Monday 1 March 2010

Things the Star Wars TV Series can do that will make it awesome (Part 1)

Love them or loathe them, one thing above all is obvious: The Star Wars prequels split the community upon their release. With George Lucas' announcement of a live-action television series focusing on the events between Episodes 3 and 4, speculation is rife about some of the things that are to be included in the series. Lucas has clearly and definitively mentioned that Darth Vader and Sidious will not be directly featured, and that there may be a plot line involving Leia, but other than that most has been left to speculation. E14, therefore, lists this week some of the ideas we think could make the show worth watching.

VERY few cameos by main Saga characters

Let me get this out of the way right now. I'm actually GLAD that there's no effort being made to include some of the characters. Firstly, there would be an absolute casting nightmare in that NOBODY will be 100% happy with the choices made for characters like Han Solo.

For another thing, they've had between three and six films devoted to their storylines, as well as countless Expanded Universe novels of varying degrees of quality. For every New Jedi Order story, there's a Planet of Twilight that tips the balance back towards shit. Nothing, however, can compare to Thrawn and the awesomeness that is he.

Now, unfortunately, canon dictates that Thrawn is not part of the TV series in any shape or form, simply because he isn't in known space (or indeed heard of) at the time of the Original Trilogy, so it stands to reason that much to my chagrin Thrawn will not be around to make the TV series more awesome. However, there is nothing that says certain characters cannot make the odd appearance. Despite what I mentioned earlier, I think Han Solo can stand to make the odd appearance without TOO much backlash, as long as he appears in some sort of fan service role, or maybe in the background of a scene in a way that can make Original Trilogy fans happy.

Some other characters I can see in a cool little cameo include Admiral Ackbar, because let's face it: who doesn't walk into any dodgy situation nowadays and shout "It's a trap!"? I'd love to see some backstory explanation that explains just why he became so skeptical. Add to that some sort of Lando Calrissian side-story, and most Star Wars fans will be pissing their pants with excitement. Everyone Loves Lando. Incidentally, if the series DOESN'T end up being called that, I'll be fucking surprised.

Move around as little as possible within episodes

Understandably, the series will surely go from planet to planet within a vast universe, but at the same time too much jumping around from place to place within a short space of time will just make the series convoluted and hard to follow. A much better idea, I feel, is to make each episode root itself in one central planet, and then MAYBE allow for a little movement here and there depending on the storyline. Obviously, to go a number of episodes without moving at all would be illogical, as there's plenty of scope for travel. The only situation under which moving around might not make sense is if there is a heavy presence on Coruscant.

Of course, there are a few planets that might make no sense regardless of the storyline context. There's no real sense in going back to Mustafar, simply because it's got nothing to do with anyone except Palpatine, Kenobi and Vader. Kenobi's a recluse, Palpatine and Vader aren't going to be in it. See? No logic. There are understandably plenty of planets that do make sense. Obviously Coruscant makes sense from several points of view. It's the Imperial capital, so as well as anything to do with Imperial military there'll be sabotage and espionage missions, as well as the aforementioned loyalty issues.

Combining the possible cameo of Lando Calrissian being included, and a side-plot involving Cloud City would be made of epic win. In terms of planets that could be cool, we really didn't see enough of Geonosis or indeed any sort of detail about Coruscant beyond a few buildings. I personally would like to see some fan service for some of the planets that were really only developed in Expanded Universe territory. Let's see some plot lines on Nar Shaddaa or Nal Hutta, they make for a good film-noir/detective style stories.

Boba Fett

Come on, this one's a no-brainer. Ever since we watched Jango come a cropper of Samuel L. Jackson (just like so many motherfuckin' snakes on a motherfuckin' plane) in Episode 2, we've been hoping he'll surface somewhere. There was even a significant number of people who wanted to see him in some way appear in Episode 3, even though he'd have been all of about twelve years old at the time.

Boba Fett, though it pains me to say it, is technically one of the more over-rated Star Wars characters if you go by the films only. You can count the number of lines of dialogue on one hand in Episode 5, and the amount of screen time he gets in Episode 6 is criminal before his seeming demise at the hands of a blind guy with a stick and dumb luck. He gets a few minutes screen time in Episode 2, where he watches his dad get relieved of that troublesome head by the aforementioned Samuel L. Jackson (And for those nit-pickers, the head DOES fall out as the helmet comes on). He NEEDS more screen time to avenge the geeks who stand by him so, or all is lost. When I say "all", by the way, I mean "not a lot"; it's not like it's a question of credibility.

Encouragingly, Lucas has given the impression that Boba Fett is going to be part of the new series, but how best to use him? In this humble blogger's opinion, the solution is simple: Make him the indirect focus of a story arc. Depending on how many episodes the series runs at per season, the main plot of four to six episodes could be one of the characters in the series trying their best to evade Boba Fett, with talk of Fett in the background establishing him as a fearsome character to tangle with. This could work well in a Moby Dick style, as most of the book is spent talking of the whale before it surfaces. Let's just hope if they were to go for this option, they didn't end up making the ending a total anticlimax like Jaws. Producers, if you're listening: Whale, not shark.

More to come next week...
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  1. No Vader in the Star Wars television series? Well, that sucks. Pretty much the only thing I'd be that interested in seeing chronicled between Episodes III and IV is the rise of Vader. I'd be very interested in watching him change from the 'practically-still-Anakin' Vader of the famous 'NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!' to the seriously evil, terror of the galaxy, Vader from the beginning of 'A New Hope'.

    Watching a third-rate (yet inexplicably popular) character like Boba Fett tit around for several episodes? Sorry, not even vaguely interested.

  2. Boba Fett is without a shadow of a doubt the most over-rated villain in the history of villainy. Leave him to moulder indeed. As for his popularity?-: cool armour and a nifty spaceship. ;)