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Does Star Wars Have a Future?

I’ve written some less than complimentary things about modern Star Wars recently and I’m hardly the only one (though to be fair there are a number of defenders too). Over at SF Signal JP Frantz has announced that Star Wars Must Die! Don’t get too upset, he doesn’t mean it literally. What he’s looking for is a fresh new direction for Star Wars.

By coincidence this is a topic I’ve been thinking about myself. As I’ve noted I think Lucas seeming obsession with The Clone Wars has left the series stuck in a rut going over the same ground again and again.
Darth Vader makes his grand entrance to test t...Image via Wikipedia

Star Wars Is For Kids

One of the strongest defenses of the Star Wars prequel trilogy is that a large part of the appeal of the original Star Wars was that of a young child going to see it for the first time. That’s an experience that the prequel trilogy couldn’t recreate for older fans.

There is some truth to this argument. You can’t recreate the experience of seeing something for the first time in your life. It’s also true that all the Star Wars movies have been heavily aimed towards a young audience from day one.

JP points out though that most Star Wars fans are not kids any more and suggests that we have a Star Wars product that’s aimed at those older fans. As an older fan myself I might enjoy a movie or tv series like that, but I don’t think it’s necessary.

Just Because It’s For Kids Doesn’t Mean It Has To Be Bad

The problem with The Phantom Menace and the other prequels wasn’t that they were aimed at kids, it was that they were poorly structured and executed.

I re-watched Star Wars this weekend for the first time in several years and I was watching it with distinctly adult eyes. The dialogue is frequently wooden and there are a number of plot holes that are never adequately explained. But the movie moves at such a pace and presents so many exciting or impressive moments that it doesn’t matter.

I also watched the original in direct comparison to the tweaked version of Star Wars. The differences aren’t major, but in almost every single case where the CGI was added, it did nothing to improve the scenes beyond the visuals. In some cases it was simply distracting and slows things down. In many ways this is a taster of what was to come with the prequels.

The Phantom Menace still has some impressive moments, but the story is bloated and the plot frequently bogs down in between the set pieces. The CGI is truly impressive, but it is allowed to run wild and seems almost an end in its own right.

In short The Phantom Menace didn’t need to be more adult, it just needed to be better directed.

The Doctor Who Model?

Before Doctor Who returned to our screens there were a lot of fans (I was one of them) who suggested a more adult or darker tone for the series. Instead what we got was an adventure series suitable for the whole family. And it was the right call. Doctor Who stayed true its roots and gave us one of the best scifi shows of the decade. Is there a lesson for Star Wars to learn from this?

  • Focus on your core audience
  • Stay true to your history
  • Keep continuity lean
  • Adapt presentation styles in line with modern film making
  • Remember characters are more important than special effects
  • Use the best writers and directors you can afford

What Is The Future

And isn’t it time that Star Wars actually moved into the future? Lucas seems to be hung up in the past of the Star Wars universe. What if we were actually to move forward for the first time in 25 years?

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Eoghann Irving is amongst other things the creator and Editor of Solar Flare. He has a life long interest in all forms of science fiction and fantasy and a pressing need to share this interest with anyone who will listen. Find out more at his personal website eoghann.com..

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