By Allen Callaci
I spent two-thirds of my existence straining my neck peeking around corners in the Star Wars universe to see what is coming next—poring over every leaked image, every teaser trailer, and every vague tweet from Mark Hamill like a sacred scroll. Maybe I should have spent my time coming up with a cure for cancer or fighting world hunger. No use crying over spilled blue bantha milk! As we approach the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I offer my hopes—and fears (although I was once warned that fear leads to the Dark Side)—for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga.
20th Century Fox Fanfare Musical Cue
Like everyone in the galaxy, I know that Star Wars became a part of the Disney empire. The odds against bringing back the 20th Century Fox fanfare musical cue that segued into John Williams’ iconic opening theme for the first two Star Wars trilogies are the same as navigating an asteroid field (3,720:1). But, as a certain cynical, rogue space smuggler once said, “Never tell me the odds.”
John Williams wrote the Star Wars title theme in the same key as the Fox Fanfare so that it would feel like the opening movement of the Star Wars main title theme. Having a Star Wars film kick in without the Fox cue is like eating garlic bread without the garlic, listening to the Beatles “With a Little Help from My Friends” without the Sgt. Pepper intro or going to a baseball game without a seventh-inning stretch. If Star Wars holds the place in modern mythology that Joseph Campbell claims it does, then it should not abandon the roots of its rituals and traditions like the rotting remains of a vacated Blockbuster Video in the corner of a once-proud suburban strip mall.
Han Solo funeral
Outside of the sparsely attended Endor funeral for Anakin Skywalker at which his son honored his memory by barbecuing his battle armor like a rack of glazed ribs at the end of 1983’s Return of the Jedi, grieving and closure don’t exist in the Star Wars universe. The galaxy did not hold a day of remembrance for the gentle people of Alderaan who perished when the Death Star destroyed their planet. Leia never even alludes to the obliteration of her home base at the hands of Darth Vader. Perhaps she lives in an extended state of denial. Individuals who lost their lives in the fight against the Empire fared no better than the former population of Alderaan. Uncle Owen, Aunt Beru, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Yoda passed away in a galaxy far, far away and never were memorialized. To paraphrase the tagline of another late 70’s science-fiction epic, can it be that “in space no one can hear you grieve?”
Regardless of the heroic stoicism—or complete and utter lack of sensitivity, maybe—that we saw in previous Star Wars installments, The Last Jedi can make amends for previous slights by showing Han Solo some on-screen respect with a cinematic space age send-off not seen since the passing of Spock in 1982’s Wrath of Khan. I want Disney and Lucasfilm to do this for the Wookiee, not for me. A quick, tight shot in the background of the tombstone for Jar-Jar Binks as they lay Han down in his final resting place would ease the pain of saying goodbye to our favorite on-screen space scoundrel.
Luke Skywalker Goes Dark
Hints regarding the dark side of Luke Skywalker go back to 1977’s A New Hope wherein Luke’s Aunt Beru tells her husband that “Luke’s just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him,” and Owen curtly responds with one of the most understated lines in cinematic history since Dorothy’s observation to Toto that she doesn’t think they’re in Kansas anymore, when he curtly replies to her by stating, “That’s what I’m afraid of.” The Last Jedi presents a golden opportunity to understand Uncle Owen’s concern for his fair-haired nephew whose lifelong goals were to join the rebellion and go to Tosche Station to pick up some power convertors.
The Porgs will be more than re-imagined Ewoks
A cross between a tribble and a penguin with big emotive eyes and seal-like squeals, they launched 10,000 Internet memes after a brief appearance in the trailer for The Last Jedi. We know beyond a reasonable doubt that the Porgs will be the breakout marketing stars of the movie. Will they be worthy of that retail adoration or go the way of the Ewoks? Inquiring middle-aged minds want to know!
PLEASE don’t end with the destruction of another poorly designed, ill-conceived space battle station
To its credit, last year’s Rogue One, which focused on the back story of the rebel alliance stealing the plans of the Death Star, did not feature the obligatory destruction of a space battle station. We can only hope that Last Jedi keeps that streak alive and saves the franchise from becoming the space-opera equivalent of Groundhog Day, forcing viewers to re-watch the same last act ad nauseam. One wonders if the Imperial Forces contracted with Wile E. Coyote and ACME products to construct their planet-sized space weaponry.
A worthy Carrie Fisher send-off
May Carrie Fisher’s final scene in a Star Wars movie be one deserving of a strong, smart, sarcastic but vulnerable-beneath-the-surface princess. That’s what I want more than anything else from The Last Jedi.,