Star Wars Needs To Boldly Go
I was finally able to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and I should toss my two cents in while it’s culturally relevant. First, if you haven’t seen the movie yet, and are thinking of doing so (Hello? Are you out there?)- you should go. You’ll most likely have a good time. I did. Yeah, things stop making much sense when you start thinking about them, but it’s a good show.
Second, there’s been an idea going around that Rey, Daisy Ridley’s lonely scavenger from not!Tatooine, is a “Mary Sue” character. For anyone not familiar with the term, it comes from the early days of fan fiction[ref] specifically, Star Trek fan fiction [/ref], when a writer would create a character to represent themselves and insert her into the world of their favorite story.
There, she was presented as basically perfect. The other characters would remark how wonderful she was, a romantic interest would be immediately smitten, and of course, she would get to save the day. The character is by no means Always Female.
Rey, of course, is not a Mary Sue. Being a Mary Sue is subjective, and if anyone from that movie is, I’d say it’s Poe Dameron, the Resistance X-Wing pilot. Think about it- he’s trusted with extremely important missions, he can fly all sorts of impossible stunts, he’s a respected leader of an X-Wing squadron, he has a cool leather jacket, he’s generous with his cool leather jacket (he can get another one), and he has great hair.
Thirdly, and this is something the critics have been right about, The Force Awakens is very, very similar to the original Star Wars.[ref] AKA Episode IV, A New Hope [/ref] Right down to the opening sequence on not!Tatooine, the cute droid with a hidden hologram, and the giant spherical super weapon that must be destroyed.[ref] Guys, guys, Empire people, First Order minions, whoever you are: It didn’t work the first two times, why did you think it would work now? Has anyone ever told you about system redundancy?[/ref]
I can understand the impulse to do this- Abrams and Disney probably want to show they know what they’re doing after the Prequel Trilogy by sending Star Wars back to its roots. I hope they aren’t afraid to go in new directions after this, though.
I worry, because I am not the biggest fan of Star Wars. I prefer Star Trek, specifically The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, and a few of the movies. I got into it right before the last TV series, Enterprise, premiered. I was young and naïve then, and while I enjoyed the show, and noticed how each episode seemed to be repeating ideas from elsewhere in the franchise.
It was almost as if the creators were saying, “Didn’t you like this episode from TNG? Let’s see how our characters handle it!”
This from a show that was supposed to be exploring strange new worlds, new civilizations, and boldly going where no one had gone before.
Now, of course, they’ve rebooted the whole thing, going back to the characters from the original series, and leaving a few knowing bread crumbs for people who’ve been here since before 2009.
It’s all… fine, I guess. It’s just not new.
Star Wars is very different from Star Trek- underneath the space ships and aliens, Star Wars is more high fantasy than science fiction. But even so, if one of Our Heroes winds up frozen in carbonite and shipped off to a Hutt at the end of Episode VIII, it will be a very bad sign.
I hope, for the sake of all you Star Wars fans, your franchise doesn’t share its fate with mine.
Boldly go where you’ve never gone before, Star Wars. Boldly go.