Before the Dark Times, Before the Empire

So here it is, my official Star Wars Rant.

Three years from now, there will be a new Star Wars movie, 16 years after I thrilled ever so briefly to my resurrected childhood. Will I watch it? Probably. My disappointment in the last two franchise offerings borders on the epic, and my objections to new content are mainly fears that I’ll get more of the same, rather than MORE.

Thanks to an ill-timed head injury, my conscious life is fairly well defined by my relationship to Star Wars. Were you to count up the hours I’ve spent watching Jedi on-screen, I do believe it would be at least one of my (mumblemumble) years. I waited in lines around the block in four successive decades to see it in theaters, until finally, during my one and only viewing of Episode III, my friends physically restrained me from walking out during the opening scenes.

I’m no longer the Star Wars fan I was, but I’m still a fan. Much like my appreciation of baseball has changed, so too has my relationship with the Republic. My son’s life is defined by neither, and his last online declaration was announcing his girlfriend to the world. But his experience of Star Wars starts in 1999, and goes backwards. In 2015, will he and his peers feel nostalgia for the Phantom Menace?

Most likely not, since the franchise has been “alive” through animated television shows that I myself have never seen. They contain none of the flaws that those last two movies did (other than premise), and given the money they’ve generated, are the “real” Star Wars now.

So here’s what will it take to get me back in the fold. Something new. Something Different. Make me believe again in a world bigger than myself. Where whether or not Han shoots first, he’s still a good man. Where computer generated caricatures don’t step in poo in one movie, then inexplicably are in a position to cause galactic unrest in the next. Where I’m not spoon-fed romantic relationships that even the characters involved think are wrong.

Where things happen. Where things matter.

If I could make but one impassioned plea to the new owners of the franchise, it would be this. Above all else, please make it a good movie, and promote it to the best of your ability. I’ve already seen your studio utterly fail with a property I really care about, and then a few months later deliver the one of the finest superhero movies ever filmed, which thanks to the magic of inflated 3D pricing is also one of the highest grossing of all time.

I’d like to have James Earl Jones tell you that you have failed me for the last time, but we both know that’s not true. Do, or do not, there is no try.

And please remember, we named the dog Indiana.

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