11 November 2015
POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOLLOW!
(Probably not, but hey, even a busted clock is right twice a day right?)
Trigger warnings: Heavily opinionated, Wall of text, Irrational Hatred of J.J. Abrams, one poor Benedict Cumberbatch joke. A few swears. Not even proof-read. PEGI-16. Rated M for mature…whatever else. Now that that’s out of the way…
Okay, so I’ve made it no secret that I don’t care for J.J. Abrams’ style of storytelling. In my opinion, he, Lindelof, Orci, and Kurtzman have done serious harm to the Star Trek franchise and I can’t forgive them for that. The fact that CBS has tapped Kurtzman to showrun a new Star Trek series dooms it to suffer a crib death. But whatevs. I’m here to talk about the next Star Wars film. I’ve made my opinion rather vocal that because of what he did to Star Trek, JJ’s Star Wars film isn’t getting a dime off of me. And I don’t intend to see it. Folks asked me how I could say that and wasn’t I curious as to what was going to happen? I replied that I knew what was going to happen and that I’ll probably see the film eventually when it comes to Netflix or something. So then various people dared me to tell them what I thought the story would be about. But I didn’t want to tell them straight up in conversation, because what if I’m right? Then I just potentially spoiled a nice movie going experience for someone. So we thought I should write it down in a sealed envelope and then we’d open it after the movie premiered. But then it kind of spread to folks on Facebook too. So I decided, why not put up a blog post, then people can read it if they want to or not and we’ll have a record. (Of course, I totally could sneak to the midnight show, come back and edit the post, but where’s the fun in that? Plus, I’d get called out for it.)
I apologize for the following wall of text, but I’m writing this in between writing sessions on NaNo and I didn’t want to waste time finding every screen cap to support my evidence. So there’s going to be a wall of text. Also, I haven’t been engaged in all the fan spec on this. I’ve basically not cared. So the only research I’ve done is I’ve watched the trailers and checked IMDB for character names. I’m probably way wrong. But that’s the whole point of this dare. Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. Let’s get going.
The movie is going to be good. Not great. Not Empire. But at least Return of the Jedi. Why? Kathleen Kennedy & Disney. Kathleen Kennedy is one of the best producers in Hollywood. Period. I don’t like her decision in selecting J.J. Abrams, but I understand. The guy is fantastic at imitating other directors’ styles and he has a great eye. Lens flares notwithstanding, the film is going to look fantastic. JJ’s command of story on the other hand, well, let’s just say isn’t very sophisticated. But when you’re talking butts-in-seats, sophistication is your enemy. Movie going audiences by and large want good vs evil, clear cut, unambiguous, black hat/white hat stories. The last two Trek films weren’t exactly high-brow science fiction. Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt? Pretty cool. Except JJ’s fingerprints are all over the story. (sad face) But Kathleen Kennedy won’t let it suck. (Hoorah!)
Regarding Disney, they have a lot riding on this (massive understatement). The franchise is too big to fail at this point. (Honestly though, this movie could be just about Jar Jar Binks and people would see it and it would be a blockbuster). Star Wars isn’t a story anymore, it’s a product and it has been that way for a while. Disney is going to target 12 year olds with this movie. Why? Because 12 year olds drive not only ticket sales (since now my generation wants to share Star Wars with their kids in a new way), but 12 year olds drive toy sales, action figures, underoos, everything. I read somewhere that the average age of a ticket buyer for SW:TFA was somewhere around 34. That means a lot of old bastards like me were buying advanced tickets. But for the most part we don’t buy toys. (We buy “collectibles”. How dare you call them toys!) Also, with a new theme park under construction, Disney has to think ahead. 40 year olds don’t drive ticket sales to theme parks. 12 year olds do. 40 year olds buy tickets for the 12 year olds. If a 40 year old buys a ticket to the theme park, you’re getting maybe 2 people. IF a 12 year old drives the ticket sale, you’re getting the whole family.
Disney has movies plotted out for Star Wars probably until the 41st millennium. But if this movie tanks, all that collapses. Think about it, if Iron Man bombed, you get no Avengers, no Infinity Gauntlet. No MCU. That sucks. Also, the executives believe that fans think the prequels are the most reviled films in the history of filmmaking. And to be fair, they were a huge letdown. Disney doesn’t want a repeat of that. So if you’re expecting any callbacks to the prequels, don’t. SW:TFA will have nothing from the prequels in it. I bet JJ was given marching orders to make the movie like the prequels never even existed. So having said that, Disney is going to drive creatives to play it safe. They’re going to push the writers not to do anything crazy or new and to give the fans all the service they want. (Aside: I don’t think fan service is what most people think. The JJTrek films were full of “fan service”, but putting a tribble on screen for a few seconds, or having Kirk eat an apple while taking the Kobayashi Maru is hardly fan service when you’re shitting all over a beloved franchise. How’s this for fan service? Tell a good story.)
So we’re going to get a very straightforward story, that Disney knows will work, (with maybe 1 big twist, that won’t be that big a twist really if you’ve been paying attention…) targeted towards 12 year olds, with lots of fan service call backs to the original trilogy but not the prequels, shot by a director not exactly known for his originality but who likes to remix nostalgia for fan service and who likes mysteries and MacGuffins. We might get call outs to SW: Rebels… though probably not. and probably not the Clone Wars either, because, you know, prequels.
Given those assumptions, what you get is….
STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE.
STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS
Hey, it worked before? JJ got a trial run with Star Trek 2009 and most of the movie audiences didn’t even realize they’d seen the movie before when it was called A NEW HOPE. So my bet is they’re going to double down on this.
Here’s the way I think it will play out.
The movie’s going to start with the mandatory scroll, with opening shot of Star Destroyer orbiting what will look like Tatooine (twist! It’s Jakku, an identical looking planet). Cut to inside Star Destroyer and some
Rebel Republic spies are running around about to get caught. They’ve stolen something from the Remnant (or the First Order or whoever the Imperial left-behinds are now). What have they stolen? The Death Star plans of course. Anyway, one of them gets caught. Finn clocks a Stormtrooper to hide in his armor and then hi-jacks a Tie-Fighter to make his escape. He blasts his way out of the Star Destroyer, but gets shot down pretty quickly and crash lands on Tatooine Jakku.
Enter our protagonist,
Luke Skywalker Rey, a junk scavenger with a destiny if she could ever get off this stupid rock. My guess is that Rey is one-half of the Solo twins and that she’s in hiding for some reason, but hasn’t been told why. (The other half of the Solo twins? Kylo Ren…the bad guy. Which is kind of a good reason to be hiding out come to think of it.) Anyway, Finn also needs to get off this rock and get the plans to the Rebellion Republic and he knows of an old guy that could help him. Guy just happens to have a fast-as-hell ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. But he’s been chilling on this planet to keep an eye on his little girl. Something will happen so that he can’t hide anymore. He grabs the Falcon, his daughter, and Finn and they have to escape the First Order and blast their way off the planet. <Insert joke about hyperdrive not working here>. End of Act 1.
Where’s Luke in all this? Well, he’s not the villain. Although, Kylo Ren is definitely a bad guy (think of him as the Darth Maul of this picture…and he’ll probably be dead by the end of it) he’s not running the show. Some unseen guy is running the First Order. Probably a character we haven’t seen yet. Why don’t I think it is evil Luke? For starters, it is too obvious (unless of course they’re doing the whole… Eggs Benedict Cummerbund isn’t Khan thing). Also, makes no sense storywise. If Luke has fallen to the Dark Side, why aren’t there a ton of Sith running around. Remember, the only-2-Sith rule comes from the prequels (off limits from Disney), so why just Kylo Ren? (although there is a shot of a bunch of guys dressed like Kylo in one of the trailers, but only Kylo has that saber…so who knows?)
I think Luke is going to be the Obi-Wan of this movie. He hasn’t restarted a Jedi Academy either. So I think it is fair to say, Luke is in a self-imposed exile like Yoda & Ben. That’s why he’s missing. And that’s why he’s not in the movie trailers (except with his robot hand on R2) and he’s not on the poster. Ever so clever huh? (Although, I’d love to see Hammil Jokering up an evil Luke Skywalker. That would be pretty cool. But…Disney…playing it safe…. Joker Skywalker ain’t going to happen).
Anyway, now reunited with her Dad, Rey will find out she’s force sensitive and that all the myths about the Jedi and the Rebellion etc are true….all of it. (Hey, older folks, do you remember hearing about the Vietnam War? Do you think it was myth? I mean veterans are still alive and you can talk to them right? Well apparently, that’s not true for the Rebellion. Because people think it was myth after just 30 years. But whatever. In A New Hope, people couldn’t remember Jedi were real even though they’d been around like just 17 years before with their huge temple building prominent in the Republic’s capital. But whatevs… just go with it.)
Han will bring Rey back to the Republic forces along with the new intel on the Death Star. They’ll have to send some kind of covert mission to find out if it’s all real / someone gets captured and they will have to rescue them. Probably a bit of both.
Where at the end of Act 2, Finn is going to have to face off with Kylo Ren. He’s gonna die. Why? Well, somebody’s gonna and Finn is kind of TBG (Token Black Guy) in the movie and also poised to have a romantic relationship with Rey. And I hate to say it, but I don’t think Hollywood has come that far yet for an interracial relationship with a Black male / White female (the other way around sure…and that’s really an American hangup and I think both actors are British so they could give a hoot…but remember…Disney has to play it safe. Can’t risk controversy). I hope I’m wrong. But I’m guessing Finn is a dead man walking. Although, Lando did make it out of the OT intact and even blew up the second Death Star…so there might be some hope for Finn. But I don’t think he’s a force user or anything and he’s in deep trouble facing off against Kylo Ren in the woods. If I was a betting man…
So yeah, Finn’s dead. Somebody gets Kylo Ren. I don’t think he’s going to survive the movie either. That’s why I think of him as Darth Maul more than Darth Vader. Maybe Finn’s death forces Rey to come to terms with her feelings and AWAKENS the Force within her (see what I did there?) We do see her with some kind of staff weapon on the poster. So maybe she fights and kills Kylo? Doubtful though. I’d bet Luke does. Showing up in the nick of time with a nice plot-twist reveal JJ is so fond of. Maybe with a call back to the Empire Strikes Back saber fight with Kylo thinking he’s all that and Luke taking him to school while trying to get him to abandon the Dark Side.
Han, Chewie, and Rey blast their way out because they have some new information about the new deathstar. IT IS THE ICE PLANET! Oh no! Those crafty sneaky bad guys have disguised it as an ice planet. End of Act 2.
Act III is essentially the death star trench run from the first movie. Only this time, there’s no design flaw and the Rebels are not successful. One of the last images will be the new Deathstar shedding it planet camouflage skin. Luke is going to have to come back and train some damn Jedi, because the Sith are back too, and they’ve got a Deathstar. Roll credits.
So where is Luke? What is his arc? I don’t know. I think he’s going to be Yoda/Ben Kenobi. Hermit living in exile. He’s trained no new Sith or no new Jedi. So he’s in hiding somewhere.
What about Captain Phasma? Think Boba Fett. Very cool. Going to be bad ass. Ultimately, won’t do anything consequential.
The biggest mystery for me is actually the lightsaber they show in the trailer. That’s
Anakin’s saber from Revenge of the Sith Luke’s Saber from A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. The one built from a Graflex 3-cell flash tube. And yes, since I’m a prop whore, I tend to notice that. That saber took a dive off of Cloud City on Bespin along with Luke’s severed hand. So how is it back? And what does that mean? Could we be talking Heir to the Empire trilogy levels of cool plot twist here? Wow it almost makes me want to see the movie. But then I remember this is JJ, not Timothy Zahn. And Disney jettisoned the E.U. anyway. Well, there’s your MacGuffin, rabbit’s foot…LOST numbers whatever…
So yeah. That’s what I think the new movie will be, or a pretty close variation thereof. There’ll probably be some kind of callout to THX-1138 and Slusho and if we’re lucky maybe Finn will listen to an old Beastie Boys song while using his product-placement smartphone. It’s all wild speculation. Can’t wait to hear how wrong I am. In any case, had to get this off my chest.
The only thing I can be absolutely sure of, is that someone at some point will say, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” And look at it this way. Even if I’m right and the plot is recycled/rebooted/reimagined, it could be a heck of a lot worse right?