Stars Wars fans across the world are rejoicing after the casting for the upcoming Episode VII was finally confirmed yesterday.
The line-up included the original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, who are set to reprise their roles as Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker respectively. There are also the Star Wars newbies Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, who will be winning over a new generation of fans to the space opera.
While it is exciting news that the saga didn’t die with Padmé or the Clone Wars or Darth Vader, depending on which chronology you’re going by, I’m cynical about the new films. It is a multi-million pound franchise, after all, complete with a lucrative merchandising and spin-off deals. People were understandably sceptical when it was announced that George Lucas would be selling off Star Wars to Disney.
The question is: will it actually be any good? Movie franchises usually leave me dismayed because the primary goal of getting bums on cinema seats. There’s also the unsubtle ploy of splitting the final segment of a film into two to ensure audiences return for the last leg of the journey.
Then there is the hype and the build-up which leads to the inevitable disappointment. Star Trek Into Darkness – another Abrams reboot - left me angry. Despite the stellar cast and the special effects, there was hammy acting and it felt facile; there wasn’t enough darkness.
When done well, audiences don’t mind burning a hole in their wallet. But when done badly, it leaves one wanting to hurl their original 1977 R2D2 figurine at the screen and screaming “Noooo!” - a bit like Anakin Skywalker’s unintentionally risible reaction to the death of his beloved.
But who knows, perhaps the original cast can recreate some of the magic that was lost in the most recent films? Harrison Ford has got surlier over the years and to see him as an older, grumpier version of Han Solo would be marvellous. Carrie Fisher can give a fresh and more complex take on Princess Leia (leaving the leather and metal bikinis to one side).
Undoubtedly, seeing Adam Driver take on a dark villain, rumoured to be ‘in the vein’ of Darth Vader will be intriguing.
With JJ Abrams now helming the project, I’m hoping the appalling dialogue of Episode I to III will be more palatable - or as eloquent as it gets for Star Wars. The original script was cheesy but it worked and charmed audiences.
The reason the original Star Wars trilogy was so successful was thanks to its timeless story about facing one’s destiny and featured an excellent twist that left each and every viewer reeling. The special effects were ahead of their time back in the Seventies which helped pull in the crowds.
But now with every big-budget blockbuster boasting special effects and CGI to wow the crowds, it’s about getting the story right.
Even if it is all an almighty shambles, the Star Wars die-hards will no doubt want to complete the journey they’ve started – just as long Jar Jar Binks stays out of the picture.