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Star Wars Episode VII: A New Hope? Part 2

In part one, I discussed why I was cautiously optimistic for a new Star Wars trilogy backed by Disney. In part two, I give my thoughts on what should and should not be done based on the numerous examples of failure with which Disney and Lucas Film have had experience.

Don’t Pull a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Assuming Disney people have seen it, the lackluster fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise should have taught them that people don’t want to see their childhood heroes old and not awesome. Sure, Indiana Jones was in the movie, but he just wasn’t quite as on the ball as he used to be. They also made the odd decision to bring back Marion Ravenwood, even though Karen Allen's acting career and chops were less than spectacular. Disney, don’t try to shoehorn in characters from the past Star Wars films. We don’t want to see an old Han Solo and old Luke Skywalker and old Leia doing things that people half their age couldn’t do. Please, limit yourself to bringing one character back (ghost Yoda?) and just focus on telling a good story in the Star Wars universe.

Milking Franchises Only Ends in Bad Milk

You know what was a cool movie? Pirates of the Caribbean. You know what was a load of crap? Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. You see, something happens when you make too many movies that don’t add anything of value to a series: audiences catch onto you. Turns out that people can tell the between a cash grab and making movies to tell a story. In the case of Disney’s pirate films; they were just going for the money. If Disney is going to be helming a Star Wars trilogy (and realistically films beyond that), don’t exhaust film-goers with space opera schlock.

Appealing to Children Is Stupid

One of the biggest problems with the Star Wars prequels was that they tried to appeal to kids. Why is that a problem? For starters we have people getting cut in half, forcible dismemberment, beheadings, murder, assassination attempts, implied rape, slavery, etc. In amongst all of those violent actions and themes, we have forced comedic dialogue, stupid kids, Jar-Jar Binks, and other needless scenes that really work to undermine the films. Disney, what you should take away from this is that people like consistent tone and scenes that work well together. Having a wacky kid being all silly and accidentally blowing up a strategically important ship and then cutting to a battle where a Jedi is stabbed and a Sith is cut in half is not a great combination and will only breed hatred for your films.

Shoot on Location

The trend in Hollywood is to shoot things on a green screen and fill in the backgrounds later. Don’t do that with Star Wars. We already saw what happens when you film almost every single scene in front of a green screen in the prequels and we don’t want that again. Take the time to fly the crew to a desert or build sets. Yeah, it is harder, but it pays off when everything looks substantial and your actors can interact with real objects.

Throwing Money at an IP Doesn’t Make It Good

Remember John Carter? No?  I don’t blame you. That movie was Disney’s attempt at creating a Star Wars-like property for themselves. They didn’t succeed and the film that they eventually released was horribly boring and dull with some of the worst writing and acting I’ve seen in a big budget film. The one thing that John Carter had going for it was a cool visual aesthetic and beautiful CG landscapes. But CG landscapes do not a good movie make. If Star Wars is going to succeed, it needs more than money thrown at it. It needs people who care about it and courage from Disney executives to let it loose and not leave it a watered-down husk of a franchise.

Casting Is Everything

Another lesson Disney should take from John Carter is that they really need to take the time to get the casting done right. John Carter was horribly miscast and it clearly shows in the final product. The Star Wars name alone should draw audiences into theaters, now is a perfect time to bring in lesser known actors and actresses, just make sure that they have the chops. If Disney is really compelled to bring in some big name talent don’t just hire big name actors to give the films larger appeal. Use star power wisely and make sure that each person fits the role.

Don’t Waste Our Time

There are some films that really need to be made as separate movies in a series. Lord of the Rings is a great example of how some stories need multiple films in order to be told. Each film tells a compelling part of the journey effectively and feels necessary. Pirates of the Caribbean, on the other hand, really didn’t need to be five films long. What I am trying to say, Disney, is that if you are going to make another Star Wars trilogy, give it a story that absolutely needs to be three films long. Also, if you are going to spend three movies telling us a story, make sure it is a new story. We have already been told about a certain Jedi’s fall from grace and how his son redeemed him and blew up a couple Death Stars. Tell us something new that avoids rehashing old concepts.

Pretend the Prequels Never Happened

I don’t want to see Jar-Jar. I don’t want to see that fat alien from the out -of-place 50s diner. I don’t want to see pod racing. I don’t- I don’t- I don’t- *sigh* Disney, please just pretend like the prequels never happened.

Originally appeared on on 12/03/12

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