Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: 91 previous entries on this site bear a “Star Wars” tag, signifying that George Lucas’ beloved universe has been a major part of our entire lives, from the films to the books to the music to the fanfic to the conventions, including our all-time greatest celebrity encounter, which in turn led to that time Star Wars got me interviewed on local TV. Star Wars has been kind of a big deal in our household.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last spring my wife and I had the sincere pleasure of watching the first full-length trailer Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker in its premiere airing at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, surrounded by thousands of fellow fans:
The crowd watched as one. We cheered as one. We whooped and hollered as one. Together we held our breath in the seconds before the subtitle was revealed to the entire world at that very moment after years of speculation. Together we got it. Tens of thousands of voices cried out in Chicago with the interjections and expletives of their choosing. To say nothing of the reactions of the Viewers at Home.
Whether the setting is a state-of-the-art theater or an extra-large flea market, there’s something about a geek harmonic convergence that convention showrunner fiat and any number of internet trolls can’t blast away.
There was no convention to attend for the new trailer’s premiere tonight during Monday Night Football halftime, unless you count the game itself. I doubt they showed the trailer live at the stadium, but who knows. No, for this event I was at home at the same time as millions of other viewers, online and waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. It wasn’t nearly the same kind of experience as the previous trailer, especially since I was trying to watch Black Lightning when it finally premiered around 9:50 pm EDT, give or take a few minutes, right in the middle of a key development with the Pierce family.
It’s never fun to hear stories about difficulties behind the scenes on a film set. When Lucasfilm decided Rogue One: A Star Wars Story needed retooling, they recruited top screenwriter Tony Gilroy (the Bourne series, Michael Clayton) and delivered. When Lucasfilm fired original jokey directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller from Solo: A Star Wars Story after repeated clashes with the producers and the Kasdan dynasty, they recruited director Ron Howard — a known name, a respected professional, but a safe choice to save the film. I’ve liked quite a few of his works (Cocoon, A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon) and still remember that time on Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” when Eddie Murphy led the audience in a chant of “OPIE CUNNINGHAM! OPIE CUNNINGHAM!” But I don’t know any Star Wars fans who fist-pumped in triumph when he signed on. I mean, maybe there were some, and we just haven’t been introduced?
On a related note, quick show of hands, out of curiosity: how many folks out there still buy anything and everything with the words “Star Wars” stamped on it regardless of content or merit?
…huh. I count a lot fewer than there used to be.
Still hiding out from rampant internet spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story?
Never fear! We here at Midlife Crisis Crossover know your fears. I didn’t give in to them, but I know them. In fact, unlike my approach to The Force Awakens, I refused to go on internet sabbatical and instead stuck to my usual browsing routines. I decided I would leave myself at the mercy of the living, breathing organism that is the Internet community-at-large and let them decide how much of the movie would be spoiled for me in advance. To their credit, only three major and three minor reveals occurred before I finally had the chance to catch the movie Sunday afternoon. I had holidays, family, and adulting that needed to be tended to before I could indulge.
Now that I have, that doesn’t mean I have to ruin it for anyone else. Thus I’ve split my thoughts into two entries. First up: the light summary of impressions from my first showing, written in a manner that hopefully doesn’t compromise your own first screening.
In the past 24 hours eight hundred million other internet users have posted their thoughts on the all-new Official Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer that premiered Monday night during ESPN’s Monday Night Football and was released online seconds later for those of us who don’t do sports. Hardcore fans have devoted every hour since then freezing every frame, enhancing every pixel, scrutinizing every living being or moving object, collating the data, and sharing results in hopes of extrapolating the plots of the next six Star Wars films, or at least guessing which toys they’ll buy next.
Now…it’s my turn.
Star Wars Rebels is the first of two animated pilots on the project list, and one of the very few that my wife and I had planned to try anyway. She’s a longtime dedicated Star Wars fan with an Expanded Universe emphasis, as are some of my oldest internet cohorts. Together we watched nearly every episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars until its abrupt cancellation. We number among the many thousands of fans waiting impatiently and vainly for closure on the life of former Jedi Padawan Ahsoka Tano. Regardless, we’d look and feel weirder if we didn’t give the new show a try.
Far as I can tell, nearly everyone who’ll love any media product with the words “Star Wars” on it has given the show an A for existing. So far to me, it’s Firefly for kids. There’s some good and some less-good in that.
My wife and I were previously disappointed when Cartoon Network pulled the plug on Star Wars: the Clone Wars for what I imagine were the worst of reasons, which wouldn’t be out of line with their past history of greedily motivated cancellations. We were surprised and a little excited when Lucasfilm announced that season six would be released on Netflix, not even a month after we finally became official subscribers.
Though many fans put life on hold and held a thirteen-episode Season Six marathon as soon as they woke up on release day, we didn’t complete our own leisurely runthrough till this past weekend. She’s the hardcore Expanded Universe enthusiast who’s frequently taken issue whenever the animators have wantonly disregarded the novels in every other episode. I’m a more casual SW viewer who’s liked many episodes, but I’ve had my own recurring peeves about the series since season one. Together we have our opinions as to how the four arcs in this season worked out. Of those four, I most enjoyed the one that I thought I would give me convulsions, and the one I ended up loathing the most convinced me the Cartoon Network execs weren’t entirely off-base for once.
(As a side experiment along this vein, I’m experimenting here with a timed entry. I have sixty minutes to crank out this entry from start to finish, and whatever state it’s in when minute #60 strikes, I hit “Publish” and there will be an entry about this subject no matter what. Fortunately my special effects needs are minimal and rarely outsourced.)
Fans are hoping the completed season-six material is allowed to see the light of day in some fashion (as DVD extras? as exclusive online content? as a Disney XD miniseries? as convention bootlegs alongside The Star Wars Holiday Special?), but no promises have been made. The final episode, “The Wrong Jedi”, gave cold comfort and depressing closure to the Jedi training of the series’ central figure, young Ahsoka Tano, providing one last twist of fate that would allow her a gateway into potential further adventures, either in season six or in other media. Now that Episode VII has become Lucasfilm Job One, Ahsoka fans probably shouldn’t get their hopes up.
The Internet cracked in half Tuesday afternoon when the Walt Disney Company announced it would be spending $4.05 billion on the acquisition of Lucasfilm Ltd. lock, stock, and blaster barrel. Compared to the $4.24 billion that Disney paid for Marvel Entertainment in 2009, Lucasfilm was quite the sweetheart deal. Though many legal approvals and compliance processes are still underway, Disney sweetened the deal by announcing plans to have Star Wars Episode VII in theaters by 2015, just in case government officials needed more incentive to permit the existence of a Disney/Marvel/Pixar/Lucasfilm supercorporation.
The Internet has already spent hours brainstorming the potential ramifications of this creative business arrangement. The usual social networks instantly lost interest in the upcoming election and any major death-related news events. Any long-dormant Star Wars message boards just received a massive defibrillator shock they never saw coming. Within a month or so, expect the mainstream media to hop on the bandwagon and regurgitate all our online blurbs.
Alas, without further elaboration from the parties involved, all we have as of today is unfounded speculation and a long list of questions. So many random thoughts, so little confirmation of what to expect: