Friday, March 8, 2013

100 things to think about for the new Star Wars Sequel Trilogy (Ep.VII-IX)

I'm going to name the Sequel Trilogy right now: 
Star Wars Ep. VII:  The Burden of Peace Episode 7
Star Wars Ep. VIII: Awakening Monsters of Myth Episode 8
Star Wars Ep. IX: Echoes of the Force Episode 9
What do you think?

Anyway... here are 50 Do's and 50 Don'ts for the new trilogy.
They match up to a degree with what I would like to see and what I think they should do.  This is not necessarily what is best for the masses or what is best for the saga in general.  I can't wait for the Star Wars madness to start again!!!!

1) DON'T MESS UP CONTINUITY!!!  I can't stress this one enough. It would be numbers 1 through 100 on my list if I knew that it would make a difference.  Tweaks and retcons to the Star Wars universe are okay... but there are some major things that must not be overwritten.  Han and Leia have 3 kids, one dies, one goes dark. Luke marries Mara and they have Ben.  All three main characters live well into the future after ROTJ.  Mess up some of this stuff and you throw out a lot of hard work by many credible authors, and whether you like the EU or not, I can't imagine WHY you would start completely over when you have a whole universe of possibilities to work from.
2) DO look to the EU for inspiration.  Anyone that has read much of the EU can pull something they really like out of one of the books, comics, or television shows.  Maybe it was a simple plot line, or a villain, or a sequence that really blew you away, but there is a lot of stuff out there.  (are you an Assaj Ventress fan?  Quinlan Vos? Did you watch "Landing at Point Rain"? Do you want to see more Sith?  Ask me and I'll tell you what you should read or see if you have a specific interest.)
3) DO be careful with the use of EU characters.  Yeah, I know... I said look at the EU for INSPIRATION.  That doesn't mean that every character that was ever created needs to be in the new movies.  Would I pull a few in?  Certainly.  BUT, you gotta be careful not to pull too many fanboy wishes into this.  Am I a fanboy?  I enjoy the saga no matter what... so I consider myself to be a fan (period).
4) DON'T just copy an EU character.  Quinlan Vos is the Wolverine of the Star Wars universe.  That is fine...but we don't need Jimlan Gos the *New new Wolverine of the Star Wars universe.  Be more creative than that. (a little more on EU characters later).
5) DO start the new movies in 45 ABY.  That is not just a random (fake, I realize) date.  99% of Star Wars material that has been written is written before this date.  The last major book series ends here.  Comics start again nearly 100 years later.  The core characters are still alive and it is a completely unknown future.  Show what happened directly after the second Death Star blew up in a pseudo documentary style (if you wish) at the beginning of the new sequels, but this would be my starting point for new movies.  ALSO:  Luke (Hamill), Leia (Fisher), and Han (Ford) would all be EXACTLY the right age right now to play roles at this time period.  Just sayin...
6) DON'T try to pass off Hamill, Fisher, and Ford as younger versions of themselves (like they did with TRON).  It worked to a degree with TRON because it was a computerized world to begin with.  Just don't try it here... no... just no.
7) DO go easy on the CG.  I know that Star Wars has always been about pushing the cinematic technology to new heights, but I say let someone else push for a bit.  There is some magic that is lost when everything is done with a computer.  I loved that Yoda was a puppet, guys were wearing masks, and matte paintings filled in the background.  I know we shouldn't go backwards totally, (and I love the CG Yoda now) but bring back some magic.  Can we still be awed by something on the screen?
8) DON'T pull another Jar Jar.  Ok, Jar Jar was a miracle of technology.  Subtlety is bliss.  (more on this later in the program also)
9) DO work on the dialogue.  Star Wars is an action movie, but if current shows (*Cough* Walking Dead *Cough*) can tell us anything... it is that characters and well written dialogue run the show.  Lucas is great with imagination, but poor in conversation.  I'm not going to go into particular lines that make me cringe, but I will say that there are MANY of them and while it didn't ruin the movies entirely, it was difficult to overlook at times.  Mainly a prequel problem.
10) DON'T get cliche'.  There are a lot of words out there.  We don't need to hear the same lines from the previous movies so the dullards out there can go, "Did ya hear that?  Luke said 'I'm here to rescue you' " *wets pants. 
11) DO use the "I have a bad feeling about this" line.  This line is as iconic as the story itself.  Don't overuse it, but this is one exception to the rule in #10.
12) DON'T go too crazy with trying to make the story parallel with the others.  We don't have to have another redemption story.  We don't need another naive farmboy.  Tell a unique story.
13) DO use dialogue to ignite other stories.  Remember when Obi Wan said he had fought alongside Luke's father in the Clone Wars?  Remember how your imagination went nuts thinking about what that was?  I remember, and I think it's amazing that they've gone back and filled in some details of the Clone Wars.  This is a sequel, so there isn't any expanding on something said in the future, but there is some room for this kind of magic.  Make a reference to another event that we haven't seen or read yet.
14) DON'T use dialogue to tell people plot points because you assume we are stupid.  Too many movies explain the whole thing with dialogue that is really meant to be inferred or debated.  Too vague and you get Matrix-level confusion... too concrete and you get boredom.  Explaining away the force with Midichlorians ring a bell? 
15) DO bring back the mystery of the force. It surrounds us, penetrates us...binds us together.  Luminous beings are we.  That puppet said some crazy stuff that gave a real mystery and cool factor to the force.  Bring it back.
16) DON'T explain everything away.  I like not knowing what species Yoda is.  I like not knowing why they would have repulsors and yet still create giant walking hulks.  I like wondering why you would have a robot with wheels pulling a repulsor-lift cart, or where Vader's suit came from. (Well, I know the last one now, but I liked speculating)
17) DO get relative unknowns to play major characters.  If I see Nicolas Cage, Channing Tatum or Robert Pattinson show up attached to these movie I may have to be induced into a coma to stop the rage vomitting that will commence.  These are just examples... I don't hate them personally or even as actors (well except Cage).
18) DO NOT EVEN JOKE ABOUT including a flavor of the month celebrity for these movies.  Or any movies really ... even for cameos... I'm serious.  Justin Bieber is probably a nice person.  Mariah Carey, Snookie, and the 'Duck Dynasty' guys are also nice; I imagine.  They are not actors.  Google it... it's true.  I'm watching you this time N'Sync...
19) DO use the Millenium Falcon again.  I shouldn't even have to say that.  If the Millenium Falcon isn't in this next movie, I will eat my keyboard.
20) DON'T blow up the Millenium Falcon.  I couldn't believe it when I heard they'd killed off Chewbacca.  I refused to read the book for quite a while... seriously.  I've heard rumblings about killing off major characters.  The Falcon is a major character.  That said...
21) DON'T KILL MAJOR CHARACTERS.  Luke, Leia, and Han need to live long lives and fly off into the sunset.  The only exception to that is if they decide Luke has to become a force ghost to guide the new cast like Obi Wan did for him.  THEN it should only happen 4 trilogies from now.  It's hard to let them go.  I don't care what Harrison Ford wants... Han will always beat the odds.
22) DO create some tension with cliffhangers where we don't know what is going to happen.  I want to think that they are in peril.  I don't think I can handle watching them get blown up or something horrible.  If they have to die, it had better be in saving the lives of everyone else by  having a moon land on them or something.
23) DO use the force ghosts.  Yoda, Obi Wan, Qui Gon... someone should show up as a force ghost.
24) DON'T go crazy with having everyone showing up in ghostly form.  We don't need a chorus of ghosts making our heroes seem like crazies talking to the voices in their heads all day.  Imagine having all of your teachers voices jumping in and out to tell you what to do... {shiver}.
25) DON'T rely on the main characters for much.  In my opinion, cameos for Luke, Leia and Han would be best.  Let them do something cool and then go off into the sunset.  Let the new crop take the movies where they are going to go.
26) DO make these movies (at least the first one) a nostalgic trip down Star Wars lane.  I'd love to see a movie that had the fun that the original Star Wars had.  It was truly lightning in a bottle.  Not sure that is possible, but it would be amazing to get that feeling back.
27) DO make a credible villain that stays around for awhile.  I'm talking more Vader and less Maul, Dooku, Grievous, or Fett, which to me means the villain is in all three movies and not in 20 minutes of one. 
28) DON'T kill off the cool bad guys.  Again... Maul, Dooku, Grievous, Fett are all pretty good bad guys, but they didn't get to expand their character much.  Jabba was awesome - dead.  Put them in the Arkham Asylum or something.
29) DO be careful with the Jedi Powers.  Jumping, running, choking, telepathy, lightning... all good powers.  However, there needs to be a limit to their power to make them relatable and believable.
30) DON'T use the jedi stuff just to meet a plot point.  In the OT, there were no jedi so Luke, Ben, and Yoda were showing us everything we would know about the jedi powers.  Now, we know what jedi can do, so be aware that this power shouldn't be as arbitrary as it seemed in the PT.  Example: Anakin can jump 100 yards onto the head of a droid, but can't jump over Obi Wan to the high ground?  Example 2: Qui Gon and Obi Wan super run to get away from Droidekas, but Obi Wan can't run fast enough to get through the Naboo Theed Generator complex to get to his master's side?
31) DO be mindful of the fact that Star Wars can have a future.  In essence... don't blow EVERYTHING up.
32) DON'T forget that a lot of stuff has been written up and down the timeline.  Cade Skywalker needs to be born (albeit much later).  Luke appears to him as a force ghost at some point.  So it's not unprecedented that Luke becomes one with the force... eventually.
33) DO have a cantina scene.  Just do it.  I can't imagine why not... it's iconic and awesome. Do what must be done!
34) DON'T be lazy and just copy the original.  While I would probably love it, it just seems like there is more that can be done without repeating the same thing over and over.  The "Hangover" movies can apparently get away with it, but not every movie can.
35) DO involve the Hutts somehow.  The Clone Wars cartoon showed us a Hutt council... and while it was cartoony, it was a pretty cool idea.  Hutts are still pretty mysterious and gross and would be fun to see again.  Is Rotta (Jabba's son) still alive out there somewhere?
36) DON'T underextimate the power of the metal bikini.  At the time that was shocking and managed to kickstart puberty for a generation.  Find another way to excite without copying.
37) DO go for a PG-13 series.  I don't want my Star Wars to be Sopranos or Dark Knight dark, but I also don't want it to be Dora the Explorer.  They've got to find a way to appease a very large and diverse crowd... I don't envy them for that.
38) DON'T go too G on me.  Disney... I'm talking to you.  Do some Star Wars cartoons if you want kids stuff.  You have your own channels on TV for that.
39) DO be sure to use C-3PO and R2-D2.  Again, I feel like I shouldn't have to say it.  These guys ARE Star Wars.  C-3PO has the first ever line in the movies (by release), and the last line (basically). Don't know how they'll pull it off, but they need to be fully involved.
40) DON'T destroy or try to replace these two.  R2 and 3PO have been blasted and come back before, but this would be like pink slipping or shanking Mickey Mouse.
41) DO cut an arm off, or two. We've seen it aplenty in Star Wars.  I want to cheer when I see the next arm go flying.  One of life's guilty pleasures I guess.
42) DON'T forget that prosthetics are pretty good these days... look at Luke's hand.  Let the good guy get chopped... we can rebuild him/her.  We have the technology.
43) DO show me some new bounty hunters.  Cantina, bounty hunter, etc... that's pretty much the top of the cool list in my book.  I loved the books that expanded the bounty hunters personalities.  I want more bounty hunters to wonder about.
44) DON'T forget about some of the EU bounty hunters.  Aurra Sing, Assaj Ventress, Skorr, D'Harhan, C-21 Highsinger (look him up and then watch the video of him and then tell me that droid model doesn't need a role in the new movie).  Are any of these still around?  Did anyone else get the D'Harhan treatment? (look him up also... you won't be disappointed)
45) DO have John Williams start right now with creating some music.  John Williams score is the one thing the Lucas himself said that he was completely satisfied with in the original.  Have him create some themes to go along with what we already have heard. 
46) DON'T try to get someone to copy John Williams or try to do something "new or current".  Get him to do it.  The Clone Wars music is fine for the cartoon, but they had better score this thing like the others. New and current is a terrible idea... not always... but quite often.
47) DO have someone turn to the dark side.  At the very least have someone flirting with it.  Anakin's turn was paced wrong or something.  Maybe it's because we knew it was coming... but somehow didn't have that final punch to say... OK, THAT would do it.
48) DON'T cheapen the dark side by having all sorts of dark jedi and such.  Dark jedi are a fun side project, but sith are not just dark jedi... maybe it's the level of commitment that makes the difference.  Then again, maybe having a rainbow of jedi might be fun?  Light, dark, tan, eggshell... not exactly skittles colors.  Yeah, maybe not.
49) DO have some comedy.  Comedy always adds to an adventure, but it has to make sense and weigh out among all that is going on. 
50) DON'T make the comedy obvious.  SUBTLE - a look, a turn of phrase, a humorous quip.  Poop and fart jokes and getting kicked in the junk are funny for about five seconds (if you are twelve).  All three of these "comedic" elements happen to Jar Jar... hence, people hate him.  I'll take my Star Wars without poop and groin shots please.  And make C-3PO prissy and emotional again and not spit out one-liners like, "This is such a drag"... bah.
51) DO keep the political intrigue to a minimum.  I imagine there will be some Imperial entanglements or some government trifling, but we don't need long periods of diplomacy onscreen. We know that the Imperials are the bad guys from the beginning of the OT.  No one had to tell us or point it out.
52) DON'T show everything taking place.  I can get the idea that a law has been created without sitting through the debate and signing process.  Sometimes it is what is NOT shown that makes the experience exciting.  Then you can imagine and speculate.  Or blog about it :)
53) DO use some recognizable space ships.  Star destroyers, tie fighters and X-wings may not be the ship of choice anymore, but the newest model should have shades of the old.  Show me an R-wing fighter if you want, but make it recognizable.
54) DON'T miss out on the chance to create some new hotness.  Merchandising will make sure there are new toy ships to sell, so I don't think we will have to worry about this.
55) DO use some recognizable locations.  Tatooine is in 5 of the 6 movies. Going back to one of the previous locations might be very interesting.  What does Utapau look like now? In the EU, Yavin was levelled... Coruscant was "Vong-formed".  I imagine we'll see Coruscant, but other places might be fun to revisit.
56) DON'T ignore locations that exist in EU.  Sure you can create new locations.  There's now a fire planet, an ice planet, a crystal planet, a city planet, etc.  BUT... places like Ossus, Bast Castle on Vjun, Jabiim, Corellia, Malastare, and Dathomir exist.  Tell me you don't want to see Han's home planet.
57) DO tell us something we didn't know about the characters we do know.  Qui Gon had a son?  Mace Windu Survived?  Obi Wan had a cousin?  Palpatine had already planned beyond Darth Vader?  Not saying all of these things are or should be true, but I think it would be fun to find out something like this.
58) DON'T make it a habit of giving every character a relative.  We don't need Lando's little brother and Han's long lost half-sister and Kit Fisto's half Twi'lek/half Nautolan grandson roaming around. 
59) DON'T go for crummy plot devices.  Time travel, clones, stasis, mistaken identity, "it was all a dream"... some of these plot points have been used to good effect in some instances, but I think you need to avoid them for the most part.  We don't need old Luke getting a visit from a time travelling Padme or some dumb crap like that.
60) DO find a way for a new cast to give us traces of the old cast.  I'm talking about like how Ewan McGregor channeled Alec Guinness for that role (remarkable I think).  Or how Brandon Routh looked soooo much like Christopher Reeves. (unfortunately the Superman movie was rough... but the resemblance was uncanny).
61) DO show me a Bothan onscreen.  OK... this one is a personal preference, but the reference to Bothans in the OT and their use in comics is not enough.  I want a Bothan in my movie.
62) DON'T forget that there are tons of species out there.  We don't need 400 humans and 20 random aliens.  I think that was lacking in the background of the Geonosis scene.  It was just a little lazy to have so many human extras.
63) DO give me another Wookiee to love.  Ep. III... thank you for giving us Kashyyyk and a some Wookiee love.  I wish they had more to do in the movie, but it was cool to see them.  I want more.
64) DON'T just throw random characters in and give them nothing to do.  It makes me crazy when a cool design gets wasted.  I kinda feel that way with Darth Maul, but they brought him back... however hokey that may or may not have been.  Same with Kit Fisto, Agen Kolar, and Seasee Tiin's fight with Sidious.  REALLY?  4 seconds for you three Jedi Masters!?
65) DO have Luke quote Yoda.  This is another exception to #10.  Doesn't have to be a lot, but I think Luke should be in the Yoda role in this next movie.  He's Yoda and Obi Wan.  Yoda has some of the best quotes of all time.
66) DON'T try too hard.  You can't force a story.  Anakin and Padme's love... Young Anakin's prowess with a starship...
67) DO have a love story.  I choke on this one a little because I really felt one of the biggest "misses" in the PT was the love story.  It wasn't believable.  Han Solo portrayed a more believable connection in 2 lines than 3 entire movies did for these two. "Either I'm going to kill her or I'm beginning to like her"; "You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life."
68) DON'T show us everything.  Leave something to the imagination with the love story.  We had a feeling that there was some stuff going on with Han and Leia in ESB even though we didn't see it.  I'm going to use my word again... subtlety.
69) DO use Ben Skywalker and Jaina Solo.  And probably Allana Solo as well, but she could be left out for something in the future.  These characters could be the new core.  I would use them instead of trying to come up with something that may or may not work (or God forbid erase the continuity of them and start over... PLEASE don't do that)
70) DON'T throw a character in that doesn't belong.  Ahsoka fits... barely, but she is acceptable I think.  Starkiller (from the video game)... ok... I have some reservations, but ok. It's very difficult to squeeze something in that doesn't fit, so be careful.  "Jump the Shark" is a reference that comes to mind.
71) DON'T go crazy with origin stories.  We have an origin... we don't need to be told how all the characters came to be.  Superhero stories are notorious for trying so hard to establish an origin, but why not just suspend belief in a story that is not real anyway.
72) DO expand on the new movies with more novels.  I'm sure this is a no-brainer, but we can learn more if we want to be *gasp* reading.
73) DO at least show me a Yuuzhan Vong. I want to see one onscreen.
74) DON'T go into detail about all the Vong bio-technology. It was an interesting part of the New Jedi Order books. That is all.
75) DO give us more monsters. Another Rancor? Sure. Wampa? Maybe. Some other nightmare creature? Yes please.
76) DON'T go too "out there". I mean, we don't need another Harryhausen monster battle royal. Don't get me wrong... I liked the monsters on Geonosis, I just want new and different things.
77) DO dive into the underworld a bit. Nar Shaddaa and Nal Hutta are cool locations. Coruscant has lots of hiding places. Already mentioned Hutts and bounty hunters, but not just in our world... let's look into theirs.
78) DON'T forget about some of the EU bad guy organizations. Nightsisters... Mandalorians...Black Sun... etc. Fun easter egg kinda stuff at least!
79) DO use Saba Sebatyne. The time period I would choose would require that she be in it somewhere. She's like the #2, sometime #1 jedi in this universe. I realize that she is not as well known as some of the jedi that you could use... I'd like to see Kyle Katarn, Kam Solusar, Corran Horn, Kyp Durron... but all of them are white guys... not a racial thing... it's a big lizard jedi thing.
80) DON'T CG her either. I've seen some incredible makeup from amateurs on TV...
81) DON'T use little kids. Young Anakin only succeeded in diminishing one of the greatest villains of all time. No offense to Jake Lloyd, I don't think too many youngsters would look cool with some of the things he was expected to say. 
82) DO have some jedi academy action. It would be fun to see a jedi academy in action.
83) DO find a way to get Vader into the action. While in the iconic black suit we see Vader chatting with Tarkin and the boys, stalking hallways, turning knobs in his starship, bowing to the Emperor, choking a couple guys, and what 2 1/2 lighsaber fights? {the fight with Obi Wan in Ep IV is the 1/2}. Maybe an evil Vader disciple borrows the mask. Maybe a droid in the suit... I don't know.
84) DON'T try to get us to believe that Luke goes bad or something. No... just no. NooooOOOoooo...
85) DO have a rogue Imperial, or something, to get the Empire back in play. Rogues are unpredictable. Maybe he is the good guy? Hmmmm....
86) DON'T make the Empire all white guys. Make the Empire more diverse. I want to see a Mon Cal or Bothan (see above) in Imperial dress. Nice.
87) DO think about the possibilities of Korto Vos. Kiffar can read the past from objects. Quinlan had a son. Just a thought.
88) DON'T forget that Lando also had a son and a lucrative business: Tendrando Arms.  This kinda breaks one of my other points, but Lando is pretty cool, so he may be an exception.  Not sure if Billy Dee is up to it.  (Actually not sure Hamill or Fisher are up to it either... LOVE them, but they don't exactly seem like they are ready for a closeup if you know what I mean)  Age is a part of life.
89) DO Stormtroopers. We need some sort of stormtrooper, if for no other reason than to shoot at them.
90) DON'T do Clones.  We had our Clone Wars, give me rakghouls or some warrior species if you can't give me Stormtroopers.
91) DO have some massive fight scenes.  Space battles are a huge part of Star Wars.  More "wars" in the "stars" for me is perfect.
92) DON'T forget lightsaber battles. More lightsabers = more awesome.
93) DON'T make the technology too different.  The PT seemed to have better technology than the OT, which is concerning, but understandable. We are talking about Republic money vs. Rebel money.  Holos, shields, hyperdrive... those are all pretty standard I think.
94) DO come up with some new technology that we haven't seen before.  I mean for the movie characters, not Lucasfilm.  We've seen all kinds of stuff in movies nowadays... not sure what the new thing is going to be, but I'm sure Star Wars can find it if anyone can.
95) DO release the OT in 3D on movie screens.  I had fun watching Ep.I on the big screen again and it would be fun to see the OT eventually... maybe in between releases? maybe after?
96) DON'T make me wait forever to get the 9 part trilogy with all the cut scenes, bloopers, documentaries, etc.  I want it now, but I'll wait until the next three are done.
97) DO keep Lawrence Kasdan in the loop as long as possible. He wrote ESB, which is widely acclaimed as the best Star Wars movie.
98) DON'T ignore Leland Chee, Keeper of the Holocron.  He has all the knowledge.  ALL of it. He is the Holocron Keeper. Ask him if you don't know. There are others you could ask like Pablo Hidalgo or me :)
99) DON'T stop making those Disney - Star Wars mashup figures.  They are really neat and while I'm at it, I'm going to request more build-a-droids and a new Mickey Mouse Star Wars Movie! When was the last Mickey Mouse movie?
100) DO a Star Wars Theme Park.  If you read to this point you deserve your own theme park.  Harry Potter world would look like the Small World ride if they did the park that I have in my head.  Pod race roller coaster, Battle Droid Shootout, Trench Run roller coaster, Giant AT-ATs, Imperial Parade... DISNEY.... DO THIS.... DO IT NOW!!!

Sequel Trilogy Episode 7 Ep. VII Episode 8 Ep. VIII Episode 9 Ep. IX Do's Don'ts

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