No. We don’t.
Just in case you think the above statement is ambiguous, read it again. Then again, then again. Absorb it’s message. Than smack yourself for thinking otherwise. It’s alright though, I’ll forgive you.
Having said the above, if you read on, realize that there are spoilers for the previous Star Wars movies. But, then again, if you haven’t seen these movies by now, your genes are weak and your family will not survive the coming winter.
I grew up with science fiction and fantasy, and it’s one of the reasons I’m so well read. When I was 10 years old, my mother bought a beat up copy of Lord of the Rings for 25 cents at a yard sale and handed it to me on a lazy sunday afternoon during the summer. I was grounded that summer and the second I immersed myself in Tolkien’s world, I was fine with being grounded. I read that book seven times that summer. It is a book that I read EVERY year, at least once a year, and have done so since that day. Because of my initial encounter with LotR, it instilled in me a love of reading that I hope to pass on to my daughter. Later that summer, I got my hands on “The Andromeda Strain,” which truth be told, was on my summer reading list, and “The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.”
Star Wars holds an equal if not more solid hold on me. When I was a very young child, “The Empire Strikes Back” came on HBO (back when HBO was the cutting edge) and I could not look away. My sister Christina would sit down in my lap and we’d wrap ourselves in a blanket, squealing when Yoda acted as Luke’s backpack, and gasping when Darth Vader sliced off Luke’s hand in Cloud City orbiting the Gas Giant Bespin. I’ll never forget when she got so upset about the latter, she puked in my lap. (Not to be a downer, but Christina died of SIDS a few months later, and I always take a small picture of her in my wallet, so she can at least see the new movies in some form or another. Had she lived, I think that seeing the new movies would have been part of our bonding as kids, and then as adults.
OK, while I go have an overemotional cry session, enjoy this Patton Oswalt bit about the prequels.
When Episode 7 was slated for release, I was of two minds. While I enjoyed the prequels, I didn’t like the romantic subplot, which relegated the galaxy far far away to the status Lifetime movie in space. Granted, Darth Vader had to be born somehow but seeing Anakin Skywalker act out the death scene from Terms of Endearment every time he comes on camera just gave me seasickness. But, if you really want to get into why those movies bordered on “lame” I have only one word for you…
“Midichlorians.” (If you don’t know what these are, I admire your ignorance. That, and Hayden Christiansen has the theatrical range of a broken diving board. I get it, he looked pretty … But, Darth Vader was essentially the quintessential emo kid we all knew in high school listening to Hawthorne Heights…)
On the other hand, I was very happy that the Star Wars saga was continuing, even if Lucasfilm was bought out by Disney. (Along those lines, a very sincere apology to Disney for not doing what I thought they were going to do with my most beloved story. You struck gold with the Marvel movies, and you did the same with the Star Wars franchise. Thank you for not making Mickey Mouse the highest of the Knights of Ren. And I apologize for threatening to choke all of your executives with the Force. And for threatening to scrote-sucker punch the male Disney characters when I visit Disney World. And for bringing up that whole Donald Duck Nazi thing again… Needless to say, I didn’t take it well.)
Given that this new episode disregarded the Extended Universe novels and material, I was skeptical that this would be worth my time. That it would be insanely popular was NEVER out of my mind for a second, it is after all, Star Wars. But, I didn’t go to the opening night. Though I’ve went to every opening since Return of the Jedi, I simply had too much emotion attached to the Star Wars franchise, not to mention J. J. Abrams’ thorough sacrilege of the Star Trek reboot, I was hesitant. (Say what you like, my opinion of J.J. Abrams’ interpretation of Star Trek remains. Namely that it was a good time, but NOT a Star Trek movie. As “Die Hard” in spae, it was badass. As a Star Trek movie, it was absolute shit.)
I finally saw Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens at a theater in Hermitage, Pennsylvania on a Sunday evening with my wife. My daughter was not present, as I wanted to enjoy the movie without a bathroom situation. After the experience, though I thoroughly enjoyed the film (and I still do), I was angry at J.J. Abrams for the death of Han Solo. After the initial shock wore off, I realized that Star Wars did to me, what Star Wars ALWAYS does to me, gives me a story that I get emotionally invested in. Since then, I’ve taken back my enmity towards J.J. Abrams for the Han Solo debacle, though I’ve not forgiven him for Star Trek. I eagerly await Episode VIII. When The Force Awakens came out on BluRay, I hooked up my BluRay player to my projector and invited the neighbors to watch it with me, hooking up a guitar amplifier to the player and projecting it on the side of my house.
When Rogue One was announced, I squealed with glee.
We don’t need less Star Wars movies. We need MORE. We need a franchise that goes back towards the Extended Universe novels and integrates it with the official canon. We need the Thrawn Trilogy and the Hand of Thrawn — stories shown on the big screen.
We need more time with Rey, Finn, Leia, Chewy and we need to see Luke Skywalker when he isn’t shocked into stiffness by some random girl holding a lightsaber that should have been compressed in the center of a planet’s core… Speaking of which didn’t he see her ship entering the area to begin with? Then he acts surprised, breathing heavy like he just drank 4 Red Bulls and played Call of Duty for 20 hours straight… What the hell kind of melodramatic pageantry is that crap?
What is Rey’s connection to the Skywalkers? What is next for the galaxy far, far away and in which direction will Disney take a franchise that is beloved to so many fans?
The only way we’ll find out is if Disney makes more films. So, get on it Mickey, and May the Force be with you…