke is speaking here are newly recorded lines or the existing, old audio from Return of the Jedi: it’s not the existing ROTJ audio. The lines are the same lines Luke speaks to Leia on Endor, but it’s a new recording – you can tell by the difference in tone-of-voice, indicating that this is an older Mark Hamill than ROTJ who’s speaking these lines now. This doesn’t mean this dialogue is going to appear in the film; it may just be for the trailer. But it’s new audio.

 

  • The biggest tease, for me anyway, in this trailer is Vader’s burnt mask. Did Luke retrieve it from the Endor pyre and keep it? Has someone gone to Endor and taken it, to keep as an object of inspiration or even worship? And does Luke’s present-tense reference to his father in the teaser – “my father has it” – indicate Anakin Skywalker’s Force-Ghost being alive and active in this new story? That would be a fascinating possibility; it would also raise the question of whether Hayden Christensen will be appearing in these films? Remember, the newest revised ROTJ edition has Hayden Christensen’s ghost in the famous ending – that *should* in theory therefore be the form any subsequent Anakin-Ghost should have; and also given that Christensen is still around, still relatively young and still looks like that, it would be insane to have anyone else come on board to do that. It’s also worth everyone bearing in mind that some of what we see in these trailers may be ‘flashback’ sequences within the narrative: even that wouldn’t be a very ‘Star Wars’ things to do, Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot had some of that sort of thing going on via the late Leonard Nimoy.

 

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  • The other fascinating prospect for me, being an unashamed ROTS fan, is that the very next shot looks very much like the Lava planet of Mustafar from Episode III. Assuming that it’s Luke we’re seeing in this shot with Artoo-Deetoo (which the mechanical arm would strongly suggest), what would he be doing on Mustafar? Is there something there on that world he is looking to retrieve – something perhaps to do with his father, Obi-Wan, Padme or the events of ROTS? Or is he there on some sort of pilgrimage to somehow ‘connect’ with the spirit or the Force-resonance of the place where Anakin Skywalker ‘died’? The possibilities are many; the possibilities are fascinating. The fact that Artoo is in this shot may even indicate that what we’re seeing is either (1) Luke being taken back to Mustafar by Artoo – remember Artoo was on Mustafar with Anakin in ROTS, or (2) Luke somehow engaging in some kind of mental time-travel to revisit what happened on Mustafar in ROTS. I would personally love that to be the case; as much as some people like to bash the prequels and write them off completely, I still stand by ROTS as a superb film and would appreciate seeing these new films maintain a strong link to that story.

 

  • A related thought: the tiny shot of ‘Kylo Ren’ with his dumb-ass lightsaber, looks like it might be a similar backdrop to the Luke/Artoo scene too. It could be that Kylo Ren has gone to Mustafar (if it is Mustafar) to find something. He’s obviously engaged in battle there with someone or something: what if it’s against Luke?

 

  • That opening shot of the crashed Star Destroyer and X-Wing is seriously cool, already feeling like a classic Star Wars visual to add to the annals, and is also highly intriguing, particularly given its apparent ageing suggesting it’s been there a long time. That isn’t Tatooine, apparently, but the planet  ‘Jakku’. I really love the idea that even thirty years after the Fall of the Empire, there are still planets in the galaxy where remains of old Imperial Star Destroyers or Alliance X-Wings are still sitting there in the deserts. This would make a lot of sense in terms of how vast and widespread the Empire and the war was; there would still be places, perhaps on the outskirts of former Imperial territory, where such relics of the past would still remain.

 

 

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  • Rey, the character played by English actress Daisy Ridley (and who may or may not be Han and Leia’s daughter), looks set to be the central heroine of this new trilogy, the way Luke and Anakin were in their respective trilogies. I’m already liking the look of her, particularly her costume design, which is rich in detail, combining various elements from previous Star Wars films (somewhat a mixture of Hoth Rebel get-up and rustic Tatooine garb) and seemingly very in keeping with the rustic feel of some of the most iconic Star Wars ‘looks’. The character is apparently a scavenger in a ship graveyard, described as ‘self-sufficient and solitary’; which also sets her up as a character in keeping with both Luke and Anakin when we first met them. I’ve a feeling she’s going to be a really interesting character. And if she is to be the central hero, it was a good choice to cast someone relatively unknown.

 

  • We’re told the new Star Wars is no longer about the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, but the ‘First Order’ and ‘The Resistance’. It’s not clear to me where The Republic or the New Republic sits within that context. But then I remind myself that ‘The New Republic’ was an invention of the Expanded Universe, specifically the novels. The decision was recently made that the EU would not be drawn upon for these new films. And now that I think about it, it wasn’t even implicit in Return of the Jedi that a ‘new Republic’ would be formed or even that the Rebel Alliance would try to form a government. I just *assumed* that Leia, Mon Mothma and all the others *would* have formed some kind of government even in the new film canon, but it’s possible that nothing of the sort ever happened. Speaking of the ‘First Order’, this is evidently what the newly resurgent ‘Empire’ is now referred to as. Can’t help think a more ominous name would’ve been ‘Order 66’ – thus darkly resonating with the ROTS extermination of the Jedi. Just a thought.

 

  • The big Stormtrooper shot on the ice/snow planet (not Hoth) is interesting – a lot less dramatic looking than the big CloneTrooper reveal at the end of Episode II, despite what a lot of people are saying. There’s clearly a significant figure in the background of this Stormtrooper parade, who we can’t identify at this stage. I’m beginning to think that the new threat in The Force Awakens may be something along these lines: that someone (presumably the ‘Darth Vader-like’ figure supposedly played by Adam Driver), has become obsessed with the past, obsessed with the old Empire and even the old Sith Lords, especially Darth Vader (hence the early shot of Vader’s burnt mask), and is therefore emerging as a self-taught ‘Sith Apprentice’ on a mission to revive the Empire and bring it back to dominance based on the Palpatine/Sidious model. This same person possibly goes to Mustafar to discover or retrieve something to do with Anakin/Vader and Luke possibly follows him there? Just speculation.

 

  • And of course the big, heart-piercing moment: Han and Chewie emerging on screen – the first time we’ve seen Han Solo since 1983. You know, at one point recently I was convinced that seeing such an older Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in this Star Wars universe was going to be a little difficult to enjoy; but actually I don’t think Harrison’s going to be a problem. And actually I’m actually one of the few people who didn’t mind watching him do his thing as a much older Indiana Jones in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The jury’s still out on whether Hamill or Fisher will be palatable as much older versions of themselves on-screen; and of course we don’t see either of them properly in this teaser. Luke and Leia it seems are being kept for a big reveal in a subsequent trailer: that’s cool, I like that gradual build-up. In fact, it might be really cool – even if unorthodox – to leave either Luke or Leia entirely out of all the trailers: imagine how much more fascinated to see her we’ll be once the film arrives if we haven’t seen a single shot of Leia yet.

 

  • Han’s line “we’re home”, obviously suggests that the Millennium Falcon has been lost for some time or that Han at some point gave it up to someone else. Which is fascinating, as you can hardly imagine Han giving up the Falcon to anyone (apart from Lando – but then you can’t imagine Lando having given up the Falcon either). Maybe he lost it in a Sabaac bet. For that matter, still no mention of Billy Dee Williams or Lando Calrissian. Which is a little disheartening. Still no word on who Warwick Davis is playing either; but how much would we *love* for it to be Wicket? Seriously, if Wicket appears in this new film, I’m going to lose my shit.

Of course any footage of the Falcon doing its thing is going to get the excitement levels up, just like it did in a big way in the first teaser; this time the old “piece of junk” is seen flying through the interior of a downed ship, pursued by a firing Tie-Fighter in a shot clearly paying homage to the Return of the Jedi Death-Star run. Beautiful. And so, so Star Wars.

For all we’re shown here, it still leaves us unclear about what to expect of this movie; but the purpose of teasers is to build intrigue and excitement and these teases have certainly done that; they’re being very, very careful what they show us. I went absolutely nuts for the final Revenge of the Sith trailer in 2005, but that trailer showed us way too much in terms of actual plot details. These trailers so far have been very well measured; and the anticipation is building in a big way.

 

 

 

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Comments
  1. thetruthisstrangerthanfiction says:

    I’m actually very much in step with you on this whole thing… As much as I like the first three films, I now have pretty much no hope in anything being made in the Star Wars universe that doesn’t suck. I’ll watch em of course! But I really don’t think it will ultimately matter how many stars from the original trilogy they bring back, or how much they might genuinely try to overcome the horrid blunders that were the prequels (sorry, I know you actually like them…) but like you said, at the end of the day, it’s Disney, and all Star Wars is really about anymore is just selling toys, and the many millions of dollars that are to be made from the litany of cross-promotional junk that is sure to follow. You’re right, there really is not point at all in continuing past ROTJ, other than just cashing in. I am personally sick to death of seeing movies that really just propelled by little more than subtle redesigns of the stormtrooper suits or different versions of a lightsaber.

    However, I have to admit, it would be pretty cool to Luke come back as a form of the older Obi-won character, with the brown robe and beard etc… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m actually excited about these new films, just because I’m a fan-boy and Star Wars is in my blood. But yeah, I think Disney’s interest is purely commercial and I do feel like the story is done and dusted already. Actually, as far as Luke is concerned, the indications I’m reading are that he may in fact end up being the *villain* in this new film…

      Liked by 1 person

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