I remember watching Star Wars when I was really young. I mean days of VCR and no Internet young. My parents had recorded the original Star Wars trilogy off some channel that was showing it, and for years that was my only copy. It wasn’t until we bought the trilogy at Sam’s Club that I was able to watch it without fast forwarding through commercials. Not long after, I would see the Special Editions in theaters. Unlike many fans, these became the definitive versions of the movies for me. DON’T JUDGE ME. I never had a chance to see the originals on a big screen.
I was only in fourth grade when The Phantom Menace came out. This movie was clearly geared for moviegoers my age, because, back then, I didn’t have a problem with Jar Jar or young Anakin. That came later.
Still, I never hated the prequels as much as some of you. Inferior than the originals? Of course. But they looked fantastic, the action was solid, and there were even some memorable lines. I got the action figures I played Super Bombad Racing. I grew up with the prequels. I looked forward to the next one. My friend quoted the end of Revenge of the Sith every day in the school cafeteria.
We didn’t have the MCU and the variety of quality films that today’s generation has. There was only one X-Men film and one Spiderman film by the time Attack of the Clones came out. Star Wars was THE franchise. And yes, the prequels were much better received at the time they were released. They just didn’t hold up well, mainly because its fans got older and became better critics.
The Force Awakens got everything right because it looked back to the original trilogy. It was based off those classics, some might argue too much. Even with increased competition at the cinema, Star Wars still rules. I’m one of those people that saw it three times in theaters. (Note: I saw Phantom Menace three times in 1999 as well…DON’T JUDGE ME.)
Out of all my loves, Star Wars has probably been in my life the longest. I’m not as obsessed with it as, say, Kingdom Hearts. I didn’t read all the Extended Universe novels, or play all the games. (That actually turned out to be a good decision, given so much of it is no longer canon.) Yet it’s undoubtedly influenced me and how I tell stories. It certainly had an effect on my upcoming novel.
What is it about trios? Three central characters, often two guys and a girl, make up the central core of so many stories. Luke, Leia, Han. Rey, Finn, Poe. Sora, Riku, Kairi. Harry, Ron, Hermione. Yes, there will be three main characters in my story. The prequel trilogy doesn’t really work in this regard though. Anakin and Obi-Wan, sure. But who’s the third. Padme, I suppose, but she’s placed on the fringes of the main narrative. Maybe Qui-Gon in Episode One. Padme works for Episode II. But Episode III? Yoda? Mace Windu? Palpatine? The fact that it’s rotating trio also isn’t as satisfying. I read that Rey, Finn, and Poe weren’t originally going to be the focus of Episode VIII, and only became so because of the audiences response. It’s kinda ridiculous that it wasn’t the original plan. If the prequels proved anything, it’s that the central trio is vital.
Star Wars takes you to different worlds. Starting off on the desert planet of Tatooine, we follow the characters to a space station, an ice world, a swamp planet, a city in the clouds, etc. And that’s just a few in the first three movies. There are a variety of breathtaking landscapes and visually-stunning characters throughout all seven movies. The journey and the spectacle are all worth the trip to this galaxy far, far away.
No, my novel is not set in space. It doesn’t contain space ships. But as Star Wars was inspired by other works, it also has inspired me. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t love Star Wars, and Disney will make sure that it never becomes just a memory.