Screen Rant encourages Star Wars fans to be less critical, except when it comes to the Prequels

Here is an interesting case of doublethink. Screen Rant blames some Star Wars fans for being overly critical of the new movies and for not trying to understand the vision behind them. But when it comes to the Prequel Trilogy, this questioning of the attitudes of the fans mysteriously vanishes.

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“As the old saying goes, nobody hates Star Wars more than Star Wars fans, and one only has to look at the response to the Skywalker saga’s sequel trilogy for proof. Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 meant the galaxy far, far away would enter the modern era of blockbuster filmmaking, complete with annual releases. […] And though there’s been much enthusiasm for these films and the characters they’ve featured, some portions of the fan base have struggled to determine what they want out of the latest episodes.

Much like The Phantom Menace in 1999, Episode VII and its sequels are movies viewers have been making in their heads since the original trilogy concluded. Everyone had their own ideas of what happened to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia, so there was no way what Lucasfilm officially released could live up to all expectations. The fact The Force Awakens was as well-received as it was is something of a minor miracle, and the likes of Rey and Kylo Ren have already become integral parts of the overall series legacy. Still, many people had gripes with how things turned out, which is something that’s been happening ever since the heyday of the classics. Lucasfilm has never been able to completely win with the fans.

One of the most common complaints about the prequels was that they didn’t “feel” like Star Wars films. The lived-in, dirty, and practical aesthetics of the original trilogy was traded for a shiny artificial CGI sheen. Performances were criticized for coming across as wooden, as even talented thespians like Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman couldn’t do much with the dialogue George Lucas (who never proclaimed to be a wordsmith) came up with. Fans were excited to have more Star Wars, but they wanted it to be closer to what they remembered. So when the studio brought in J.J. Abrams to make Episode VII, the longtime Star Wars aficionado crafted a tentpole in the same spirit of the originals. The overall response to Force Awakens proved this was the right approach, but Abrams was blasted by some for basically remaking A New Hope and forsaking the creativity the property is known for. […]

To quote Rey from the Last Jedi trailer, it’ll be important for Lucasfilm to find “a balance” as they continue developing their famous franchise. In what amounts to their “Phase 1,” it was smart from a business perspective to play on familiar tropes and themes, and they wanted to make sure there was still an audience for the property. Eventually, they’re going to have to move past “legacy elements” like the Skywalkers, Han Solo, and the Death Star if Star Wars is to thrive longterm into the next decade and beyond. When they eventually get to their equivalent of Guardians of the Galaxy (i.e. the weird one that goes out there), many will be curious to see the fan response. After 40 years of being at the forefront of popular culture, several moviegoers have such a concrete idea of what the brand is, anything that moves the needle in one way or the other could be extremely risky. Die-hard fans enriched in the lore are clamoring for Knights of the Old Republic, but would general audiences go for something so far removed from the main storyline? The history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe suggests they would, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

If the response to the new movies is anything to go by, it’s safe to say Star Wars fans don’t know what they want – since they have a reaction whether something is too similar or too new. The best thing for the community to do right now is to just sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s an unprecedented time for the far away galaxy, with a new movie each year and a treasure trove of other content to help the time pass away. After Revenge of the Sith concluded the prequel trilogy, few could have predicted the franchise would come back with such a vengeance and once again rule supreme at the box office, so having fun with it all sounds smart. Critiquing the films for weak characterizations or other technical filmmaking flaws is fine and part of the process. But all movie series have a formula, and it’s up to each new installment to offer their take on it to keep things feeling fresh. The Force Awakens and Rogue One rejuvenated Star Wars, and The Last Jedi looks to follow suit. Complaining about surface level details (in some cases months away from the premiere) doesn’t do anybody any good.”

Read the full article at Screen Rant.

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Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu writer talks about the characters of the comic

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“Marvel.com: Big question: Who is Mace Windu to you?

Matt Owens: I think Mace Windu is the ultimate wish-fulfillment for the audience personified in Star Wars. He’s a badass with his own colored lightsaber. He’s the greatest Jedi warrior. He’s friends with Yoda. He doesn’t trust Anakin. He is [actor] Sam Jackson speaking for us. In his own right, he’s a man just trying to do the right thing according to the rules which govern his life.

I see him foremost as a teacher and a leader. He is incredibly strong and wise and tries his best to lead others down the right path. Sometimes that does mean having to fight. There’s an interesting conflict in a man revered for his fighting skills who would rather not use them. Being a great warrior does not mean you have a love of combat, a lust for bloodshed. His lightsaber is the last weapon Mace would want to pick up. Similarly, he is a fiercely intelligent orator, yet despises politics. He is a man thrust into positions and situations he may not enjoy, but he does them because he just wants to do what is right. […]

The galaxy is at war. The role of the Jedi has changed, leading armies into battle. Is this their place? If peace is the ends, are the means justified? Are they on the right side of said peace? These are the kind of soul-searching questions Mace will have to dig deep and answer for himself. And not just Mace. Questions such as these are on the minds of many Jedi at this tumultuous time.

Marvel.com: Right; the series is set at the outbreak of the Clone Wars. Who else might we see that we’d recognize from the films?

Matt Owens: I asked for every conceivable character I could think of for this book. I overshot, in the hopes I could play with a few of my own personal beloved characters besides Mace. I’m very excited to say there is a lot of Kit Fisto in this book. I loved getting to know him more in the “Clone Wars” series. I’ve always seen him having a close relationship with Mace. They have fought together many times and even meet their end together. Exploring the lead-up to that demise is something I wanted to take a look at. That’s what I find so interesting about telling stories in this time. There is so much left unexplored during the Clone Wars. People want to see new things that shaped how the galaxy comes out the other side of the conflict.

Marvel.com: And there’ll be new characters, too, right?

Matt Owens: Yes, I also got the honor to create a few new characters for this book. Which is insane to me and I am still freaking out about it. You’ll meet two new Jedi, Prosset and Rissa, who are accompanying Mace on his journey. I wanted there to be new Jedi to give perspective to the emotional journey Mace is going through, but also have stories in their own right. Prosset is a sharp and inquisitive Miraluka. Rissa is an engineer and newly appointed Jedi Knight.

My favorite new character is probably the mercenary droid AD-W4. Hired by the Separatists to oversee a clandestine mission, AD is a droid who does not understand the concept or adherence to the doctrines of the Force. He embodies the science vs faith debate. It’s the perfect foil for Mace who is going through a crisis of faith at the time.”

Read the full interview at Marvel.com.

 

Movie Pilot suggests three Star Wars spinoffs ideas set in the Prequel Trilogy era

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“[…] Disney has plenty of options it could go with for upcoming films, so here are five Star Wars spin-off ideas that are more interesting than a young Han Solo movie. […]

3. Clone Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi Film

Admittedly, this isn’t an original idea at all. Fans, but more importantly, Obi-Wan Kenobi himself (Ewan McGregor) have been campaigning for a solo movie about the Jedi Master since the Star Wars franchise was revived. Many are calling for this film to show Kenobi’s life between the prequel and sequel trilogies — where he becomes a hermit on Tatooine — but that is the wrong route for several reasons.

First, a lot of Kenobi’s story during this time has been covered on the Star Wars Rebels show. Second, Kenobi is supposed to be in hiding from the Sith during this time (remember that scene in Revenge of the Sith where all of the Jedi die?). Third, it would be more interesting to see how Obi-Wan earned the rank of general and the nickname “The Negotiator.”

Plus, this film would also cater to fans of the Clone Wars television show, who would like to see how that period of time is represented in the new expanded universe. McGregor hasn’t aged a day and after half a season of Fargo; I’m convinced he could play any role. I think I speak for everyone in saying we would all love to see the return of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

4. Qui-Gon Jinn’s Journey To Becoming One With The Force

To many of you, this may seem like a strange idea. However, the more you think about it, the better of an idea this is. Qui-Gon Jinn only lived to see one Star Wars film, but he is mentioned in Revenge of the Sith as discovering the ability to come back as a Force ghost (he was originally slated to cameo in ROTS and show these powers, but this never materialized). Neeson star power has exploded in the years since the release of The Phantom Menace, and this film could serve a very important purpose in Disney’s extended universe — it could really explain the Force, beyond the explanation of a good side and a bad side, it binds us, and Midichlorians.

5. A Star Wars Political Thriller

This is the most vague of my Star Wars spin-off ideas that would be better than a Han Solo film, but think about it: Who wouldn’t be down to see a political thriller in the Star Wars universe? There are so many ways Disney could approach this (a Star Wars-style House of Cards perhaps?). There is so much political action behind the scenes (and in the case of the prequels, they are a bulk of the scenes), that something interesting is bound to be happening during all of that sitting and talking.

This, much like my idea for an Obi-Wan Kenobi spin-off, could be set during the Clone Wars. Systems leaving the Republic left and right, chaos and war everywhere, and general turmoil would make for a pretty interesting political climate. This could give us insights into characters such as Bail Organa, who could use a bit more development.”

Read the whole article at moviepilot.com.

SyfyWire praises two Prequels background characters who “capture the imagination”

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“With a 40-year legacy, Star Wars has plenty of characters everyone knows and loves, like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, Anakin and Ahsoka, and modern characters like Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron. We have villains like Darth Vader, Darth Maul and Kylo Ren to fear. We even have supporting characters like Lando Calrissian, Maz Kanata and Hondo Ohnaka who flesh out the stories.

But there’s another tier of characters, one that fans grasp onto in Star Wars unlike in any other franchise: the background players. Characters that only appear on screen for a few moments, often without so much as a line, can still capture the imagination of fans who want to know more about them. Sometimes they’ll get their own short stories or novels or later appear in cartoons or even come back for more action.

Here are six of our favorites.

Aurra Sing

When we first saw Aurra Sing, it was as a single-scene background character at the Podrace in The Phantom Menace. The menacing-looking woman with bleach white skin and a rifle as tall as her, it was almost certain she was some kind of badass bounty hunter. It turned out to be correct, as she was fleshed out in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, even becoming a mentor to a young Boba Fett for a time. She can currently be seen in the Darth Maul comic series, still being all pale and awesome. […]

Lama Su

The most prominent of our list, Lama Su was really more of a straight-up supporting character with several lines of dialogue, but the Kamino Prime Minister was a mystery nonetheless. When he first appeared in Attack of the Clones, Lama Su was the head of the Clone Trooper program, and … well, we don’t know much else about him. In fact, we still don’t know all that much about the Kaminoans in general, why they were such cloning experts, or why they were so … cold. So while he has more screen time than the others on this list, he also remains one of the biggest mysteries. […]”

Read the whole article at SyfyWire.

Within a Minute: The Making of Episode III is one of the best DVD extras you’ll ever see” (SyfyWire)

“Within a Minute is a one-hour-plus documentary found in the DVD extras on Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. The name tells it all it: It’s about how much work goes into exactly one minute of footage. And that minute takes place within the fight scene near the end of the film, where Anakin and Obi-Wan clash sabers on Mustafar.

Every detail is accounted for. We learn that cinematographers flew to Mount Etna, which conveniently erupted, in order to capture the deep orange-reds that make Mustafar so vibrant. We see how the prop maker has to make different lightsabers, for display or for combat, depending on the scene’s purpose.

Fascinatingly, we also see how the costumers had to create multiple versions of the same outfit for Anakin and Obi-Wan; as the duel on Mustafar spun out, the costumes needed to look more distressed and burned.

Narrated by producer Rick McCallum, this exhaustive look at the filmmaking process is a must-see for Star Wars fans, fans of cinema in general, and people who want to become producers when they grow up.”

You can find it on the Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith DVD/Blu-ray collection or here, below. It’s one of the best making-of documentaries you’ll see, and it’s full of nitty-gritty details that are catnip to the obsessive fan, like me. I urge you to check it out.”

Source: SyfyWire

Lucasfilm will make a decision on the third Star Wars Story film by June

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[…] [Vanity Fair]: And also, with The Force Awakens, two years ago, the public didn’t know who Rey, Kylo, Finn, and Poe were. The reception of those characters has been positive, and it could have gone either way.

[Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy]: We were incredibly fortunate that every single one of those characters has resonated to the extent that they have. I gather what you’re saying is that there are [more] opportunities with those characters. And, yes, that’s a possibility, too. That’s what we’re looking at: where do we go with the saga? Does the saga extend beyond the nine movies that George envisioned?

Well, does it?

We are having discussions about that right now.

For that matter, must the saga necessarily unfold in trilogies?

These are the questions we’re asking. They haven’t been answered yet. I always think it’s important to try to answer the “Why?” You can make any movie you want, and certainly inside Star Wars, now we could do a wide variety of things. But what exactly is the story we feel is important to tell beyond Episode IX—I think we have to answer that before we know whether we’re going to carry on.

But even if, for whatever reason, you chose to put the saga on ice for a while, are you committed to continuing on with the story films?

Absolutely. Absolutely.

You have the “young Han Solo” story film coming out next year, and Episode IX in 2019. Is there another story film in production or pre-production, beyond the Han Solo one?

Yes. We haven’t identified it yet, but yes. We have a couple of things right now that we’re circling, and we’ll make a decision between the two pretty shortly. It’s probably for 2020, and we will make a decision by June.

And as for Episode IX, how mapped out is it?

Well, as you can imagine, we were really stunned by the death of Carrie. So we had mapped something out a year ago that [Episode IX writer-director] Colin Trevorrow was working on. In fact, he delivered a script to us in early December. So her death was a real shock, and changed things quite dramatically.

So General Leia was going to be a significant part of Episode IX.

Really significant, yeah.

And now that’s going to have to be—

Rethought.

Does the fact of her death change anything about what happens in Episode VIII?

No. It’s unchanged. […]”

Read the whole interview at Vanity Fair.