I don’t know if you were aware, but Star Wars is coming back.
Yes, lightsabers will soon be in vogue, talking back to front will be cool again, it will, and random acts of violence against guys in white armour will be totally ok. The original films form a crucial building block of my childhood, and like many people of a certain age, Star Wars is so omnipresent that it’s become very difficult to imagine a world without it. For a whole generation of kids (and adults) this will be their first opportunity to experience something new, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.
However, like the Nazis, let’s not forget the lessons of history.
In the late 90s, the original trilogy was remastered and updated, and cinemagoers were able to return to the halcyon days of 1977 and make a point of going to the cinema to relive Star Wars. It was exciting, but that thrill was nothing to the announcement that after years of silence, a new trilogy was to land on our planet.
It’s hard to stress how exciting it was to be returning to the Star Wars galaxy, with the promise of familiar faces, new characters, and new worlds to discover. So, when The Phantom Menace arrived in 1999, you simply won’t believe the crushing levels of disappointment fans had to deal with. This was like finding out the family dog had been run over by a steamroller, and that Santa Claus wasn’t real. All at once. Some of us never recovered.
And in all honesty, it wasn’t because of the annoying wooden actors, or the stupid plot about trade embargoes, or the silly looking special effects which looked dated, even at the time. The real horror of The Phantom Menace can be summed up in three (made-up) words: Jar Jar Binks.
Openly flirting with racist categorisation, Binks was – and remains – one of the most atrocious creations ever to grace the screen. And fans weren’t happy. The remaining prequels toned down the Jar Jar, but upped the ante on ridiculous dialogue, and watching them now is akin to watching your parents have awkward sex. ie. Something unpleasant.
So when you’re frothing at the mouth over the new trailers, debating how a new lightsaber would work, or booking tickets to a midnight screening of The Force Awakens, remember this: I was like you once. I had dreams, hopes, ambitions. And then a computer generated alien brought them all crashing to the ground, like when Luke torpedoed the exhaust port on the Death Star.
JJ Abrams has the expectations of the world in his hands, and we still don’t know if he’s been tender and delicate with them, or whether he’s been using them as a flannel to wash his balls with.
Hope and pray, dear reader, that The Force Awakens doesn’t have a comedy animated sidekick lurking in the shadows, lest you end up like me – a haunted wreck who prefers Star Trek. Steven Rainey