“A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…” still shines as one of the greatest openings to any film ever created. I remember as a kid being completely entranced by that promise of something wholly fantastical and otherworldly, and loving the payoff. Star Wars, introduced to the world in 1977, was a revolutionary saga with quite the legacy (you know, we just pretend the three prequels never happened). And even though George Lucas has gone a bit batty, his first three films remain an inspiration.
An inspiration, though, to fewer and fewer folks, apparently. I currently teach kids and teenagers, and a good many of them have never seen even A New Hope. A 31 year-old lady from England I am acquainted with hasn´t even seen it. And that, my Internet brethren, is an absolute disgrace.
I am aware, of course, that Episodes IV-VI had flaws. Mark Hamill was kinda ridiculous, and Carrie Fisher forgot she was trying to play British. But who cares? Darth Vader is the greatest villain of all time and anyone who thinks saying “May the Force be with you” to friends and colleagues is dumb should be force choked. We all want our own Millennium Falcon and a lightsaber to match. How many times have you said, “These aren’t the ______ (insert what someone is looking for, especially if it’s droids) you’re looking for,” with a suave, Sir Alec Guinness wave of the hand?
It should be everyone’s mission to make sure that Episodes IV, V, and VI be viewed by any individual who has missed the films, or has alleged to falling asleep during them (even more disgraceful).
This is an even more important objective now that Disney has bought the rights to the story, and will release three more films (hopefully not as treacherously terrible as the prequels). According to the Internet, director J.J. Abrams (lens flare, bitches!) has Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher returning to play older versions of their signature roles, and wants to uphold Lucas’ original brilliant idea to use models and real locations instead of lifeless, digital wizardry. Those are good things, but again, this is Disney we’re talking about. I have a doubt that these films are going to be great, and that´s optimistic of me.
The original magic of Star Wars has, to me personally, diminished, the current hyper-state of the media having crunched much of the magic out of storytelling. Sure, Abrams is a pretty ok director, and Lucas is only advising the story, but the imaginative brilliance that came alive in the 70s is not so present now in the franchise and surrounding media.
Basically, I believe it may be too tall an order to inject the same amount of life into these new sequel films as we expected some years ago for the prequels. We’re all so disappointed that, unfortunately, a passable trio of films will feel like a success, and that shouldn’t be enough. There are too many youths who haven’t feasted their eyeballs and brains on the original trilogy; maybe by getting more folks to go on Star Wars tears, we can educate these poor saps and create a population bent on better Star Wars films, and maybe even more enlightened sensibilities to imaginative storytelling.
Or maybe I’m asking too much of a generation that really prizes Angry Birds and Snapchat.
Either way, with new Star Wars films looming from a not too distant future (and galaxy), it’s important to remember the magic of the original films, and relearn why we should wish that the Force be with us. Always.