I have loved Star Wars my entire life. I was fortunate and lucky enough to have been a little kid back in 1999 when the prequel trilogy began, and am now even more lucky that the sequel trilogy is in full force. I would have loved to have been around during the run of the original movies, but I will let my parents have that privilege.
I went with a friend to see The Force Awakens on opening night back in 2015, and saw it multiple more times after that. I thought it was a really good movie. So far there has only been one trailer released for the next movie, The Last Jedi (which is surprising since there’s only a few more months until it comes out) and I am really excited to go and see that.
The other day it was announced that J.J. Abrams would be back to direct the third movie after Disney and LucasFilms let go Colin Trevorrow. Already there is a petition going around by some of the more hardcore Star Wars fans calling for his removal from the project, over what they feel was a failure on his part to deliver a true and good Star Wars movie the first time around. Never mind that it grossed over $2 billion worldwide and helped renew the franchise after an even greater backlash against George Lucas and the prequels. In some fan’s minds Jar Jar Abrams is not the man for the job and want him replaced by any number of directors who could potentially make a really good and original Star Wars movie.
Naturally, I signed the petition.
Do I really think it will do much good? Of course not. Since when do online petitions to Hollywood ever do anything good?
Barring personal tragedy or pissing off the wrong people at Disney, we can fully expect Abrams to remain at the help of Episode 9 until the end.
Why, then, would I sign something if I know it might not do any good?
To make a statement. I really did like The Force Awakens, but the more I watched it the more I realized that instead of being the start of something new and grand, which I was expecting the sequel trilogy to be, it ended up being a big-budget remake of the first Star Wars movie in many, many ways. I’m not going to go into detail about that here, as I am writing a separate essay about the similarities between the two movies that will be finished sometime in the near future. The total lack of originality when it came to plot and conflict was a big let down for me.
Thankfully, Abrams is not the director of The Last Jedi, but it is clear even from the one trailer we have that TFA’s influence has crept into Episode 8. Like it’s predecessor borrowing heavily from Episode IV: A New Hope, The Last Jedi appears to be taking many pages from the book of the second film of the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. A young novice is on a deserted planet learning the ways of the Force from a powerful old master. A main character is in a medical tube awaiting revival. A small band of fighters are zipping forward to combat a line of giant walkers in the distance. And as the trailer closes Luke Skywalker, taking the place of Yoda from the original trilogy, stands in the shadows casting doubt on the Jedi Order, similar to Yoda’s own reservations about training Luke over thirty years earlier.
If all of that can be gathered from a single teaser, it really shows that plan that LucasArts has going forward with the series. It is quite understandable that fans would want–even demand–better from the producers. But by the look of things, history looks like it could be repeating itself.
There is always the chance that someone at Disney will see the petition (which, at the time I signed it this morning had over half of the required signatures) and be like, “Oh, a lot of fans aren’t happy that we asked J.J. Abrams to come back. Why is that?” and then at least maybe Disney will try and calm the angry cloud and at least make sure that Episode 9 is not a 21st Century Return of the Jedi. But if the first and second movies are rehashes of the originals then it would be completely out of sinc for the third to be an original idea.
In the end, Disney is there to make money. J.J. Abrams made for them a smash hit and sent their newly-purchased Star Wars empire on a great new course. Combined with the “success” he had with the Star Trek reboots and they have a man who will deliver them the gold.
There may not be any tiny exhaust ports for our little fan rebellion to fire proton torpedos down, at least where J.J. Abrams is concerned. But at least we tried.