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Interesting Article on Observation Deck

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by Kyle, Sep 16, 2014.

  1. Kyle

    Kyle Reader of Books and Comics
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    hopefully I'm starting this thread in the right place. Apologies if I am not. A cool article popped up on Observation Deck/io9 this morning pointing out how Abrams and Johnson will most likely ignore the prequel trilogy. I know that is kind of stating the obvious, but it also points out how the prequel trilogy could be considered an entirely different universe from the OT, ala Marvel style. Just thought it might be a good read. Enjoy and I'd be excited to hear what people think.

    http://observationdeck.io9.com/what...e-prequels-d-1635176322/+katharinetrendacosta
     
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  2. Rebo

    Rebo Nearsighted Whill Guardian
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    I agree with nearly everything the writer mentions (I don’t buy we won’t hear the word sith in the new trilogy), but I don’t agree with the conclusion they are making.

    Taking a thematic lead from the OT doesn’t mean that the prequel trilogy is being ignored. It means you are following a natural progression of storytelling from one trilogy to the next.

    Midichlorions won’t be mentioned because there is no need for them in these stories. Jedi aren’t institutional as they were in the prequels, so that minutiae is irrelevant to the story. We won’t go to Utapau or Naboo, because they aren’t relevant to the story and don’t support the mood or theme of the new trilogy.

    I’m not really a prequel defender, but pristine planets like Naboo and Kamino fit the pristine society and story that Lucas chose to tell. Frontier planets like Hoth and Endor fit the story that was being told in the OT. Unless they don’t know what they are doing, JJ and friends will do the same for this story. Likely a dark story of building back from the brink of extinction for the Jedi, and the restoration of a just society for the galaxy at large. So, the races, planets, and aesthetics will match that feel. And in that world, many of the elements of the prequels would feel out of place. But to say that it creates a separate continuity is a step too far for me. It is selective and streamlined story telling that doesn’t negate the universe as it existed before. If anything each new perspective we see in the SW universe, makes it grow and become more varied. I don’t see a retcon here, just building on what came before.
     
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  3. jaha

    jaha Rebelscum

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    Bull****
     
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  4. Kyle

    Kyle Reader of Books and Comics
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    Super insightful! Thank you
     
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  5. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Rebelscum

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    Good grief!

    Anyone who has delusions of this kind will be sorely disappointed. I've looked over these articles and I'm afraid these people just don't get it.

    I mean look at this line alone:

    Both J.J. Abrams and Rian Johnson are old-school Star Wars fans with an old-school approach to filmmaking, who are treating the new trilogy much as if it were being made in the '70s and '80s: real-world locations, massive sets, physical props and puppets, and a relative minimum of CGI. (Or at least, CGI that recreates the look and feel of analog practical effects.)

    Erm... yeah. I really think that terrible research like this tells you everything you need to know about these writers. All they have to do is look at the recently released Star Trek Compendium with it's behind the scenes look at the making of those films.

    JJ uses everything that the prequels use. The only difference is that since Trek is set on Earth he can use obvious Earth locales and environments which are not available as readily a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

    Anybody who thinks these are going to be some throwback films to the 80's is really setting themselves up for terrible disappointment. It's not happening. What is going to happen is that the design ethic will of course be starting with the look of the OT not the PT as the prequels are between 50 to 60 plus years before this new era when the galaxy was at peace, there was a Republic, the Jedi were around etc.

    These movies have a standard to live up to. Directly in line from the incredible visual universe that the prequels and Clone Wars set up in terms of grand scale but also just from all the current franchises like the Marvel universe, LOTR and all the other top VFX films.

    Sorry fellas but analog films are done and over with for movies like these. The point is that movies like the ones that have been made for the last 15 years since TPM couldn't be made with analog compositing only through digital compositing.

    These writers of course ignore the reality that the prequels were massive hits and super popular with the regular movie going public. Their success is undeniable and shown over and over again at the box office, VHS, DVD and Blu Ray, merchandising, and in every possible measure of success like Harry Potter, LOTR, Pirates and all the other major franchises.

    The other thing they obviously don't know is that the prequels had more massive sets, props, costumes, models, miniatures, matte paintings etc etc than the OT ever had. I don't know the final count but in terms of practical effects the PT is probably anywhere from 10-20 times that of the OT. As for locations I don't know the final tally but the truth is that Star Wars was always mostly a studio production. ANH's major location was Tunisia for a couple of weeks work or so then besides some pick-up shots or live action plates it was all studio, same for ESB which again outside of shots for Hoth was all studio then ROTJ which again was how long a shoot exterior? Some shots for Tatooine then Redwoods for Endor.

    Compare that to TPM for Tatooine then Naboo in Tunisia, Italy and England then Tunisia again for Tatooine and Italy again for Naboo. ROTS had no major cast locations but various live action plates used to help create backgrounds to worlds. Sorry but they couldn't find Mustafar or Kashyyyk or Utapau on Earth.

    A relative minimum of CG. Here's the problem though. These people obviously have no idea what is CG and what isn't in the movies. They are selling the same old tired story that the prequels were all CG. Which is course is nonsense. They are all digital of course just as these movies will be. Digitally composited that is. It's like the people who think the SE's were "all CG" no they weren't. Read the credits. The SE's were done with CG as a tool of course. They also used models. miniatures, matte paintings (digital mattes if you want to get technical as opposed to glass mattes) puppets, costumes, props, sets, live actors etc etc etc.

    Extending sets to be larger than they are in studio was always a part of Star Wars. That was done through various means including green screens and miniatures. There was a limit to what you could do with analog tech. Not so with digital tech:
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    #5 Qui-Riv-Brid, Sep 16, 2014
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2014
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  6. Duke Groundrunner

    Duke Groundrunner Rebel Official

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    Qui-Riv-Brid, you really should condense your post a'lot more or some people will just skip over them.
     
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  7. Fooled Trooper

    Fooled Trooper Rebel Official

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    So why did all those great models not give their vibe to the movies? Was it the camera? Did they blend too much into the rest of digital shots?
    I don´t know the answer but TPM felt more "real"...Was it the grain in the film? Well, at least I can "enjoy" the PT a bit more and look out for those model shots...but the movies were shots in such way that you could not tell...
     
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  8. Echo-07

    Echo-07 Rebel Official

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    I doubt very much that Disney spent 4.05 Billion for LFL just to ignore half of what it was buying. These articles have crept up from time to time but they're not very plausible at all, just PT-hate fueled fantasy IMO.

    Does what I just wrote say we'll see all kinds of things from the PT, like Gungans and battle droids or planets? Probably not, but that doesn't mean that the PT doesn't exist or exists in another universe. Disney has already declared the 6 movies and TCW series are all canon.
     
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  9. Rebo

    Rebo Nearsighted Whill Guardian
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    The too much CG argument is one that has snowballed out of control, building off previous complaints and often not taking facts into account.

    I have significant issues with the prequels, but one of the things I love about them is the world building done by the CG artists who created background plates for the planets.

    The real CG issue in the prequels wasn't in the background effects, but in the lack of care the film makers had for its affect on the drama itself. It is often clear in these movies that many of the actors are lost in a sea of special effects. The director's responsibility is to compensate for those issues, and I think Lucas failed to do so. Subsequent years and even select SW performances have show us since that it is possible to act against nothing provided that you approach it correctly. In being first of their kind movies (in featuring such an abundance of nothingness turned into substance via CG) George failed to notice the inherent issues in the process and then left us with Natalie Portman or Hayden Christiansen awkwardly staring into space like they just took a hit of nitrus before the camera rolled.

    The other "CG problem" with the prequels was that the desire for the world to look pristine combined with George's shiny new toys led to a lack of real world dirt and grime. This was fixed somewhat by Ep3, but in the first couple movies they didn't always realize that sleek didn't have to mean no imperfections. Chrome can have a scratch and still look pristine.

    The final "cg problem" which was alluded to above, was Ep2's camera. The protoype digital amera that was used was great for its time, but has quickly shown its age. Digital has come a long way, but at the time of the prequels it wasn't quite ready fro primetime. The camera has a glossy feel that makes things seem too perfect and unrealistic. Again, George was excited to play with the new toy and I don't blame him. But, doing so with one of the biggest films of all time maybe have been the best place to try it out.
     
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  10. Echo-07

    Echo-07 Rebel Official

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    Your post is great and I see your points, but they didn't really bother me. My BIGGEST gripe with the PT CGI was how gratuitous it was when it came to actors. There was absolutely no reason why the clones couldn't or shouldn't have been real actors in armor. The CGI for humanoids just isn't realistic enough to fool the human eye. For ships, planets, backgrounds, monsters, aliens etc... it's great, but not for humans.

    This is one of the ways I'm already psyched by how JJ has tackled E7 -- practicality, especially for stormtroopers. I'm almost willing to wager we don't see one close up CGI stormie -- maybe for really long shots and BG extras, but every stormie we see in medium and, especially close up shots, will be practical, real actors in armor.
     
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  11. Qui-Riv-Brid

    Qui-Riv-Brid Rebelscum

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    If that's the way you feel about it then that's what it is. I don't feel that at all. I would say it's the viewers choice if they feel distracted by the density of the world they see. The odd thing about that though is that is exactly what people said about the first film in 1977 when it came out. There was so much going on in terms of visuals and sound that they weren't able to process it all and came out needing to see it again because they couldn't take it all in.

    The odd thing is that the exact thing that was cause for praise for the OT somehow became a cause for criticism for the PT. I certainly came out of TPM overwhelmed by the experience.

    He "failed" as well on Star Wars.

    Don't forget that the actors on the first film said exactly the same thing. They talked about how nothing was there. Yet you would say how could they be lost when things were actually in front of them? But they weren't. They weren't seeing ships or walkers or any of those things added in post.

    If you have problems with NP and HC that is your problem. I think they were both great. Over and over again when I really talk in depth to people the real problem over and over tends to really become not about the actors but about the characters as conceived. They are locked into Star Wars characters being very simple and straightforward as in the OT so when the PT does really complex characters with hidden motivations and underlying character flaws they feel it's "wrong for Star Wars"

    Sorry but that is rubbish in so many ways.

    I don't honestly recall anyone ever complaining about how Cloud City was against the Star War ethic since it was a "clean and sterile" place. The point is that with the limitations of what they could do they didn't go to planets with natively advanced civilizations. They simply couldn't do places like Coruscant, Naboo and Kamino which were top line advanced places or go to dirty planets like Geonosis, Mustafar or the places like Tatooine as seen in the PT with stadiums or in the middle places like Utapau. Look at The Invisible Hand. Yeah that is a nice place! Hardly it's look quite awful. The Imperial ships and the Death Star are palaces in comparison.

    Please tell me where all these "real world grime" was outside of Tatooine?


    Not a CG problem or a problem at all.

    If George had that kind of attitude then Star Wars would NEVER have happened in the first place. Lucas never changed his principles on film-making. George knew that he was only ever going to make 2 more films as a director. He wanted TPM to be done with digital cameras but they weren't ready (only the later shooting for TPM was digital) they were ready for AOTC. If he didn't make that film with the digital cameras then he couldn't learn all he needed to know to make ROTS better. Again I don't know what you mean by glossy and unrealistic. I don't feel that at all quite honestly. I really think that people with that view are placing that there themselves. It's a totally subjective viewpoint.

    The main thing from a purely cinematic viewpoint I'd suggest is that unlike so many other film-makers George is not afraid to do his movies in bright, blinding sunlight. George uses night and rain and the like for certain things at certain times. He doesn't cheat like so many others do. Same thing he did for the OT like on Hoth. Darkness covers so much. 99 out of 100 would have made the ground battles of Naboo, Geonosis and Kashyyyk all dark and rain soaked.
     
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  12. Rebo

    Rebo Nearsighted Whill Guardian
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    Whoa there.

    First, I think something got mixed up in the quoting, as you are quoting @Echo-07 but with my words. So, I’ll respond as best as I can. Just know that I am actually a fan of the prequels. Not a hater. I just find some significant issues that make me not as in love with the PT as I am with the OT.

    On my acting comments, I think you are misconstruing my argument. My complaints are not about the excess of CG around the actors. My complaint is in the method used to achieve good performance within that atmosphere. Lucas demonstrates during prequel special features that he is selecting takes not based on performance as most directors would, but on timing and alignment with the special effects. It is clear that some actors are aware of this early on and find ways to make sure every take has full effort behind this. But, it leaves many extras and secondary character’s feeling like they are reading off cue cards. And in particular, it causes a lack of refinement in the acting performance of the two leads in my opinion.

    I agree that character is an aspect here. I understand what George was going for with his wooden archetypes. But its clear that some found success in that and some didn’t. If you want to compare a good wooden performance vs a bad one compare Liam Neeson’s acting in TPM against Christiansesn’s in 2 and 3. Neeson isn’t wgoing to win any awards for that performance, but he creates a commanding and interesting presence on screen, without coming off as stilted or lifeless.

    The actors that were able to have fun with their experience (such as the OT heroes, Ewan McGregor, Ian McDiarmid) generally brought their own enthusiasm to their performance, But in cases where it would fall to the director to pull that our, I think Lucas fell short. But as you say, that I MY problem.

    On to my next rubbish point. Your example of cloud city is a perfect one for my point. Again, you seem to think my issue lies in there being clean and sterile environments in Star Wars. It is not. My complaint is with their execution. Cloud city gave off a sterile feeling while still feeling as if it existed in the real world. Kamino, while similar, felt like it was animated. I’m not asking ofr everything to be dark. Some of my favorite shots in Star Wars are the bright ones, because they are so against type. My complaint was that, being new to CG environment creation, the process was not refined to the point to figure out how to add those little flecks of realism. A scratch here, a scuff there. Like I said, they improved on that throughout Ep3 and clone wars. So, I think they realized their mistake. But, it does take me out of some scenes in Ep 1 and 2.

    Finally…the camera. I called it a “CG problem” in quotes for a reason. I think people blame poor CG for the camera’s flaws in much Ep2 criticism. The camera, which has since been improved to great results, gives off a foggy sort of feal. The resolution on that camera, is far lower than film and it shows in the CG from time to time. As if you are watching through a very thin film. Enough so that you don’t notice all that much, but if you compare similar shots from Ep2 vs Ep3 you can see a world of difference. Just try looking at some coruscant cityscapes blown up on a big screen (at least 50 inches) and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Again, I said. I understand why George wanted to use the camera and the fact that he went for it is one of the reasons I love his work. He I adventurous, out there, and not afraid to do things outsaide of formula and convention.

    I just think that it was to mixed results in the prequels. I honestly, I think George would be ok with that. He is a risk taker. Risk takers know that sometimes, it doesn’t all work out perfectly.
     
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  13. JediMasterTy

    JediMasterTy Rebel Trooper

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    x2 on this. Even through the prequels weren't quite the same as the "Holy Trilogy" they were still "Star Wars" and had that same feeling of adventure and originality. Love them all, just not as much as the originals. Now Jar Jar; that's a different story..
     
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  14. DEKKA129

    DEKKA129 Professional Slinger of Balderdash
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    Remember, Lucas had reportedly joked to friends years ago when ILM started experimenting with CGI that he'd love to be able to someday make his movies without using actors.

    Now, obviously he's not going to take it THAT far, but I think we could see this basic sensibility in the way he used CGI for so many human characters in the PT. Not just background actors, but main actors. Was there any reason for Palpatine to be doing those Yoda flips off of the wall of his office when he fought Mace Windu? No. But he did because Lucas had the technology to make it happen... and it looked like crap.

    This is one of the two things that bothered me about the overemphasis on CGI in the prequels was that it ended up being such an end unto itself. Many years ago, George Lucas famously said, "Special effects are just a tool, a means of telling a story. People have a tendency to confuse them as an end to themselves. A Special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing." In that same interview he warned against the tendency to spend so much time and effort creating these fantastic environments that you end up spending screen time on them.

    And yet, 15 or 20 years later, he was doing pretty much exactly what he'd always warned against. CGI effects and environments "mugging for the camera" was something that happened a lot in the PT, and which I still find distracting as hell..
     
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  15. ekg

    ekg Rebelscum

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    Not all, but most of those pictures are from TPM, which looks significantly more real (like the OT) than 2 or 3.
     
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  16. MomawNadan

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    Interesting article,

    Have to restate the obvious as Echo-07 had already done: if Disney has declared the first 6 movies cannon then much will be kept. I will add that just because Abrams and Johnson have brought back and will hopefully honor the original trilogy actors, this does not indicate a tearing down of the PT. I am happy to have Luke, Han, Leia etc back, but I am still a fan of all 6 films and am so proud of Disney that they will acknowledge the work done by the original cast; seeing them all in that Script Read discussion with R2 in the box almost brings a die hard to tears I believe.

    Some interesting challenges did arise in the PT such as Midichlorians and the Chosen One Prophecy as has been discussed in other Threads, however I do not foresee a situation where Disney will throw the baby out with the proverbial bath water, and I have a suspicion we may even be surprised with some of these themes being drawn out as the post ROTJ Luke story is fleshed-out.

    Can't comment too much on Sets accept to say that if I was creating a clone army I think I would encourage a fairly sterile environment to do so... such as the case on Kamino; I would also choose a fairly inhospitable place to protect my investment, such was the case on Kamino.

    Anyhow, Great Thread, but have to disagree, all is not lost for the PT
     
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  17. Bdgeek

    Bdgeek Rebel Trooper

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    Nice article!
     
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  18. DarthAzis

    DarthAzis Clone

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    Problem with prequel was visual/acting, so from what we see so far, I think we'll be ok. Basically, the prequels had the right story, but told with a lot of unnecessary politics, boring plot points, lack of humor and dynamic, and obviously not fitting the atmosphere that the visuals showed. And gosh, Hayden Christensen just killed those movies, so bad...

    Basically, I would be ok with prequels being rebooted, Expand Episode I to include pre-historic Old Republic stuff and Sifo Dias' story. Do Episode II with the Clone Wars using more myth & force struggles (like what Obi Wan described) and then do Episode III by presenting a believable fall to the Dark Side.
     
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  19. ThePurloinedFowl

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    Just because JJ said he was using analog rather than CG effects, and shooting on film rather than digitally, doesn't mean he is ignoring the PT. I think he and his cohorts will be drawing characters and storyline from wherever in the canon they can find them, including the PT - but that they also will not be slaves to the PT, and they seem to be completely distancing themselves from the EU in character names, plot lines, etc. It's interesting to me how many fans seem to want all these characters to show up that nobody ever saw except gamers or hardcore comic book collectors or Star Wars book readers, yet they want The George's Own canon (in the PT) ignored.

    There is one thing I fear. George Lucas throughout the six films he created attempted to pull the series away from its devoted, core demographic - tween through twenties males - and give it to children, to older people, to women, to fans of other genres. This is why the fandom seems to looooove the games so much - so masculine, so muscular, so short on story other than Light Side fights Dark Side, wall to wall lightsabers and powers so mighty they defy the laws of physics, and Dark Side is cooler and only loses if you click a button in the preferences. This is the Star Wars that the fandom seems to want, mixed with misty memories of Han solo joking around and being insouciant. The books were entirely wish fulfillment fanfic, rehashing the whole 'big bad weapon and empire/dark side vs. rebels/light side even long after rebels had supposedly won'. They also really showed signs of a lack of parental involvement on the part of Lucasfilm, in that there was no regard for the future in, for example, all the kids Leia popped out and how they turned out, along with the whole Mara Jade storyline for Luke, eliminating the possibility of future film projects based on those storylines.

    TFA has dumped the EU, but it still apparently has a big bad secret weapon and the empire vs. the rebellion/resistance. There is none of what Lucas always said the sequels would be about, namely rebuilding the republic. Maybe JJ and Co. didn't find a sufficient story in that rebuilding, but for whatever reason, they seem to have gone back to the EU 'gotta make it an action film' wish fulfillment, make it like the OT lightsaber/shoot'emup. Maybe they feel they have to do such a film because it is what draws the lads, but it is my major misgiving about the entire project.

    If the PT had been better structured and better written, it could have succeeded as a primarily political plus bad-guy-coming-of-age non-action sci-fi film. But there doesn't seem to be any will in Hollywood to make such a movie. I find that unfortunate.
     
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  20. Rebo

    Rebo Nearsighted Whill Guardian
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    I was with you and cheering you on right until those last two paragraphs. :)

    I completely agree with you that the EU is very dependent on wish fulfillment and it owes much of its success to pandering to what people think they want out of Star Wars (which can lead to a fun experience, but not quality art). I also strongly believe that the prequels have serious flaws but that they don't always align with the criticisms of the fans. There is certainly some selective memory at play amongst some of the fanbase when it comes to what made the OT great and how to properly make a successful SW movie.

    That being said, where the EU and games tend to go too far in one direction, the prequels went too far in another. Lucas tried to leave the arena of b-movie sci fi and emulate the great epic melodramas, but in doing so lost the foundation in pulpy fun that made the OT so popular.

    But all of this has been discussed to death around here before. The part of your post that really surprised me is the notion that the ST seems to emulate the EU? I have not seen this at all. In what ways do you think the ST is going down the path of over stuffed action and fan-service? I mean yes, the trailers show a lot of action, but these are still blocbbuster movies not oscar bait and trailers are designed to sell the exciting bits. They are not necessarily indicative of the overall tone of the movie. And as far as fan service, most complaints around the rumored plot right now are centered around a lack of fan service. About going away from expectations and not giving the fans exactly what they have been thinking about for 30 years.

    I mean, I guess if you are looking for a movie with no action then yes, you will likely be disappointed. But that isn't star wars. But the presence of lightsaber battles, and super weapons, and dog fights doesn't necessarily mean that the entire movie is brainless action. The themes and character dynamics will determine what the true heart of the movie is. And that we haven't seen yet. But we hear rumors of a jedi in self exile. A pacifist stormtrooper who finds his courage after defying horrific acts. The corruption of power and war leading to examination of the grey nature of this traditionally dark vs light battle. These are the interesting themes that Lucas hinted the ST would be about. The philosophical questions of what is a Jedi and how does one find and keep the correct path. The difficulties once you dig past good vs evil. Its a philosophical question kicked off when Vader kills the emperor. Luke doesn't kill Vader as those around him would have liked. Vader is not all evil and Luke is not the conquering hero. Building on those themes is what I expect of the ST. And that level of depth, mixed with some great action sequences sounds like great Star Wars to me.
     
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