May 4, 2015
I remember my jaw dropping the first time I saw Luke close his eyes and use the force to pull his light saber from the mound of ice in the wampa’s cave.
I remember screaming “Noooo!” when Vader said the legendary line “No, I am your father.”
And I remember my dread when I saw the second death star’s weapon system come online and blast a Mon Calamari cruiser apart with a single shot.
I was seven when my father sat me down and let me watch the Star Wars trilogy on VHS for the first time, unintentionally beginning a love affair that continues to this day.
In the decades that followed that first night, I would watch each film at least 100 times more, read every book I could get my hands on, and buy every encyclopedia on the expanded universe that I could afford.
I know that the Starfighter that killed the first death star isn’t just an X-Wing, but an Incom T-65 Alpha class X-Wing, and I know that the reason Han Solo has red stripes on his pants is because he was awarded the prestigious Corellian Bloodstripes for his actions in freeing legions of Wookie slaves such as Chewbacca.
Like every fanboy, a part of me died each time I was forced to endure the onslaught of each prequel film, but those horrible memories couldn’t kill my love of the universe.
So believe me when I say that the trailer for Episode VII: The Force Awakens is a taste of wonderful things to come.
Despite what a lot of fans think, the last thing we need is another story about Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie and the droids. As much as I love them, their time is over.
The original trilogy was inspired by pulp serials and television shows that George Lucas grew up with.
They took classic tales and tropes such as a young farm boy becoming a knight, a roguish scoundrel with a heart of gold, the princess in peril and the wise old mentor, and incorporated them into a new universe rich with strife and conflict.
So while there are countless compliments I can pay those films, being entirely original isn’t one of them.
The prequels tried to expand on characters we were familiar with, and failed miserably. The characters were so flat and unlikeable that they retroactively tarnished our image of the characters in the original films.
Add the fact that the movies were filmed like soap operas and boring as hell, and you have a recipe for disaster that would become known as prequel trilogy.
The key to making these new films work is to tell a new story through the lens of the Star Wars universe, and in that regard, the trailer looks like this is exactly what they are doing.
The true story lies with the new characters Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron. It’s a story I can’t wait to learn more about.
Most importantly, the small touches I see in the trailer conveys the fact that Abrams truly loves and understands this universe.
It’s the fact that the Millenium Falcon has a new satellite dish because Lando smashed up the original while he was inside the second death star.
It’s the fact that the flesh on Luke’s robotic hand has rotted away because it was damaged in ‘Return of the Jedi.’
It’s the fact that Kylo Ren’s lightsaber looks dirty, tarnished and ragged when it comes on because the art of creating a lightsaber died with the Jedi and the Sith.
And it’s the fact that despite the trailer hasn’t shown us much, it has done more than enough to earn my money on opening day.