Star Wars - Ripe for a Reboot
Although the very suggestion may get me flamed in this hub I am going to argue that the original Star Wars trilogy and the prequel trilogy are both due for a serious overhaul. Some may ask how, others may ask why, all questions will be answered.
It's a touchy and difficult subject as many fans of the originals will be as up in arms about the idea of rebooting Star Wars as they were when Greedo shot first in the special edition. Let's face it though George Lucas has and could do worse things than rebooting the series, like, say Jar Jar Binks.
With or Without George?
The real main issue when dealing with the idea is whether to allow Lucas to have a hand in the reboots or keep him entirely divorced from the project. Now obviously the easiest way to keep him from mucking about with the idea of rebooting the original trilogy himself is to just wait for him to die. While this may take another ten or twenty years I have a feeling it will be the only sure way to keep Lucas from creating prequel-esque failures if he has a hand in the reboot.
The evidence of the need to keep Lucas away from Star Wars in general is quite obvious. The Special Edition, the recent Blu-Ray changes, JAR JAR BINKS. Need I say more? But since George is the creative spark that fuels the Star Wars Universe it'd be nigh impossible to keep him away from a project as big as complete reboots of the original trilogy unless he was dead.
Now I don't wish death on George Lucas, as much as I loathe the prequels (particularly Clones) and dislike the special edition changes it has to be admitted that without George Lucas there would be no good Star Wars to go along with the bad. Sure he wasn't the only one who helped make the original trilogy so amazing but he was definitely a big part.
Think of a young Lucas like a star, burning brightly and brimming with ideas. He borrows ideas from his childhood favorites, serials like Flash Gordon, he mixes in a bit of Kurosawa and some Arthurian legend fantasy elements, add a pinch of Nazi era and Western genres and you've got the formula for Star Wars.
But now he seems more like a dying star recycling his own toxic fumes in order to keep sputtering along. His gravity has become immense as he begins to decay, slowly he is collapsing into a blackhole that seeks only to absorb money from the Universe around him. He seems to forget that other people helped create that universe, that he is not the singular star in the galaxy that is Star Wars.
So the answer, for me, is definitively WITHOUT GEORGE. The only way a successful reboot happens is without his influence and especially without him writing the script.
Who Will Direct?
The fact is that it doesn't much matter who steps in to fill George's shoes. Neither of the directors who worked on the original trilogy alongside Lucas were superstars. While Irvin Kershner is a talented director and did a fantastic job handling Empire Strikes Back (widely held as the best in the series) I can only think of two other films he directed, Robocop 2 and Never Say Never Again (a bond film). Now I love Robocop 2 but the truth of the matter is that while Kershner was good he never became as big a name as people like Lucas, Spielberg, or in today's world Nolan.
The point is that a director can surprise you. Did anyone watching Zathura think that Jon Favreau would go from directing a Jumanji knock-off to almost single-handedly launching Marvel Studios and the Avengers into success. I hadn't even heard of the man before Iron Man and yet here he is directing well-made action-adventure comic book films like Iron Man and Cowboys and Aliens.
So almost anyone could direct reboots of the original Star Wars, and, if talented and willing to stay true to the originals, be potentially successful in their endeavor.
Seeing as how the originals are timeless classics the question must be answered, why bother rebooting the series. Well here are a few reasons I think a Star Wars reboot in the near future would be a good idea.
- Financial Success is Guaranteed - Whoever the Lucas legacy passes to is largely irrelevant as far as the financial security of the Star Wars name is. No matter what a Star Wars movie is going to make money from the movie-going masses even if it doesn't draw the hardcore nerds in. Now this is kind of a double-edged sword because if studio executives have their way we'll get a cheap knock-off of real Star Wars created just to make money on the title and with no real heart or soul to it. The point is though that there is very little risk in rebooting Star Wars, the audience and profit are guaranteed to be there even if the movie sucks (prequels anyone).
- Setting up a reboot to the originals means also remaking the prequels and that means an opportunity to make the prequels GOOD. -
- Restoring the Tarnished Reputation - Supposing that Lucas dies before the movie is in production I can think of no better way to rebuild Lucasfilm reputation than by making a successful reboot that the critics actually like. While it will be little comfort to Lucas it would be a great comfort to the fans to see Star Wars return to its former glory.
Constant tweaks and changes to the originals and sub-par prequels and television shows have weakened the reputation of Star Wars and turned many fans of the originals off. As a nerd and a huge fan of Star Wars nothing would warm my heart more than a well-executed reboot of the original three films. It would be a sort of successful version of what Lucas was originally attempting with the special edition, updated special effects but keep the core of the story in-tact, only this time it would be knew actors, knew sets, etc.
- The chance to expand or improve the story - Star Wars is already fantastic but that doesn't mean it can't be better or be told differently. Obi wan's death, his ghost, Luke's training both with Obi and with Yoda. Luke seems to train himself between Star Wars and Empire and then again between Empire and Jedi. While the stories of the originals are all already excellent there's plenty to expand upon, to build upon, or to alter in ways that honor the originals but also could be fun, exciting or fresh.
- Special Effects - While far ahead of their time the special effects of the original trilogy (and the prequels for that matter) now seem somewhat dated. In particular the walkers, both AT-ATs and AT-STs are all done in stop-motion animation and while they look okay for the era they were made in modern CGI could bring these vehicles to life more realistically and a combination of practical and modern CGI effects could make the movies better.
Lucas and the ILM team pioneered many techniques and improved upon special effects a great deal while making the originals and they continue that tradition to this day. Imagine how far they could push the line between reality and CGI if in a few years time they set out to reboot the original trilogy, move over Avatar.
- Bringing Star Wars to a new Generation - Let's face it, kids today would probably rather sit down and stomach an episode of the Clone Wars on cartoon network than listen to Yoda teaching Luke on Dagobah or watch Leia and Han look for Minochs in an asteroid that's actually a giant space worm. The answer is to reboot the series with modern special effects and young actors while keeping the spirit of the originals alive and kicking.
A prime example of this idea at work is the 2009 Star Trek reboot. Don't get me wrong the original Star Trek show was great but it was also far slower moving and far less palatable for a modern audience. The Next Generation show was a bit more up to speed but even that lacked the edge that a Star Trek MOVIE would need. JJ Abrams enters the picture, super-charges the characters and we get a solid sci-fi action film that stays true to Kirk, Spock, Bones and to a lesser extent Scottie and Uhura.
But how many kids will know to look up Star Trek on netflix or youtube simply because they like the newer movie? And those who do are already familiar with the characters, and are already invested in them emotionally and thus have a better chance to appreciate the originals and the TNG without their short attention spans getting in the way.
We owe our children a reboot to Star Wars that does justice to the originals, otherwise all they will see is the special edition and the prequels and the TV shows.
I'd be lying if I tried to pretend that the idea of rebooting Star Wars doesn't come with a great deal of risk. If Lucas stays involved and writes and directs them we can essentially kiss story coherency and good acting goodbye as well as getting fed 99% CGI with no attempt at using practical effects to enhance the story and believability.
Similarly if Hollywood execs with no concern about the originals who only want to make tons of money step in to make the films we might just get something worse than the prequels. While some may call Lucas heartless and just a business man who set out to make as much money as possible I give him more credit than that. I say he is just misguided, an artist who is too anal to leave his own work well enough alone. A man who doesn't understand that films are art and that art without imperfection is stale and lifeless.
If we can keep Lucas from directing and writing and hold the Hollywood hellhounds at bay we might be able to get a successful reboot of Star Wars and there are few film series, in my opinion, that need rebooting more than Star Wars. The road to these reboots is fraught with peril and possible pitfalls but the reward if successful far outweighs those risks.
The reward of sitting down to a Star Wars reboot and getting up a satisfied fanboy reinvested in a franchise that had once lost its way and now found it again, nothing would beat that feeling. That's why I think Star Wars is almost ready, soon it will be ripe for a reboot.
Previous Ripe for a Reboot Entries
- Robocop - Ripe for a Reboot
First in a new series advocating the fact that some movie franchises deserve a well-done remake/reboot.