POSTING BY JB MADDAWG
The excitement level was high the day that Disney announced they had bought out George Lucas, and immediately followed the uppercut with a jab in the form of announcing that indeed Star Wars episodes seven, eight and nine would be a reality. The death sentence on twelve systems that was given to the franchise via Lucas in the last episodes had been given a stay of execution.
I was fortunate to be alive and old enough when Star Wars Episode V: A New Hope hit the screens for its original theatrical release in 1977. Over the next six years, the Star Wars saga would dominate playground banter across the country, no matter of race, gender or creed. School recess would hear serious discussions of what held Cloud City up, speculation on the Wookie planet and if Princess Leia wore underwear, all while wearing our tee shirts complete with X-Wing iron on decals.
Yet, the two most important topics would always surface, no matter where the timeline for the movies was at that point. The first would be of how Darth Vader got his iconic life supporting suit. There was always one kid, in almost every school that had read a fabled book, and said kid would recant the tale of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader. It usually ended with “no, I’m not joking. Obi Wan Kenobi pushed him into a volcano.” We doubted. We all doubted, but alas, in Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, Lucas hit us with the “told ya so” hammer.
And the second important topic that never seemed to leave the Star Wars discussion white board? The myth of episodes seven, eight and nine. Oh, the speculation was great, and it was long before any mention of Luke and his puppy mill of Jedi, or Han and Leia becoming space yuppies. All we knew was Lucas was going to return to do those final three films and call it a career. But as life does, the years progressed to decades, littles grew up to be bigs (not Luke’s buddy, mind you) and the lore was forgotten.
When Lucas finally decided to return to the saga, he made it clear that there would be no episodes seven, eight and nine. Six films, all revolving around Darth Vader. Since Vader had died in the so-called final episode, Lucas saw no reason to continue the story. Well, that and the fact that fans of the saga were pretty much ready to kill him after his latest works. The saga was dirtied up with new features every waking moment, and the final insult was to bastardize the lore with ehhhgg…3D. Check please.
When the folks at Disney bought up the store from Lucas some months back, and announced the films would continue, I could only think that some of the people at Disney were those kids on the playground, all grown up and ready to make those three fabled films happen. It sounded perfect. Until everyone remembered that names like Solo, Skywalker and Leia were now a front burner problem.
Knowing the Star Wars fanbase would never accept new actors playing the iconic roles, Disney played the only card they could: they begged the originals to come back. Now, for some of the costumed actors, this of course wasn’t an issue. The 800 pound wookie in the room is the fact that Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) are now way past “well seasoned”. They’re frigging old, and the years have not been kind to them.
Harrison Ford mailed in his last performance of Indiana Jones so badly, it was returned for insufficient postage and he may also be the door greeter at my local Wal-Mart. Ford is slated officially to play Solo again, but unless it has something to do with the now elderly space pirate having an incontinence problem, it hints at being extremely lackluster. And as my blog partner Big Angry pointed out, wasn’t it just a few short years ago when Ford was embarrassed by playing Solo? He’s officially at the “just cut me the #$%#$ check” phase of his career.
Carrie Fisher has an altogether different problem. She’s bat shit crazy. Let’s just check the ‘ol Twitter of her space majesty to see what kind of mind-set she’s in:
Carrie Fisher, everyone. Make sure the catering department at Disney gets a heads up. Oh, and by the way, big ups to the 345 whack jobs that retweeted this nutty blather. Twitter. It’s like 2nd grade, but without all the paste eating.
Then comes Mark Hamill. Yes, I know all the crazed Batman fans are going to roll off their gaming chairs to remind me Hamill “kicked serious ass” as the voice of the Joker in the animated series and the video games. Fantastic. All I have to say is the great thing about doing voice overs in entertainment is nobody has to look at you. Here’s a recent pic of Hamill:
Judging by this pic, if Hamill reprises the role (and at press time, he has not committed yet) of Luke Skywalker and runs some mystical Jedi academy, my guess is he’s going to be extremely “hands off” in the action department. Maybe he’ll be like Yoda and just hang out and cook weird gruel in a pot while the younger generation fights trees and lifts rocks up with their minds. I know, I know. When 61 years old I reach, look as good, I will not. Whatever.
It’s not that I’m not curious. Hell, I’m more optimistic than I was when George Lucas was busy killing his own life’s work, but I’m not a kid anymore. Gone are the nights when I would lie awake wondering how our heroes would get Han Solo out of that carbonite, and how I could find a way to marry Carrie Fisher. Wow. Consider that bullet dodged. I will be reserved to see the movies, and try to remember all the good things about the original films before they got all screwed up with FX, CG, 3D and Greedo shooting first. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, right?