Arts and Entertainment

Will the new Star Wars belong in the galaxy?

After viewing the newly released Star Wars trailer, a peppy young lad who thinks he’s a Star Wars fan remarked to me: “that guy [who’s name by the way is Harrison Ford] looks old.” Perhaps, but after all he is Harrison Ford. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will keep the world waiting until its wide…
<a href="" target="_self">Robert Mack</a>

Robert Mack

November 18, 2015

After viewing the newly released Star Wars trailer, a peppy young lad who thinks he’s a Star Wars fan remarked to me: “that guy [who’s name by the way is Harrison Ford] looks old.” Perhaps, but after all he is Harrison Ford.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will keep the world waiting until its wide release on December 18.

We shall come back to the wannabe die hard’s above statement later. However, the bottom line for America is that this film should be understood as the significant event that it is.

As of press time, exact plot information about the film hasn’t been released, only that the film will be set after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

The young generation merges with the old. Star Trek-reboot director J.J. Abrams is helming the project with assistance from his company, Bad Robot Productions. Lucasfilm is the movie’s other producer.

Abrams should produce a well-received update of the original film franchise, and the riveting new trailer promises a great ride. On a grand-scale, the trailer is visually and emotionally engaging while promising plenty of fantastic action sequences. The leads, a black man and a woman (a sign of the times), appear individualistic, confident, and above the fray. They appear to question what is not right, the unknown, and the should-be-known – as well they should in the military-oriented dystopia they seem to inhabit. Powerful images of Nazi or terrorist-like warriors reinforce a renewed sense of urgency; the franchise may be reinventing itself.

The film will star returning icons Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley have been sent by an eager young generation to carry the franchise into the future. Noted actor Max Von Sydow will also have something to do with it, and mastermind creator George Lucas will apparently receive some vague credit as a creative consultant. John Williams, the legendary 83-year old film composer, will return to work his signature symphonic magic.

This film is significant, not simply for film buffs, young and old, but also “told-you-soers” who were on to George Lucas from the beginning. Nobody should have taken seriously Lucas’ multi-decade denial of the Star Wars VII’s release. This is Star Wars, perhaps the greatest cinematic phenomenon of the 20th century.

Even if George Lucas really didn’t think he’d make another movie, Hollywood must’ve. They’re too smart! Allowing the Star Wars film franchise to end in 2005 (the year of infamous cinematic catastrophes like Bewitched and The Making of Bewitched) would have signaled California’s march into a state of dystopia.

Hollywood relinquishing blockbuster potential and deciding to finally listen to Harvard “intellectuals” and produce a cacophony of mildly insightful but impoverishing “documentaries” is a frightening thought. Not unless we’re in some twilight zone universe would the general public ever go for that. Something equally disturbing might be the ascendance of the general public’s preference of Star Trek’s pop-philosophical discussions or Carl Sagan’s soothing vocal characteristics instead of obsessing about the “Force.”

Indeed, I love the Starship Enterprise dearly, but the “Force” is simply too cool a phrase. I’m afraid Star Trek fandom will forever be monopolized by a mildly amusing group of geeks who call themselves “Trekkies.” I’m not complaining, merely stating a fact. Indeed, the future for Star Wars is likely to be bright.

But I digress. Returning to our Nietzschean innocent (the kid), it must first be understood that twenty years ago, no one would’ve call Indiana Jones or Han Solo an “old man.” Granted, back then Harrison Ford was a lot closer to being a spring chicken than now. But the root of the problem is a general lack of what’s called historical consciousness. A fact: adjusted for inflation, the original Star Wars (1977) is the third highest grossing film ever made. How many 70s movies do you know are still manifested in popular children’s toys and a widely viewed assortment of television shows and other media? Even the seemingly gloomiest of children cannot tame their desire for alluring ten-dollar Star Wars merchandise. The franchise deserves recognition as the piece of living history that it is. It might help if education “experts” would incorporate more about the importance of such landmark films into their deteriorating social studies curriculums.

That’ll happen.

So, I’ve supported my argument with evidence (up to date evidence at that) and proved the deeper significance of the franchise. My recommendation to the hasty little lad I mentioned earlier is to call Mr. Ford and each of his almost equally elderly costars “distinguished looking.”

The Star Wars franchise is a breathing remnant of American culture’s fascination with heroes: people we can look up to, people laboring to distinguish between right and wrong and who act with integrity to preserve the right. Hopefully, the new film doesn’t fail to deliver in that respect.

I expect Abrams, Lucas, Williams, the “distinguished” actors and the ripe newbies to put on a spanking good show. My recommendation is that you drop everything you’re doing on December 18th (or any of the closely following days) and proceed to celebrate a true cultural phenomenon.

This article was article was originally published in the Nov 13, 2015 issue of The Mainsheet, a publication of Chadwick School in Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif.