Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stealing storylines from future movies

Star Wars long ago ceased to be a universe whose timeline begins and ends with what we see in the movies.

Even when I was a kid growing up, I had a piece of Star Wars-related fiction called Han Solo and the Lost Legacy, which had to do with the adventures of Han Solo and Chewbacca either before or after the events of the original trilogy. (I'm gonna say before, since it didn't feature any of the other characters -- though maybe it would need to be after, to preserve the possibility of life-threatening danger to our heroes. I could look it up, but since it's one of those half-remembered things from childhood, it's more fun to speculate.) Anyway, that was the 1980s, and divergences from what we knew about the official Star Wars timeline were already in full swing by then.

Since then, there have been more adventures tangentially related to the Star Wars universe, both "officially licensed" and not, than probably even the most devoted geeks can keep up with. It only worried me enough to write about when I saw the poster for what seems to be the most recent of the dozens of Star Wars-related video games that have been produced in the last couple decades.

Quite arrestingly, the poster for Star Wars: The Old Republic is done in the style of the famous Star Wars posters by Drew Struzan -- you know, the ones with the head shots of various characters and action shots of various others, all combined together into a single iconic image. (Struzan also did the posters for Raiders of the Lost Ark and other films.) As far as I can tell, this poster is a theft of/homage to Struzan's work and not done by him personally. But it's still pretty impressive at getting the Star Wars juices flowing in an excited fan.

And because this poster reminds me so much of an actual movie poster, it made me wonder how much unfamiliar material there will/could still be remaining for future Star Wars movies.

Thought we were done? Thought George Lucas was content to continue riding the coattails of currently existing films, as he is doing by releasing the existing six movies in 3D, starting this February with The Phantom Menace?

As the movie industry has, in recent years, become even more reliant on existing brands than it has ever been, it stands to reason that episodes seven, eight and nine of the original nine-part series would still come to the big screen at some point in the future. At one point it seemed certain that George Lucas himself would have to be involved, but maybe that's not the case. It now seems unlikely that Star Wars will have faded into obscurity even a hundred years from now, and only rebooting/remaking the original movies -- something that seems certain to happen within 15 years -- is not enough for a century's worth of new Star Wars-related adventures.

What I'm really wondering is more broad, and it certainly doesn't relate specifically to The Old Republic, since that clearly seems to take place before any of the events we're aware of -- meaning it would have no bearing on episodes seven, eight and nine. What I'm wondering, in general, is how much of what we officially know about Star Wars has to jibe with the other things we officially know about Star Wars, or whether what happens in the movies is the only stuff that's really "on the record."

Again I'm not inclined to look this up, but mustn't there already be people out there who know how Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Leia (shit, does she have a last name? Organa? Skywalker?) meet their demise? Hasn't this already been written in some semi-licensed graphic novel that tried to fill the Star Wars void between Return of the Jedi in 1983 and The Phantom Menace in 1999?

I guess it's best not to think about it. I might drive myself crazy. Well, probably not. Since being a hugely devoted fan of Star Wars growing up, I've allowed myself to find a comfortable home in the middle ground of Star Wars fans. You know, the kind of fan who is not sure whether he's going to see the movies rereleased in 3D. See, the most passionate fans already know for sure whether they're seeing it (of course, it's Star Wars!) or not seeing it (blasphemy of the highest order!). It's the less intense fans, of which I am now one, who haven't made up our minds yet.

I do know that thanks to this poster, I'd now like to play Star Wars: The Old Republic -- or at least watch someone else play it. (I've never been very good with a game controller.)

Whether the events, characters or timeline of The Old Republic, or any of the other countless Star Wars branches, ever become "legitimized" by appearing in a movie? That's a concern for another day.

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