So Charlie Jane Anders over at io9 had a big post on how to reboot Star Wars yesterday. I’m not sure that’s the answer: Like Trek, we’ve already had a lot of them, both big and small. And I don’t think that a rehash of the original trilogy is the answer. Trek is apples and Wars is oranges, and we already went backwards. No, you can’t just start over – because, if nothing else, we already have… And we all know how that turned out.
Yes, say what you want about the prequels: Love them, hate them, or join me in the corner of shrug and apathy – you can’t deny that they were controversial. And while I’m not and will never be the rah-rah-rah fan when it comes to any aspect of Star Wars, I’d like to see something that can bring all the splintered factions together, if only for an hour or two.
So. Let’s go over the points, shall we?
But… But… George Lucas will never go for it!
Anders goes for the “more money” aspect here, but I see something else. Remember how around ROTS George was telling everyone who’d listen that he was done with Star Wars, and was going to leave the TV shows in the hands of his underlings? Read an interview with Filoni lately? Not so much. The control freak is strong with this one.
What makes you think it could possibly be a good thing?
Anders has a nice point here, and I pretty much agree: “So if some Hollywood exec is reading this, and contemplating rebooting Star Wars, the best advice we can give you is: make it more like Star Wars. With a new lick of paint, and less baggage.”
Onto her eight rules…
Keep it simple. “Stay within the lines, and give us a cool story about good versus evil, and trusting your feelings, and relying on your friends.” Agreed.
Keep the sense of joy and dread. “There’s plenty of great stuff there.” Yeah, but it’s a good bit tougher now that we’re all old and jaded. Still, it could be done.
Get back to the characters we care about. OH MY GOD YES. Honestly, this is where the PT failed to catch me: I didn’t care about any of those people. (Sorry, Vader. I know George says you’re the lynchpin, but that’s just not working for me.)
Skipping ahead a few…
Get a real writer. I don’t know if I’d phrase it that way – George can do okay if he really puts his mind to it – but fresh eyes are key. Some of the best things in the franchise – The Empire Strikes Back, the 2-D Clone Wars cartoon, and the better bits of the EU – have come when he steps back and lets things develop. I would say that this is the biggest lesson we should take from Star Trek.
And if not a remake, then what? Well, duh: A sequel trilogy.
Yes, Lucasfilm, George, and a hundred other folks (including me) say it’s not going to happen, over and over and over again. They probably even meant it, and certainly gap-filling like The Clone Wars and The Force Unleashed has more than kept things afloat so far.
But forget about the Expanded Universe for a second, and just think about the movies. The OT is the root of the franchise; Everything builds on it. Without it, we would have nothing: If Star Wars fans can agree on anything, let it be that.
But what about the books/games/comics?
I say this as a fan, but we need to accept that the Expanded Universe is every bit as flawed as the prequels – maybe even more so, because there’s so damn much of it. And, honestly – the post-ROTJ portion of it is getting tired. With every book, every series, Lucasfilm learns a thing or two, but they’re never perfect. And if they ever get there, it may be too late. Some fans are already railing against the Big Three of Han, Luke and Leia having adventures well into old age, but even those of us still reading for them are pondering how much further they can go.
But it’s canon!!!
We all know what George thinks of that, don’t we? If it isn’t in a movie, or if it isn’t his vision, it doesn’t count. So, let’s embrace that mindset. Let’s look at the EU as a giant pit of material. For all the flaws, there are a thousand concepts, a thousand characters, a thousand ideas there. A galaxy of material.
We can rebuild it. We have the technology.
‘Canon’ has a lot of good things done badly, bad things done well, and stupid things that would make fantastic in-jokes. If they’re going to make a movie, they should pick and choose and make something totally new out of it. There are so many possibilities… And lots of room for that fanservice Anders thinks is so important.
Can’t we just adapt the Zahn trilogy?
Directly? The actor issue aside, I honestly don’t think that the Thrawn trilogy would work as a movie. They’re just not written for it. (Okay, you could make it a TV show, but after seeing The Clone Wars I’m way less enthusiastic on that front.) I don’t think Legacy is the answer either – though it may be one of the EU’s more successful reboot attempts. They certainly should be part of the mix, but I can’t see any of the books and comics working as more-or-less faithful adaptations, and haven’t we had enough of already knowing how this stuff ends? Pulling a Watchmen isn’t going to cut it.
BUT IT’S CANON!!!!
Face it: Those of us who know large swaths of the EU backwards and forwards, we’re a minority. The EU has become so big it’s just intimidating, and the chances of a reader just randomly picking up the book that will get them hooked can’t be very good. We can disagree on particulars, but a lot of those books are just bad. If you’re an EU fan who can honestly say there’s not at least one book or author you actively dislike, I’ll be very surprised.
I know it’s a long shot, and you guys may rake me over the coals for this. But honestly, I’d like to see Star Wars get back to the characters who first hooked so many of us, and the franchise shaken up a bit. If that’s wrong, well… It’s only a blog entry.