Tue
Nov 13 2012 1:00pm
Why Star Wars: Episode VII Needs NEW Characters

Three weeks ago, the notion of new Star Wars feature films was preposterously absurd. A new Star Wars movie that wasn’t animated or some kind of meta-fictional fan thing was about as a likely as...well, I’m sure C-3PO can tell me the odds. But an actual sequel to Return of the Jedi wasn’t even a thought in our minds until the startling news that Lucas was selling Star Wars to Disney and they were immediately going to make an Episode VII. Since then, the news keeps coming: the screenwriter has been confirmed. Lucas may have over-sight on the script after all. Everyone in the galaxy has an opinion!

But what’s the biggest challenge for the movie? It’s not expanded-universe continuity, interference from Lucas, or big casting. The most vexing thing about a new Star Wars is that it must introduce new characters. And worst of all, they have to seem familiar and be brand new at the same time.

Though the prequel trilogy is correctly assessed as being a complete failure, the characters do actually change and things do actually happen. A shared defining characteristic of both existing Star Wars trilogies is this: characters begin in one place and ending up in a totally different place by the third film.

Luke, Leia, and Han are not the same people they are at the start of A New Hope as they are in Return of the Jedi. And Anakin, Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Padme are similarly completely different. (Well, Padme’s dead, but you get it.) Many popular genre franchises like Star Trek, or superhero movies, or spy movies tend to try to keep characters in recognizable states. Sure, many things happen to the Enterprise crew during the course of the Star Trek movies, but other than being older, Kirk, Spock and Bones are not wildly different characters by The Undiscovered Country than they were in the original TV show. Similarly, in the Sam Rami Spider-Man movies, a lot of stuff happens to Peter Parker, but he always ends up about the same at the end as where he started. The biggest change he undergoes is in the first one; when he becomes Spider-Man.

Star Wars isn’t like that at all. Whether it’s the ascent of Luke Skywalker or the decent of Anakin Skywalker, these stories work because there are big changes. And with Return of the Jedi, both of those big character storylines are resolved. Politically and logistically, there is certainly some cleanup all those people will have to do, which has been exhaustively depicted in the expanded universe novels and comic books. The latest vague statements from the powers-that-be seem to indicate Episode VII will take place a good period of time after Return of the Jedi. How far? 50 years? 100 years? Another rumor claims Episode VII will be about Luke Skywalker. If true, it’s a huge mistake. Mark Hamill is great, but he’s too old to carry a movie. The final classic Star Trek films in the are charming, but the cast looked terrible and were hard to believe as action stars. 

If Luke, Han, Leia or Lando are in Episode VII it would need to be in a similar capacity—at least emotionally—as Leonard Nimoy was for the 2009 Star Trek re-boot. But really, we’re satisfied with where those characters ended up, at least cinematically. Sure, thinking about their lives after Return of the Jedi is interesting, but that’s what those novels are for. Noticeably, most Star Wars novels would not make good Star Wars movies, because the classic characters in those Star Wars novels STAY THE SAME. The only characters that change are new people, indigenous to the expanded universe. People like Kyp Durron, Jacen Solo, Mara Jade, etc, all go through changes. But I’ve got news for everyone: no one is going to write a movie about Kyp Durron, Jacen Solo, Mara Jade, Corran Horn, or any of these other jokers. They’re going to need to come up with new people.

Which is actually quite daunting if you think about it. I’ve got opinions about how to at least approach every major sequel/reboot of a big geek franchise. But this is sort of baffling. In a way, the prequels had it easy: Anakin and Obi-Wan’s characters and arcs were pre-set. Padme needed to be kind of like Leia, and that’s about it. But what now? Do you create characters who remind us of Luke, Leia, Han, Lando and Chewie? I think the answer is no, but yes a little bit. The approach I think make sense with brand new Star Wars characters is to think about Star Trek. But not Star Trek movies, instead, Star Trek TV.

When Gene Roddenberry launched Star Trek: The Next Generation, it was a huge gamble. Captain Picard is nothing like Captain Kirk. There is not direct analog for Spock. Sure Data’s close, but he serves a different function. Spock was confident and in charge, Data was a child. There’s no “Scotty” character. Instead, the good characters on Star Trek: TNG are unique, brand new characters. And though I probably prefer Kirk and Spock, Picard and Data were genuine characters who were not derivative of classic Trek. They were new!  This is the only way Star Was can precede. It has to be Star Wars: The Next Generation. The new Trek imitated Star Wars in 2009, so now, perhaps an exchange of creative energy is in order and Star Wars can re-invent its characters Trek-style.

The people who populate these new movies might not need to be even related to the Skywalkers, Solos, Kenobis or Calrissians. I know it seems wrong to have Star Wars without a Skywalker, but it once also seemed wrong to do Star Trek without Kirk. The new Star Wars needs a clean slate. Its fictional galaxy is so rich and diverse that certainly new characters can be conjured from it. But these people must be BIG. They must have big problems and big arcs. They come from Star Wars, so certainly they will feel like Star Wars people. And if we’re not going to call them Skywalker or Solo, then what?

Well, Lucas originally wrote about somebody with the last name “Starkiller.” Sounds like a good place to start to me! Only question now—who’s gonna play her?


Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com.

45 comments
Veronika Walker
1. veronikawalker
Personally, I'd like to see a story focused on the new Jedi-in-training. Plenty of opportunity for older Skywalkers and Solos to circle in the background, but seeing how the younger generation will have to relearn the Force and figure out how to run and protect the New Republic would be pretty cool, imo....
Robert V.S. Redick
2. Robert V.S. Redick
Nice reflections. As someone raised in the glory days of both franchises, I can only hope Hollywood listens. Alas, the tide has turned against creativity. The bean-counters will want guaranteed big returns for at least two or three movies, and this will create a mighty pressure to lard up Episode VII with nostalgia and winks and endless too-familiar stomping of familiar, flattened ground: the very things, along with dirt-poor writing, that made JJ Abrams' Star Trek so weak.

To put it more simply, Episode VII will be great if nothing--past accomplishments included!--is substituted for an excellent story told well. If you have that, in 100% unadulterated form, you have a movie. Otherwise, keep searching.
J W
3. Susurrin
Another rumor claims Episode VII will be about Luke Skywalker. If true, it’s a huge mistake. Mark Hamill is great, but he’s too old to carry a movie. The final classic Star Trek films in the are charming, but the cast looked terrible and were hard to believe as action stars.
While I agree that the new movies need to introduce new characters and ideas, I completely disagree with your idea that just because somebody is old and not as pretty as they used to be that they should shrivel up in the corner and let the handome younger people take care of things.

Not too mention you missed the point about the later Star Trek movies (like Undiscovered Country) They aren't "Action Movies". There is action in them, to be sure, but that isn't the driving force of the plot.

Instead of promoting the idea of a well thought out movie with established characters (and new) that focuses on an excellent story regardless of age/attractiveness level, you decide that the better bet is to keep it as shallow as possible. Congratulations!
Robert V.S. Redick
4. PhoebeSF
It's clear that narratively, Luke should be in 7 as an Obi-Wan figure. And then die, probably. It makes sense in terms of the reptitions and structures already present in the film franchise.

We also need the droids present in all 9. That's something that Lucas has been saying from the beginning, and in terms of story balance, it makes sense. Not that Lucas is a narrative genius, but it feels like a part of the underpinning of the larger story structure (let a better writer figure out the story specifics).

I agree with Susurrin that it's weird to eliminate the possibility of using Mark Hamill just because he's old, particularly as the franchise as always featured older actors or characters in mentor roles.
Ryan Britt
5. ryancbritt
@3 and 4
I like Mark Hamill and it would be cool if he was in it. I just thinking having him be the focus would be wrong. I like Star Trek VI. A lot. But Star Wars characters aren't like Captain Kirk. They need to CHANGE. My point wasn't to knock Kirk for being old, but to point out that other than age those characters aren't all that different. Captain Kirk is for the most part, the Captain of the Enterprise. He doesn't have a classic arc the way Luke does. It isn't that one is good and one is bad, it's just that doing a movie in which they say "here's some more stuff that happens to Luke" isn't the way Star Wars character arcs work.

I've already seen Luke change, I'm not interested in seeing him age. I think that's the difference. So I'm not trying to be shallow, just saying that what they did with the cast of the Star Trek movies doesn't work for Star Wars.
Ryan Britt
6. ryancbritt
@3 and 4
To put it another way, despite being called "episodes" Star Wars has a mythological structre, not episodic. Star Trek is episodic, so its charcaters are different. The "story" of Star Wars isn't that high-concept compared with Star Trek, so its characters have to change in big ways.

Seeing other episodic stories focused on an older Luke would be denial of the mythological structure that makes ALL the Star Wars movies work. (That's what the novels are for) He can be in the movie, but it shouldn't be HIS story, because, mythologically, his story is over.
J W
7. Susurrin
I've already seen Luke change, I'm not interested in seeing him age. I think that's the difference. So I'm not trying to be shallow, just saying that what they did with the cast of the Star Trek movies doesn't work for Star Wars.
Actually I think the exciting thing about having Luke as the focus of VII would be to see exactly HOW he has changed in the 30 some odd years since the defeat of the emperor. Same goes for all of the original cast. That is a big part of the draw. Finding out what happened to them and how they are different is part of the fun. You throw in some new characters and some grave new threat to the galaxy and we're in business.
Robert V.S. Redick
8. JasonD
I would like to se them move things forward about 100 years or so, after any time period depicted in any of the Expanded Universe novels so the debates over canon wouldn't come into play. You can still have the actors from Eps 4-6 show up as Force ghosts or holo-recordings.
rob mcCathy
9. roblewmac
it really made me angery that they spent three movies with a charcter we knew became Darth Vader WHY? I'd like to see what happened to this galatic empire that seems to end cuz a base blows up and two pepole died.
For old stuff there's still cloud city,there's still bounty hunters and Han solo is still a pirate.
I DO want to see new thing as it is a galaxy not a street.
Andrew Danielson
10. wonderandy
Starkiller was the main charcter for the Force Unleashed games, but i agree that VII needs a clean slate.
Robert V.S. Redick
11. laotsekung
Totally disagree with the Data different from Spock statement - they both served the same purpose of allowing the writers to explore what it means to be a human being by having a character that was the zen koan (who are you adn what do you want) of the Star Trek universe.
Otherwise, totally AGREE - it needs to be new characters with new arcs, but with just enough similarities to the originals to have that buy-in.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
12. Lisamarie
I totally agree that I would like to see something new - I think it is appropriate for the original characters to show up as mentors, but I do think that for the most part their story is 'done' and I'd like to see the focus move on to new characters and challenges. Although I do also agree with 7 in that just because Luke and the others are old doesn't mean they are going to stagnate and not change at all - I just think there needs to be a balance. I'm kind of starting to warm up to the idea of new movies.

Also, this is one person (and my husband is another, and my parents are another, and my sister is another) who does not view the prequels as a 'complete failure'. I have various grievances with them too (and am certainly looking forward to seeing what new writers/directors can do with the franchise with some cautious optimism), the original triology is certainly a class by itself, and I've never assumed that everybody likes them, but I am sick the assumption that everybody (or at least, all the 'serious/real/legitamate' Star Wars fans) hates them and that they are unilaterally awful, no room for any other opinon, end of story. If I'm coming off as a little snarky or caring way too much about this topic it's because I just got into this same debate at a party a few nights ago (with some much younger acquaintances of mine that always have that air of making you have to 'justify' your geekiness by liking the things they like) *rolls eyes*

Also, to be quite honest, although my ratings tend to change depending on my mood, etc (although Empire is always at the top and Clones is always at the bottom), sometimes I actually would rather watch, say, Revenge of the Sith than A New Hope. Sacrilege! Maybe my tastes are just completely weird. At any rate, it told the story he wanted to tell, so I don't know that it can be called a complete failure anyway, regardless of how I feel about it.
Sanctume Spiritstone
13. Sanctume
There are plenty of post RotJ novels/series. Zahn. Sun Crusher = more bad ass than Death Star. Sith Worlds.

Luke began to renew/rebuild Jedi Academy. Even got hooked up with Mara Jade.

Han & Leia had twins Jacen and Jaina, and baby Anakin.

I think Young Jedi Knight series might be more Disney themed, with Jacen and Jaina Solo twins, and the whole drama that turns Jacen to the dark side. And Anakin is again uber powerful.
Robert V.S. Redick
14. StrongDreams
The number of people who by EU books is vastly inferior to the number of people needed to buy movie tickets to make a movie a financial success. Therefore the new movies will feature story lines and characters that feel familiar to movie goers, and especially to kids whose Star Wars experience is defined by the Clone Wars TV show. I expect we will definitely see the robots, and I would not be surprised to see Luke in an Obi-wan role. It is not entirely crazy that we might see Asoka in a Yoda-like role (in hiding for many years, now a senior voice in the new Jedi) since the cartoon hasn't killed her yet. Hondo the pirate?

Don't think continuity with the EU, think continuity with the brand's current most loyal consumers.
Robert V.S. Redick
15. Cecrow
I'm very appreciative of this piece. The most fascinating thing to me about the news of a new movie is how in hannah to approach it. I was immediately anticipating a storyline in which Jedi have become outlawed, in a post-Emperor universe, but I'm not as sure now that it would be in the spirit of the thing. Then what would? Perhaps we have the ideal testing ground here for doing something spectacularly against the current "dark and/or serious" grain, the same way it was done in 1977.

It's easy to imagine old characters returning in non-centric roles, but the spectre of Indiana Jones and his crystal skull rears up when we conceive of them being made central. I wonder whether that was merely a bad example of how to go about it, rather than proof it can't work?

Star Wars has generally always been "light and shallow" (the enriching ESB notwithstanding) and I won't object if it stays that way, even if in today's cinemas it doesn't seem to play as well. Hollywood has lost sight of how to make it work, but maybe it can be proven feasible in the right hands.
Robert V.S. Redick
16. Bittersweet Fountain
@Lisamarie, you are not the only Star Wars fan who appreciates and even likes the prequels. I consider myself a rather hardcore Star Wars fan (and I will go toe to toe with anyone who challenges my geek cred on this). And you know what? I enjoy the Prequels. They also hold a special place in my heart, because my younger sister who never liked Star Wars growing up, really likes the prequels. And it took her from thinking Star Wars was terrible to something enjoyable.

I generally place all of the original trilogy above the new trilogy at all times, regardless of my mood, but I enjoy the Prequel trilogy much more than I enjoy many other movies the world has to offer.

And as poorly structured as I know Phantom Menace is, and as annoying as Jar Jar is, I still can't say I don't like that movie. Because that would be a lie.
Other Alias
17. ghostcrab311
I totally agree that if they are going to do it right, they need an all new set of characters.

One of the things that burned me out of EU books was the sheer, tedious repetition of it all. Remnants of the Empire threaten the galaxy, Luke and Leia need to stop it. Unexplored part of the galaxy threatens the rest of the galaxy, Luke and Leia need to stop it. Not content with that, in the worst SW story arc ever, the Yuuzhan Vong invade from *outside* the galaxy, and Luke and Leia need to stop them. Yawn.

Seriously, some 20 million inhabited worlds out there and no one else is doing anything interesting? STNG spun off DS9 and STV, which were different people in a different part of space, doing different things. This is what is needed for SW, too. No more galaxy-in-danger storylines, no more Skywalkers, please.

IMPS is an amazing example of what it could be like, off the top of my head. Karen Traviss' series on clone troopers is also exactly the right kind of idea. Rogue Jedi, Fringe worlds, forgotten force using societies, that kind of thing is interesting. Luke and Leia saving the entire galaxy again is not. Nor is it interesting to have their kids save the galaxy, or their grandkids for that matter.

Enough beating a dead horse. Suffice it to say, if they don't do something innovative, I probably won't be watching it.
Lee VanDyke
18. Cloric
Put another person in the camp of not agreeing that the prequel trilogy was a "complete failure." As others have said, I have my issues with them re: quality of writing and acting, etc., but I don't consider a SW marathon complete without all 6 live action movies. The Clone Wars TV series and feature-length film is another animal entirely.
J W
19. Susurrin
@Lisamarie I'm with you too on the prequels not being a mountain of suck. There are problems with them. (Hi lack of chemistry between Padme and Anakin, I am definately talking about you.) But there are still lots of great things about them as well, and the great things about them overshadow the bad IMO.
One of the things that burned me out of EU books was the sheer, tedious repetition of it all. Remnants of the Empire threaten the galaxy, Luke and Leia need to stop it.
This I agree with you on. The books should have spread that focus around somewhat. There are so many other characters in the EU that are really interesting and I always found myself irritated that they got the short end of the stick. (Or in the case of certain characters that got all kinds of limelight at the expense of the main characters for no easily discernable reason).

I have no issue with the new movies being a tag team effort, with Luke & company there to pass off the torch, or if the story is solid with them headlining it & being the focus, but if they are going to bring in new blood how about we get a main character that is an alien that serves as the focus for the movie? Seriously, for a place with thousands of alien species humans are the only ones who get the lion's share of screen time?
Robert V.S. Redick
20. Earl Rogers
As I understand it, Roddenberry originally didn't want a completely new cast for a new Trek TV series, but had to go that route thanks to the success of the films...the performers, among other things, were now used to movies and preferred that to television.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
21. Lisamarie
Oh yeah, agreed on the EU. Some is really good and some is...not. I think some of my favorite EU is the stuff that focuses on more sideline characters (such as the X-Wing series, Karen Traviss's clone trooper stuff, etc). Some of the 'Big Three' EU is okay, and I actually have a soft spot for all the Jedi Academy stuff because I loved reading more about the new order of Jedi. But man, once you hit Black Fleet Crisis in the time line it just becomes...much lower in quality.

I also was not a huge fan of the direction the Yuzhan Vong and Legacy of the Force series took it - it just got too depressing. While I commend them for at least coming up with some ideas other than 'Empire reborn!' I just wished that Luke, Leia and Han could enjoy their retirement in peace, instead of feeling like all their accomplishments were basically undone.

I'm still curious about what the movies will be about - the general theme was Anakin's fall, and then redemption. The Empire's rise, and fall, and balance being brought to the Force. There was a definite resolution/end point. So while there are certainly still stories to tell of the aftermath and characters to explore more in depth, I am wondering what the main arc of the new trilogy will be, without it just being 'introduce new threat, and then defeat that threat'. How will it fit in with the themes/feel of Star Wars, without just seeming like any other generic story that just happens to use Star Wars characters? How will it fit in with the story arc/symmetry of the previous two trilogies, instead of just feeling like various tacked on stories that could go on forever about all the stuff that happens afterwards, to the point where it is just really far removed from the originals and what those were about (or, worse, just repeat the originals over and over again) - which is fine for the books but is not aesthetically pleasing to me for the movies. - I'm not sure if this last paragraph made any sense, sorry :)

Also, as much as I love to explore all the vastness the universe has to offer, I think most people who see this movie are going to want to see classic Star Wars characters - even if they are not the main focus...I think Luke having a more mentor like role would perhaps bring his Hero's Journey full circle though.
Alan Brown
22. AlanBrown
Yet another vote that the prequel trilogy (while I didn't like it as much as the original) had a lot of good moments in it.
The two characters who need to be in the entire new trilogy are R2D2 and C3PO. They are the glue that tie the entire series together. It would be fun to see the original actors reprise their characters, but more in an elder statesman role (like Old Ben or Mon Mothma), rather than as the main protagonists. The baton needs to be handed to a new generation. And for pity's sake, I hope they don't bring back Darth Vader. His story is over.
I would like to see the fledgling New Republic facing the many issues that a new nation would see, consolidating its member worlds, facing external threats, perhaps even facing a civil war triggered by devotees of the old Emperor. I would like to see the new government trying to do it WITHOUT Jedi help, while Luke goes around training young apprentices regardless of the wishes of the establishment. The Jedi would be do gooders who operate outside the law, kind of like Robin Hoods, or masked avengers like the Lone Ranger or the Shadow. After what Vader and the Emperor did, and how the Jedi were ineffectual against them, the whole way of the Jedi would be discredited. But eventually the value of a new Jedi order would be seen as they help the Republic face a resurgent Sith threat (perhaps as part of that civil war I mentioned).
Yep, just in case they ask me to lend a hand with scripting, I am ready!
Robert V.S. Redick
23. Gambit
I'm a little curious. I've read plenty of blogs about sic-fi/fantasy books, but I've never read one about star wars. Over the last few weeks, I've been seeing a lot of references to people being dissatisfied with the prequel trilogy, and I was wondering if there are any good posts on TOR that would sum up why? Because I personally enjoyed the prequels. In addition, I agree with all the others who want an entirely fresh start. New characters, different Types of characters (not just the generic blah force users) and honestly, even having the old characters come back as mentors would seem too hokey to me, like the new producers of the movie would be trying to validate it by somehow tying it in with the older movies. My favorite part of the Star Wars Universe is the almost limitless range of cultures and species. Why can't we see something new, in new locations, with no relation to the skywalkers, their children, or their grandchildren?
john mullen
24. johntheirishmongol
In general, my understanding is that kids who saw the prequels in their teens/20's pretty much like them and those of us who saw the originals tend not to like them so much. I am in my late 50s and am pretty comfortable with them, with some regrets. I would miss it if they didn't at least have someone from the original cast be a part of the story.
Robert V.S. Redick
25. Cecrow
@22, I share your expectation about a backlash towards the Jedi. Nobody outside of Luke himself and whoever he personally tells can know what role he played at the end of ROTJ - even if word got out, Lando would still steal the spotlight: "the general was going to blow them up either way!"

For sure the new trilogy will have some aspect of the rebuilding of the republic. I think instincts about Luke being the Qui-Gon in Ep1/Obi-Wan in Ep4 in this seventh film are correct. The droids are there. And Lucas is all about repeating his themes, so I can see Ep9 winding up with a villain making his big play to take over the New Republic like what happened with Ep3, only this time he's taken down like Palpatine was in Ep6.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
26. Lisamarie
Yes, I would love to see the droids :) Totally agree that they should be there (my husband and I were discussing this awhile ago) - I bet Anthony Daniels would do it, too, since he's remained pretty involved in the fandom and has lent his voice to almost every Star Wars project since the movies.

I wonder who will do the music - I get the impression that John Williams isn't really composing new stuff anymore. I am hoping that they at least use some of the leitmotifs and themes to tie it all together.

@23 - I do enjoy that too (the potential) and think various standalone movies about such things would be neat (kind of like how some of the books don't really cover the main characters) but I do personally feel that if you are going to make something called 'episode VII', it needs to tie in somehow with the other trilogies and be part of that arc. Plus, I think the average moviegoer is going to want something familiar. And heck, as a more 'hardcore' fan, I also would definitely love to see how Lucas envisions the ultimate destiny of these characters, even if it's not the main focus of the movie.

As for 'generic blah force users' - that's kind of part of Star Wars's distinct appeal and part of what Star Wars 'looks like'. I don't think there's any way they are going to make a Star Wars movie without Jedi or Force users (again, I have definitely enjoyed some of the books that focus on the 'normals', but I highly doubt they will go that route for the movies).

I'd like to see the Jedi Order rebuild itself, but I think it is possible that there will be some kind of mistrust towards Jedi...and on the same token, I think part of why the Order fell is because they got too tied up in the government. I think they should be more independent, but on the other hand I could see the average Galactic Joe not wanting them to be totally autonomous either, given the havoc they could (and have) wreaked if they go bad (or are even just misguided). So that could be an interesting concept.

Any word on directors yet? One of my favorite movies is the Incredibles (which, now that I think about it, also has a similar theme in that the public doesn't quite trust the superheroes) so if it turned out Brad Bird was directing, I would actually get excited for this ;)
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
27. Lisamarie
Also, regarding the prequels - I am not going to deny that the dialouge and acting was less than stellar, and I think for some people that matters more than others (I actually have a hard time noticing 'bad' acting unless it is REALLY, REALLY bad). Plus, a lot of people didn't like the more 'kiddie' like aspects. I remember a lot of backlash over Ep 1 that Young Anakin was a cute, mostly innocent kid that said things like "yippee" and "wizard". I think people wanted to see something more sinister (FWIW, I actually really enjoyed Episode I, but I actually did find young Anakin rather flat as a character). And then of course there was Jar Jar, who is pretty much a walking, clumsy, slapsticky, stereotype definitely targeted towards children, with a voice/dialect that was very grating on some people. And there were even some poop/fart jokes (which is what bothers me the most, actually because I just don't find that funny). So I get why people might not like it. Plus a lot of people found the framing story of Episode I boring (trade routes, taxes, etc) - but I actually really enjoyed all that part, and all of Palpatine's scheming and it's a big part of why I actually like the movie.

Attach of the Clones is the one I'm not as fond of - Hayden Christensen had not quite grown into the Anakin role yet (I did like him in Revenge of the Sith) and in general was just kind of whiny and petulant and the chemistry between him and Padme was AWFUL and creepy and awkward (in my opinion). I also can't stand the droid chase scene in the factory, ESPECIALLY all the nonsense with C-3PO and a battle droid switching heads.

I actually love Revenge of the Sith, full stop, so I have nothing really negative to say about that one ;) Well, okay, maybe Mace Windu shouldn't have brought the B team when he went to confront Palpatine. I personally feel that both Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor totally knocked it out of the park there, and I think Hayden was a LOT better in that movie (and had much better hair). The tale of Darth Plageus the Wise is probably one of my favorite scenes in ANY Star Wars movie.

Anyway...I think some of it has to do with age. I was a weird kid in that I was oblivious to most pop culture. I was 14 when the special editions came out and that was my first time seeing any Star Wars movie, at which point I was instantly obsessed (this also means I missed out on a lot of the Special Edition ire - although I have seen the light regarding various cantina shootouts). The prequels came out shortly afterwards. So I was kind of the perfect age for it - not one of those people who had been invested in Star Wars for years and years and had my own preformed opinions of what the prequels would be like, and not old enough to be as irritated by some of the lesser quality aspects of the movie....and not so young that they were already uncool compared to other movies or seen as 'kids' movies (such as my friends who are just out of college now and compare them to things like the Avengers or whatever new modern (and more snarky) movies that are coming out).

This is just my opinion - I did like the prequels but that's just some of the criticism I've heard. I don't think people are wrong to dislike them because they do have flaws. But there are people who have enjoyed them, too.
J W
28. Susurrin
Lisamarie- The X-Wing novels and Jedi Academy books are my favorites of the EU. The Yuuzhan Vong story was bleak, bleak, bleak, bleak, and all the fun that existed in Star Wars just sort of drained away.

I think a Star Wars EU reread would be awesome to see on TOR!!!!

I think the prequels suffered by not having a stronger female presence in them. Padme is reasonably strong in the Phantom Menace, but in Attack she waffles from moments of strength to being absurd. (No Anakin we can't ever be together, now let me change into my skintight leather bustier). Revenge continues that theme of sometimes strong, but mostly not, when Padme basically gives up in the end. (Seriously? you just had 2 kids and you lose the will to live?) Ugh, was not a fan of that.
J W
29. Susurrin
Well, okay, maybe Mace Windu shouldn't have brought the B team when he went to confront Palpatine.
So funny. I just had hot tea nearly come out my nose!
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
30. Lisamarie
Yeah, agreed on Padme - she's no Leia, that's for sure (although she had her moments). And her characterization really suffers in AOTC.

So, before Revenge of the Sith, I figured Padme would die, and actually felt that it would be kind of cheap if she didn't die and just 'went into hiding' somewhere (or died off screen later). I felt like that was something that needed to be in the movies, even if Leia does have vague memories of her (which COULD be explained by latent Force abilities, in my opinion).

So I had no problem with how it happened at the time.

But now that I have kids, yeah, that does not fly at all. I know not every mother is automatically maternal - it did take me a few days to really bond with my son and I had some issues with post partum anxiety for about a month, but even intellectually I knew that I couldn't just throw in the towel. Maybe she had really bad PPD...

That being said, I do appreciate the symbolism of what was going on - her dying as Vader rises and as the Republic dies. But I have to admit in my mind that the injuries did have something to do with it. Maybe it would have been easier to sell if I could actually believe their relationship. So yeah, guess that is something else that I think could have been done better in that movie.
J W
31. Susurrin
That being said, I do appreciate the symbolism of what was going on - her dying as Vader rises and as the Republic dies. But I have to admit in my mind that the injuries did have something to do with it. Maybe it would have been easier to sell if I could actually believe their relationship. So yeah, guess that is something else that I think could have been done better in that movie.
The droid says physically that she didn't have any injuries which is why I subscribe to a personal theory about it. Padme had previously only mentioned a single baby before (since star wars medicine is way better than our own) I take this to mean exactly that. Padme was supposed to have one child. But, when Anakin turned, the Force course corrected and brought around another Skywalker (either Luke or Leia) so that Anakin could redeem himself by offing the emperor at the end. This process, having to spontaneously generate a 9 month old in such a short time (as opposed to Anakin seniors normal gestation) is what caused Padme to bite the big one in the end. There wouldn't be any injury to cause her death, since the force basically sacrificed her life for the baby. (if this is true and the baby is Leia, then it makes sense the memories that Leia has of her mom).

But that is just my crazy random thought on what could have happened tied in with her only ever mentioning a baby in the singular.

The symbolism is great. But I would rather her death be caused by something other than her being a weak willed "I cant go on" type.
Robert V.S. Redick
32. GuruJ
But, but ... how will we watch the series in Machete Order when the new trilogy comes out?
Sky Thibedeau
33. SkylarkThibedeau
Luke should be the Obi-wan in the new movies whether played by Mark Hamill or someone else. he should be the mentor for a new generation of jedi. I hope they set it 30 years or more later with the new Jedi becoming complacent again. Perhaps a padawan discovering Darth Siddious' work and becoming lured to the Dark side. Taking on the robes and mantle to become the new Darth Vader.

Personally i think Lucas Missed a good opportunity with Attack of the Clones. He should have had Palpatine and count Dooku clone Anakin. In the Climatic fight Padawan Anakin is killed by Sith Apprentice Anakin thereby making Obi Wan's statement that Darth Vader killed Luke's Father and Darth Vader's 'I am your Father' Statements equally true.
Robert V.S. Redick
34. LoneStranger
I listened to the Disney investor call the day they announced the aquisition. It sounded to me like they plan to milk the s--t out of the SW franchise over the next few decades. I got the impression that the new trilogy would be a continuation of the previous six movies, since the sale included a few treatise from Lucas (and I find it hard to believe he would cut all ties to the original characters). The way they phrased it--the first movie being in 2015 and then every two/three years for more movies--made it seem like they didn't plan on stopping after Episode IX. The next movies after that might not be Episode X, but I fully expect there to be another Star Wars movie two or three years later. That's the point where I expect them to take more risks in starting fresh with a completely brand new story. The Old Republic era? Legacy? I could definately see them starting a brand new series set in those times, not completely wiping the existing EU clean, but grabbing what themes they like and starting from there.
Robert V.S. Redick
35. MarkX
They did go through with Starkiller with the Force Unleashed games that were also supposed to be canon. I don't think that would work with the new movies unless they explained his backstory and all of that, and that's too much baggage for a new character.
Chris Nelly
36. Aeryl
I too will jump on the bandwagon of enjoying the prequels, though they are not without their problems. The three way fight at the end of Menace was awesome, as was that heartbreaking fight at the end of Sith. I was not one who was bothered that Vader came out to be some poor little emo boy who couldn't get over the fact that the universe wouldn't work out the way he wanted it to, because who else would he be? And in many ways, it is the ulitmate tragedy, because there are so many instances where if these characters had just acted differently, we would not have reached this preordained conclusion, especially if you figure out that Obi-Wan possessed the power Anakin sought all along.

In the book version of A New Hope, when Ben comes upon Luke after the Sand People attack, Luke is lifeless and Ben, touches his cheek and brings him back to life. Which is the same thing he did to Padme, after Anakin choked the life out of her. Which is why even the babies were not enough to keep Padme alive, because she knew the man she loved had not just attacked her, but had actually murdered her.

So after everything he did to learn the power to save Padme from death, all he did was drive away the one man who could have taught it to him.

I am not getting bothered by EU canon, I'm just viewing it like comics now.

And I agree that after the Yuhzaan Vong story did take a lot of the fun and lightness out of the EU, but at the same time that kind of hardhitting storyline was necessary after years and years of books where the character fought battles you knew they wouldn't lose. YV invaders put some actual consequences back into the story, and as sad and tragic as Jacen's fall was, it in many ways replicated Vaders, hero of the war, but arrogant about his power and determined to shape the universe to his will.
Robert V.S. Redick
37. Jape
I think there should be lightsabers.
Robert V.S. Redick
38. Scott C. Presnal
Unless they clone Emporer Palpatine several times over, keep on coming back, in the stories after EP6.
Robert V.S. Redick
39. Roger Lord Zeck
What also made Episodes IV and V special was the Jedi philosophy doggy bag moments, what's now known as New Age, and which was missing from the other films. That and a script editor to nuancify the on-the-nose dialogue. With thiose two elements alone, the movies will be a vast improvement on VI, I, II and III
Robert V.S. Redick
40. Ravenschild
They should do the Cade Skywalker stuff from darkhorse. The original cast is dead and the only force ghost that shows up is Lukes. No stunts needed from very old actors and there is atleast 1 actor that looks exactly like Cade and could pull it off .
Robert V.S. Redick
41. Cold Drake
I would also like to see totally new characters and ideas being played with in the new trilogy. Something that's fresh and exciting on it's own without having to rely on excessive callbacks to the original trilogy to get a reaction. Something that will wash away the bitter taste the prequels left in my mouth and make me love SW again. I'd like to see less of a reliance on CGI and more passionate, hands on film-making. Effects which don't look dated a year after the film's release, characters I can care about, good dialogue. Things which the prequels sorely lacked.
Another part of me doubts that a SW movie that doesn't feature the Empire vs Rebels as it's backdrop can be very interesting. A series of films which takes place during the original trilogy but with all different characters would be interest me. Something with that late-70s look.
Robert V.S. Redick
42. Llama
@24 and others: I was about ten when Episode 1 came out and saw it in theatres, and I definitely do not much enjoy the prequels. Making it about what you saw first or at what age is pretty invalid in this case (and kind of patronising).

I don't hate Episode 1 and sometimes like to watch it, but it is definitely a terrible film and the other two are infinitely worse (I do hate those ones). It's not about the 'kiddie' tone or the slapstick (I actually like JarJar), which I see some of the people who were oldschool fans complain about. Star Wars has darkness to it, but it was always kind of in the background and not something the films wanted to dwell on too long. People expecting the new films to be gritty were only setting themselves up for disappointment.

Anyway. What's really wrong with the prequels is that they are astoundingly badly written. Not just the dialogue, but across the board. Phantom Meanace has no protagonist. Qui Gon is supposed to be a wise mentor type but he's actually a lose cannon who makes numerous terrible decisions, people know things they shouldn't for convience sake, Obi-Wan has no character arc, the plot doesn't actually make any sense if you think about it for more than five minutes, mediclorians devestate the mythology of the original films and run contrary to pretty much everything they were about, no one has a convincing motivation for anything, the characters (except JarJar and the droids) are totally flat, etc.

They also contain an awful lot of appallingly boring filmmaking (count how many scenes involve a)two people talking on a couch or b)walking, slowing, stopping or c)standing at a bluescreen window: all in shot-reverse shot). Look at how static and fake everything is, how the actors seem constrained and alienated from the world they are supposed to be in. It's some of the worst integration of CGI elements going.

People will like what they like, even if they like bad things (I like some bad things, I'm fine with that) but the prequels /are/ much more bad than good. Technically, objectively, as stories and films; not even getting into the acting, tone, etc. This is also without even getting into how much they DO NOT AT ALL line up with the continuity and world-building in the original trilogy. Which they need to as prequels. I mean, some plotholes were going to happen, but this isn't little things, this is the big obvious stuff. And I'm a pretty casual Star Wars fan.
Robert V.S. Redick
43. ajmurmann
The comment about Mark Hamil being to old to carry a movie is unbelievably ageist. Why does it need a young actor to identify with? Usually if you spend your life doing something you get better at it. So I think it's safe to assume that Hamil is now a better actor than he was in the original movies. In regard to his physical readiness for "action scenes" I have to say that a Jedi master should be a force to be reckond with (pun intended) especially as he gets older. Young Luke wasn't able to cut it against the emperor who didn't bounce around either. I want the main actor to be a good actor. Period.
Robert V.S. Redick
44. Georgia
Starkiller is a boy not a girl
Robert V.S. Redick
45. JHeez15
They need to move past the whole Skywalker story arc. Get creative!! I could care less about Luke's grandkids or great-grandkids. How about do a trilogy on the Mandolorian Wars?? Or go back to the Old Republic? Six movies of whiny Skywalker's in enough for me.

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