My Guess: A Badly Camouflaged Rerun

Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens. A new bad Jedi sword.

Watching Trailers of Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens, by Stefan Stenudd


There are several trailers for Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens, but they look very much the same with minor variations. I bet that's significant of what the new movie will be: same same, with nothing but minor alterations.



       I probably commit some kind of blasphemy, but here it is:

       The first trilogy, Star Wars IV to VI, had its charm in abundance. Although it had sort of a science-fiction setting, it was a return to simple fairytales of old ("a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away"), a straightforward adventure in an archetypical setting to which mythologist Joseph Campbell was a most learned advisor.

       But Star Wars I to III was a disaster. George Lucas had grown up and the story did too, in a most awkward and boring way. It was politics. I wrote about it here: He's not a kid anymore.

       Maybe the problem was that Joseph Campbell was no longer at hand, since he died in 1987. Without him, how to navigate successfully among the archetypes? Only a lot of childish imagination could compensate for that loss.


Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens. The same spaceships.
The same spaceships in Star Wars VII - The Force Awakens.


Well, Joseph Campbell is still dead and George Lucas has not grown any younger. So I fear that what he contributed to Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens can be little more than guesswork about the childish excitement he once felt. Maybe it's even routine to him. Business.

       Watching those trailers, I get that feeling. So much is the same as before, and the small variations don't seem particularly inspired.


Star Wars VII. Luke Skywalker rides again.
Star Wars VII. Luke Skywalker rides again.


The space vessels look the same. The Imperial stormtroopers look the same. Chewbacca looks the same (even Han Solo does, as much as can be expected after all these years). And is it a middle-aged Luke Skywalker sitting again in his little weasel of a spaceship, the new R2-D2 behind him, taking off to save the day?


Star Wars VII. The new Darth Vader.
Star Wars VII. The new Darth Vader with the nose of some bug.


The new Darth Vader character looks almost the same as the old one, except for a protruding nose thing on the mask making him similar to some insect. A new R2-D2 robot may have a slightly different overall shape and mode of transportation, but otherwise it seems to be a close relative.


Star Wars VII. A new R2D2.
Star Wars VII. A new R2D2.


The Jedi swords are getting more colorful, and the bad guy has a new variation to it, obviously increasing the risk of self-mutilation. But so did the bad guy in Star Wars I, albeit with two beams instead of three. Quantity doesn't do it.


Star Wars VII. Colorful Jedi swords.
Star Wars VII. Colorful Jedi swords. But that started with Star Wars I, didn't it?


The trailers also suggest that there is a new couple of siblings, a boy and a girl, in whom the force is strong. And of course it's the old battle between good and evil, surely about who should rule the universe. There are odd creatures, deserts, snowscapes, and lots of explosions. What's new?

       The only thing remaining the same for a good reason is the entry into hyperspace. That would be unlikely to change appearance.


Star Wars VII. Same old hyperspace.
Star Wars VII. Same old hyperspace.


People will still have fun at the movies, but probably mainly for nostalgic reasons. And it's just as probable that this was the intention with this episode. A mix of leftovers, add a few spices, and boil.

       Sure, I will see it too, one of these days. I'm in no hurry, though. I would even be more interested in a sincere remake of the first trilogy. That would also be more honest.


Star Wars VII. Chewbacca and Han Solo.
Star Wars VII. Chewbacca and Han Solo looking the same as before (as much as can be expected of Harrison Ford after all these years.


But if they were to give episodes VII to IX a chance, they would have to dare to stretch it, reinvent, and take off to unknown territories – unfolding a story that would surprise us. That would be a renewal, instead of a badly camouflaged rerun.


Star Wars VII stormtroopers.
Star Wars VII stormtroopers, looking the same as always.


On the other hand, I'm far from the target audience. When the first Star Wars movie premiered in 1977, I was no longer a kid, but 23. I enjoyed it, but that was most of all because it played on so many things from Japanese martial arts, budo.

       I had been training aikido passionately for a few years, so I could really dig those references – the force, the two-handed swords and how they were handled, the old master guiding his student impatiently, and so on. So budo. But the other ingredients of the first Star Wars trilogy didn't do that much to me.

       Maybe I missed it with just a few years. Had I been in my teens, it might have become more of a mania. Well, there are plenty of those, so Star Wars VII – The Force Awakens will do fine, whatever I say.


Stefan Stenudd
November, 2015




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