It’s been awhile since we dropped an article in this feature, but news has been fairly spotty from the studio. I don’t like dropping articles that tease bits and pieces of unconfirmed information so now that we have a couple of big pieces of news, and some strange controversy, here’s another look at the upcoming Episode VII of the beloved Star Wars franchise. For starters, we have a title finally, and they have finished principal photography as of the 6th of this month. The Force Awakens invokes a lot of ideas, Jedi coming back, new powerful players to the stage, and foreshadowing because where there are Jedi there are also Sith. It speaks of new beginnings, without shutting out the past, and sets up an exciting new era for the franchise. Needless to say, I like it and can’t wait to see more.
— Star Wars (@starwars) November 6, 2014
Last week we also saw the teaser which you can view at Starwars.com. It’s short, sweet, and exciting. To short, but that’s what a teaser is. Amazingly enough, in just the short glimpse of the new movie people have already broken down, analyzed, freaked out, and created controversy over the teaser.
One of the images that caught everyone’s attention, for better or worse, was this lightsaber. I’ve seen meme after meme all weekend, and strange debates about the problems with this design. Some of the weirdest involve speculation about self-injury. Now, I know these people have all seen swords before. Everyone has seen a sword in one fashion or another and it’s a safe bet they’ve seen swords with crossguards. Would anyone really design a sword, with a crossguard, if it was constantly hitting the wielder in the legs, hands or head? Even if that was a constant danger from traditional sword design, Jedi and Sith have a sort of sixth sense due to the force. They can anticipate events around them. I’m fairly certain this means they can avoid hurting themselves with their own weapons.
As far as I’m concerned this is a good design. What’s the only thing that can actually stop a lightsaber blade? Another lightsaber blade, right? So if you were going to design a crossguard on a lightsaber this is the only way to do it. The design might be strange, but remember, each force wielder has their own flair and style to their saber design. Why is it so far-fetched that one would go for this look? Without seeing it in action it’s hard to judge, but I expect some unique duels with this style of blade, and some pretty sweet effects when it’s flashing through the air.
The other image drawing some strange chatter is this one. Everything from making a huge deal about the movie’s diverse cast, to speculation that the Empire now uses black people as fodder in the new series. Completely ridiculous arguments about race and canon with this one and it just boggles the mind.
First of all, diversity, yes it’s awesome that Star Wars has a diverse cast. Star Wars has always been a franchise ahead of its time when it comes to having diversity, strong female characters and leads, and people of all ethnic backgrounds. There’s always room for improvement, but to suggest that seeing a woman, a latino, and a black man in the trailer is somehow something to celebrate makes me wonder if those people forgot about the 6 movies and TV shows that came before. It’s great that Episode 7 has a diverse cast, but let’s not erase the efforts, and performances of past actors both live action and voice acted, and the writers and designers that helped make that happen. To me it’s great to see them continue to build on that with the new movie.
Then we have people saying things like “Good, the clone thing was stupid anyway.” All right here’s what’s wrong with this. They are not changing past canon by all reports, just the stuff written after the original trilogy. The original storm troopers and clone troopers, are still clones, and it’s likely that most of the storm troopers in this movie will be clones. Sure, it’s reasonable that over the years, the loss of more and more storm troopers has forced the Empire to recruit non-clone soldiers into their army, and it’s quite possible they will be of all shapes and sizes, but this image does not change the ‘clone thing’, nor does it indicate the new movie is going to portray all storm troopers as ‘black fodder’ which has also been one of the ignorant claims I’ve seen online.
What’s more likely? Well, since the gentleman pictured above is John Boyega, one of the main cast (who also responded to concerns about his appearance as a storm trooper) it is unlikely he’ll portray any sort of fodder, despite that being the common role of storm troopers in the franchise. I have two theories on this, both of which are more likely than the new movie somehow trying to make a racial statement about all storm troopers. First, this could be one of our heroes in disguise, which is quite possible considering past movies. Maybe he’s escaping from a ship, a spy, or someone generally in need of passing as a storm trooper for some reason. Another possibility is he is in fact a storm trooper, recruited like so many others as the Empire runs out of clones to throw away against the rebellion/New Republic (whichever it will be called). Perhaps he gets left behind, or decides he isn’t the imperial type, and tries to get out of said imperial army. This may have him playing the part of the redeemed character, starting out as part of a bad organization, perhaps without even realizing it, only to be turned to the light side through some act or by witnessing something he just can’t stomach.
Of course there’s loads of other problems people have with the new movies already, which is strange to me since it’s a new studio, new writers, new cast (mostly) and new director, and we’ve seen about 90 seconds of video, but that’s what people do online. People will be ripping this movie apart right up until it releases, and then forever after, because frankly, no matter how good it is some people will find something wrong with it. Relax people, these movies, like all the others in the past, are meant to be fun. Stop being so serious, get excited, be a kid for once and try to enjoy it. It’s not like any amount of speculation, criticism, or yelling is going to stop the movies from coming out and you know, even if it’s grudging, people will buy enough tickets to pay for more to be made. For me, I can’t wait to hear that theme, and see that text scroll up the screen in front of me while I let myself be a kid for a couple hours again.