The other day when the new Star Wars trailer hit, I almost said some snarky things on social media but held back. First, I didn’t want to shit on anyone’s enthusiasm. Second, my stance on Star Wars can’t be summed up in 140 characters. Hence this bit of blogging. For clarity’s sake, let me point out that I generally avoid trailers because I prefer to go into movies knowing as little about them as possible. I like the experience to wash over me. I thus skipped the trailer, though of course I have not been able to avoid the chatter and the stills.
I remember quite clearly when the first trailer for Star Wars, Episode I came out. I was working at Wizards of the Coast and basically all of R&D stopped working, gathered around computer screens, and watched it. And people were jazzed about it. “I felt like I was 8 years old again,” was a common refrain. It seemed like the old Star Wars was going to come back. For my part, I was cautiously enthusiastic. I hoped the prequels would be good. The original movies had been an important part of my childhood. I saw Star Wars in the theater 13 times in 1977. (In retrospect, I wish I had spent 1977 seeing The Clash, The Damned, The Avengers, the The Saints, and other first gen punk bands, but I was 8 years old so that was pretty unlikely.)
You, of course, know how this story goes. They made some nice trailers but the prequels were fucking awful. Just absolute dreck that killed most of my enthusiasm for Star Wars. The positive feelings I retained were solely due to BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic video game, which was terrific and felt way more Star Wars than any of the new movies. Ironically, it was during this period that I got to work on Star Wars miniatures at Wizards of the Coast and visit Skywalker Ranch on two occasions. The second time was to read the script of Episode 2 while it was in production (I hoped to make a Star Wars space combat minis game but that never happened). The script was a mess and I actually asked the Lucas licensing people about a major story point that made no goddamn sense. They were sure George would “fix it.” He didn’t.
Anyway, those three movies were like kicks in the face and I know I was not alone in feeling that way. So after that, I’m going to take a lot more convincing. As a rational person, there is one thing that would change my mind: evidence. My basic plan is to avoid all the hype and just wait until the new movie comes out. No two minute trailer can undo those prequels. If reviews are actually good, I will go see it. If it’s the prequels all over again, I will not.
The one positive thing I can say at this juncture is that I’m happy that two of my friends (Cecil Castellucci and Chuck Wendig) are getting to write Star Wars novels. Cecil has been a huge fan as long as I’ve know her (we met in 1987 at college) and I know getting to write a Princess Leia novel is a dream come true for her. So kudos, writer pals! I hope your stories are 100% awesome and 0% Jar Jar.