The team behind the latest addition in the Star Wars series -Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens- released a making-of reel during Comic-Con a few days ago - which triggered something. At least with me. The original Star Wars series are, as we all know, a bit of a landmark in cinema history. You may like them, or you may not - those films left their mark and shaped at least a part of the cinema landscape of today.
Then came Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace in the summer of 1999. Of course I lined up and went to see it in cinema's. It even was something of a thing for the cinema itself, it was their first public digital projection screening. An yes, in the spirit of the moment we probably all loved it at that point in time. But that joy pretty soon faded I believe. I can't clearly remember how that all went down. But that's not what this is about right now.
The other prequel-sequels, Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), and Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) were the same. Although the enthousiasm had worn off after the first film in this new trilogy. There was still hope that these would be better. They were not. But at least this new trilogy was consistant on that front.
Something was missing from those movies: the magic and/or maybe the original spirit that drove the original trilogy. The element that made you believe it the stories, that took you along into the stories. Take for example the character Jar-Jar Binks - he was clearly added to story for comic relief. But the real relief came to most viewers when he went off-screen. He just wasn't real enough, he was there because he could be there. They were capable (or so the creators thought) of creating a digitally animated character within the main cast without him/her standing out. They were so wrong, and as with so many digitally animated characters - they overdid it. Jar-Jar became one of the (if not the) most annoying and loathed characters in science fiction cinema history. Way to go.
We all still had our stomachs full with Revenge of the Sith, when the rumours started spreading that another trilogy was being planned. To make matters worse - none other than Disney had scouped up LucasFilm, Ltd. in 2012. The fate of the Star Wars series didn't seem to end too well.
Enter the man of the Mystery Box: Jeffrey Jacob 'J.J.' Abrams.
In my personal view - that man has quite the talent. It seems he's got the ability to revigorate a classic film series like no other. Recently he gave the Star Trek a magnificant comeback with, well, Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013). Those new films looked authentic, but yet completely renewed (in a good way, if you'd ask me). And yes, of course there will be people who'll say its blasphemy to put your hands on the legacy that is Star Trek. Those puritans will always be there, and right so. But JJ managed to respect the original films in his re-imagining.
I'm not saying that this 'll be a guarantuee that Star Wars VII will be any good. But I do believe it will be. From what I can gather from the reels we've seen so far - he's respecting the old trilogy. Keeping true to their spirit and form even (through old-skool techniques). I'm hoping he'll live up to the expectations he's creating.
When I walk into the cinema coming December - my deep wish is that I can stare at the screen, bewondered of the new worlds we haven't seen and feel that untouchable magic that the original series brought us. Like Anthony Daniels in the photo above, as he wanders about the set of (I believe, correct me if I'm wrong) the Millenium Falcon.
Embedded below is the making-of-reel which triggered this whole post. Also like to point out that Jaby Koay was absolutely right in his 'reaction video' of this making of reel: this actually made me feel incredibly happy as a fan of the series, and incredibly sad that I'm not a part of this as a maker.