The global countdown is ticking away to December 18th, as well as the worldwide release of the new Star Wars movie, "The Force Awakens", which will signal the beginning of a new trilogy for the world's most beloved movie franchise. The only thing is, it's about time it was done the right way; which is to say, AFTER "the Return of the Jedi", NOT going in reverse and therefore permanently screwing with my childhood, along with so many other Star Wars fans! The only thing I ever cared about with the idea of the Star Wars prequels was to find out how Darth Vader got his trademark armor, and instead everybody got stuck with the world's longest sob story of how poor little Anakin Skywalker grew up to be the big, bad Sith lord that everybody would fear and would eventually eradicate all the Jedi. Honestly, people, I didn't care about that, I just wanted to know how Vader got the stupid armor! So sue me!
However, something I did NOT think I would live long enough to see is a new chapter in the Star Wars story that would take place after "The Return of the Jedi", some thirty-two years after the original story was concluded. So you can imagine my total surprise when the rumors started a few years ago about something like this happening, and I admit, I was like, "No way! It's been too many years, and besides, they would never be able to pull it off now. And there's not a director who'd be crazy enough or have what they need to be able to do it!" Let us not forget, after all, Star Wars is the holy grail of Hollywood royalty in terms of the money that rolls in daily from the merchandising, let's not EVEN start talking about the movies themselves, or who was starring in them. No, we don't even have to go there just yet.
I want to share one of my favorite memories in this, it has to do with the first time I saw the original Star Wars, in 1977. I was nine years old and had never seen anything like Star Wars, and back in the 1970's the best movies you could really come up with in terms of science fiction would probably have to be "The Planet of the Apes", which I'll be writing a blog for later. But anyway... You have to understand that movies in the 70's were nothing but shit for the most part, unless you just wanted to veg out on westerns and controversial horror movies all day, in which case there were plenty of those. But on the whole, a lot of those weren't even worth watching. There were no real filmmakers in those days, no directors who had enough imagination to make up their minds about how to make a movie, much less come up with a story for a movie. Yeah, I know, I sound like an ass, but you know what? I lived through those times when movies were little more than junk, and the idea of American cinema was such a joke it was no wonder why Bruce Lee movies were such a hit. You know why? Because there was nothing else on worth watching! The 1970's belonged to westerns and The Planet of the Apes, and that was it! Nothing, nada, good-bye!
My parents went to see a movie that left them so buzzed about it they said to each other, "We've got to take Cody to see this!" and they drove home, where they picked me up from my babysitter, and drove me all the way to the same theatre where they saw the movie. I had no idea what I was going to see, or if it sounded any good to me. I mean, come on, I was nine years old. What in God's name did I know about good movies in those days?? I can't even remember if I ever saw the movie poster, or if Mom kept me from seeing it, it could be true. My parents wanted it to be a total surprise for me. And man, I knew nothing about what I was about to see!! This is where my favorite memory comes in. Once I started watching the movie, things were happening, the music was playing, and a small spaceship went streaking through the depths of space. But then, all of a sudden, the star destroyer came gliding overhead, over everybody's heads as it descended on the fleeing ship. And I remember very clearly as I watched, I thought very clearly to myself, "OH MY GOD, WE'RE BEING INVADED!!! THIS IS SO COOL!!! DO IT AGAIN, PLEASE!!!" And I was actually looking UP to see the star destroyer, man, that's what was really blowing me away! I cannot even start to kid about this, you cannot imagine what it was like to see a star destroyer coming down from the top of the movie theatre, how beautiful that was. You see, the theatre in those days had additional screens and surround-sound and special effects arranged and rigged to work with the movie. It's like being on a cerebral roller-coaster but you're not going anywhere, and it's still as amazing to watch. Even today, when I watch it on dvd, I still remember everything about that day, and it STILL blows me away. I was nine years old, and it was August, 1977. I have no idea what day it was, to this day.
After all these years, after getting to watch and enjoy "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Return of the Jedi", I honestly thought the story was over, and there would never be another chapter to be told. I was pretty sure i would have to be a grandfather before anyone could actually be crazy enough to make another Star Wars movie, but it didn't work out that way. Instead I got to get away with just being a single dad with a teenager daughter getting ready for college life, so in that dramatic context, I guess I could consider myself close to that category. hahaha! So imagine how amused I was when I heard about rumors a few years ago circulating about a possible Star Wars reboot, which immediately made me shudder like you wouldn't believe! The word "reboot" is such a distasteful one that anytime I hear it, I gotta say it, I just don't want to hear another word after that. I mean, seriously, who uses the word "reboot" and could have good feelings about how it sounds? But anyway, that was the word back in 2012, and I shook my head, thinking to myself, it's not possible, not after all this time. Who the hell is healthy enough(not to mention young enough) to play the original characters?? And even IF they could bring the actors back together to make another movie, would they want to? And what would the story be, to be able to resurrect something that possibly should have been left alone. Ok, I think now is the time to discuss the actors, mainly Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher.
Of the original three, Harrison Ford is the only actor who's been making movies on a regular basis, so it's not any surprise to me that he is involved in the new movie. He is Han Solo, after all. Not only that, but Indiana Jones as well! But I digress talking about Harrison's stellar career for now. (hehehe!) Originally, the second trilogy was intended to be started back in 1983, not long after the conclusion of "The Return of the Jedi", but as it stood George Lucas was too busy cashing in on his successes and taking a breather from the movies. Talk about a sequel trilogy for Star Wars did come up again in 2008, but at the time Lucas stated that wasn't working on it, especially with the upcoming animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars being finished to start airing on tv. Ford, however, was making movies as he always has, staying busy and healthy, unlike his costars at the time, sadly enough. Once the Indiana Jones movies were done(at the time, anyway!) he moved on to more contemporary movies, like the romantic cop thriller "Witness" in 1985, directed by Peter Weir. For now, as it's understood, he's still actively involved with current Star Wars projects.
Mark Hamill, on the other hand, has remained somewhat busy as a voice actor in both animated cartoons, animated movies and video games, ranging from playing the Joker in "Batman the Animated Series" to various combat video games. The man who played Luke Skywalker was in a car accident at some point between Star Wars and "The Empire Strikes Back". Sadly enough, his career has been sporadic at great length, and he's never truly enjoyed the success he was able to with the original Star Wars movies. He does, however, play one of the characters in the animated series, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".
But perhaps the one who is the most unheard from is Carrie Fisher, who played Princess Leia. Although she was in several movies scattered throughout the 80's and 90's, she was largely invisible for the majority of her career. She did work on the tv series "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" as a script doctor, and wrote several books. But it was only in 2013 that she was said to be actively cast in the new Star Wars movie.
With this now expressed, we can now move on to what we do know about the new movie, "The Force Awakens", and imagine what we can for ourselves for the time being.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" takes place 30 years after the original story, and stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and Oscar Isaac. J.J. Abrams co-wrote the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, who was also screenwriter for "The Empire Strikes Back" and "The Return of the Jedi". This will be the only Star Wars movie that Abrams is said to be directing at this point. There will be two other directors for the other movies as far as anyone knows. The only cast member of the new Star Wars characters who is said to be cast for the other movies is Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey. Little information is given about her character.
With so much being expected from the new Star Wars movie, I can only hope it'll be something great to see, and that my fears are unjustified. But don't forget, I watched the original as a nine-year-old kid, so you can imagine the immediate and lasting apprehension I can feel way too clearly. I only hope it isn't something that doesn't turn into a huge mistake just because it sounded like a great idea. But of course, that's just me.