Monday, July 15, 2024

Inevitable Star Wars Movies to Come

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Welp. Solo: A Star Wars Story sure exists now.

I’ve got no problem coming right out with it—I hated this movie. I think I can understand finding it to be mostly coherent and fine, or even somewhat fun. But in my case, I just saw the worst tendencies of the Star Wars fandom on the big screen to the extent where it bordered on self-parody. It’s that “let’s fill in every gap and take Han’s rogue-ish coolness at face value” that had me worried about when it was first announced. Then there was the absolutely cringe-worthy way the music would blast the Star Wars theme any time something we recognized from the original trilogy turned up coupled with amateurish, sledge-hammery dialogue. Oh and of course, it had a very literal straw feminist in it for laughs.

Most of all though, it just didn’t have a story to tell. The only discernible character arc was Han perfecting his sideways flying, and the very loose theme of “trust no one, not even this random criminal you met three seconds ago,” didn’t exactly come together or explain Han’s choice to double down on the smuggler life despite being won over by the plight of the “good guys.” (I promise these are exceedingly minor spoilers; we all know where Han ends up, right?)

In terms of a Star Wars film, the somewhat tepid critical reception and underwhelming box office performance suggests others were not quite so enchanted either. Though honestly? I wouldn’t read into it at all. It was the first Disney Star Wars film not to air in December, there were tons of stories about production SNAFUs that were off-putting already, and given the “creative differences” in production, that it was even a somewhat watchable movie was probably considered a success behind the scenes.

Instead, we’ve got the announcement that Disney is boldly continuing their trend of crafting Star Wars stories that cling to the original trilogy with no need to actually invent any story of its own. Next up? The Boba Fett lost years. What did happen in between him getting ice cream with Jango and then being a random bounty hunter who happened to catch Han. And why wouldn’t we want a story that delves into a character whose only actually appeal is being an unknown? I’m crossing my fingers for a buddy-cop with IG-88 (no…seriously), because anything even somewhat serious is going to follow in the uninspired, unnecessary footsteps of Solo.

Which…is almost definitely what we’re getting. It also shows us the way forward into what is undoubtedly in Disney’s pipeline for Star Wars.

Luke’s Elementary Adventures

Slated for December 2021, we finally get the Luke prequel we’ve been dying for! There’s all those plot holes that really need filling in, too. For instance, in A New Hope, Owen tells Luke that he can waste time with his friends later, while later Luke tells Obi-Wan there’s “nothing” for him on Tatooine without his aunt an uncle. So what about those friends of his? Well, get ready for a falling out that he keeps from Owen.

We also get to see him bull’s-eye-ing womp rats in his T-16. But don’t worry…there’s a very good explanation for why he does it! Also, why does Luke claim he “hates” the Empire? Frankly, I’m not sure how we’ve even been able to follow Episode IV without this addition to the canon.

Rogue Two: Bothan Boogaloo

Taking a break from an episodic movie every other year, Disney will instead offer the Rogue One sequel in 2022: Rogue Two, We Should Have Worn Our Seatbelts. We finally learn about the Bothan spies that died to bring the Rebels their information on the second Death Star. Like Rogue One, we get a rag-tag team of force-ish user, rogue-ish character, pilot, generic gunman, and smurfette. Of course, that last role gets filled by Mon Mothma, who becomes very textured when we learn that her parents didn’t approve of her joining the Rebellion.

Prepare yourself for a few CGI cameos with our favorite team of Rebels, and you might just get to see Darth Vader unleashed again!

Episode 3.5: The Rise of Vader

Speaking of which, the following year Disney will continue its success with a two hour movie featuring nothing but Darth Vader swinging his lightsaber around. It takes place in between the prequels and A New Hope, and is more or less the episode of Rebels where Vader is in charge of an oppressive campaign. Naturally, this occurs on Alderaan, and will be hailed as a “stunning war theater.” There’s not exactly a plot or character arc, because no one cares about plot or characters in war movies, we’re told. Vader unleashes force moves we never even thought possible!

Lobot, The Musical

By 2024, Disney is ready to take some serious risks in structure. This one is with a musical, where Donald Glover reprises his role as Lando. While his performance is solid once again, it’s Lobot that takes center stage in this drama. We learn exactly how he came to Cloud City, what his official job description is, and how he earned Lando’s trust.

We also learn in an off-hand comment by the director a week in advance of its airing that he’s gay. It really adds quite a bit of texture to the film.

The Mon Mothma Chronicles: Episodes IV, V, and VI

While Episode 3.5 is sure to have a decent box office performance, Disney finally made the decision to get back into proper numbered episodes by 2025. These numbers being, of course, the original trilogy. However, we finally get it told from Mon Mothma’s point of view.

Where was she during the attack on the first Death Star? Why, off on a mission of course. But don’t worry…she receives live radio updates so that you can relive classic moments like Porkins dying. During the evacuation from Hoth, Mon Mothma was put in charge of one of the transports. And naturally, she did all of this wearing the one outfit she owns.

There’s also plenty of fun winks and nods to Rogue One and Rogue Two, since that’s something we all recognize! Finally, the pieces are clicking together in this cinematic universe.

Solo Solo: A Star Wars Story

Ten years removed from Solo: A Star Wars Story, fans surely get hungry for all those unanswered details. Where does Chewie get his iconic crossbow? Does Han immediately begin smuggling for Jabba (and does he see a YOUNG LUKE in the process)? And let’s not forget the oversight of the white walls of the Falcon, which we know become their iconic yellow/brownish hue by Episode IV.

There’s also a cameo in it you can’t miss, since it sets up Disney’s big 2029 hit…

Kenobi: A Star Wars Story

Yes, mild spoilers, but in Solo Solo, Solo stumbles into Obi Wan on Tatooine. In fact, he even thinks up the name “Ben” for him! Kenobi takes place just after these events.

Now, going into this movie, a lot of fans were concerned of the potential plot hole of Obi Wan not remembering Han (Han being too self-absorbed to have remembered him tracks), but fortunately this movie is where we finally also get the plot hole filled in of why Obi Wan can’t remember R2-D2 and Threepio. It’s head trauma, but how he gets it is the interesting story.

We also get to see exactly why Obi Wan considers Anakin to be the best star pilot in the galaxy, since that was never explicated satisfactorily in the prequels. Since too much time has passed, we get a different young Luke than the one in Luke’s Elementary Adventures, but the new child actor does very well with the role.

And then…

By 2030 Star Wars finally takes a risk with a female director for the Qi’ra sequel, but I wouldn’t want to bore you. But you have to admit, it’s a solid lineup sure to titillate fans for years. And years. And YEARS.

Which one are you most excited for?

Images courtesy of LucasFilm and Disney

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