Why Star Wars Should Stay A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away (Opinion)

Star Wars is a long-running series of fantasy films set in a sci-fi setting, the first of which came out in 1978 and made a small revolution in cinema (especially in terms of applied special effects and combined filming). Now “Star Wars” – it is nine numbered films connected by common characters, two full-fledged offshoots and several series, including animation. It was recently announced that the main series of films will continue with three more episodes, no longer related to the Skywalker family saga – and this seems to be the best news possible for a series of films about a distant galaxy. Why? I’ll explain now.

It’s all about how the history of the Star Wars world is created.

Star Wars: A New Hope Movie Poster

George Lucas, the director of most of the older films and the main storyline, had no clear plan when he created A New Hope; he rewrote history many times, shuffling characters, names and roles to get the perfect fairy tale, a textbook adventure in his own world of bizarre cosmic wonders. When a film that no one believed in suddenly became a global event and the story of Luke, Han and Leia’s struggle with the galactic Empire needed to be continued, George Lucas and screenwriter Lawrence Kaasdan were faced with the need to expand the world invented in the first film, add depth to the characters. So, Leia turned out to be Luke’s sister, and the cruel and mysterious, breathing heavily behind the mask, Darth Vader, was their common father. Scene “You killed my father! – No, Luke, I am your father “- one of the most powerful dramatic moments in world science fiction, which immediately became a classic, and the open ending of the film, leaving the defeated heroes in the unknown, but with hope and determination to answer the powerful enemy with an all-in move, makes The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most fan-favorite episodes of the saga.

That is, “A New Hope” was a vigorous continuation of a story that had not yet begun, so the authors were able to come up with anything and how they wanted (George Lucas and Steven Spielberg later use this technique in films about Indiana Jones – they always begin with the climax of some or Indy’s adventures, where he encounters villains, almost loses, but manages to outwit everyone and become a winner, and then returns to his university to lead a double life of an archeology teacher and an adventurer, who is already waiting for a new mystery of antiquity and powerful enemies). The Empire Strikes Back was a powerful sequel to the story, raising the stakes for heroes and adding depth to them. The ending of the story, Return of the Jedi, took in some of the elements of A New Hope (the Empire is building the Death Star again to deal with the rebellion) and completed the story of the development of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader as characters, starting from opposite ends of the pole (“ I am a simple lad from the edge of the galaxy, the war for independence does not concern me “and” I am an insensitive punitive machine of the Empire, the power of the state must be absolute “), but completely changed thanks to each other. By the third film, the story began to stagger, important questions about the past (the Emperor, Darth Vader, Obi Wan Kenobi) remained unanswered, and noticeable logical holes appeared in the story (like the questionable outcome of the battle of the high-tech Empire and the Paleolithic lifestyle of furry bears) -Evoks). All the answers had to come from the next three films, backstories, which, unlike the old ones, were written by George Lucas himself – and everything got worse.

The Phantom Menace is a digitally-filmed fairytale adventure film centered around a young boy being helped to find his freedom by two Jedi Knights investigating a political conspiracy that threatens the peaceful Galactic Republic (30 years before A New Hope) ) and the queen of one of the flowering planets. Attack of the Clones tells the story of this same young man ten years later, when he and his mature teacher, young Obi Wan Kenobi, find themselves in the middle of a new political crisis, when the actions of the leader of the anti-Senate rebellion systems, Count Dooku and his war robots begin a civil war with the participation of clones, who sided with the Jedi who finally took the lightsabers, along with the wise Yoda himself. “Revenge of the Sith” ends the story of the fall of the Republic, showing the finale of Anakin Skywalker’s rebirth from an emotionally unstable youth, rushing between love and duty, to a silent semi-mechanical giant in a black breathing mask, who killed everything that was dear to him, under the influence of a cunning teacher. who did not spare ten years to build and implement a plan that gave him power over the whole galaxy.

There were strengths in these films. A combination of Chancellor Palpatine, single-handedly from a peaceful but weak and stagnant Republic, erecting an effective Empire that rules thousands of worlds by fear and military force. Great music by John Williams, such as Duel of Destiny from The Phantom Menace, which sounds as good as the Imperial March. A wonderful work of artists who came up with the design of spaceships, environments, outlandish creatures – all in their own, new, fresh and at the same time familiar form. Some characters – for example, the correct, but optimistic and cheerful Obi Wan Kenobi, for example, to gritting teeth, whose fans are still asking for a whole film about him with Ewan McGregor in the title role.

And the very idea of a new trilogy as a mirror image of the old one looks great on paper:

if the old films of the 80s were the story of the rise of Luke Skywalker, becoming a real hero, ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of others, then the new films of the 2000s are the story of the fall of man. almost deliberately becoming a monster in order to save his beloved, and in the end, ruining everything in general. Only it didn’t work at all.

Perhaps the new trilogy (I use the term “new”, not referring to the films of Abrams and Johnson) was not obliged to follow the task of showing the past of Obi Wan and Darth Vader as it turned out in the end. You could show the very heyday of the Jedi era, shed light on their conflict with the oppositional religious teachings, the Sith, come up with a story that originates, say, a hundred, two hundred or a thousand years before “A New Hope.” To show the world of “Star Wars” in its best form, to show the era of legends about which Alec Guinness’s hero sighed so heavily in the fourth episode. Otherwise, it turns out that the Jedi themselves are to blame for the formation of the Empire: a whole bunch of magical elders sat on their asses in their turrets and did nothing while a cunning man in a hood and an ominous voice in the dark was planning internecine wars between speeches in the Galactic Senate, and the mind of a nervous kid, languishing for Natalie Portman. And where is the wisdom here, Yoda?

Jedi fucked it all up.

Them: “Name the ideal collective character that does not exist”
Me (an intellectual): “Yobama”

In the prequel trilogy, there is almost no normal character: a weird little boy Anakin in the second film is shown as a reckless teenager, forgetting about all Jedi Zen, and often shocking for it, Obi Wan, as my wife subtly noted, constantly drops his lightsaber in the heat of battle , Qui-gon Jinn exists only to kick the unstuck platypus Jar Jar Binks over the head and die pretentiously at the end at the hands of the horned Darth Maul, Natalie Portman looks normal only when she teases the heroes, cosplays Princess Leia and shoots aptly, her love line with the hero of Hayden Christensen, who is currently filming only for Sarik Andreasyan, is generally something strange …

The problem with all these films is that they are not needed. Or like this: they are needed, but not in this form.

A New Hope is a myth, a legend, an archetypal story in all respects. She was invented like this. Pure fantasy, fantasy where sci-fi scenery is just a trick. It doesn’t matter how spaceships travel from star to star, the main thing is the ships. The old and mysterious Obi Wan Kenobi is a wise wizard like Gandalf the Gray, and the Force is a form of cosmic magic available only to a select few. The Java and Ewoks are gnomes, the rancor are orcs, all the cheerful brothers of the Mos Eisley cantina are solid goblins, and the droids are magical helpers who always help out the heroes hanging by a thread from death. This is a fairy tale that does not need to be rationalized too much. And that’s what the prequels are trying to do.

“The Empire Strikes Back” fogs up Luke’s scenes of self-discovery and keeps a very fast pace in the adventure scenes of other heroes, leaving the viewer no time for questions about the heroes’ past, the structure of the world and other trifles. A New Hope reinforces the drama in plot twists such as Lando Calrissian’s betrayal or the clash between Luke and Darth Vader, the story works on the development of characters who began in the previous film as collective, archetypal images of “a heroic hero at heart” and “a lively lady in trouble.” The prequels don’t have that. Prehistory films that are designed to tell the story of the formation of the main antagonist of the classic trilogy, a character of a mysterious, mysterious, cruel and silent, but who eventually managed to find the light in himself and saved his son before his death instead of killing him on the orders of the Emperor or giving him die – the Star Wars prehistory films are very unsuccessful in coming up with images of their protagonists. Because in the end they have to come to the point that everyone knows: we know that by the time of New Hope, Darth Vader will be a tall and laconic carrier of a breathing mask and a cloak, and Obi Wan Kenobi will be a wise but distrustful old man who has there are also aces up the sleeve of the Jedi vestments. This is the finale of the transformation that the heroes must take place. But at the same time in “New Hope” these are not images of living people, but archetypes, functions. Obi Wan Kenobi is a wise wizard, Darth Vader is a terrible and inhuman evil. One exists within the story to teach Luke patience and resilience, as well as how to handle “the elegant weapons of more civilized times”, and the second – to threaten the heroes and seek to prevent them from winning their first timid victory. Trying to humanize something that was once deliberately invented as something artificial is not a trivial task. The way Star Wars of the 2000s does it is impossible to do. It is strange, on the one hand, outdated and illogical, and on the other hand, a beautiful and exciting spectacle in its own way, full of enormous potential. Which, according to the results, was spent in nowhere.

We didn’t really know anything about the old Republic, why it fell into decay, what exactly in its structure did not suit the Trade Federation, which decided to withdraw from it and sent two brave Jedi to negotiate with it. We did not find out who the Jedi are, why they occupy such an important place in the social hierarchy, what their philosophy is strong and why they treat their Sith rivals so painfully – like Shiites and Sunnis, by God. We saw how a whole crowd of elders perfectly waving their laser swords did nothing for the entire first film, and the oldest and wisest of them patted the appearance of the first anti-Jedi in their ranks with sides of the Sith? How, well, how such a powerful organization of martial space monks-wizards, highly valued by all galactic society, could collapse from the actions of one, albeit very vicious and psychotic boy, supported by clone stormtroopers reprogrammed under Order 66?


The green old little goblin, who loves to rearrange words, hit the Dagoba swamps of the planet and didn’t say a word. That was an excellent Jedi leader, I tell you, hmm!

Everything that was in the prequels was strange dialogues, chaotic adventures, beautiful views, excellent choreography of battles, psychologically unreliable characters, some of whom were also annoying, ill-conceived (or not explained clearly) political structure of the fantastic world, despite the fact that politics for a smart look has been mentioned enough in the films and it might have worked under different conditions. These are disadvantages that, unfortunately, outweigh the merits.

Star Wars is a classic trilogy. Everything else, for lack of the best so far, it seems to me, may (and maybe should) eventually disappear into oblivion, like “Terminator 3: War of the Machines” or “Star Trek 5: The Last Frontier” – these films are remembered and, possibly , love not for what they are, but for some successful details (in “T3”, for example, there was an excellent ending, and in “Star Trek 5” – Spock’s evil bearded brother, who fell into religion and persuaded the crew of the Enterprise to go into deep space in search of God … you already know how bad this movie is). Prequels are remembered and loved for “Well hello!” Obi Wan, the tough General Grievous, the inseparable pair of P2D2 and S3PO, who steadfastly appeared on the screen in each of the films in the series as mascots; loved for clever and cunning Palpatine, who managed to build Empires of sole power from within the unsuspecting Republic, for clever Natalie Portman in strange outfits, for cool, dancing lightsaber battles, for great music and sparkling starships that are getting decrepit and pretentious with each films. The prequels are loved for their nostalgia: for many of the 1990s generation, this was the first Star Wars movie they saw in a movie theater. Before the Abrams and Johnson films, apart from the endless re-releases of Lucas, Star Wars was the only one with decent special effects – spectacular, exciting, new generation. There were no others, and this could be reconciled.

However, now we have “The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” – episodes seven and eight, directly continuing the stories of “New Hope”, as well as “Rogue One” (about the transfer of the plans of the Death Star to the rebels) and “Khan Solo ”, about the youth, respectively, of Han Solo. Are they needed? ..

It is not yet clear where the ninth episode of “Star Wars” will come, which will be released this year and will be filmed without Carrie Fisher (the performer of the role of Princess Leia, unfortunately, died in 2016), but so far everything looks ambiguous: the scale of events is too small and the new central characters are insignificant. It seems that according to the scheme, everything happens similar to the classic trilogy: on the ruins of the old Empire, a New Order arose, led by Darth Vader’s grandson Kylo Ren; they have their own (the third in the series) “Death Star”, now not the size of the moon, but the size of the planet itself, and they are opposed by the mostly old-generation Resistance led by Admiral Leia, while the most important for them a man who has aged and has become a Jedi gloomy and gray-bearded Luke Skywalker went into exile for some reason, and does not really want to go back. In the center of attention is the same as Luke himself once, the heroine, the girl Ray from nowhere, who is just as sided with all this star war somewhere up there, but the will of chance again, like Luke, calls her on the run, towards adventure, along with a cute robot ball and in the company of a cowardly stormtrooper and an alpha pilot who doesn’t really do anything in the movies. Good fights against evil, evil comes, good loses, but then wins, evil is defeated and now it will strike quite well … how long can you?

New Star Wars in all its glory.

If the ninth episode of Abrams cancels Johnson’s plot innovations (except for Kylo Ren’s pants) and reduces everything to a simple victory of good over evil, then the new trilogy will turn out to be just a copy of the old one, devoid of any meaning. It’s clear why The Force Awakens was filmed: viewers had enough of Jar Jar Binks in the 2000s, and producers led by Kathleen Kennedy and Disney weren’t sure if the new Star Wars would pay off at all. Therefore, “Star Wars-7” was entrusted to the director of “Star Trek-11” and tried to repeat “New Hope” in everything, up to puppet, not computer, aliens. But reality proved that the producers’ fears were not justified, and the financial flywheel was spinning at full capacity.

But why..? The old Star Wars, it just happened, was a TV show. Forced (especially Return of the Jedi, and one of the first in the movies. The 2000s trilogy was also forced in its own way: Lucas wanted to tell the story in this way and we must respect his decision. In addition, these films were successful – “Revenge Sith “at one time set the record for attendance, plus word of mouth did its job: everyone wanted to see the ending of the backstory of” Star Wars “and the darkest film in the series. But now … does it matter how the story of Luke, Leia and Khan ended? In place of the Empire, a new totalitarian regime arose and the children of the generation that defeated totalitarianism began to dream of the return of the glorious past, where there was both military power and victory (by the way, does it resemble anything?) – this is exactly the story that must be transferred to a big screen in a series of films that already featured A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back?

The problem is that no one has come up with new Star Wars. The films of 1978 and 1980 are still the best space opera in big cinema – even though they are just scenery from the space opera and are technically fantasy. No one has re-discovered this genre in the cinema of the XXI century, has not re-thought it for our generation, has not created a new series that would be completely original, smart and modern, breakthrough at all levels. Abrams’ Star Trek was good, but solely as a remaster of old films that continue an even more ancient TV series – with other young actors, cool graphics, hurricane pace, sense of danger and tension. Star Trek was like an HD remake of an old video game: when they did everything new, and the models, textures, and shaders, and the plot and game mechanics remained the same, and the feeling of the game is the same as before, only everything looks and feels fresher and better. In a game, not in a movie. You can’t save a movie with an HD remaster, and you can’t open a new page in the genre with the new Star Trek. You need something fresh, new … something breakthrough.

It’s something the new “Star Wars” will never be able to become, as long as they look back at the old, classic ones.

The Last Jedi was not seen as often in the movies as The Force Awakens, and Han Solo was a flop at the box office. And now I understand why. When you remember and generally love Star Wars, you realize that movies like Han Solo are the worst that this universe deserves. Han Solo is worse than the prequels. They at least tried to play originality, threw adventures to the heroes, tried to show the world of “Star Wars” in a new way, from different sides, from the position “Look how everything was good before, until the Empire put its walkers and Thai fighters everywhere.” “Han Solo” just takes a young and unlike Harrison Ford boy and says: “Well, this is young Han Solo, he plays well and sometimes even looks like Harrison Ford, now we will show how he will go with the flow for two hours, learn the life of a thug from space gangsters, meet the young Lando Calrissian, win the Millennium Falcon at cards, which for the twentieth time in a movie series will be licked from all sides on the screen, and here we will have the same Woody Harrelson in all films, Khaleesi with bangs from Game of Thrones and a feminist robot. ” Does not work! Separately, everything is cool – the script is good, sometimes unexpected, it was written by the screenwriter Kaasdan from “The Empire Strikes Back”, the situations are interesting (the gravity well pleased, and “Kessel’s arc for twenty parsecs” finally ceased to be gibberish of the type “We need power in 1, 24 jigawatts, Marty! “From” Back to the Future “), the actors play decently, the special effects are worthy, but for some reason everything together comes out so boring and dreary that even a beginning alcoholism does not brighten up.

Lucas did the right thing by cutting out the young Han Solo from the Revenge of the Sith script. If you want, you can come up with backstories for anything, but is it necessary? How much will change for us, the viewers, if we know the details of Han Solo’s past – especially such insignificant details? In the film, in spite of its richness, nothing happens at all. And the hero hardly develops. Rogue One, which I respect not only for the resurrected actor Peter Cushing on the computer, was good not only for the tragic ending and the way it smoothly transitions into the beginning of A New Hope, but for the fact that watching a film showing ordinary people on war, and not magical old men with luminous phallus … well, you get the idea – after the film, filmed as a war drama about saboteurs, scouts, you understand what efforts were made to obtain the data that allowed Luke Skywalker to destroy the Death Star in the Battle of Yaavin. Not surprisingly, in a communist China that values ​​mythologized heroism, this film is valued more than The Force Awakens!

Toothless and predictable at the cliche level “Han Solo”, assembled from scenes and situations that have already become meta-cliches for “Star Wars”, a film in which there is exactly one absolutely successful and witty scene – Han’s acquaintance with Chewbacca (yes, there is also there was also Chewbacca – but in even more supporting roles than Han Solo himself) – this is even worse than the fun adventures of Deputy Jar Jar Binks in the Senate of the old Republic at a popular vote to turn the old Republic into a great Empire of Evil under the leadership of the wise and glorious leader of sith-istic party of Empire, Pal Pa-Tine Si Dious.

Star Wars must be saved from themselves.

Kathleen Kennedy, please. Let the miracle happen and the ninth episode will return the meaning to the saga, and everyone will forget that Star Wars is a Skywalker saga, and start a new story strongly, strongly after, so that there will be no trace of these fucking Skywalkers in the plot. And the Jedi too.

Only if it turns out to return magic to a galaxy far, far away…