In a glass case on his bureau my father sports a DL-44 blaster, a limited edition replica of the weapon Han Solo used to dispatch Greedo from across a dusty cantina table in “Star Wars IV: A New Hope.” Tucked away in his closet are a Jedi robe and a fiberglass light saber. If you were to walk into my parent’s living room you might notice in the corner a little droid named R2D2 who faithfully accompanied Luke Skywalker on all of his adventures. All of these things illustrate one simple fact: I never had a choice; I was always going to love Star Wars.
I was born in 1989, just six years after Darth Vader drew his last raspy breath and the Ewoks celebrated their victory on the second moon of Endor. “Return of the Jedi” was released into theaters in 1983, wrapping up an unbelievable saga that started in 1977 with “A New Hope.”
I know I’m not the only one who can tell this story. Thousands of people grew up loving Star Wars. Jedi has become a commonly written-in religion on surveys around the world. A recent petition to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2015” received 34,435 signatures.
That’s why we all knew this day would come. “Star Wars: Episode VII.” The announcement has been met with a bevy of mixed reactions. Should we be worried? Overjoyed? Terrified? If you ask me, we should be hopeful. And trust me, that isn’t the same thing as getting our hopes up. If those prequels taught us anything, it’s not to get our hopes up.
Still, whether we liked the prequels or not, did they take away from the original trilogy? Despite their flaws, the prequels have given us a richer sense of the backstory leading into “A New Hope.” We saw the Jedi fall and the Empire rise to power. We saw Anakin transform from a hero into the iconic villain we already knew and loved. The prequels only wasted the potential to tell those stories more effectively. Regardless of the prequels or any future installments, our original three Star Wars movies will still be there beckoning us back to the galaxy we all fell in love with.
Should we be worried that Lucas won’t be back in the director’s chair? We should be relieved. Everyone has their favorite movie but “Empire Strikes Back” is most widely considered the best of the original trilogy, which Lucas didn’t direct, nor did he direct “Return of the Jedi.” Only for “A New Hope” was Lucas in the director’s chair but that was back when he had a studio reining him in. The man’s a creative genius but given total freedom who knows if we would have the Star Wars we know and love.
J.J. Abrams has proven that he’s a more than capable director. He’s also been given some impressive help in drafting the screen play. Michael Arndt, the writer of “Toy Story 3,” and Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of “Empire Strikes Back,” “Return of the Jedi,” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” If these guys can’t concoct a quality Star Wars adventure then I don’t know who can.
Maybe my optimism comes from my experience in Star Wars comic books. These are essentially detailed storyboards ranging from the further exploits of beloved characters like Han and Chewie, to the adventures of brand new characters. These stories are worth telling.
The greatest thing George Lucas did with his life wasn’t the saga of phenomenal sci-fi blockbusters. It wasn’t the lackluster prequel trilogy that followed. It was the imagination to birth an entire universe. One centuries old, spanning thousands of lightyears and hundreds of planets. A place full of conflict, romance, and adventure.
Do we need more Star Wars movies? No. Of course not. We have already ridden alongside Luke Skywalker as he detonated the Death Star, learned the truth about his father, and became a Jedi Knight. That will never change, and for me it will always be enough. But the universe that George Lucas created will endure long after we are gone. There will always be more Star Wars movies. If you ask me, that’s not nothing to complain about.
Zach Pearson can be contacted at email@example.com