If the wait for the Avengers was a torture, Star Wars VII is worst. It's like Game-of-Thrones worst -- you get a ten episode season, and you spent the next ten months waiting for the next season. In another word, it's enough time to have a baby, if you are into this kind of stuff. The media doesn't waste a second to ask him about the project, and there are already fan wishlists and rumors everywhere. You bet your ass there is hype! But this is not Transformer or Fast and Furious 12. This is not a movie with Oscar buzz. This is not about superheroes. This is Star Wars -- a culture that is as powerful and influential as Star Trek. This is sacred and intergalactically epic. If you put JEDI as a religion on the censor form, you are not alone. And we all have a lightsaber...in our iPhone.
Rick Bentley of The Fresco Bee couldn't have put this better when he wrote about J.J Abrams and Joss Whedon, "The last time two filmmakers had such an influence on pop culture was when directors Steven Spielberg and George Lucas rolled out blockbusters like Star Wars, Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. They not only dominated the box office, but they branched out to find success in TV, merchandising and theme parks." The next few decades definitely belong to Abrams and Whedon.
There are countless fans and aliens across multiple generations waiting to see what J.J Abrams will do to continue the Star Wars saga. J.J Abrams is the magician, the idea dude, the face of the up-coming Star Wars. I swear watching his stuff is like being hypnotized by his Jedi mind-trick. There is a lot of pressure to do justice -- which is my favorite word right now. If the new Star Trek was big, I think Star Wars is equally big if not bigger. He has talked about Star Wars as a fan and there was a few interviews during the Star Trek press junket referenced Star Wars too. The creative process of the new franchise of Star Trek has considerable trepidation, What can we learn from Star Wars? How can we make this cool?
How will J.J Abrams handle Star Wars? “It is so massive and so important to people...I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honoring but not revering what came before.” said J.J Abrams during the Produced by Conference on the weekend. I know Star Wars so much more than Star Trek. I will finally get to feel what Trekkers felt when they saw what J.J Abrams did to their franchise.
In order to do this probably, and to do BETTER than the previous Star Wars movies, I think J.J Abrams aside, it's all on the story and dialogues. Everyone is focusing on J.J Abrams and the casting. Hey, me too! But I am also looking forward to the story. If I am taking my friends who are not Star Wars fans to watch this movie, I need to convince them it's great fun with a great story, a great script and great performance that modern fans are accustomed to. I'll watch it even if Nicholas Cage is cast. But I hate to see it fails. And to be honest, Star Wars has never failed me, even Clones has its moment.
George Lucas is the Master Jedi himself. He revolutionised movie magic and genre movies. He has referenced Joseph Campbell's work in ways no Hollywood filmmakers had done before. After all these years, fans, writers and filmmakers are still referencing Star Wars. But let's face it, modern audience and long time fans would welcome a bit of upgrade in the dialogue department. I think it's a bold move to hire Michael Arndt to write the script. The studio knows this has to be Nolan-good! Arndt has written Little Miss Sunshine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Oblivion. After what Chris Nolan did to reboot Batman, people are increasing referencing this approach -- how genre movies can be more 'Nolan', rather than 'Bay'. Michael Bay's movies are fun, but Nolan's movies are deeper but at the same time it doesn't take the fun away. And on the other side of the universe, you have Joss Whedon, who writes for the fanboy moments, he writes to explore all the things he is afraid of and characters that he is not. If J.J Abrams is the Spielberg of our generation, Joss Whedon is our Shakespeare.
I think Abrams and Whedon are creating a bigger impact to the pop culture than what Lucas and Spielberg have done. Abrams is more old school but he is very good at selling his visions and ideas, and Joss writes from a very dark place and put strong female characters on the pop culture landscape.
Genre shows are slowly taking over our TV (if networks don't kill them off like they did to Dollhouse and Firefly), we have Almost Human, Tomorrow's People, The 100, Falling Sky, OUAT, Revolution, Supernatural, Arrow and all those vampire stuff. The genre may or may not becomes mainstream the way procedural sitcoms, cop shows, medical and legal dramas did, but I am cool with it. Genre shows rarely get an Oscar or Emmys or Golden Globe nod, but I am cool with that too. Joss Whedon uses dialogues and J.J Abrams uses visuals and movie tricks to grab our attentions.
When people say to me, "I thought you like sci-fi and fantasy stuff". I will say no. It is not 'sci-fi' that I like. It is drama consists of the darkness, mysteries, character development and twists. I just hate categorisation, I hate labels. Like Supernatural is not sci-fi and fantasy! To me, yes you can call classify something as sci-fi, fantasy or paranormal, because they are. But the moment we put a label over it, you immediately identify it as spaceship, wormholes, ghosts, vampires, weird head pieces and make up. To me, it is so much more than that.
So... the wait is killing me! Are you nervous? I am nervous too! But super excited!! I am dying for information about the story and casting, but I don't want fans' wishlists and rumors to ruin the experience for me. I know speculation is part of the business. You need to create publicity and see fans' reaction, but part of me want them to just do it and announce it! Do you have any idea how painful the casting process and rumors were for Captain America? It killed me! And when it comes to spoilers, we can be best of friends and enemies. I don't know what I will do when I get an email from Hoyts about pre-purchasing tickets for Star Wars VIII.
How do you enjoy this experience as a Star Wars fan now? We live in a very different age now than when Star Wars first came out in 1977. I've heard how people used to go to the cinema to watch this movie and how they became fans. Back in the days, there was no highspeed internet, fansites, blogs, podcasts, social media, YouTube and conventions -- I don't know how people survived, I could barely remember what life was like before iTune and iPhone! Technology has changed the way information is travelled, shared and used. When we can't get what we want, we create our own version of things. Google search 'Star Wars mashup' and stuff you find will entertain you for hours, and may even inspire you to create a few things yourself. Fans don't ever get bored and ran out of things to do or buy. I played Revenge of the Sith LEGO game before I watched the movie. I want a Stormtrooper bobble head on my desk instead of something from Tiffany and co (ok, that's a lie). If someone has a Kickstarter project to replace J.A.R.V.I.S with Siri, I will so donate the very little left in my pocket.
How do I as a fan and as a blogger enjoy this moment with all the fun stuff that weren't even invented or popularised back in the 70s and 80s? I wasn't there as a fan, but I am here now. What do I do to have a complete fan experience? The geek calender is packed with excitement, I won't run out of materials to blog about. The next few decades belong to the geeks.
May the force be with you.