NO NEW ACTORS FOR STAR WARS CHARACTERS - PASS THE LIGHTSABER INSTEAD
BY PHILLIP J. BOUCHER
As a young teenager I was fascinated by the movie Star Wars (I still think Han shot first) and was one of those people who camped in line at the theater to be the one of the firsts to see The Empire Strikes Back, and Revenge, oops, Return of the Jedi. (By the way, does anyone but me remember a theater-still from Empire that showed Darth Vader in an all red costume?)
Like most Star Wars fans, Episodes 4, 5, and 6 blew me away. Episodes 1, 2, and 3 were ok, targeted more towards a younger new fan base rather than the old farts like me who grew up on the original trilogy. So it was with both enthusiasm and a "what the hell?" reaction that I had to the announcement that Disney acquired Star Wars and is making a third trilogy with internet talk about who will play Luke, Leia, and Han.
To continue the franchise with those characters is one thing. To do so with other actors replacing Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford is quite another. It is an almost guarantee that if the script starts off from where Jedi ended, with other actors playing the lead characters, the films with not be very successful. We old Star Wars fans are finicky when it comes to our franchise. You can bet that if Hamill, Fisher, and Ford are not Luke, Leia, and Han, then there will be less bums in the theater seats and less money in Disney's collective pockets.
If Walt wants to keep the old fan base happy, he needs to be realistic in the script. It has been almost thirty years since Jedi. Hamill, Fisher, and Ford are all thirty years older. They can play older versions of their younger characters, thirty years after their victory over the Empire. Luke is married, Leia and Han are a couple, and each have a child or two. Han is a farmer, more mellow and calmed down, and C-3PO is his good friend. Luke and Leia are on the Jedi council (yes Leia is a Jedi. She has those Midi-chlorian things in her too. And the kids? You know where I'm going with this.) The Sith are not extinct, and a new leader emerges to conquer the galaxy. Called to help, the three old friends get back together to save the universe (will Chewbacca show up as well? Wouldn't it be sweet if he was now the pilot of the Falcon and Han was his co-pilot?). Yes they are old. They have the force, just not the youth. Enter the kids. They get to swing the lightsabers, shoot the blasters, and run like hell from the enemy. (Hey, maybe I should write and pitch a script for Episode 7.)
The potential is there to please and placate the original fans, not piss them off with new actors, and attract the newer and not-yet fan base. It would be in both Disney's and the franchise's interest to not replace the original actors with new ones and cause a revolt and uproar. To properly continue the series, the characters should pass the torch, or more appropriately, the lightsaber, on to their offspring. It happened in sorts between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. Why shouldn't this be the same with the new trilogy? Let the sons or daughters of Skywalker/Solo take over the franchise. It is their destiny.