Saturday, January 24, 2015

Sequel Madness

This post is pretty late to the party. I hope it is fashionably late, rather than rudely so. In any event, perhaps timeliness is the enemy of judiciousness; if so, the timing seems perfect.

To wit: I asked a former student of mine, who is a fan of the Star Wars saga, the following question about the upcoming sequels: While some people are discussing the possibility that there will be female stormtroopers in the films, why are there going to be stormtroopers of any kind, granted that the Galactic Empire was defeated at the end of Episode VI?

My student's guess, which had also occurred to me, is that the writers will postulate the continued existence of other, undefeated Imperial commanders and forces, who will then furnish suitably Imperial foes (stormtroopers included) for our still plucky (?) rebels to struggle with. This, of course, would follow the precedent set by some of the Expanded Universe material generated in the wake of Episodes IV-VI.

My underlying concern is that the new films are just going to have the protagonists re-fight the same fights as in Episodes I-VI in an unconvincing and ultimately uninteresting fashion. Why can't the new films explore something genuinely new in this interesting and rich universe? Does it always have to be about stormtroopers and Darth Vader?

Imagine, for instance, the new problems and conflicts that could emerge when the Rebels become the new establishment, and when they attempt to establish a New Republic with a new constitution, new laws, and new policies. Granted, given the mythology of the setting, one would suspect some role to be played by the Dark Side in whichever conflicts become salient, but this by no means entails continued struggle against the Empire and its minions.

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