Art vs. Commerce: The warring forces that will shape ‘Episode VII’Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been waiting for you, Art. We meet at last. The circle is now complete. When the last “Star Wars” was made, I was but the learner. Now I am the master.
Only the master of evil, Commerce. As you fight to force the new “Star Wars” films into a set date, you run the risk that the films will not be a worthy follow-up to the original films’ legacy — all in the name of the almighty dollar.
A summer 2015 release date must be achieved! The grand battle plan requires it. The Emperor has foreseen a franchise filled with movies that will dominate the box office until 2020 and beyond. The cosmos has been set in motion. Nothing must delay the inevitable.
At what cost?
At any cost, old one.
Your arrogance will be your undoing, Commerce. Fans waited for 16 years to see more films after the original trilogy. “Star Wars” fanatics are some of the most passionate and patient in the universe. They would happily wait another year or longer for a final product that lived up to the legacy of the franchise. Search your feelings; you know this to be true.
You underestimate the power of the dark side. Fans would also pay to see a weak film as long as the name “Star Wars” is attached to it. As much as the fanatics complain about the prequel trilogy, they still saw it. Most of them saw it multiple times. They will support most anything with a Skywalker in it.
But for how long, my former apprentice? While the prequels did very well, the luster of “Star Wars” has been dimmed for a while now. There are now as many films in the franchise that are despised as ones that are beloved. If this trend is not reversed, will pessimism and contempt dominate even further? What has been keeping fans interested in the new films? A desire to see the universe they love resume its former glory under new guidance. But now word has come out of how that new guidance may be in turmoil.
You are blowing the screenwriter shift out of proportion, old man. New writers are brought onto projects all the time. And the new scribes are director J.J. Abrams himself and Lawrence Kasdan — whose “Star Wars” work is beloved. Why do you maintain your pessimism about this change? It’s exactly what you would want.
No, I want the story to be good. Changing writers barely a year and a half before the film must be released — “at all costs,” your words — does not fill one with confidence. And the shift just reinforces the idea that your masters are plowing ahead with a story that isn’t ready. When those in the production — including Kathleen Kennedy herself — are reportedly asking to delay the film until 2016, are we to dismiss their concerns?
Cowardly fools. They lack the Emperor’s vision.
A vision that requires the film be shoehorned into a season that is already packed with major franchises? Summer 2015 has a slew of movies scheduled like “Batman vs. Superman,” the final “Hunger Games,” “Jurassic World,” “Terminator 5,” a new James Bond and a sequel to “The Avengers” — which your masters are also behind. Why is it necessary to force “Episode VII” out in time to join this glut of blockbusters? Is it not better to give the film the chance to stand on its own?
This is not about the summer of 2015 alone. This is about a dynasty, a series that will carry movies into the next decade. This is about a master plan to reveal a new film every year that will give fans all the “Star Wars” they ever dreamed of. This is about …
Returning on an investment.
That’s what the pressure is really in service of, isn’t it? This is about how your masters have spent $4 billion on a franchise that needs to start repaying on its cost. This is about how your Emperor has owned the “Star Wars” universe for a year and has nothing to show for it yet. This is about bean counters getting itchy trigger fingers. But your lack of patience will be your undoing. While any “Star Wars” films will make money, a great “Star Wars” film will make much more over a longer period of time from grateful and passionate fans. It is not I who lack vision, my padawan. It is you.
You should not have come back to “Star Wars,” Art.
You can’t win, Commerce. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than …
(Slash of a lightsaber blade. An empty robe falls to the floor.)
It is done, my master. What is thy bidding?
(A robed figure starts singing.)
The movies must be ready soon, and make them just for me!
M-I-C, K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E!
Email Toledo Free Press Star Pop Culture Editor Jeff McGinnis at PopGoesJeff@gmail.com.
Tags: art, Batman vs Superman, commerce, dark side, Emperor, Hunger Games, J.J. Abrams, James Bond, Jurassic World, Kathleen Kennedy, Lawrence Kasdan, Mickey Mouse, Skywalker, Star Wars, Terminator 5, The Avengers 2