Why Am I Suddenly Excited For Star Wars, Episode VII?

The Disney-Lucasfilm corporate fornication did not reach my ears immediately upon its occurrence, as I was huddling in the dark around a barrel fire, eating charred squirrel during the hurricane.

But, once it did reach my ears, my initial response was an overwhelming…

Mnuh? Guh? Eh. Whatever.

Star Wars? Big part of my youth. As it was a part of the collective youth of many in my age range. The first trilogy was a fundamental narrative marker in our burgeoning personalities, for better or for worse. It left its fingerprint. Indelible and undeniable.

Then, the new trilogy came out — and, for that I was geeked beyond belief. That hearty nerd-wind filled my sails until I finally saw Phantom Menace and… was… excited at first? And then after that, a series of diminishing returns. My mind, affected the same way an addict’s mind is affected: that single dopamine rush never again experienced. The new trilogy could not match the power of the first, and with ever repeated viewing and every new film, the geyser of pleasure lessened until eventually it was just an airy splutter from a gassy garden hose. Splurt. Pbbbt. Dribble.

I’m not one of those people who think that the new trilogy is some kind of betrayal to my childhood. I don’t think they’re the worst films ever put on screen. They have some great stuff. They also have some face-punching, head-scratching storytelling going on. I don’t think Lucas betrayed us. I just think he kinda…

Missed the mark. Hubris and hamartia.

So: new trilogy gets announced, I just wasn’t that excited. I had as much excitement as one would have when, say, hearing an announcement for a new “triple-exxxtreme-ultra-mouth-blaster” flavor of Mountain Dew: I’m happy for those that care, but I won’t be partaking, thanks.

And yet, something’s changed.

I have this feeling –

Effervescent. Bubbly. Like Mountain Dew but without the horrible taste. A giddy, giggly something inside.

You might be saying, “Ahh, it’s because Chuck heard that Lucas isn’t really all that involved.”

Nope.

Maybe it’s that Harrison Ford said he’d be happy to resume the role of Han Solo.

Or that Carrie Fisher wants to play Leia again.

Nope, and nope. (Actually, I’m not sure either of those are a good idea.)

Maybe it’s that Michael Arndt, kick-ass screenwriter and big story-thinker extraordinaire, is tackling the film? Or that they have a number of high-octane directors in line to take control of the franchise?

Nope, but that does inflate the “hope balloon” by several liters of warm, cozy air.

Here’s what it is:

When I saw Star Wars: Episode IV, I was four years old.

And, when Episode VII drops, my son will be four years old.

I’ll be able to take my son to a brand new Star Wars film.

And it’ll be his. It won’t be mine. Maybe I’ll like it. Maybe I’ll love it. But if it’s done right — and I hope that it is — it’ll mark him in a way that it won’t mark me. It’ll be a thing he remembers, a thing that gets him happy and gives him imagination fuel for the next ten, twenty, thirty years.

That’s why I’m excited. Because it’s coming full circle. It’s not about Lucas or Han Solo or any screenwriter or director. It’s about what I can show to and share with my son.

I’m excited because the Force will one day be with him, too.

*lightsaber sound*

*credits roll*

19 comments

  • Awwwwww.

    I get that way a bit about The Hobbit and taking my son out to see it. I was much older than him when The Fellowship hit theaters, but seeing that movie as a young teen (and then later reading the books) changed forever how I looked at fiction and life. (LIFE. I was an incredibly impressionable teenager. I own that.)

    Also: I would sort of love to see a well-played, well-written older Han & Leia, taken up by their original actors. I think that would be amazing. I just don’t know how the story would be told.

  • I LOVED the original (e.g., 1970′s) Star Wars — the new stuff? CGI overload, but as you say, not the worst films ever made.

    For the next trilogy, I want it darker and harder edged. Like “Dark Night Returns” meets J.J. Abrams “Star Trek.” Okay, the latest Trek wasn’t all that dark, but it was a kick ass movie. Or maybe DNR meets “Alien.”

    Maybe we’re all just midgets and Han Solo et al., are giants like in “Prometheus.” That’s the ticket!

  • This was my main reason for enjoying the first set of films. It was something I got to enjoy with my kids. Looking forward to the Hobbit for the same reason, and I’m sure we’ll see the new episodes too.

    (and like you, there were parts I liked in the new movies… and some WTF moments :) )

  • My youngest will be just about the right age for the next Star Wars saga. IF Disney doesn’t screw it up and slap it with a PG-13 rating. One thing I loved (and still love) about the original trilogy is its appeal to the innocent. The most cataclysmic thing was finding out who Luke’s daddy was. If they trash this new series up, Star Wars becomes yet another beloved series to bow to the ratings gods.

  • Holy shit, you actually made me tear-up! That’s just so adorable. Now I want to borrow somebody’s kid and take them to the movie. And then immediately give them back.

  • That’s a great reason to be excited for the new trilogy!

    But on the betrayal front, what about the changes made to the original trilogy? Are you in the “Hon Shot First” camp?

  • Well, see…this is exactly why I am not excited about it. I felt the same way I did when I heard the prequel trilogy was coming:

    Star Wars? Again? Still? After thirty years, we are still having Star Wars? Lightsaber sounds, prologue rolls, the Force will be with us, forever and ever and ever?

    Enough already. Let it die. Make something new.

  • I totally get that. That was what the new trilogy was for me and my boys took to it better than expected. Once they came out on DVD they watched each of them dozens of times. In fact my oldest son was in middle school, same age that I was when the original came out and he wore a Star Wars T-shirt to school every single day of 8th grade. Kinda epic and without prompting by me. They love the franchise and are very savvy internet meme librarians. My girls love it too. I’m looking forward to the new ones, but I’m not nearly as geeked as I was for Episode 1.

  • Chuck, don’t underestimate how much fun you’ll have taking your son to see this film. My oldest is now 13 and he’s making his own short films now. I recently took him to see Raiders in IMAX at the Rave in Center Valley when it was out — possibly the only time he’ll ever see that film on a big screen (and the first time I had in 30 years). Now, this past weekend, there we were at the Rave again to see Skyfall — the first Bond film my boy has seen in theaters (he’s seen most of them on TV). It helps that the movies are terrific, but seeing how your kid is enjoying the flick as much as you, that he “gets” it, is sublime. Enjoy the ride.

  • It might be ok – although Anakin’s story is told. I don’t see where it goes but, as you say, Arndt is not to be trifled with.

    That said, A New Hope was good, really good. I could do without huge swaths of the Return of the Jedi..

    But, The Empire Strikes Back is simply brilliant. Even in light of today’s technology standards, it is still brilliant. One of my favorite movies, period.

  • I was 4 when Star Wars was released as well. But I know exactly what you mean. My dad took me to see Star Wars then unbidden, and it shaped my interests from then on. And back during Revenge of the Sith I took my son to see it. Brought a tear to my eye then.

    As an aside, nowadays we both watch and discuss the Clone Wars together. It’s a great show to watch with your kids and use it as a tool to discuss dark themes of loss, betrayal, death in a non-ironic way.

  • Wow – that is an awesome insight. I am amazed to realise that the same will be true for me – I was ten when Star Wars IV came out, and my oldest will be ten when #7 rolls around. The only slight wrinkle is that I was in fact eleven when I saw the film because I grew up in the UK and it wasn’t released there until 1978.

    I just told my kid that and he thought it was awesome too.

    Also, congratulations on using a picture where George Lucas looks happy.

  • This is why I want there to be a Harry Potter remake in twenty or so years from now, it was the franchise that made my childhood as amazing as it was, even when I had cancer as a five year old, I was happy with my Harry Potter books, I want my kids to have that too.

  • Dammit Chuck, now I have the Star Wars theme song playing in my head… wait, that’s not a bad thing.

    Watched Episode IV in a drive-in… at the ripe age of 3. Could watch Episode VII on my 41st birthday if it times right (got a 1/365 chance I guess, LOL).

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