It has been occurring since the dawn of time: One generation passing the torch to the next. Pre-historic man taught the young ones how to make fire, key to their survival. The great artists of the Renaissance nurtured the skills of their students, the classic master-apprentice relationship. Fathers let their sons sit at the head of the table and carve the Thanksgiving turkey, a rite of passage. With the pending 2015 release of Star Wars: Episode VII, rumours are running rampant over the internet as to what the storyline will be, everything from the re-hashing of Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU) storylines; to a re-booting of the Star Wars brand; to brand-new, never-before-been-told stories. There’s no short order of speculation. But whatever the case may be when it comes to the story, the new Star Wars trilogy, should have classic characters in the film.
We are all assuming that Star Wars: Episode VII will be set several years, if not decades, after the events of Return of the Jedi. Our beloved characters—Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca—will definitely have aged. Now, I might be in the minority here, but I personally don’t want to see our heroes jumping around, swinging lightsabers or toting blast-guns, shooting down “bad guys”. (Somehow, I can stomach the exploits of aging heroes better through the printed word, as in the EU.) What I want to see is our heroes age gracefully on the silver-screen.
Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo (the “Big Three”) need to be in the new trilogy to pass on the torch to the new generation of Star Wars heroes, whomever they may be. Leia and Han should be in the roles of elder statesmen and representatives of the new government, having had replaced the Galactic Empire. Theirs should be supporting roles, not front-and-center. Leia Organa Solo (because we know that Han and Leia will have married) should be the elder Head of State, serving as a beacon in whatever “dark times” fall upon our new heroes. In my opinion, I do not want to see a 70-year old Han Solo running around being the scoundrel we all love. I want to see him as an aged and wise high-ranking military official in the New Republic government, sending troops off on missions and providing valuable advice from years of experience. “Well, what about his trusty Wookiee first-mate, Chewbacca?” Depending on how close the Star Wars: Episode VII follows the storylines of the EU (SPOILER ALERT: Chewbacca was killed off!), Chewbacca can be one of Han’s most-trusted advisors. (Though, it is highly unlikely that J. J. Abrams—director of Episode VII—will follow any EU storyline.)
R2-D2 and C-3PO? I don’t know what the shelf-life on droids is in the Star Wars universe, but I’m assuming that as long as their batteries are charged and they’ve had regular maintenance, I don’t see any reason why Artoo and Threepio can’t be in the new trilogy. Perhaps, they can be handed down to the new generation, as an invaluable resource and aid, by their master, Luke Skywalker.
When it comes to Luke, I am torn. It is a foregone conclusion that Luke Skywalker will be in Episode VII, but in what capacity? That is where I am torn. Having some idea—from the films, novels, and comics—how the Force gives a Jedi his strength, I could picture an older Luke, through years of extensive study of and meditation on the Force, being able to hold his own in whatever situation he’s thrown into. But, do I really want to see that? It would be exciting, but I don’t think I would want to. I want to see an older Luke Skywalker, in his role as head of a new Jedi Order, nurture the next generation of Jedi, offering wisdom and guidance and, if it’s required, a helping hand with whatever forces that threaten the Star Wars universe.
To borrow a line from Jurassic Park, “Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.” Yes, there will be new Star Wars movies in the foreseeable future. Should we see our beloved classic characters—characters we have grown to love through the years—have brand new, swash-buckling adventures? No. The new trilogy should have the classic characters, but their roles should be those of an older generation passing the torch to the next. If I could whisper into the ear of Michael Arndt—screenwriter of Star Wars: Episode VII—I would suggest that the classic characters be introduced in the Episode VII, aid our new heroes in their adventure as it continues through Episode VIII, and finally have our beloved friends walk into the sunset at the end of Episode IX, having handed the mantle to a new set of heroes—heroes that will shepherd us into a new age of Star Wars.
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