The Dark Side of Episode VII: Why All the Star Wars Nerds Will Be Disappointed
First let me start off by defining what I mean by a “Star Wars nerd.” I mean the kind of fan who went on to read the books and play the video games. The kind who finds themselves more invested in the lives of the Solo and Skywalker children than in the movie characters themselves.
With that out of the way we can move on to the main point of this post. This fanbase (of which I am an active and impassioned member) are waiting with bated breath for every fragment of news that we can get on the forthcoming movies. But the major question that is on everyone’s mind is: What will they be about? will they base it on the books that take place afterwards or will they make a completely new storyline? what time period will it take place in? will they try to tackle the Yuuzhan Vong War (which in my opinion would be a horrible idea from a story perspective), or the rise of Darth Caedus, or the Lost Tribe of the Sith? The choices within the universe are boundless, and therein lies the problem..
Every single Star Wars fan has their combination of what they want to see in the movie. They want to see this event happen in this era with these characters. And no one is going to get what they want.
Let’s use the example that the moviemakers decide to go with an established storyline, and they choose with the rise of Darth Caedus (otherwise known as the Legacy of the Force arc). Right away, everyone who does not like that story arc is disappointed. The choice of this arc leaves the moviemakers with the problem that Jacen Solo (who becomes Darth Caedus, for those who didn’t know) has the seed of his Sith training implanted during the Yuuzhan Vong War, and they must decide if the Vong War remains canon or if Jacen Solo’s early Sith influences must be rewritten. If the latter, a large swath of the fanbase will resent the erasure of the Vong War, the most formative event in the Star Wars universe, and one that has significant influence on other materials in the Star Wars canon.
Since we have considered the moviemakers using an established storyline, let’s look at the possibility of creating a brand new one. Invariably, the new storyline will incur disfavor with fans because it is replacing one that was formerly canon. As a result, characters and events that had changed the galaxy suddenly don’t exist or have not happened. In the case of the Yuuzhan Vong War and the Solo children, a change to them and their history would completely alter the timeline of the entire universe. In rewriting that particular history, over a decade of war and galactic strife in the Star Wars universe is negated, which alienates a large part of the fanbase.
Now that we have addressed the fans who will be disappointed just with the movie’s premise, we can consider those who will be disappointed with the movie itself–which covers everyone else in the fandom. People will be dissatisfied with how characters are portrayed, which characters are replaced, and of course the casting in general. The setting will be wrong for one, and the action wrong for another. Each fan already has their ideal in their head and the movie can’t possibly match everyone’s imagined depiction. The fanbase is also understandably wary of bad writing (as evidenced in the prequels…shudder), and the script will be under constant critique.
All in all it is a lose/lose for Star Wars fans like us. Not a single one of us will walk out of the theatre opening night and say, “That was perfect!” The response will always be, “It was good but it could have been better if…” Although certainly anything would be better than Episode III.
May the Force be with you.