I doubt any true Star Wars fan missed the news that there is an Episode VII in the works, intended as the first of a new series of 3 movies set after Return of the Jedi. JJ Abrams has been tagged as director. Yes, he is talented and has made some compelling TV and movies. However, he is not universally loved. The finale of LOST left many fans underwhelmed. It has even been described as the worst conclusion to a series, ever. I think this is a very unfair assessment. If anything, I feel that the LOST conclusion simply tried to leave too much in the hands of the audience in reaching their own conclusions. The vocally disappointed audience are those who prefer their television plots be spoon-fed to them. They don’t watch TV to think for themselves! They do it to veg out and watch stuff blow up and boobies.
One good thing about JJ Abrams is that he keeps his cards close to his chest and gives little away in order to keep his audience guessing. Nonetheless and not at all surprising with a franchise this popular, rumours abound. And with the overall less than stellar reception for episodes 1-3, fandom has a mixture of excitement and apprehension about what episodes VII to IX could do for the franchise.
My favourite attempt to extract information about Episode VII was from Harrison Ford on Conan. Clip here:
I am going to talk about what I think should happen in this next series of movies. I will draw upon some information from the broader Star Wars universe and its stories, and may drop some information that some individuals may consider spoilers. So if that stuff bothers you, scram! While you think about whether you want to continue, here is some thinking music.
The buzz has it that Episode VII will be set 30 years after Return of the Jedi. Being approximately the time since Return of the Jedi was released, this helps to explain how many members of the original cast will be able to make appearances in the new movie. However, the core story will revolve around the next generation. Han and Leia got busy, and off-screen Luke went and got himself a girlfriend (Mara Jade), and they must have all been doing it Bantha Style, as they have spawned some kids who will be old enough for their own adventures when this story arc kicks off.
Here is my first issue. Mara Jade. It would be a genuine shame if the only time she makes it to the big screen is in her twilight years. She is far too awesome a character to be glossed over so. I would suggest one of two options with her. Option 1 – give her a one shot movie like those planned for Boba Fett and Yoda to tell at least an abridged version of her story. Option 2 – kill her off before Episode VII. Leave only a reference from Luke to junior about the formative events where they lost their mother. This leaves things wide open for Star Wars fiction writers to fill in the dramatic details of those events. Thus, Mara truly becomes the most awesome Star Wars character never to reach the big screen, and a gem only for those fans that delve into the expanded universe stories to uncover.
Moving on, a key element that made the original trilogy the more favoured, apart from the absence of Jar Jar Binks, was Darth Vader. He was the iconic villain. Most every good guys vs bad guy movie ever made has been defined by its villain. And Vader may well be the most iconic villain, ever. And this from a character that first hit the big screen more than 35 years ago where the height of cinema releases included Smokey and the Bandit, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Saturday Night Fever (they were 2nd 3rd and 4th top grossing films in that year – </sarcasm> you’ll never guess who was 1st </sarcasm off>).
There are already casting rumours for the villain of Episode VII. Glossing over that I am going to talk about episodes VIII and IX. This would create the key villain(s) for the climax of the series.
My suggestion would be to find two of the long-believed extinct true Sith race. I think it was Ki Adi Mundi who mentioned that they were believed extinct during the prequel trilogy. But the true Sith race were the embodiment of the dark side of the force during the height of their power. They also should get a spot on the big screen.
The two Sith would be male and Female, and lovers. They could truly be the last of their race, or at least believed to be so. The dark side of the force stems from aspects such as desire and hatred. Two lovers, immersed in their passion for each other, while harbouring hatred for those they deem responsible for annihilating their race, would be potent force wielders, indeed. I would have them both as duel wielding lightsaber users. One with two red, and one with two white lightsabers (or whichever other colour the lore supports and looks cool). The two Sith would fight fiercely but gracefully and with a huge amount of coordination. They have trained their entire lives for the sole purpose of destroying the Jedi, they should be bloody awesome at it. And in battle, they should share each others lightsabers. To give an idea of what I mean, the following clip is a cinematic from the game Star Wars: The Old Republic. It also features a Sith and is, to my mind, one of the best lightsaber battle sequences I have seen.
In the climactic battle for Episode VIII, these two Sith go up against, presumably, our next gen central characters. My off the cuff casting would have Alison Brie play the female (she won’t mind the prosthetics, and Michael B. Jordan for the male. JJ Abrams tends to avoid A-listers. He prefers lesser known actors and then makes them famous.
During this Episode VIII battle, the female Sith is killed. Consider the effect that has on the male. If the dark side power stems from passion, anger and hatred, then this guy’s power bar just went in to overdrive. He force pushes his lover’s killer out a window very high up or even through a wall, removing him/her from the fight.
Now we make a move straight out of George R R Martin’s playbook and kill a good guy. This could be one of the next gen kids, or it could be the fall of Luke Skywalker (who can still return ghost-style following in Obi-Wan’s footsteps). This death becomes a catalyst the same as Obi-Wan’s death was for Luke. Whoever it is falls to the powerful rage of our surviving Sith villain.
But what you have, going in to the climax of the trilogy, is potentially the meanest angriest Sith ever to wave his glowstick (and from that point on dual wields one of each colour lightsaber in memory of his fallen lover), and who wants nothing more than to hunt down and kill every single last member of the Solo/Skywalker clans.
This is where villains like Darth Maul and Dooku never quite matched up. They were mean and powerful, but there was never time to give them back story to explain why they were so.
That’s my thoughts. Hopefully JJ can come up with something as good if not better. Here is some more Star Wars music to go on with.