I was not emotionally prepared for this. A week ago, the new Star War trailer premiered and, unless you’ve been living under a rock on some backwater Outer Rim world (lookin’ at you, Dagobah), you’ve seen it. Or, if you’re like me, you’ve seen it a couple hundred times. And man, oh man did it just spark so many conflicting emotions. It’s taken me a while to get my thoughts together.
First off, you can’t really go wrong with a teaser like this. With such a large and loyal fanbase, there’s very little you need to do to spark the nostalgia. Show me a dogfight, a fancy lightsaber, cue the John Williams, and I’m putty in your hands. Or at least that worked for the prequels. They poisoned the well, and now I have an odd mix of elation and cynicism. Not that those movies were all bad, but who doesn’t cringe when they hear the line, “Now this is podracing,” or when they watch any scene that takes place on Naboo during Episode II. Those films just didn’t live up to the two decades of hype. Nowadays, one has to worry about what lies beneath the veneer of awesome and hope that it isn’t this:
I hate to say it, but I’m more jazzed about Age of Ultron than this movie. If these two movie universes had a batting average, Marvel would be near .1000 while Star Wars would be around .600. Which isn’t bad, but it’s sad considering one of my earliest memories is walking into the living room and seeing Luke get his hand cut off. And I had a bin so full of Star Wars toys that I could never find the one I was looking for. And I owned every LEGO Star Wars set that came out before 2005. But with a new studio, new director, and George Lucas downgraded to “Creative Consultant”, I have a reason to hope.
However, what I’m hoping for, I don’t know. New things are happening in the Star Wars universe, like rolling ball droids that have no obvious means of keeping their heads level and lightsaber crossguards* and Stormtroopers with sleek new helmets and blasters. So what does all this means for the universe? I have less idea than George Lucas has restraint for CGI. The Extended Universe is gone. What does that mean about the Galactic Empire and the New Republic? Did the death of Emperor Palpatine topple the existing government? The Stormtroopers actually look like professional soldiers, but do they shoot any better? If the Empire has been overthrown, then maybe the butt of many a joke are now the underdogs and will wipe the floor with masses of former rebel troops. Or at least get their revenge on the dreaded Ewoks.
One of the producers of the film has also promised that they will concentrate more on practical effects, with the idea it will give the universe a little more realism. The bigwigs over at Disney obviously realized that more special effects does not automatically a better movie make. There’s a reason that everybody wants the theatrical version of the original trilogy and not that other version. Granted, most of that reason is that MOTHERFUCKING HAN SOLO MOTHERFUCKING SHOT FIRST. But also because the excessive special effects began to make the movie feel cluttered. Hopefully these practical effects will make the universe seem a little less jumbled, a little less polished, and a little more grimdark. Love me some grimdark.
And let’s wrap this up with what we didn’t see in the trailer. We see the Millennium Falcon, but not a one of our heroes from the original trilogy makes an appearance. It looks like the stage is already being set for the hand-off between the old generation and the new. This hopefully means that there will be less fan service than in the prequels, with no C-3PO or R2-D2 shoehorned into the plot to give us some familiar characters. The galaxy is no longer theirs and it’s time for a new set of protagonists. Hopefully, and there’s a lot of hoping going on here, all this new blood will steer the universe back onto the right track. Hopefully, we’ll be talking fondly about the new trilogy to our children in 20 years (or, in my case, nieces and nephews).