What I Demand to See in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

The Force Awakens!

The Star Wars Cinematic Universe introduces the first three members of its All-New All-Different Avengers.

Every Star Wars fan, whether casual or hardcore, has their mental wish list of stuff they’re hoping Star Wars: The Force Awakens should contain in order to become the greatest Star Wars film of all time. With a modest running time of 136 minutes, J.J. Abrams and company can’t possibly satisfy every single fan on Earth, but it goes without saying that my checklist is the wisest and grandest of them all.

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The Only “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Shot-by-Shot Trailer Analysis You’ll Need

The Force Awakens!

John Boyega. Daisy Ridley. STAR WARS. Canon. Cope.

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.

Right this way for the greatest film study that matters only to me ever!

Top 10 Greatest “Star Wars Episode VII” Leaked Set Photos

The filmmaking process for every Star Wars movie in the modern era has its traditions, and none refuse to die more irritatingly than the part where professional paparazzi, busybody neighbors, and travel-happy geeks pool together their collective talents and impatience, set up base camps all around the official closed sets, take pictures of everything that moves, and hope they catch a glimpse of something that’ll ruin the entire movie for everyone.

These photos are usually out of focus, distantly shot, wildly off-center, totally out of context, filled with restless inaction, and/or bereft of the CG work and color timing that’ll make the up-close, unadorned reality look watchable and actually interesting on the big screen a year later. Many movie sites treat such unauthorized, amateurish, slapdash, eminently deletable results as useful content. Every time without fail, enough fans and enough clicks reinforce their theory. Goody.

Now that Star Wars Episode VII finally hired a cast to act out its hopefully finished script and has allegedly begun shooting, it’s only a matter of minutes before we begin seeing photos of stunt doubles in Jedi robes, puppeteers catching a cigarette break outside a rear entrance, or empty yogurt cups that some muckraking blogger scavenged from Carrie Fisher’s trash. We, the public, will be expected to treat these offerings as Movie News.

So why not go with the flow? We here at Midlife Crisis Crossover gave in to peer pressure, did some digging without due diligence, and came across a stash of photos that we’re 30% certain were recently, surreptitiously snapped on location in London while J.J. Abrams and his spoiler sentries weren’t looking. Seems like a reasonable ploy. They have to sleep sometime, right? So we’re kinda sure these are legit. By the time we’re all done overanalyzing them, we can skip watching Episode VII altogether and move on to overanalyzing blurry set pics from The Justice League Movie instead.

From the Home Office in Indianapolis, IN: Top 10 Greatest Star Wars Episode VII Leaked Set Photos:

10. Peter Mayhew, a.k.a. Chewbacca, hanging out between takes with his manager. Or the head of his entourage. Or the guy who’s playing his son Lumpy, which would mean Abrams’ team has decided The Star Wars Holiday Special should be canonized by unpopular demand. Maybe now it’ll see a long-overdue Blu-ray release that will include much-needed extras such as a commentary by all the actors taking turns explaining exactly what the heck.

The Real Peter Mayhew, a.k.a. Chewbacca!

This way for nine more spoilers! Or probably not!

Star Wars Episode VII and the Joy of Arbitrary Deadlines

C-3PO, Star Wars, exhibit

One of the many lessons we learned from the Prequels Trilogy: C-3PO wasn’t built in a day. (Photo taken at the “Star Wars: Where Science Meets the Imagination” traveling exhibit, which my wife and I saw during its stop in Indianapolis last spring. That exhibit wasn’t built in a day, either.)

Thus the head honchos at The Walt Disney Company have decreed, and thus it is written: Star Wars Episode VII shall be released to theaters on December 18, 2015. Despite pleas from director J.J. Abrams and hopefully any level-headed supporter in earshot, Disney has set this date in stone and insists that, come what may, there will be Star Wars product on the big screen no matter what.

(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.)

How many thoughts did I complete? Let’s find out!

If I Were in Charge of “Star Wars: Episode 7″…

Star Wars villains

In my version, only one of these characters survives the first five minutes. Possibly the bearded guy in the white hat. He’s already guaranteed his own action figure. (Photo from our personal Star Wars Celebration III archives, April 2005.)

Every Star Wars fan has their own ideas about what Star Wars: Episode 7 should accomplish. Director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Michael Arndt should make it all about the Holy Trinity of Luke, Leia, and Han, pretending they’re all still under 35. Or they should make their kids the main characters. Or they should invent all-new, barely related Jedi. Or they should bring back all the dead characters because movie magic. Or it should be a mixture of demographic demands scientifically calculated to please everyone, if everyone loved formulaic sequels. Or it should be a two-hour Jar-Jar roast.

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My Geek Demerits #6: No Use for Movie Rumors

movie rumor stranger

This mysterious stranger sees all, knows all, defies accountability, and is trusted by millions.

Today the Internet exploded with the news that J.J. Abrams would be directing the seventh installment in the recently unretired Star Wars series. Abrams fans rejoiced and are more excited about the next episode than ever. Movie fans grappled with the idea of one director dallying in both the Star Wars and Star Trek universes instead of choosing a side and sticking to it unconditionally. Abrams haters decided their world is ending and life no longer holds meaning. Members of all of the above circles rushed to be the first Internet user to crack a joke about lens flare. (Hundreds of millions lost that race.)

I found merit in the three theatrical releases that Abrams directed so far. (In order I’d rank Trek first, MI:III second, and Super 8 irksome but not terrible.) I bear him no ill will and wish his fourth film, Star Trek: Into Darkness starring man’s-man Benedict Cumberbatch and some other guys, were in theaters exactly now. I’ve seen all six Star Wars films several times apiece; follow the Clone Wars animated series; have partaken of several Dark Horse Comics SW projects; once read an entire Star Wars Expanded Universe novel; and am married to a wondrous woman whose encyclopedic knowledge of SW EU doesn’t frighten or alienate me. No matter who directs Episode VII: the Cash Cow Cavalry of Corellia, I expect to see it at least once.

All that being said: today’s announcement does nothing for me.

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Disney Acquires Lucasfilm, Announces “Star Wars: Episode VII”, Steals Headlines from Horrible Hurricane Whatsitsname

Disney + Lucasfilm = $$$$$$$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:

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