As many of you may know or at least heard something of, J.J. Abrams released the first trailer of “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.” And the general response has been positive, aside from nitpicking over what appears to a screw up on the new Sith lightsaber design, and a bizarre controversy over the appearance of a black stormtrooper during the trailer.
While the original trilogy is beloved both by critics and fans, the prequel trilogy is far more controversial. Partially because George Lucas insisted on writing and having full control over the script. The SFX are astounding, groundbreaking for when they came out. And it probably caused many a fan to overlook obvious issues in the films. Myself included. I was extremely hyped at the idea of a new Star Wars for my generation. And aside from the cringe-worthy Jar-Jar Binks, the film itself wasn’t too bad. It had problems, but nothing that intrinsically wrecked Star Wars. Interestingly enough, they cut out a section during Qui-Gon Jinn’s viking funeral where the camera pans back to show Vader’s shadow and leitmotif behind Anakin. The large amount of action and movement helped offset the lack of pacing and script. Though having a child of 8 or so take out a command ship with one fighter was a bit too much for the suspension of disbelief. The pod racing, ok. But the last star-fighter battle was just ridiculous.
As par the course in most sci-fi movies, the bad guys once again stole the show. A mysterious figure who savvy Star Wars fan clearly identified early, and his sidekick….Darth Maul. Who despite looking very badass, didn’t do all that much aside from killing Qui-gon. The Trade Federation guys were plainly ineffectual and not worth commenting on.
On a side note, the controversy over Watto, the flying blue junk dealer as some kind of jewish stereotype is a waste of breath. The shifty tradesman who’s only out to make a quick buck regardless of everyone else is a stock character type, and not one that is intrinsically associated with jews.
Moving onto to Attack of the Clones, great SFX, meh plot. Despite a heroic effort by Christopher Lee, the series still couldn’t get a narrative together. The plot about Padme and Anakin having to hide their relationship was something that despite being Star Wars canon (A Jedi shall not know love) was just awkward and hard to watch. Jango provided a nice level of badass despite getting one-shotted by Mace Windu.
The plans for the Death Star however, were something that was bound to cause continuity issues. I’ll talk more about that later. The other issue was the entire clones plot. They never actually explain the plot-line about where the clones came from, aside from a side note about a Jedi master from twenty years ago named Sif0-Dyas, a plot line left dangling in the film. There is no apparent connection between him and the main characters at all, it’s just left out there as a way to explain the clones and why an army has been grown for the last 20 years conveniently.
What the film does not say however, is that the coming darkness that Yoda and other masters sensed had been a concern even twenty years ago, and Master Sifo-Dyas was alerted to it by one Hego Damask, aka Darth Plagueis, the guy who trained Darth Sidious also known as Chancellor and later Emperor, Palpatine. It was he who convinced Sifo-Dyas to commission the clone army in case there was a separatist movement later on, which was a possible concern at the time. What further plans beyond using the army to instill a Sith empire that Plagueis intended are unknown, because shortly after Senator Palpatine was elected Grand Chancellor, he assassinated his master after getting him drunk. As for Sifo-Dyas? He was betrayed by Count Dooku who had him killed and then desecrated his body by using his blood to help create General Grievous and Master Dyas’s saber was turned over to the killer cyborg.
Even part of this being included in the film would have greatly shored up the story.
Finally, we come to Revenge of the Sith. The best of the three in many ways, and also Lucas’s greatest failing in terms of writing. We drop as the Clone War reaches a fever pitch with Coruscant, the government capital world, under an orbital siege. After a great action sequence, we find Count Dooku holding his boss, Palpatine hostage. A much improved Anakin disarms Dooku in the literal sense, by slicing off both his hands. Palpatine gleefully gets Anakin to behead Dooku.
That right there, should have been a huge red flag to Anakin that something was wrong. This was massively out of character for Palpatine’s public identity as a reluctant leader who only wanted to end the conflict as soon as possible.
The film also skips over the events of the Clone Wars cartoon show, which showed Grievous at his best, and even explained why he seemed so unpowered and weak compared to there. It was because shortly before the events of the film began, Mace Windu had force-crushed Grievous’s chest unit and damage his remaining internal organs, thereby giving him the rasping cough and denying him the acrobatics of the cartoon. Thus making Grievous a threat dispatched…..by blaster to the chest. An ignominious death unworthy of someone hyped so much prior to the film’s premiere by the cartoon show and advertising.
Mace Windu at least, gets a much better death. Which was by Samuel L. Jackson’s request. Even if Anakin deciding to turn on the Jedi for the sake of someone who had clearly taken out three other masters whose bodies he passed on the way in, is hard to take in.
The corruption apparently worked fast enough that Anakin quickly graduated to child-killing and mass-murder before facing down Obi-Wan……after force-choking his wife unconscious.
Padme, decides to just quit living, but only after she conveniently gives birth to, and names, Luke and Leia Skywalker. After what’s apparently a 15-17 year timeskip, we hit the events of Star Wars Episode IV.
And this is where we run into problems. Palpatine got the 2nd Death Star up in far less time than the first one, it taking fifteen years is just plain ridiculous. Nor is twenty years long enough for the Jedi to be all but extinct and shrouded in myth. Vader taking orders from the guy who made him murder his wife (from his point of view anyway), is ludicrous. Not to mention the image of Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi is of a far older man than what we saw in Episode 3. Of course, Lucas decided to digitally edit in the young Anakin in place of the old one in newer releases.
Thus, if J.J. Abrams just decides to flat out ignore the new trilogy, he would be better off. The black stormtrooper issue is stupid, mainly because they ran out of clones and had to start taking recruits to meet the needs of the empire. I’ll withhold judgement on the Sith Lightsaber until I see the film, there might be more to it than meets the eye. I have no idea which of the original cast is coming back, but much like the title of Episode IV, there is a new hope for Star Wars.
All we can do, is hope Abrams just tries to tell a good story and doesn’t try to cram in stupid ideas like the Force being caused by microbes called midi-chlorians.
Thank you for reading. Good Night and Good Luck.