Since the very first teaser trailer, even since the rumours themselves started circulating, I’ve been waiting in anticipation for Episode VII. Why not? Star Wars is one of my favourite movie series of all time, from when I was a young up till now where age has only made me love the films more.
With the premiere of the latest entry taking place last night, social media was greeted with a surprisingly positive reception from those who attended.
All of this has definitely calmed my nerves down a bit though bare in mind we heard the exact same reception from critics about another film: The Phantom Menace. With the general public still having to wait till Thursday to see The Force Awakens, I’ve decided to list what I want from the most anticipated film of the decade. Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments section below. Anyway, let’s get started.
1. Less Choreograph Heavy Duels
First things first: yes, the prequels looked cool, slick and every positive adjective in the dictionary. The problem with them though was that despite how extravagant and visually glorious they looked, they left me quite unsatisfied: they looked great but where was the emotional aftermath?
There was the death of Ben Kenobi in A New Hope that despite not being much of a fight had an impact on the audience and the characters. Yes, you could argue that Revenge Of The Sith’s finale between Anakin and Obi Wan was great but it’s hard to find yourself being invested in a 10 minute + fight when you care very little for either character in contrast to Darth Vader and Luke.
I’m not saying I don’t want any exciting fights, not at all. Maybe it’s more of a personal thing but when I was a child, having pretend duels was the most fun ever which was mostly down to the fact that it was so much like the originals. Maybe complaining about fights in a film set in space with alien races is a bit ridiculous but instead of incredibly looking fights, let’s have some more emotion heavy confrontation. What we’ve seen between Kylo Ren and Finn in the trailer looks promising so here’s hoping it’s an improvement.
TLDR: Less choreography in battles, more focus on the emotions the combatants actions represent like Return Of The Jedi with Vader and Luke.
2. Strong, Clear Lead
If you’ve ever watched the Red Letter Media reviews of the Star Wars prequels then you’ll know that the major criticism they have is to do with the series having an unclear protagonist. While many say it’s Anakin, if he were the protagonist he’d have the proper development and whilst Obi Wan is in for a shout, he never feels like he’s at the focus for a lot of the films as well as being a sub par written character, only saved by the great acting of Ewan McGregor.
Unsurprisingly I wasn’t at the premiere last night so I’m just as oblivious as you reading this but with this new set of characters coming along, I think what this new trilogy (or expanded universe) needs is a clear cut protagonist: Rey.
Yes, John Boyega is the one who is holding the lightsaber on the poster but the way I see it, or rather predicting it, is that Finn will be more of a Han Solo type of character: someone with a dodgy past where he’ll spend his time trying to redeem himself and become a better person by the end of his journey. Rey on the other hand is our Luke as far as I’m concerned and it’s great to see that director J.J Abrams called Daisley Ridly out on her “wooden acting” as soon as possible so that we don’t get a repeat of Hayden Christensen. Time will only tell how this will play out.
TLDR: Rey should be the clear cut protagonist like Luke from the originals.
3. Leave Interactions With Old Characters To Minimum
Now don’t get me wrong, I love all the characters from the original trilogy (aside from the ewoks). I cannot wait to lose my shit whenever I see Han and Leia on screen after decades have passed since the events of Return Of The Jedi. I cannot wait to see Han also being the bad-ass rogue with faithful furry friend Chewie by his side. And when Luke shows up (which I’m expecting the final shot of the movie to be), the whole cinema will scream with excitement.
I don’t want too much of a good thing though and it’s a new trilogy after all: I want to grow as attached to Poe, Rey, Finn as I did with all the other characters from the original trilogy. If this new batch of films is going to redeem the series then it needs to keep its focus on the present and keep the glimpses to the past at a minimum.
TLDR: More focus on new characters, not ones from original trilogy.
4. Don’t Underutilise The First Order
If you read my friend Sean’s recent blog post about why you should be excited about Episode VII (which you can read here), you’ll see how he pointed out the importance of the Dark Side in the previous films. After all, your movie’s characters are only as good as your villain and not many films can claim to have an amazing set of both.
This time around we’ve got The First Order which can be described simply as a Darth Vader Fan Club(!) In all seriousness, this new threat to the galaxy seems just as threatening as the Palpetine lead force from A New Hope up till the inevitable collapse in Return of The Jedi. This is what brings me to my next point: solidify this threat.
We had Vader, Boba Fett, Palpetine and more last time around and from what I know, we’ve got a great array of characters who are in control and taking part in this Galactic Empire 2.0: Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). If J.J Abrams can provide some great new heroes then surely he can do the same with our villains.
TLDR: Give us villains as threatening as the Empire and as developed as our heroes.
5. A Fresh New Look At A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Let’s be honest: as much as we all say that certain characters are our favourite thing in the Star Wars universe, we all know that it’s the universe itself that’s the greatest thing about the franchise.
From the icy, beautifully snow covered planet of Hoth where we witness a heavy defeat of the Rebel Alliance to the planet of Endor, dense with wildlife and luscious trees everywhere, the planets are pretty much characters themselves. We love them and it’s not just them that make the universe so incredible as on top of that, we’ve got the hundreds upon hundreds of different races that make the galaxy so very varied.
We already know we’ll be seeing Jakku, a planet that is yet to make an appearance in any other film so far as well as locations like Maz Kanata’s Castle which is what Mos Eisley Cantina is to A New Hope. I’m already excited as can be about The Force Awakens and for good reason too, I can only hope that all these hopes I have are fully realised when The Force Awakens hits screens this Thursday.
Big love, Liam x