Monday, 22 April 2013

Voice of Reason #10: Star Wars Overkill

"Join me, and together we can make dozens of unnecessary sequels,
spin-off's and cash-ins. Join the dark side Luke. Think of the merchandise!"

If someone asked me "Name your favourite childhood film", I wouldn't be thinking the Lion King, the Jungle Book or Toy Story. Simba, Mowgli or Buzz can piss off, they ain't even close. It would be indisputably, categorically, 100% Star Wars. After watching the original trilogy in 97/98ish, it was Star Wars Lego, action figures and video-games that consumed my spare time. If it wasn't recreating the battle of Hoth with my Lego AT-AT, it was shooting the shit out of TIE Fighers on Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.

So, news that Disney plans on making a new Star Wars film every summer from 2015 onwards (as well as a new film every year afterwards until Harrison Ford can no longer pee by himself) should feel like all my Christmases, birthdays, Easters and barmitzvahs all come at once. Right? This however, isn't exactly the case...

"Get down, it's a Mickey Mouse/Jabba the Hutt crossover!"
There is, contrary to popular belief, the potential to have too much of a good thing. Star Wars, could very well be proof of this rule. Whilst the original trilogy (1977 - 1983) was an instant game-changer, a classic that changed the way films were made, the prequel trilogy (1999 - 2005) wasn't. Two-dimensional characters, flat dialogue, too heavily reliant on CGI, the Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones failed to fulfil meteoric expectation as well as quench audiences vast appetites for more of a good thing.

Am I the only one who sees the possibility of Star Wars Episode VII and beyond doing the same thing? With expectation for a return to the classic Star Wars look and feel building from now until Summer 2015, could it be that any attempt at reinvigorating Star Wars will be in vain?

Assume however that JJ Abrams and Disney manage to pull off a great comeback with Episode VII; are annual instalments to a the franchise really necessary? In my mind, it could go either way.

Marvel: proof that annual entries into a
franchise can work
Disney also has ownership of Marvel Studios, who are riding a wave of success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe that runs all the way back to 2008's Iron Man. Not only do they have annual films, they have two. Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World (both 2013), Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy next year and The Avengers 2 and Ant-Man in 2015.

On the other hand though, Disney owns both Pixar and the Pirates of the Caribbean, a studio and a franchise that have had something of a chequered past when it comes to yearly entries. Pixar, let's not forget, kept up something of a winning streak with Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010) before Cars 2 (2011) and Brave (2012) saw them start to trip and stumble a little.

With Pirates, Disney managed to rush out Dead Man's Chest (2006) and At World's End (2007) in back to back years with increasing commercial success but diminishing critical reception.

Back to Star Wars then. One film a year still sounds like a bit of a gamble; Quality over quantity after all. If rumours surrounding numerous character spin-offs are to be believed (Young Boba Fett/Han Solo anyone?), then it would be simple enough for the studio to be working on more than one film at once.

It could go either way. By Summer 2019, are we going to saying "Hell yeah, more Star Wars please!" or "Ugh, give up with all these Star Wars films already!" and "Stop milking the cash bantha, Disney!"

Let me know in the comment section below what you think about these plans to release a new Star Wars film every year from 2015; good or bad idea? Also, who would you like to see front a character spin-off? Mace Windu? Yoda? Maybe even Greedo or Jar Jar?


  1. I believe they should just focus on the sequel trilogy before thinking of any spin-offs. I believe JJ Abrams will do a brilliant job Episode 7, considering he managed to rejuvenate Star Trek so well. Tbh I hope that only Harrison Ford and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) will come back for this episode. I hope JJ uses them exactly like he did with Leonard Nimoy (Old/Prime Spock) in Star Trek 2009. I want to follow new characters and for them not to have Han and Leia's children. I'm thinking a young and female Jedi as the two protagonists (Jennifer Lawrence and whoever you want) We need a cool smuggler type (Michael Fassbender) and a cameo by Boba Fett. We need the return of the Sith (Think The Old Republic cinematics) but I also wouldn't mind a completely different enemy. Scarlett Johansson in a metal bikini wouldn't be too bad either...

    1. Yeah, focusing on Episode VII is the best thing to do. Spin-offs should wait until after Abrams does a good job on that. Maybe he will, maybe he won't, I'm not going to get my hopes up until I see some reviews! In terms of casting, you pretty much read my mind there mate. Lawrence, Fassbender, Johansson would all be fantastic in those roles. I don't really know if I'm that keen on Hamill, Fisher and Ford returning, I don't want it feeling like a nostalgia trip.

      Who knows what they'll end up doing; there is certainly no shortage of source material - my guess is for a trilogy that focuses on Leia and Han's children Jacen, Anakin and Jaina or whatever they're called...



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