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.