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Star Wars: Episode VII to be directed by J.J. Abrams **NON SPOILER THREAD** — Page 9

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TheBoost said:

I stand by my opinion that there's never, ever, ever, been an origin story prequal worth the film it's on.

The Godfather, Part II.

But I agree in principle that origin prequels are by their nature so constrained it would take quite a lot to make them worth watching (such as, make it a prequel and sequel simultaneously).  But it's not impossible.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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Bingowings said:

Superman The Movie is another one in my book anyway.

That's an origin story but I'd argue it doesn't really qualify as a prequel since prior Superman incarnations were in distinctly different media.  i.e. Lawrence of Arabia could be considered an origin story, but hardly a prequel, even though there were books about the guy before.

Project Threepio (Star Wars OOT subtitles)

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SilverWook said:

I thought it was a missed opportunity not to do a movie or series about the Enterprise under Captain Pike. There was a short lived comic (thanks to fickle Paramount licensing) that was pretty darn good.

 

Star Wars was locked into having "origin" stories the minute "Episode IV" was added to the crawl.

 

When ENTERPRISE (the prequel TV series, that is) was announced, that's what I was hoping it would be!

The "In a Mirror, Darkly" episodes of that afformentioned series proved that the original Matt Jefferies designs from TOS could be done with modern production techniques. Those designs are still brilliant and elegantly simple--the 60s show was just limited by materials (plywood sets, etc.).

 

On the flipside, STAR WARS worked brilliantly as a self-contained movie. It told us everything we needed to know. I don't think anyone walked out of the theater with a burning desire to see the backstory fleshed out.

 

And, not to start any arguments, but, speaking as objectively as possible (in spite of my deep love for both franchises) I think that STAR TREK is fundamentally better that STAR WARS, structurally-speaking.

With TREK, you can go anywhere and do anything. Alien planets, time-travel, morality plays, etc.

STAR WARS was and is much more about a very specific set of circumstances and characters. The original film was about Luke's journey, and the Galactic Civil War. The two sequels continued in that vein.

The prequels then showed us the beginning of the war, while shifting the focus of the series to the whole (absurd!) TRAGEDY OF DARTH VADER thing.

 

In its single-film, three-film, and six-film flavors, the STAR WARS story has provided a beginning, middle, and end.

 

Where can you go from there?

THE CLONE WARS is set in-between AOTC and ROTS. The aborted (?) TV series was to be set between ROTS and ANH. The appeal of STAR WARS largely comes down to specific characters and specific events set during a specific time. Would audiences go for a "Tales of the Jedi" series set centuries before the six films we know? Or a series where none of the familiar characters appear (except maybe in cameos)?

Most of the post-JEDI EU stuff has featured the New Republic battling either remnants of the Empire, or all-new invaders. If these new films go down one or both of those routes, it might feel tired to hardcore fans.

 

Abrams may be excited to play in the SW universe, but which toys will he get to play with?

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CatBus said:

Bingowings said:

Superman The Movie is another one in my book anyway.

That's an origin story but I'd argue it doesn't really qualify as a prequel since prior Superman incarnations were in distinctly different media.  i.e. Lawrence of Arabia could be considered an origin story, but hardly a prequel, even though there were books about the guy before.

Seconded. Superman The Movie is as much of a prequel as Batman Begins, or the new Spider-Man movie, which is to say absolutely not at all.

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With a character like Superman, I can see the need to do the origin, since you kind of need to explain how such a fantastic person with superpowers would end up on our world.

...at least for his first major motion picture. From then on, future films really should just get down to business, rather than telling the origin again and again ( a la THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN).

 

With STAR TREK, the series began in media res. The premise is simple enough that an origin story wasn't needed--the Enterprise is on a mission of exploration. It's a ship with a long history, and multiple Captains/crews. We never saw the ship being launched, or the crew coming together. Every episode was complete and accessible to a first-time viewer.

 And yet, each one of the spin-off shows began with an "origin"--showing the launch of a ship and/or the assembling of the cast. And it all became part of an interwoven, complex continuty.

I think part of the reason that the general public knows TOS the best is because it was the least "hardcore fans only" series, with self-contained episodes, and no real "continuity" to speak of that people needed to keep track of.

 

With STAR WARS, part of the charm was the fact that the audience was thrown into the deep end of a totally new Galaxy, with all sorts of alien cultures and technologies that would take multiple viewings to soak in. The story was structured so that the backstory was there to flesh the story out, but wasn't essential, and wasn't the focus. It was just backstory. And, again, I don't think anyone walked out of the theater confused by the backstory. The film was complete and accessible to a first-time viewer.

All of the key pieces are there--the Empire came to power, Vader killed Father Skywalker, and, as the film starts, Leia is trying to recruit the retired Kenobi into the Rebellion, while also bringing the stolen plans to the Rebels. Pretty simple.

Of course, now that things are so convoluted, SW has lost a good chunk of its universality--general audiences would need a scorecard to comprehend the dynamics of all six films, of which the original is now only a small part.

After seeing PHANTOM MENACE, my own mother (who serves me well as an excellent barometer of the general public's perception of this stuff) was confused by the whole "prequel" structure. When I asked her if she knew who Anakin would eventually become, she said, "Luke?".

 

This all also raises the question--will the new films continue in the vein of the originals (by tying into the already-complex continuty), or will they be more stand-alone, general-audience-friendly films?

Worst-case scenario (for me): they'll play like fanfic-wankery retreads in the style of PROMETHEUS and NuTREK.

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Gregatron said:

Vader killed Father Skywalker

Wait... he did? When?!

Does this mean that we won't have to worry about him trolling these forums anymore?

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

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AntcuFaalb said:

Gregatron said:

Vader killed Father Skywalker

Wait... he did? When?!

Does this mean that we won't have to worry about him trolling these forums anymore?

 The other one!

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Gregatron said:

AntcuFaalb said:

Gregatron said:

Vader killed Father Skywalker

Wait... he did? When?!

Does this mean that we won't have to worry about him trolling these forums anymore?

 The other one!

You don't mean... there's a Father Skywalker 2?!

Oh, no!!!

A picture is worth a thousand words. Post 102 is worth more.

I’m late to the party, but I think this is the best song. Enjoy!

—Teams Jetrell Fo 1, Jetrell Fo 2, and Jetrell Fo 3

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AntcuFaalb said:

Gregatron said:

AntcuFaalb said:

Gregatron said:

Vader killed Father Skywalker

Wait... he did? When?!

Does this mean that we won't have to worry about him trolling these forums anymore?

 The other one!

You don't mean... there's a Father Skywalker 2?!

Oh, no!!!

 

No, the other other one!

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Gregatron said:

AntcuFaalb said:

Gregatron said:

AntcuFaalb said:

Gregatron said:

Vader killed Father Skywalker

Wait... he did? When?!

Does this mean that we won't have to worry about him trolling these forums anymore?

 The other one!

You don't mean... there's a Father Skywalker 2?!

Oh, no!!!

 

No, the other other one!

Don't dissemble!!!"

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 (Edited)

That still doesn't make it a prequel, it is the first part of a series that takes the material it is adapting and presents some of the events in chronological order.

I think prequels generally don't work because they are too boxed in. It seems when people make prequels it is felt that they should address every little thing. X-Men First Class is one of the best prequels I've seen, but it still suffers from this. (FIRST CLASS SPOILERS FOLLOW) By the end of the film Xavier is in a wheel chair, Magneto decides to be a bad guy, and Mystique decides to leave her long time best friend Charles to go be bad with Magneto. All the chess pieces are lined up in their exact places for the first X-Men movie, even though it takes place a very long stretch of time later. It feels like many of those elements were forced in there because well, obviously these things have happen to the characters sometime.  

Much like Padme dying, the Death Star being built, and Anakin donning the leather suit in ROTS. There was no rule saying that those things had to happen in the prequels, and I'd argue that they really didn't need to (at least not if those events were of no more importance to the story that they could afford to be shoved into the last 10 minutes of a nearly 7 hr. long trilogy). 20 years pass between the trilogies, but yet all the pieces are in place for A New Hope, Luke, the droids, Yoda, we find these characters just where we left them.

At the end of Star Wars they are in this fancy Mayan Massi (or something) temple on a nice sunny forest planet, Empire Strikes Back comes out and suddenly they are in the snow. Were our minds blown? How did they get there!!! What is going on???!!! Nope. If these movies were made today and Star Wars was a prequel to The Empire Strikes Back, you can bet it would end with the crew arriving on Hoth. 

A story needs to be focused primarily on character and plot. To me, X-Men: First Class was good (despite the awful title) because it did focus on characters and had an interesting plot (well, the Sebastian Shaw/Magneto stuff was great, teenage X-Men stuff was painful at times though). To me, the parts where it failed were the parts where they felt they were obligated to showing us things we already know must happen sometime just for the mundane sake of showing us. A character becoming paralyzed from the waist down could be some powerful character development for a potential later film, or it could just be shoved in at the end of the film with a nudge and a wink, "Hey, look what just happened! Ha, and now you know why he is in a wheel chair! Always wanted to know that didn'cha!"

 

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OK, just re-watched Star Trek 09 on BD after two years or so and it was f*cking awesome, including the lens flares, which work for me and I don't have any problem with them. Best Star Wars film since ROTJ or maybe even ESB. I am confident that if the script is at least decent, (and with Arndt writting it should be) Abrams will be able to deliver a great Star Wars film.

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I only found out the proper name for lens flares since Abrams got the directorial nod.  Before I called them "those bright lights that glare into the camera that used to be avoided at all costs."  Wooden acting is one thing but catching camera glare and publishing it on the big screen isn't a good thing in my book.  Star Trek 2009 would have been an awesome film if it wasn't for the flashing and glaring lights, it became distracting.  I hope he doesn't bring his lens flare garbage to Star Wars, it'll be the thing that would allow me to sever ties with the SW universe.

Wipe them out...all of them.

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He's mentioned a few times since 2009 how he overdid the flares. They're present in Super 8, but they're much less - occurrence as well as intensity.

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DarthOsor said: Star Trek 2009 would have been an awesome film if it wasn't for the flashing and glaring lights, it became distracting.  I hope he doesn't bring his lens flare garbage to Star Wars, it'll be the thing that would allow me to sever ties with the SW universe.

It wouldn't have been that different.

The only time I've really noticed lens flare was watching Babylon 5 and playing Turok and it was kind of welcome as bit of added detail (like someone filmed the computer graphics).

The important thing is that the story is worth telling.

JJ has proved that he can get actors to play characters (most of the time) instead of just looking bewildered at a dot on a wall but he has very little control over the quality of the situations those characters are facing (otherwise Star Trek 2009 would have been more than just an average Star Trek film with new actors in).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6Dp2OfIT_M

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Bingowings said:

JJ has proved that he can get actors to play characters (most of the time) instead of just looking bewildered at a dot on a wall but he has very little control over the quality of the situations those characters are facing (otherwise Star Trek 2009 would have been more than just an average Star Trek film with new actors in).

Which, given the writing team they've got, is probably going to turn out okay. I mean, there's no Orci.

 

This thread is now a merger of OffTopic's Trek and Prometheus threads.

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I just hope that when they reveal the title for the film, it becomes known as that instead of "Episode VII". I loathe the "Episode __" designations of the SW films.

It's Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi. The others don't count.

“Grow up. These are my Disney's movies, not yours.”

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Back onto the subject of prequels that worked, I think Temple of Doom did the job quite well. It didn't feel like a prequel, and regardless of how you feel about the quality of the story, nothing about it tried to explain anything from the other film. They didn't feel the need to tell us every mundane detail about Indy's past, such as the origins of his name, why he is afraid of snakes, exactly where he got his hat, or his whip, or that scar on his chin from, or dive deep into the details of his relationship with his father. Phew, imagine if they made an Indiana Jones prequel! I bet they'd squeeze all those things into it! Ugh, that'd be awful.

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I never saw ToD as a prequel, since like CP3S said it didn't seek to "answer questions" or connect the dots to a previously made film.

It was like a separate, standalone earlier chapter in Indy's life.

If anything the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, probably the only good thing Lucas did after 1983, would fit the bill of a prequel. Damn I loved that show.

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Young Indy was good, but I think it's status as this "legendary TV show that failed" has overshadowed it. Most people haven't seen it, but know that it's this "great, lost series." The production value was amazing for its time, but it's actually only so-so, the latter episodes tended to be better.

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georgec said:

I never saw ToD as a prequel, since like CP3S said it didn't seek to "answer questions" or connect the dots to a previously made film.

Wait? In order to be a prequel, does a prequel have to seek to answer questions and connect dots? By definition, I think it is simply a "sequel" that takes place chronologically prior to the the story that it follows.