I told myself I wouldn’t do it. I promised myself I’d ignore all information about the new J.J. Abrams Star Wars movie until the day when I could sit down in a movie theater and take it all in. I wanted to build the anticipation as much as possible and let everything in the movie surprise and excite me all at once.
Then they released a second trailer for The Force Awakens and I watched it immediately. Without a second thought. The force is weak within me. The dark side pulled me in.
While it was a great trailer, I still regret having watched it. See, the problem with the new Star Wars movie is that it has to be everything to everyone. There are such high hopes. And while I have faith that it will be an amazing movie, there’s always going to be a let down when expectation are so high. The unconfirmed dreams will always be a little bit brighter than anything that can be produced by human hands.
But I still have unrealistic hopes all the same! Here’s a list of all the things I hope for in an idealized version of The Force Awakens:
1. Cool New Spaceships
One of the things I got the most pumped about in the first Force Awakens trailer was seeing X-wings and the Millennium Falcon in a movie made with modern technology. The Star destroyer. The Tie Fighter. The B-wing. All of these are iconic ships that captured my imagination when I was a kid. But I don’t remember any spaceship from the prequels being very cool at all. How did this happen? Was it just because I saw those movies as an adult? I’m hoping The Force Awakens has a few new ships that are as iconic as the original bunch.
2. Jedi as Untrusted Mystics
One of my favorite aspects of the Expanded Universe books was Luke’s struggle to rebuild the Jedi Order. The entire universe, and especially the government of the New Republic, didn’t trust the Jedi after Darth Vader’s tyrannical reign. I hope they continue to paint the Jedi as mysterious and powerful outsiders who are feared by the masses. After all, we don’t want to root for the establishment. We want to root for the underdogs and the rebels.
3. Answers about Balancing the Force
Both Anakin and Luke Skywalker were prophesied to bring balance to the Force. What does that mean? If something is balanced, shouldn’t it be equal on both sides? Why was Star Wars always about the Light Side snuffing out the Dark Side if balance is the ideal? Was the strict code of the old Jedi Order too dogmatic in their approach? Will Luke and the new Jedi focus on using and controlling the Dark Side in equal measure? These are extremely nerdy questions I need answered!
4. Kids of the Original Heroes
The Expanded Universe focused heavily on the exploits of Luke, Leia, Han, and the adventures of their entire family. The kids they had became young Jedi who fought at their side. The tension this created did wonders for stories that you knew would always end in a win for the heroes. Perhaps the Light Side will come out on top, but maybe Luke’s son will die to a stray blaster in the process. Or maybe Leia’s daughter will turn to the dark side. Seeing your favorite characters struggle against their worst fears makes for terribly exciting stories.
5. A Female Jedi
While Princess Leia might have been a cool heroine by ’70’s sci-fi standards, she’s not exactly the coolest hero out of the Star Wars bunch. And the Prequels didn’t have any memorable female characters at all. Was anyone a Queen Amidala fan? It seems at least one woman will have a prominent role as a hero in the upcoming movie. But specifically, I really hope we get to see a strong, female Jedi slice some shit with her lightsaber.
6. A Dark Ending
One of the coolest parts of the entire Star Wars franchise is the fact that Empire Strikes Back ends with everything completely fucked. “The Force Awakens” has the luxury of being able to plan for multiple movies from the start. And they know everyone will come see the movies. It’s not like they’re going to be restricted by the reactions of a test audience, right? This means they could end the first movie with everything in complete chaos. Let’s start this delve back into the Star Wars universe with a bang!
7. A Sparse Use of Han, Luke, and Leia
Seeing an old Han Solo is kind of exciting, but it’s also strange. Some people shouldn’t age. Han should have died young, cut down in his prime, his scoundrel luck finally catching up to him. Ultimately I’m glad that the original actors are reprising their roles and I think Mark Hamill as an old Jedi mentor will be especially cool. But I hope they are used for small moments of exposition and nostalgia. I don’t want to watch them as the central characters. I want a whole new story.
8. Fan Service Kept in Check
Keeping fan service out of the movie completely is obviously impossible. The look of the new movie is already one big homage to the originals. And that’s fine. But I hope the movie isn’t a cluster of in-jokes and nods. I know they’ll be there. But I’ll be disappointed if every scene has a reference to the past tucked in for cheap audience approval.
9. Bad Guys with Heart
The dark side has always been played as the most extreme kind of evil. But bad guys without proper motivation or redeeming qualities aren’t very interesting. I hope the dark side in The Force Awakens has philosophical views that challenge the beliefs of the main characters and justify their actions. We all love a bad guy we can relate to.
10. A New Threat
Another lesson that can be learned from the Expanded Universe is that you can only retell the same story so many times before it becomes boring. After a number of books where Luke fought against the remnant of the Empire, the publishers of the Star Wars novels realized they needed a new enemy to make things more exciting. I hope the new movies come to this same realization and create a new and even more menacing threat to the safety of the galaxy.
11. Colorful Backdrop Characters
The original trilogy’s greatest asset was probably its attention to detail. All aspects culminated to make a memorable world. And that world is filled to the brim with interesting characters we only see in small glimpses. Boba Fett, one of the most iconic Star Wars characters ever, was only on screen for a few moments in the original trilogy. Every cantina and spaceport had interesting aliens just hanging out. Let’s see how many new ones they can squeeze into The Force Awakens.
12. Doesn’t Take Itself Too Seriously
Fans probably don’t like to admit it, but George Lucas called Star Wars a kid’s movie right from the beginning. This approach is what filled the movies with silly droids, wacky aliens, and a constant sense of wonder. I hope The Force Awakens keeps a sense of light-hearted adventure and imaginative discovery at it’s heart. If the plot is too gritty or perilous, it will lessen the effect of ominous villains and innocent heroes alike.