7 Original 'Star Wars' Movie References That Don't Belong In 'The Force Awakens'
J.J. Abrams faces an enormous task in The Force Awakens: He must remain faithful to the universe George Lucas created, while bringing his own perspective as both fan and filmmaker into the mix. To that end, there will (hopefully!) be a fair share of original franchise references — quotes, visual cues, recurring characters — in the newest installment. But at the same time, there are some things Abrams shouldn't touch, either because they're too beloved and canonized to approach, or because they honestly just didn't work the first time around. These seven moments are prime examples of Star Wars references The Force Awakens should not make.
Though they've been mythologized and critic-proofed, the first six Star Wars movies were not without their faults. Consider, for example, the recommended "machete order" of rewatching the original movies. It's gotten a lot of play in the lead-up to The Force Awakens, driven by fans who want to revisit the original series prior to seeing the newest installment. It might be tempting to start from Episode I (the fourth movie to be made) and move forward from there, but according to the so-called machete order, viewers should start with IV, move on to V, jump back to II and III, and finish with VI. This allows the films to introduce core characters and then permits viewers to flash back to how they got where they are before moving on to the conclusion. Also note: The machete order abandons Episode I. Episode I is the black sheep of the canon, the least beloved film and the butt of many jokes. Blogger Rod Hilton first explained the machete order on his blog, Absolutely No Machete Juggling, in 2011 — he wrote in an email to CNN, "Machete Order includes the bulk of the prequel material... but Luke's position as the narrative center is restored."
So, given that even some of its biggest fans acknowledge that not everything in Star Wars necessarily should be revisited, or reworked, here are a few moments that The Force Awakens should shy away from.
1. "I Am Your Father."
Some fans have theorized that Kylo Ren will be Rey's long-lost brother, the child of either Luke Skywalker or his sister Leia and Han Solo. The family-reunion, long-lost-sibling plot has been used — and exhausted — so we should hope that the Star Wars filmmakers found a more original way to tie their characters together.
2. Jar Jar Binks
In one of the most heartening interview J.J. Abrams has given so far, he told Vanity Fair that he was considering killing off Jar Jar Binks and placing his bones in a desert dune somewhere. If that's the only reference, I approve. The villainous alien was also one of the most absurd characters to come out of Attack of the Clones.
3. That Metal Bikini
You know the one. Let's put that behind us, shall we?
4. Jabba The Hut
While we're at it, let's just omit all references to the slave master Jabba the Hut, who imprisoned Leia as his sexual slave until she freed herself and set about slaying the monster.
5. The Phantom Menace
Some things, like the origin story of Darth Vader, are best left to the imagination. The Phantom Menace gave us a little too much detail about the supervillain-slash-galactic conqueror's history, and while it was adored immediately after it came out, fans have largely disowned The Phantom Menace over the past 15 years. Except maybe the pod race. We can keep that.
6. The Great Pit Of Carkoon
I still remember sitting in my living room, face hidden behind my hands, watching the Sarlacc of the Great Pit of Carkoon swallow its victims — to be digested over the course of a thousand years. Little matter that the Sarlacc isn't real, or that our hero Luke survives near-certain death, the moment has stuck with me as one of the most terrifying in cinematic history. It's such a successful scene, there would be little gain from revisiting it in The Force Awakens.
Okay, so the new film probably wouldn't be complete without some kind of Yoda reference. But it's easy to see how it could be heavy-handed or caricatured, given how great Frank Oz's work with the puppet character was in the original trilogy. Homages to Yoda welcome; any efforts to bring him back should be avoided.
In the same Vanity Fair interview, Abrams noted that he dialed back many of the references. "They almost felt like they were trying too hard to allude to something," he said. "That, to me, has been the constant struggle: to make sure that none of these things are treated like either they’re a museum piece and we’re trying to honor them, or they’re gratuitous and thrown in because, well, it’s a Star Wars movie so you’ve got to put these things in." From the sound of it, only the best of the references will remain.
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Images: Walt Disney Studios; Giphy (7)