And I Jizz-Wailered in My Pants

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away there were excellent Star Wars films. The greatest Star Wars movie released in my lifetime is Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and I cannot wait to cruise through the next four days when that will hopefully not be the case any longer.

On Friday (I guess Thursday night in many theaters) the long awaited next installment in the Star Wars saga, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, will finally arrive and I honestly don’t know what to do with my life after it does. I’m actually planning on seeing the movie on Sunday morning as I work on Friday and Saturday and would like to go earlier in the day before the theater looks something like this.

I remember going to see Revenge of the Sith with my friends after our final final exam of our sophomore year of high school. After seeing the movie I was disappointed; not just because I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but because it was the end. For all I knew, there would be no more Star Wars movies for the rest of my life. I still held out hope that they might continue on the series with the sequel trilogy that Lucas always wanted to make. Like every devoted superfan I made my own new storyline in the hopes that someday I would hit it big in film and be given the rights by Lucas with his blessing to do what I please with his most near and dear creation. I don’t remember every detail of my new trilogy but teenage me is proud of the fact that it bore some similarities to what little has been revealed of the actual new trilogy. My story took place many years after Return of the Jedi focused on the remnants of the Empire continuing the fight against the Alliance. Luke started back up the Jedi Temple, Leia took the reins of a reestablished democracy, and Han and Chewie flew the Falcon around all over the place. A lot of what I devised was basically repeating select parts of the Original Trilogy – or Orig Trig as I like to call it – in different ways that felt too close to the existing films, including making the main villain a Sith lord with a breathing apparatus. As I grew and learned more about what makes a good story, I realized that continuing the Star Wars saga was not something that needed to be done, and definitely not done with my mostly derivative plot. The part that I still like is how the conflict in my trilogy got set into motion. Teenage me envisioned the feud between the Alliance and what was left of the Imperials as a much more watered down version of the war that culminated in the destruction of two Death Stars and most of the Imperial Fleet. The Empire’s leftovers know their end is near, so their commander, Admiral Zerrin, proposes a surrender to the Leia-led New Republic. The only problem is he’s a little too friendly in his dealings and our heroes from the Orig Trig are skeptical. Sure enough, Zerrin has some tricks up his sleeve and he manages to revitalize the waning war back into a full-scale scuffle. His greatest triumph is corrupting Luke’s star Padawan pupil who turns to the Dark Side and gets his throat slit with a lightsaber (hence the breathing apparatus). I’m relieved that doesn’t have to be my Star Wars future. Instead you and me and the rest of the world get the real deal. And boy does it look fun.

Remember back in October of 2012 when Disney bought Lucasfilm and George Lucas put his longtime associate and friend Kathleen Kennedy in charge of his ship while he lives out his days at Skywalker Ranch? Maybe not all those details, but you probably remember this announcement.

MORE STAR WARS! MORE STAR WARS! MORE STAR WARS! MORE STAR WARS!

I was ecstatic. I was greatly concerned. They hired J. J. Abrams to direct. I was okay with it but wanted Joss Whedon. They hired Lawrence Kasdan to co-write it. I was elated. Kasdan co-wrote The Empire Strikes BackReturn of the Jedi, and Raiders of the Lost Ark; three of my top 5 favorite movies ever. (He is also writing the Han Solo stand-alone film which I hope has the working title, Goin’ Solo.) The release date got pushed back from May to December because of re-writes. I was concerned, but more relieved. I want to see it ASAP, but take your time; do it right. I will wait for greatness, not settle for a rushed spurt of diarrhea. Then they popped out the first trailer. J.J., I’m sorry for ever doubting you. I was jealous you get to direct both Star Trek and Star Wars. I’m on board for the ride you beautiful Spielberg protegee, you. Let’s make some jumps to lightspeed (please use that as a euphemism from now on).

I’m guessing many of you have eye-guzzled the living hell out of all of these trailers like I have been doing as they’ve been released over the past few months, but here’s the batch of trailers, including the international ones with a few different scenes.

Teaser #2 – Other than the Main Trailer and TV Spot 2, this is the only one with the one scene of Luke and R2-D2

Main Trailer

TV Spot #1

Another TV Spot – I love the music in this one! John Williams is back too!

TV Spot #2?

Finn Spot

Kylo Ren Spot

10 Days to Go Spot

Rey Spot

5 Days to Go Spot

International Trailer #1

International Trailer #2

Man, I’m going to have a hard enough time holding on until Sunday; I can’t imagine waiting until January 9th!

While we’ve been briefly introduced to some familiar faces and ships, as well as many new people and places, it’s still hard to know what exactly is going to happen in this movie. I love that. While George Lucas and company worked on the sequels in the late 70s and early 80s, they worked under the cover of a fake film to keep people from nosing around and spilling secrets before the premiere. (That’s why you see meganerds walking around in shirts that read Blue Harvest.) Nowadays full scripts can be leaked before the cast is even complete, although I could have guessed who Samuel L. Jackson is playing in The Hateful Eight before you even said he was in the movie. However, nothing has leaked about The Force Awakens. It’s truly incredible and I am grateful for whatever wizardry Abrams and Lucasfilm have conjured up to ensure secrets stay secret until revealed on the screen as intended.

I’m looking forward to a lot with The Force Awakens. Like seeing how big of a role the motley crew from the Orig Trig have. The previews make it look pretty Han heavy which works for me. Han Solo is the most interesting character in the whole series. My favorite though is Luke, and he is absent  from the trailers except for one brief scene where he reaches his mechanical hand onto R2-D2. We’ll see where he figures in. It will be somewhere because even though Luke is not on the poster, Mark Hamill is second billed behind only Harrison Ford. I’m really intrigued to see what role Max von Sydow has. He is the “and” guy, meaning he gets the big supporting actor spot on the billing as the “this guy, this girl, this dude, and Max von Sydow”, so he is at least getting his due respect for being such a prominent actor. Nonetheless, we haven’t seen or heard from him in any of the posters or trailers.

One person whom we have seen and heard a lot of is Adam Driver. I love the chaotic crackling of the hilted lightsaber of Kylo Ren, or as some Target stores label him, “Lead Villain”. I guess the new characters’ names are not yet standards like Darth Vader or Yoda. But back to that lightsaber that is like a sword of wildfire. It’s not a uniform beam like every other laser blade we’ve seen. Instead it seems to match the furious intensity of the man who wields it. Just who he is remains to be seen, but he is not Luke Skywalker turned to the Dark Side as some early rumors speculated. Scenes of his flowing black hair as he duels Finn in a snowy forest and his youthful energy rule him out as being a new alter ego of the aged Jedi. He looks more like Jon Snow duking it out with White Walkers north of the Wall. Who needs dragonsteel when you’ve got a laser sword?

Speaking of which, if you need a refresher on what went down in the Orig Trig then look no further than this condensed play-by-play from YouTuber Alt Shift X. He also compiles some great videos about the plausibility of fan theories from the A Song of Ice and Fire series working in the books and show. It also serves as a great refresher when you don’t want to reread 1000 pages of sex, lies, and brutal deaths. Wait, that’s awesome! What I meant to say was when you don’t have the time to reread 100 pages of all that jazz.

Once you’ve reacquainted yourself with the events of that galaxy far, far away, check out the deeper meanings layered within each film as pointed out by Garyx Wormuloid and the guys at Wisecrack in Earthling Cinema, one of my favorite series on the web. The premise is that in the distant future after humanity has been long extinct, an advanced alien civilization is learning about our culture based on the films we made. This allows for intuitive analysis side-by-side with hilarious riffing. They have episodes focused on many iconic films, and the Star Wars ones are some of the best. Here’s the selection:

Star Wars

The Empire Strikes Back

Return of the Jedi

You can see that while the movies are at their core a simple tale of good versus evil, there is much more nuance to them than you may have noticed even on you 100th viewing. Some things I picked up on; others I didn’t. It’s fun to learn more about my favorite film series. Recently, I enjoyed learning about Lucas’ “three-second rule”. This has nothing to do with his affinity to eat fallen snacks off the floor – the actual figure for which is unknown. Instead it is about how you only have roughly three seconds to show your audience something in your film and have them get on board with it regarding what it is and what it does and how it relates to the story. Truly sound advice for any aspiring filmmaker! Given the recent failures, especially the Star Wars prequels, it’s easy to forget how skilled a filmmaker George Lucas really was. Cannot say the same about his dialogue, though. Did you ever wonder why Harrison Ford so frequently ad-libbed his own lines?

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your opinions, stories, and ideas below or at monotrememadness@gmail.com. Whenever you do see The Force Awakens remember to be courteous and show your excitement through a smile and maybe a squeal of joy and not by spilling every detail of the movie to others who didn’t get premiere tickets and see it dressed in Jedi robes with a humming lightsaber slung over their shoulder. I’m emphasizing this to you guys in L.A. who got to see it today! Now if you excuse me, I’m going to be off the Internet for the next week in an attempt to avoid spoilers and to commune more in focus with the Force. Also to work on my baseball swing.

May the Force be with you,

Alex

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