Saturday, July 28, 2018

Episode IX Casting News (Or In Other Words, Another Star Wars Clickbait Post)

I haven't done a Star Wars post in....what, about two weeks??? We certainly have to rectify that, don't we?? I'll jump on the sound bite bandwagon and discuss the hours-old news on the casting for the next film in the Disney Star Wars trilogy.

The fact that the next film will use unreleased footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa doesn't surprise me. It makes perfect sense, considering the situation that arose due to Carrie's passing. For those that feel that using this footage is exploitative, would you rather have Leia's ultimate fate dealt with by having the opening crawl for Episode IX say "Leia's dead" and that's it??

Of course THE LAST JEDI gave Leia plenty of opportunities to go out in a sacrificial blaze of glory--but it seemed that Rian Johnson wanted to use the character to play a shell game with the audience. Trust me, I wouldn't have enjoyed seeing Leia die on screen any more than seeing Han Solo get killed, but at least that would have been a proper farewell to her instead of "Oh, we fooled you! She's not really dead!!"

Mark Hamill coming back doesn't surprise me either--I'm sure his Luke will appear as a guide to Rey.....or maybe he will appear as a nightmare to Kylo Ren?? Either way powerful Jedis keep pretty busy after they pass away.

As for Lando showing up in the form of Billy Dee Williams.....I wonder if this has something to do with the reception the character received when he appeared in SOLO. Most folks seem to feel that Donald Glover's Lando was the best thing in that movie. My friend independent filmmaker Paul Lyzun believes that the character played by Benicio Del Toro in THE LAST JEDI should have been Lando. That's an intriguing concept....but could you believe that Lando would have been so money-hungry he would have betrayed the Rebels, or the Alliance, or the Resistance, or whatever the supposed good guys are called now? Honestly, would a turncoat Lando been any more unlikely than a grumpy, dispirited, and cynical Luke Skywalker??

My first impression when hearing that Leia, Luke, and Lando will be in Episode IX was that Disney is trying to placate all those Original Trilogy fans who are uneasy about the new trilogy. But the fact is that almost all of the beloved Original Trilogy characters have popped up again and again in different formats and they have been portrayed by different performers. The two animated Star Wars TV series, THE CLONE WARS and REBELS, constantly feature characters from the Original and Prequel trilogies. Most of you reading this post probably don't even know that Princess Leia appeared in an episode of REBELS, and she wasn't voiced by Carrie Fisher.

The most famous Star Wars characters reappear in all sorts of novels, comic books, video games....I know many people believe that those types of media "don't count", but it shows how iconic those characters are. I never thought I'd see the day when there would be a CGI version of Grand Moff Tarkin, or a actor other than Harrison Ford playing Han Solo, but it happened....and I don't think the world ended because of it.

Many people voiced disapproval about a CGI Tarkin and a CGI Leia in ROGUE ONE, and some are not happy about the use of Leia footage for Episode IX. To me, using CGI or unused scenes to bring back characters played by late performers is not a problem when used within the context of the Star Wars Universe. I feel that the Disney Star Wars films have bigger problems than reusing old characters--they need to figure out how to properly develop new, interesting characters and better story lines.

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