Episode VII and the Death of Luke Skywalker

259px-LukeSkywalkerNEGTCLet’s face it and bring it out into the open now. History is going to repeat itself and Episode VII is going to bring us the death of Luke Skywalker. Shall we review? In Episode IV we see the death of the Force-using mentor to the protagonist (Ben’s death to Luke as the hero). In Episode I we also have the death of the Force-using mentor to the supposed hero or heroes (Qui-Gon Jinn to Obi-Wan and Anakin as the heroes). This is a classic move that enables the up and coming hero to actually become the hero. In each instance the Force-using mentor died at the hands of a Sith opponent and if you read the roundtable discussion on who we think the antagonists for the ST will be we pretty much agreed that a Star Wars movie is not a Star Wars movie without the clash of the red lightsaber with a variety of different colored lightsabers.

I see no reason why Episode VII won’t follow along the same lines to begin the hard journey for the next set of Jedi. If we toss out the Expanded Universe and for those that do read it we realize that the majority of fans out there are movie fans then Luke Skywalker is the only Force user (technically we’ve never seen Leia use the Force) and it makes the most sense for the mentor death to be him. From a shock value standpoint it would also be the biggest shock to the viewers. I remember how I felt when Obi-Wan Kenobi “died”. Hearing his voice tell Luke to run did little to console me while watching the movie for the first time.

337px-SoloTwins_EGttFIn order for the death of Luke Skywalker to be a viable option for Episode VII the creators need to be ready with a likeable, believable second mentor to fill the hole caused by the death of Luke Skywalker. This would actually be a good fit for several Expanded Universe characters to be included or even a child of Han and Leia (provided that the movies go along with them being together still). Luke was able to keep training because he was told to go to Dagobah where he found Yoda. Anakin was able to train because Obi-Wan Kenobi was there to step into the mentor role. The next generation of Jedi is going to be no different.

They’ll need the freedom to get into their own sorts of trouble and I firmly believe one of the failings of the Expanded Universe in developing new Jedi is that Luke Skywalker is always there looming over the characters and it is difficult to believe, in universe, that the most powerful man in the galaxy wouldn’t go deal with the problem himself. I don’t want to see the OT all over again, I want to see new characters and I believe in order to get that Skywalker has got to go. With the rumored time jump for Episode VII and the previous history of using older adult Jedi in the Clone Wars and the Prequels there needs to be a good reason for Luke to not be the one out saving the galaxy. Mark Hamill himself said he would like to play an “Obi-Wan type of role”. In the EU we make jokes that started with 60 is the new 40 and continued on with 80 is the new 40. I don’t want to see the ST make the same mistakes as the EU and attempt to think this will be believable for the fans. Or even that this is what the fans want. This isn’t what the fans want, right?

What better way for the new antagonists to be taken as a serious threat than to off the Jedi who took down Darth Vader and the Emperor? I am having a hard time believing they are going to be able to create a villain that I will hate as much or more than the Emperor. However, if they had said villain take out Luke that would probably do it for me. I need that. I need to hate the villains in the movies. I love that part about books and movies. I’m pretty sure the reason I still don’t like the Empire is because of the burned bodies of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. 640px-X-wing_SWGTCGStar Wars is violent. Wars bring death and destruction. I expect nothing less from Episode VII.

Disney is excited about the Star Wars franchise and they are already hinting that these movies are going to spawn side movies. They need to have young, intriguing and compelling characters to further the franchise with. We need to move past the Big 3 and I believe this will start with the death of Luke.

Everything Disney Needs to Know, it Can Learn from I, Jedi


Michael Stackpole’s novel I, Jedi has many qualities and ideas that Disney can learn from for the Sequel Trilogy. For those that know me it should come as no surprise that I am writing this article. Corran Horn is one of my favorite characters in Star Wars and part of the reason for that is what I experienced while reading this book. Stackpole wrote a book where he wasn’t afraid to be different, he correctly used a wide array of characters, his inclusion of romance and put together a fantastic journey for the reader to follow along with.

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Different

On the surface Stackpole’s main character, Corran Horn, sounds a lot like Luke Skywalker. Corran is an excellent fighter pilot in training to become a Jedi. However, as Horn goes through training we discover that he lacks one of the most basic and most utilized force powers we see from the movie Jedi, telekinesis. On screen this would make for some less than spectacular fight scenes, but I greatly enjoy the concept of a Jedi with a handicap. It was refreshing to see how Stackpole wove this lack of skill into the story and how Corran was able to overcome his inability to do telekinesis. Disney should develop unique Jedi for the ST. Read More

Antagonism: The Next Generation

Should the Empire still be the primary antagonists of the Sequel Trilogy, or can the film saga move on and still remain relevant? What can we learn from the Expanded Universe about this?

Mike: While I’ve always been quick to point out how crazy it is to believe that the entire Galactic Empire just folded their cards and went home after Endor, I’m on the fence about whether they should remain the villains of a bona fide Episode VII. On the one hand, I think the New Jedi Order series is hands-down the closest the EU has come thus far to giving us a Sequel Trilogy in terms of tone, and something as wholly different as the Yuuzhan Vong would be awesome on the big screen and would go a long way toward rejuvenating what’s bound to appear to some as a tired, extraneous post-Return of the Jedi status quo, but on the other hand, George Lucas really did tie his story up in a nice little bow there.

The question, really, isn’t do the films need the Empire, it’s do the films need Palpatine? Even Lucas has admitted that if he were to have done sequels himself, Dark Empire—wherein the Emperor returns in a cloned body—came the closest to what he’d have come up with. In fact, given that Michael Arndt is ostensibly working from Lucas’ own outline, it’s entirely possible that a reborn Palpatine will indeed be what we end up with.

I don’t know if we need to go that far, but I can see the argument that the threat has to come from Palpatine in some direct way—maybe a cult of rabid non-Sith followers sowing dissent, maybe even a crazed and manipulated Jedi like Joruus C’Baoth. If the Prequels were about the Republic crumbling from within, and the Classics were about the ideals of the Republic rising anew, then the Sequels need to be about demonstrating that new Republic’s fortitude, and most importantly, showing that it—and our heroes—have learned the lessons of the Prequels and created something better, in terms of both the government and the Jedi Order. Anything that doesn’t deliberately and aggressively make that case—whether it’s more Sith, Imperial remnants, or an alien invasion—won’t truly feel like the same story. Jay, am I right?

Read More

The Future of the Female Star Wars Fan

Sitting in the movie theater in May 2005, I was convinced that was the last time I would ever see new Star Wars live action material on the big screen.  George Lucas was clear that Star Wars was about Anakin Skywalker’s story and thus it was over for him as far as movies were concerned. After leaving the theater I admit to being disappointed for a variety of reasons. The biggest one was the way Padmé was written in the movie and how a strong female character was replaced with someone unrecognizable. Don’t get me wrong, I adored the movie and the action and I classify it as one of my favorites from the series, but it could have been hands down my favorite had Padmé’s storyline been handled a bit differently.

Fast forward to 2012 and the announcement that Disney is buying Star Wars. The news could not have been better for the female Star Wars fan. Over the past few years Disney has been on a woman empowerment kick with their movies. As a nanny I am subjected to seeing Disney movies rather frequently and sometimes repeatedly. For those who haven’t seen some of these movies I would look at the following: Rapunzel in Rapunzel, who throughout most of her journey is the one getting the man out of trouble, The Princess and the Frog which saw Tiana embarking on a journey to save Prince Naveen, and most recently Brave which featured a princess who refuses to be a prize to be won and goes on an adventure with her own skills and bravery. This trend of the Disney princess being more than a damsel in distress is surely going to be carried over into Star Wars.

The current information that we have about Episode VII casting suggests that we will see some strong females.

“Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit.”

“A second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and fit.”

The words “independent” and “tough” are what I like to see when discussions are centering on female choices for a character and I believe these are the types of characters that Disney has been most interested in portraying. These characters might not be the main cast. I get that but I’m hopeful that female fans could finally be getting the story they have been after for a long time.

One can’t discuss Episode VII without also discussing the important figures we already know about who will influence the story and direction of the film. J.J. Abrams has experience in strong female leads. His series Alias, starring Jennifer Garner as a female spy who uses brains and brawn to take down an international spy agency ran for 5 seasons. His series Felicity, which ran for 4 seasons, starring Keri Russell, chronicled the journey of a young woman coming into her own. Both showcase Abrams’ ability to create and use strong females in successful stories.

Michael Arndt’s involvement is also a hopeful sign for female fans looking for a strong heroine. He penned Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, a story about a strong heroine who believes she is sacrificing herself for her younger sister. In the book by Suzanne Collins, Katniss is written as an unlikeable heroine who believes she can do anything to save someone who is a better person than she is. Katniss drags this person through seemingly impossible situations and is the ultimate survivor. I am optimistic that Arndt will take what he learned from working with Katniss and apply some of that to the females in Episode VII; though I am reserving judgment on Arndt until November when I can see for myself how he handles Katniss and her story.

George Lucas is the third person directly impacting the story for Episode VII and I consider him a bit of a loose cannon. He favors male-centric stories (Star Wars and Indiana Jones are examples) but he has created a strong female character before in Princess Leia. Yes she had to be rescued at one point (what Princess hasn’t?) but it was because of her strength of character and her determination to do what is right even at the risk of personal harm that put her into that spot in the first place. Princess Leia paved the way for the female heroes of today.  We see Leia constantly putting herself in danger and using her brains as well as strength to get herself out of danger. She fired blasters, ran with the troops on the front lines during the Battle of Endor and knowingly entered the lair of Jabba the Hutt to rescue her scoundrel.

As a female fan I want to see a heroine that I can point to and say to my niece, “See, you don’t need a prince to come rescue you.  You can be strong and do it yourself!” I am optimistic that the stars have aligned and Star Wars Episode VII is going to give me that. Look for a revisit of this topic in November after I get to see how Arndt handles Catching Fire.