Skipping to Conclusions: Star Wars Episode VII

In geekdom, we see a lot of teasers. Sometimes it’s just an image or the name of a creator, other times it’s a trailer or a simple tag line. Whatever it is, it’s meant to get a reaction from you and start a discussion. Inspired by the anticipation and buzz caused by these teasers, we at Fantastic Fangirls present Skipping to Conclusions in which we speculate about the comics, movies, TV shows, or whatever we’re excited about but hasn’t come out yet.


Last week the internet broke in half–it was as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror. Disney announced they were buying Lucasfilm for over $4 billion in cash and stock, and further, that in 2015 audiences would see the next chapter in the much-loved and revered Star Wars saga.

a photograph of George Lucas with Mickey Mouse and a Mouse-Eared R2D2

So this week, Ali and Anika are Skipping along together to Conclusions about Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VII.

What do you think about Stars Wars movies being made without George Lucas? Are you excited or nervous about Disney taking control?

ANIKA

First, I have to give the same disclaimer I did when Disney bought Marvel: I love Disney, I’ve always loved Disney, and if they took over the whole world, I’d be pretty okay with it. That out of the way, I am SO EXCITED. Star Wars is an important part of my childhood and my life. If my daughter had been born a son there is a very strong likelihood that she would be named “Anakin” because I have been in love with Darth Vader since I was seven years old. So this (as with Marvel before) is a marriage of two of my favorite things and I couldn’t be happier.

a still from the film Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith featuring Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker and his droid R2D2

As for George Lucas, I’ve always considered him a visionary, a great storyteller, and a horrible director. And in terms of the prequels at least, a mediocre producer. He has wonderful ideas, but his execution is lacking. A lot. Let me explain my vision of George by misquoting Han Solo:

“Good with remotes is one thing. Good with the living? That’s something else.”

So, it’s my opinion that relegating Lucas to an advisory position is The Best Thing to happen to Star Wars since he decided not to direct The Empire Strikes Back.

ALI

While most everyone is in agreement that the original Star Wars trilogy is the most awesome thing in several galaxies, the Prequels are somewhat polarizing. And I think that’s down to Lucas. Like, Anika said, I think he’s got these brilliant ideas for the epic story he’s been telling for like 40 years, but I’m glad to see this change hands. I think the franchise desperately needed a fresh set of eyes to really be able to tell this story to a new generation.

So what do I think about Disney being that fresh set of eyes? I’m mostly OK with this. I like Disney. I think, as an organization, they’re committed to telling stories that everyone can enjoy. And they’re good at it. Yes, they’ve had a few mis-steps. Sometimes I think they try to pander to too broad an audience. And I’m more than a little frightened by how they’ll handle the marketing for the new Star Wars films after the fiasco that was John Carter (not of Mars). But the bottom line is I think Star Wars is in very capable hands.

Also, now Leia is a Disney Princess!

fanart of Disney Princesses meeting Leia


What writers, directors, and/or producers would you like to see working on this new trilogy?

ANIKA

Kathleen Kennedy is staying on and taking over at Lucasfilm and she will run it as a division of the Walt Disney Studios. Kennedy is one of Steven Spielberg’s main collaborators and has an impressive filmography as producer, particularly as a woman. So that’s good.

For director, I’d nominate Alfonso Cuaron because Prisoner of Azkaban changed the course of the Harry Potter films, and I credit him with taking that franchise from okay films based on great books to great films. And with turning Emma Watson, and especially Daniel Radcliffe, into actors. He has proven he can create a beautiful film for children (A Little Princess), adults (Children of Men), or both (Harry Potter), but he is not so famous or accomplished that he will be given free reign. Free reign is a BAD thing (see: George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Chris Nolan). Cuaron would be a surprising choice to direct Star Wars and I think that would be a benefit.

a photograph of Cuaron directing Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint on the set of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I also think J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek was the perfect blend of nostalgia and new life and I wouldn’t mind seeing him do the same with Star Wars. I do not want Joss Whedon or Peter Jackson anywhere near this project.

ALI

Kathleen Kennedy is really a prolific producer with an amazing resume. I think, since she’s worked so closely with Spielberg and Lucas before, she’ll be able to keep the new Star Wars grounded in the original world created by Lucas. But I think she needs to bring in a team very different to really make this project something special and not just the same old thing.

It could be because Saga has been sort of compared to Star Wars (and is so insanely, unbelievably fantastic that it’s not even fair) but I would LOVE to see a script by for Episode VII by Brian K. Vaughan. One of his biggest strengths is taking these big, fantastical concepts and grounding them with personal stories. His dialogue is snappy and witty, but still feels natural and honest. His characters are relatable and endearing, no matter what insane events they’re being out through.

That for me is what Star Wars is really about. The epic journey of a farm boy trying to make sense of who he is and how to find his place in a grand, sweeping universe.

For the director, I think Disney already has the perfect candidate: Brad Bird. I know that the majority of Bird’s work is in animation. But can you honestly tell me, the creative mind behind movies like The Incredibles, Up and Iron Giant wouldn’t be fantastic at introducing Star Wars to a new audience?! Like Vaughan, his movies tell smaller, personal stories on a epic and fantastical scale. They’re also so very full of heart. Something I believe the new chapter of this classic franchise so desperately needs.

a photograph of director Brad Bird on set

Bird’s movies are also full of action and adventure. He knows, the way Spielberg and Lucas knew in the beginning of their careers, how to capture that fun and wonderful pulp sensibility and create something for everyone to enjoy. And he does it so effortlessly that it never feels forced.


What about the plot? Where do you think the continuing story should pick up? What characters should appear?

ANIKA

Jaina Solo is identical to the character I made up in my head when I was twelve and my main goal in life was to be in the Star Wars sequels. The twin daughter of Han and Leia who grows up to be a kick ass pilot. To be fair, I resembled Carrie Fisher enough for this to be plausible — and still do, older Leia open casting call I am THERE. Anyway, I don’t need the new films to be about the next generation of Skywalker kids but I would love it. I’ve read maybe 50% of the Extended Universe books and comics (I’m not over the death of Anakin Solo).

But I know Lucas has his own next trilogy outlined and I want to see that even if there are no Skywalker kids, EU-ish or otherwise. But that said…Han and Leia HAVE to have kids/twins, though, right? I would be lying if I said I’d be completely okay with no Little Solos at all.

a still from the film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Han and Leia embracing in the Ewok Village

ALI

Remember that “epic journey of a farm boy trying to make sense of who he is and how to find his place in a grand, sweeping universe” thing I just said? I meant that for both the Original Movies and the Prequels. And I think the same goes for this new trilogy… well, mostly. I think it would add a nice symmetry to the Star Wars saga as a whole, and I think it’s a formula that really works with audiences. But instead of the farm boy, I’d like it to be Jaina Solo (and her twin brother and the other Skywalker and Solo kids). I’d start the movies off with Jaina in her late teens/early twenties, struggling with the legacy of being Leia’s daughter and Luke’s niece. It can be a compelling story and something I’d love to watch.

AND! You can get Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford to cameo as older Luke, Leia and Han. Which would be awesome.

an image of many illustrations of the EU character Jaina Solo


So how about you guys? What are you predictions for Star Wars: Episode VII?

  • Charles Lee

    Very good ideas; Brad Bird would be a great choice. Hopefully he won’t be working on any Pixar films at the time. If that’s the case, he can direct/co-write the film.

    (would Michael Giacchino do the music, or have it stick with John Williams?)

  • DaveCarr

    I like all of these. I’m only concerned that the Franchise’s highly generous inclination to license things to fandom is in jeopardy.

  • http://twitter.com/GloryisBen Gabby Ross (@GloryisBen)

    Awesome article! :)

    Anika — I’m curious about the two Peter Jackson jabs in your sections… What is it about? LotR?

  • Anika

    Gabby: Haha, ‘jabs’, now I feel badly. But here it is: have you seen his King Kong? It is about an hour too long for no reason. I love every single actor and even every single performance and yet, it is mind numbing. His sense of pacing bewilders me. The climax of The Two Towers makes me cringe and rage at once (I want to punch those talking trees every time they appear on screen) and The Return of the King has like 6 endings. It’s personal preference but I can’t stand his direction. The fact that The Hobbit is three movies… I can’t.

  • http://twitter.com/GloryisBen Gabby Ross (@GloryisBen)

    THREE MOVIES?

    I was unaware of that. Please pardon the caps.

    Ok, I see where you were getting at now! The six endings part even *I* felt in the theaters. Though the Ents are my bros so I absolutely loved the Two Towers.