A Humble Star Wars Wishlist

In the leadup to Episode IX (amongst general saturation of other Star Wars related ephemera), I thought it was time for some entitled fanboy wanking. Which is to say that I don’t actually expect any of this to really happen and am not making demands or anything, but I thought it might be fun to list out some things that would be nice. Interestingly, this doesn’t have much to do with the current Star Wars film regime, but there are some thoughts on where they could go after the supposed break that’s coming up…

  • I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: My number one wish is for a pristine 4K UHD release of the original Star Wars trilogy.
    • I realize that physical media is dying and the 4K market is even more niche than the general physical media market, but if there’s one property that could pull it off, it’s Star Wars.
    • My preference would be for the original, non-special editions to be included in the release. You can still have the Special Editions somewhere. I mean, come on, if the Blade Runner release can warrant literally 5 different versions of the same movie in one box, I think Disney could figure something out here.
    • I’m willing to admit that a lot of the more technical changes to the original trilogy are worth it. In particular, cleaning up the compositing (i.e. the boxes around spacecraft, the transparancy in the cockpit from Empire, etc…) is worth it. No one complains about those changes, and I would actually love it for those to be included. This does make for a more complicated case though (“Release the originals but you can change the things I don’t love” is a difficult case to make). A lot of the other changes are probably fine, if unnecessary. Actually:
    • There are really only two unforgivable changes: 1. Han not shooting first, and 2. Darth Vader’s saying “No, Nooooooo” at the end of Jedi (this one was added for the Blu-Ray release in an epic troll, echoing one of the worst bits from the prequels). If you were to remove both of those changes, but keep the entirety of the rest of the special editions in the 4K release, I’d be happy. I mean, sure, the Jabba scene in Star Wars is completely unnecessary as are a few other changes, but they’re at least debatable and not actively horrendous. Remove the two aforementioned worst changes and you’ll get 99.9% of the fanbase onboard. Or maybe George Lucas will just continue to troll his fans by wearing a Han Shot First t-shirt.
  • I hope that future movies beyond Episode IX will be new stories. New Characters. Minimal prequel baggage. Some ideas:
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn – We’ve already lost the ability to do Timothy Zahn’s original Thrawn trilogy, but you could still salvage some of the main ideas behind the threat of Thrawn and create a compelling new story. This would be complicated a bit by the character’s appearance in current efforts like Rebels and Zahn’s more recent Thrawn books (which are fun, but their prequel nature holds them back), but it’s all workable.
    • Knights of the Old Republic – Technically a prequel, sure, but with all new characters and thus a story that isn’t hampered by what we already know. You don’t need to follow the video games’ story here (not least of which because video game adaptations don’t exactly have a great track record), but the general idea that you can tell a story in this universe completely unconnected from the context of the films and still be successful is worth noting.
    • Small Scale Threats – We’ve already done the planet/galaxy scale threats and the Death Star is more than played-out; why not tell a more personal, character based story that generates stakes based on already established universal themes of good and evil, rather than wholly existential threats?
  • It would be nice if future Star Wars installments had some sort of vision other than “Make lots of money!” To be sure, I feel like the current Disney installments have had some interesting ideas, but they’re completely disjointed. It’s easy to complain about George Lucas and the prequels, but the man had a vision and for all their faults, the prequels were more cohesive than what Disney’s been doing. Marvel’s been playing this cohesive vision across many properties game long enough for us to know it’s possible. But then, so many other attempts to imitate that have failed that it’s clearly not an easy thing to pull off. But between Pixar and Marvel, Disney has proven they are capable of doing so. Whether that’s through producers or a stable of writers/directors or other creatives, it should be possible. All signs point to a break after Episode IX (notwithstanding the TV shows), which is probably a good thing. When it does come back, it would be great if there was some sort of guiding vision behind the movies. This is easier said than done, for sure, but that’s what’s needed to make a good franchise work.

I almost didn’t publish this post because it seems so very trifling and it’s not like these sentiments haven’t been covered elsewhere, but you know what, it reminded me of what it was like to blog 15 years ago. In these heady days of social media, that sort of thing doesn’t happen very much anymore. So there.

7 thoughts on “A Humble Star Wars Wishlist”

  1. Endorsed.

    Just do Revan. You have a built in trilogy with an ambiguous (depending on which take you want to use) ending. All new characters, but not so much a blank sheet that Disney would freak out over not presenting a known quantity. I don’t understand why this isn’t obvious to anyone attached to Star Wars. Unless it’s a rights thing. Maybe EA owns Revan/Old Republic? They would probably want a couple billion dollars for *that* license.

  2. But Ben, how will people know it’s Star Wars if it doesn’t have Han Solo’s dice or Darth Vader or a different character from the original trilogy? I’ve always just assumed that Disney would do KOTOR at some point and every time they announced a new “trilogy” coming from someone (i.e. Rian Johnson, the GoT guys, etc…) rumors about it being a KOTOR series circulate, but it is surprising that nothing concrete has been laid out yet. Disney has been so very “safe” with their choices so far and limited themselves mostly to things we already know (i.e. every other movie being a prequel, VII being so beholden to IV, etc…) We’ll see how IX does, but if it’s not gangbusters, maybe they’ll take an actual chance on the next thing they do…

  3. Thrawn’s not off the cards. Timothy Zahn’s already written three new Thrawn books for the New Universe (NU): Thrawn, Alliances, Treason.

    Am presently reading the most recent (‘Treason’). The books are *very* different from the Thrawn Trilogy in the Original Universe (OU).

    https://www.goodreads.com/series/217515-star-wars-thrawn

    Ilya

    (P.S.: Finally got KaedrinWeb working for me using a Yahoo login!)

  4. Yes, I’ve enjoyed Zahn’s new Thrawn books (and, for that matter, the other two Zahn Thrawn books from a while back), though not nearly as much as the original Thrawn Trilogy. They fall into the prequel trap where you kinda know where everything’s going to end up, even though the specifics can still be fun to read. I really enjoyed the first one, but the second one was a bit of a letdown. I covered both here:

    https://kaedrin.com/weblog/archive/003704.html

    The third one is in the queue and I suspect I’ll like that one better (Vanto is back, right?)

    Again, if we’re going to get Thrawn in a new movie, I’d rather see something that’s not a prequel… or if it must be a prequel, something so disconnected from the continuity as to be new enough. He was such a great villain, and the recent movies seem to have squandered that opportunity, instead making the whole First Order thing a little too goofy, going back to the Death Star well, and an Emperor-like big-bad (or, um, the actual Emperor, if the latest trailers are to be believed). I still think you could leverage him as a big bad in a new trilogy (using similar setup as the original Thrawn Trilogy), but I suspect that the suits at Disney would demand a Sith or dark Jedi or something as the villain (even though Thrawn did have that component as part of his strategy)… Ah well, hope springs eternal!

  5. Can’t help but suspect if there’s also a slow-burn layering/foreshadowing process in place. Have noticed that a considerable bit with the NU books, which provides a kind of connective tissue between them. Characters from Last Star show up in Bloodlines show up in Sith Lords show up in Rebels show up in Resistance show up in Aftermath show up in, well, you get the idea. It’s not terribly forced, and makes it clear how events overlap, influence one another, and the repercussions of actions elsewhere.

    But it’s still a bit jarring, somehow. Can’t quite verbalise why or how yet.

    That said – Eli is back in Thrawn: Treason, which continues this strange obsession with the Grysk – a people/race/something that the books continually refer to as a potential threat or danger, yet…they never quite feel as though they are in fact terribly dangerous. The Yuuzhan Vong they most definitely are not. Meanwhile, I persist in searching for connective tissue to the OU novels concerning the Outbound Flight, as I feel like there are probably easter eggs in the NU Thrawn books about them. Somewhere.

    Treason is certainly an improvement upon Alliances, and feels less incidental than Alliances. But not by much. I agree with you – there’s something odd about these books. Particularly Thrawn’s fate, as, having seen all of Rebels, I know how things turn out for him. But then, from a structural approach, it’s not What The Story Is, but How The Story Is. Three books in and I still don’t have a clear understanding in my mind of where Zahn and the LucasArts/Lucasfilm Story Group are going with this. Names, locations, allusions, references, are pepped across all of the Star Wars media, but to what end? Unknown.

  6. Finished the third Thrawn book last night. …And I don’t know why we needed it. I don’t feel like the novel, by the time it reaches its end, has provided much more insight into Thrawn. And knowing that the conclusion leads straight into ‘Family Reunion – and Farewell’ on Star Wars Rebels makes anything that follows this far more likely to be interesting than what preceded it, by virtue of it not being locked into a narrative timeline that it can’t veer from too wildly lest it contradict or interrupt events happening elsewhere.

    There’s still no real sense of why the Grysk are so dangerous when juxtaposed with, for example, the Yuuzhan Vong, who felt like a palpable and real threat. Three books in and I still don’t have any sense of immanent urgency from their existence. Nor is the Wild Space explorations hook made any more engaging or enlightening. I suspect The Rise of Skywalker might explain why, given Palpatine’s return.

  7. Yeah, I just finished the third Thrawn book too. Largely agree. These feel more like television episodes for a procedural, rather than epic space fantasy. That said, I kinda enjoy that sort of thing from time to time, and this was definitely a lot better than the second book. I liked seeing Vanto again, and there were some good twists and turns, though to your point, not really sure it’s leading anywhere worthwhile… But again, it’s fun to hang out with Thrawn and Vanto…

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