How JJ Abrams Should Not Re-make SW Prequel Trilogy Mistakes Discussion
I copied the following from the text at the link I'll post underneath it, but I wanted the text here so we could discuss it.
Parts are right and parts are wrong in my mind.
Here's the text of the article:
Here's the link to the article, but I've reposted it in its entirety
J.J. Abrams, known as the force behind hit TV series like Lost and Fringe, and fresh off having revitalized the Star Trek franchise, has now been tapped to direct the new Star Wars VII movie. The excitement which comes from the possibility that Abrams might be able to breathe as much new life into Wars as he has into Trek is also tempered by the fact that Star Wars fans were excited when George Lucas first announced that he would be making three new Star Wars movies… and that didn’t turn out so well. In that light, here’s a look at what we all learned from the prequel debacle, and what the talented Mr. Abrams must keep in mind as he attempts to use the Force on the Star Wars franchise…
1) Make it fun: The original Star Wars movies had noticeable instances of cheesy dialogue, wooden acting, and plot holes which were literally hand-waved away – but we didn’t care, because those three movies were fun. The prequels tried to be better movies, and perhaps on paper they were: the scripts were more sophisticated, and A-list actors were brought in across the board. But those movies took themselves way too seriously, and sapped all the fun out of our childhood memories in the process. Abrams brought Star Trek back from the dead with a movie which was a combination of riveting and fun, so much so that most viewers didn’t notice the plot holes until repeat viewing. He’ll have to do the same with Star Wars, but perhaps with more of an emphasis on the good old swashbuckling fun which made the original Star Wars such a guilty pleasure.
2) Ditch the cutesiness: George Lucas created the cutesy C3PO and R2-D2 for the original movies, and they were beloved. So he created the cutesy Jar Jar Binks for the prequels, which became one of the most hated and ridiculed movie characters of all time. The difference was that his droids were the right kind of cutesy. It’s a fine line to walk, as Lucas found out the hard way when he swung and missed with Binks. It’ll be up to Abrams to come up with the right kind of cutesy which adds to his Star Wars universe rather than detracting from it, lest he end up with the apologies-in-advance nickname of Jar Jar Abrams…
3) Follow a winnable plotline All of the various mistakes aside, the prequels may have been doomed from the start based on their mere premise. It’s one thing to go back in time and tell a story that everyone already knows the ending to. It’s another thing entirely to make prequels which center around a cute child growing up to become a serial killer, murdering a bunch of kids, and getting his arms and legs chopped off by his own mentor. Was anyone really looking forward to the final minutes of the third prequel? Abrams has the benefit of picking up with Star Wars 7 sometime after Return of the Jedi, meaning he can go anywhere he wants as far as plot. But that’s a double edged sword because Jedi ended with the main characters all in good places. In order to create drama, he’ll have to put those beloved characters into some less than cheerful scenarios. And he’ll have to do so without taking things to such a dark place that no one is excited for how the heroes get themselves out of it in Star Wars 8…
1) This argument said their SHOULD BE cheesy dialogue, wooden acting, and plot holes.
Maybe cheesy dialogue: "I'll see you in hell!" - "Laugh it up fuzzball!" and lame sentences that might have been written just to place inappropriate sexual commentary when no one can prove it: "It's possible he came in the south entrance," and "I have felt him, My Master." Why not, "I've sensed his presence in the Force, My Master."?
But Qui-Gon was supposed to be a Jedi Master who controlled his emotions (like Spock in Star Trek) and people said Liam Neeson (a very capable actor) was wooden in TPM because of bad dialogue, lack of enthusiasm, or lack of directing? I think he was DIRECTED to be wooden - or stoic in other words. Like someone controlling their emotions. Obi-Wan and especially the rest of the cast were not supposed to be as good at that, but Liam Neeson was the lead.
I don't think in Luke's generation we have wooden characters. I don't see Mark Hamill being directed to have become that way. Especially if he allowed himself to marry (Mara Jade most likely whether they use more EU or not) and have a son he's training (confirmed by almost all accounts including Lucas' words - and probably Ben Skywalker).
Finally, no continuity errors, deliberately un-policed for inconsistency. I could just see JediTricks jumping all over an errors. Our old friends Grand Admiral Thrawn and Stillakid would. Princess Leia remembering her mother in ROTJ anyone? Only if they ret-conned this to say a handmaiden that was killed replaced Padme's body for the funeral, because Padme was still alive (and yes, her parents helped the cover-up since they would have known that wasn't their daughter).
SIDENOTE: this is why I'd write Padme as a character in the new between 3 and 4 "Rebels" animated series. Tragically, she will die. And I think Vader should kill her - not knowing he did it - or even that she ever still lived. But then Leia can know her mother. It would make ROTJ make more sense.
Otherwise, Leia could have said, "I do remember my mother. She was an Ewok," and that would make more sense. But maybe Leia refers to R2's holograms of Padme? Natalie Portman can even make a cameo and record these. It would get things straight.
To paraphrase and adapt Obi-Wan's E6 dialogue....
NATALIE PORTMAN: "Leia, when I first met your father he was a great hero to my people. I was amazed at what a powerful Jedi he then became. He protected me and nurtured our love. But the Clone Wars took him away from me and he was plagued by dark visions, and then betrayed by the Chancellor, and one of my own most trusted former advisors, Palpatine. Leia, be ware of the Dark Side...." etc etc.
Natalie records this and ILM renders it in blue, R2D2 projects it, and Leia shows it to Allanah Solo? Her nephew Ben Skywalker? Her own daughter Jaina? Maybe even her brother Mark Hamill as Luke (though I presume at this point past ROTJ he has already seen it before.)
2) R2D2 and C-3PO were not overly cute, ever. C-3PO was the most annoying SW character until JarJar came along.
The cutesiness was when the Ewoks were brought in. George wanted to bookend the entire 6 episodes with happiness. Just in case he worried he'd be too subtle, he hit us over the heads with frogs and furballs! I mean he wasn't just saying TPM and ROTJ began and ended with happy days, he punched us for good measure, and then kept beating us to get the point across.
In case you don't understand "Gungans and Ewoks were supposed to make you happy." You're just so happy you walk around all day looking for Gungans and Ewoks like they're leprechauns with posts of gold at the end of rainbows.
Perhaps because the Ewoks didn't speak and imitate human stereotypes (even though I found it funny - the stereotyping, not that it was put into the Star Wars movie just because of the movie belonging to Star Wars) the Ewoks wind up being less annoying than the Gungans.
But you don't need a cutesie character at all do you? In CW Animated, who was the regular cutesie character? Ahsoka? No. She was a character that grew and got down on her mistakes, not kept making more of them for comic relief. You can have humor or light moments without a fool character. I understand "the fool" was a part of classic Greek mythology from which Star Wars got off the ground from. But it's been done. Besides, C-3PO will still be around. So it can be subtle. But if Threepio has less screentime, it won't upset me. Furthermore, we don't need to create "another one."
I really hope JJ understands this and doesn't create a talking Alpaca that can fly spaceships or adds Wilfred to Star Wars - or worse, has Boba Fett training his own son, who's a clumsy journeyman who blows up Slave-One by pressing the wrong button.
The Legacy comics nor the Heir to the Empire books had comical side-kick characters added. They work great.
3) Finally, EVERYONE was looking forward to seeing Anakin becoming Darth Vader - legs and arms chopped off, lava etc.
All the original generation of fans.
I think that NOW, if new Star Wars fans (your kids or kids' kids) get shown the films in Episode Order, especially even with the CW cartoon being supplanted between 2 & 3, they will be shocked and traumatized by Anakin's fall to the Dark Side (which could have also been done with better dialogue to explain the "deal with the devil" Anakin is making for Palpatine to help him save Padme, which the Jedi are forbidding).
In fact, in ROTS, or CW, Obi-Wan should have learned of (not just suspected) Anakin's marriage. Maybe it should have even come out as a scandal while Palpatine was trying to get Mace to put Anakin on the High Council? Then maybe in lines of dialogue, Anakin would have confided in Obi-Wan that he wanted to be a Master so he could get into the Masters' archives and learn Sith secrets to save Padme from death (if they ever existed and Palpatine wasn't just lying about that).
Finally, as to Anakin killing the younglings for example? Palpatine should have said "you do something for me first..." and also provided Anakin the thought that if he stormed the temple with the 501st, he and Palpatine would have access to the hidden archives and the Sith holocrons or anything else the Jedi had in their archives.
Jocasta Nu could have gotten an awesome fight scene too. Because she's the most important character: Jocasta Nu!
Look, I'm actually NOT changing the plot to ROTS - I'm augmenting it or revising it in some parts, just to get what was glossed over or should have been explained.
Also, the Jedi kids Anakin killed? They would be orphans with Force skills uncontrolled by anyone. That was the reason they were not allowed to just run loose. They'd all become criminals or something to survive. Or start up a Rebel Alliance of toddlers. It should have been explained. Anakin still was not as depraved of character that he'd kill kids for no reason.
There was a reason but you have to think about it and hope you're right.
As to Episode 7, I think we could start dark - like with Jaina being forced to kill her brother and then moving on to a new plot that's not covered by the books. But that's probably the most tragic moment in any of the post-ROTJ EU books and a watershed moment: a heroic Solo child being forced to kill their own sibling. Now that's "Hunger Games."
But Star Wars has never had a long time pass during the onscreen time of any movie. Such as this was when Jaina was 26 and now she's 32 all of the sudden.
Yeah, maybe they'll just have Carrie and Mark play Leia and Luke when they were younger than the actors are now.
Then Episode 7 and 8 can be dark. They can still be "fun," but Episode 9 will bring us out of the new darkness.
Or do you all want Episode 7 to start with an integrated Gungan / Ewok band?
See mistake No. 2 above!
We don't need Star Wars to TELL US when we're supposed to be happy. Nor keep pandering and merchandizing to little kids frogs and teddy bears.