So that you all know who is to blame for delaying tonight’s planned super–awesome–fantastic blog and instead having me foist the following blast of self–loathing Star Wars fandom all over you, go complain at @doubleofive. He’s the one who took my brain down this road.
Act I: Back Story
@kesseljunkie My thought also. I’m terrified by the “You can’t have Star Wars without Vader” crowd. Resurrecting Vader is a TERRIBLE IDEA.
— Drew (@doubleofive) April 17, 2013
We were discussing what possibilities were open for Star Wars based on the news today published in a couple of sources stating that Disney is pushing ahead with a Star Wars movie every year (!) from 2015 until 2019. The article that got us started in particular is from The Verge. (I single them out also because of their gratuitous lens flare joke in the picture for the article. Enough with the lens flare jokes by the way. I’m about ready to bite someone’s fingers off if they make another one.)
Drew, to be fair, is trepidatious about the potential dilution of the franchise, along with the retread of past themes so as to make them lose thematic weight. It’s a valid concern. In an endless search for cash, we’ve all seen the ruination of franchises when the sources were mined worse than Praxis.1
I hate to say it, but Star Trek is especially guilty of this. It wouldn’t have been Reboot Time in 2009 if they hadn’t beaten the horse to death, traveled back in time and brought it forward to beat it back into the grave and then gave it a jumpsuit.
Now, keep in mind I saw every Star Trek movie in the theatre after 1989 (and got to see The Wrath of Khan on the big screen in college thanks to some awesome management at the school movie theatre one summer). But they still fleeced their core audience and alienated non–devotees by the shuttlepod.
Act II: The Questions
So are we running the same risk if we have five years in a row of Star Wars on screen? Of course we are.
But we’re also looking at a different development method than has been in place before. Parallel tracks happen at Disney, and while the Grand Marvel Experiment has been a mixed bag (though everyone forgets that thanks to the wild success of The Avengers), I remain hopeful.
They’ve got Lucas passing the torch officially, including his massive database of original concepts and characters, and have chosen management that seems solid and trustworthy. Hell, Kathleen Kennedy is a pretty successful producer with films that are both award winners and generational definers.
While Disney takes a lot of hits from the nerd community, the simple fact is that they know what the f*** they’re doing.
The one thing I remain anxious about personally is how devoted they remain to Expanded Universe material. Lucas departing from it is one thing; it’s his baby and if he wants to throw out all the malarkey that rose up around a character in printed material not written by him, he has the authority to do it.
But messing with a sequel trilogy timeline, that will so flagrantly have no choice but to go tell legions of geeks that the books they’ve been reading are pulp for the landfill, is going to alienate some people. (And welcome so many of us back home from our wanderings!)
So of course another Great Fan Schism is inevitable. But you know what? After listening to 14 years of incessant whining, fans like me really don’t care. It’s a wonderful place to be; I will either like the movies or I won’t, and I’ll get to sit back and laugh like Max Cady as I watch melt–downs in the theatre. No matter how I feel about the films, I’m going to multiple showings just to enjoy that part again and again. Payback’s a b***, as they say. (Trust me, the next movie could have footage of the Lord guaranteeing all viewers passage to Heaven and fans would still whine and complain and fight about it.)
Act III: The Waiting
As Tom Petty sang, this is the hardest part.
It’s not like 1999, when there had been a small outlet of material for 18 years and expectations the size of Christmas Morning. It’s not as big as camping on a sidewalk with the hopes of seeing your childhood come alive again.
It’s an older fanbase with the hopes that they can safely travel once more to the familiar and forget that we live in a house of horrors. Like I said yesterday, we need another hero, and who better than another Skywalker?
Bring it on, 2015. Let’s see what awaits.
1. Read about Praxis here if you don’t get the joke and yet somehow still read this blog. But, uh, keep reading and I appreciate it.