10 Reasons Star Wars: Episode VII May Be Doomed From the Start | Fanboys Anonymous

10 Reasons Star Wars: Episode VII May Be Doomed From the Start

Posted by Anthony Mango Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Star Wars is one of the most revered and well-respected films in the history of cinema. Not only is it responsible for inspiring countless filmmakers, but it is also a pop culture institution with virtually no equal. Fans have taken their appreciation of it to whole new levels, with some even going as far as to pattern their entire lifestyles around its more philosophical teachings.

The success of the original film has continued for decades, spawning numerous follow-ups with movies, television shows, comics, and pretty much everything else imaginable. Billions of dollars later, Star Wars is still at the top of the food chain and shows no signs of stopping any time soon, now that Episode VII has been announced.

In October of 2012, fans rejoiced at the news that their beloved science fiction fantasy would continue to tell its story on the big screen. For a brief, fleeting moment, the future looked brighter than ever. The franchise was nowhere near its dying days—a new hope appeared on the horizon!

That was before the dark times—before the second-guessing started.

Since this entire film has been shrouded in mystery and many fans are already feeling the residual side effects from the last three films, people are hesitant to get fully on board. To be fair, can you blame them? The pessimists in all of us can see that there are a lot of hurdles that Episode VII is going to have to overcome in order to pull off being a great film.

To get past some of these roadblocks is asking for the impossible, and there may be a new prophecy for the Star Wars universe: one that forecasts the inevitable failure of Episode VII.

new Star Wars wallpaper Episode VII desktop Episode 7

10. Sequels Have a Bad Track Record

Quick, name ten sequels that were as good or are better than the film that preceded it. Do you have your list? Good. Now, remove the obvious films from the list, which includes The Godfather Part II, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Dark Knight, and, naturally, The Empire Strikes Back. Chances are, you're struggling to think of many more. Sure, X2: X-Men United and a handful of others can be added to the list, but there aren't many options left to choose from.

For all of the sequels out there, the ratio of good ones to bad ones is disproportionately in the latter's favor. This is because sequels have to navigate a tricky minefield of potential pitfalls. If you try to do something different to keep things fresh and you deviate too much from the standard set before, you go into territory where you aren't giving the fans what they liked to begin with. On the other hand, if you just replicate the first film as closely as possible, you draw criticism for just selling people the same old stuff. After all, if they wanted to watch that movie again, they'd just go watch the first one.

The art of balancing these polar opposites is what makes or breaks sequels. Fans are pretty split when it comes to Star Trek Into Darkness, the second installment of the new Star Trek series that J.J. Abrams is responsible for. That was his first attempt at a sequel and it isn't being widely considered an improvement by the masses like the other films listed above. Episode VII has even bigger shoes to fill and will have to endure even more scrutiny when it comes out. Somehow, it has to stick to the formula and do something different in all the right ways, as well as have a strong enough foundation story to stand on to begin with.

9. Too Much Hype Can Kill Expectations

Sometimes we can be our own worst enemies. Only a fool wouldn't want the audience to go into their new movie with high expectations. However, if those expectations are too high, then that causes significant problems.

Time after time, moviegoers are hit with buzzwords and cliché phrases that goad them into spending their money, but they then find out that it was all hyperbole. Good salesmanship can lead to an impressive debut night at the box office—which Episode VII is surely guaranteed to have—but bad word of mouth afterward can kill that momentum. The next worst thing to people saying that a movie was terrible is when they have to explain why it was "just okay", but ultimately disappointing to their friends who haven't seen it yet.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace was a huge letdown for fans when it debuted in 1999. Since then, it has been chastised as a joke despite its massive success in ticket sales. Undoubtedly, Episode VII will be marketed with all of the usual sayings about how it is Star Wars like we've never seen it before and how it ups the ante by taking the series into the modern age while also staying true to its roots and so on. Everyone will rain so much praise down upon it and fans will be so pumped up and excited that they won't be able to contain themselves anymore.

If it doesn't deliver on all of the promises that it makes, then those fans will do what they've always done and reject it wholeheartedly. This gets even harder for sequels. Fans aren't satisfied if a sequel is simply good, because they're expecting it to be even better than what they've seen before and the producers will be hyping it up as that to begin with.

8. All of the Questions Have Been Answered

One way that the prequel films were able to have so much hype going for them was that they offered a chance for fans to find out the answers to the mysteries of Star Wars lore. How did Anakin Skywalker become Darth Vader? What's up with these "Clone Wars" that Luke speaks of? We would finally see the more civilized age where the Jedi Order consisted of more than just a dying old man, another dying old man who is mostly machine, and another dying old man/Kermit the Frog hybrid. Fans could only imagine the wonders they were missing out on.

Now that the prequels have come out, there's nothing left to hook us. We know the back story of the Sith and the Jedi, everything about all of the main characters, and then some. We may not want to know it, but we know how the Force interacts with sentient beings through midi-chlorians. Even little details like the building of a lightsaber have been shown to us, so there aren't any nuggets left to entice curious fans.

7. Isn't the Story Technically Already Finished?

It doesn't seem like there's any official stance on whether the Star Wars saga was originally comprised of one film, three films in a trilogy, two sets of trilogies, or even potentially twelve different films or more. George Lucas has contradicted himself on this issue every once in a while, but the last thing we were told was that the six films finished the basic plot. The circle finally being complete was literally the selling point of Revenge of the Sith. Everything was wrapped up in a neat little bow and audiences knew the beginning, middle and end of the journey of Anakin Skywalker.

Granted, where things go from the end of Return of the Jedi was left open-ended specifically to allow for other stories to be told, but do any of them matter? Is the story of Luke Skywalker rebuilding the Jedi Order and the Republic returning really worth telling, or is it just extra bonus material? The Expanded Universe filled that void for fans and it has been ruled completely unnecessary, so why is this any different? If it's a story that George Lucas wanted to tell so badly, why was there no mention of a continuation when Episode III came out? Instead of teasing that there are some awesome new adventures coming our way, Lucas and company essentially said that the original and prequel films were the only important ones.

The Chosen One of the prophecy did his job, the Empire has been defeated, the Force is in balance and good has triumphed. Now what?

6. No Villains Can Top Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine

The six Star Wars films have all revolved around Darth Vader and his master, Darth Sidious. Darth Vader is a strong candidate for the best villain in the history of villains in any medium, not just the Star Wars series. To his own credit, Emperor Palpatine's entire gimmick was being the most evil person in the galaxy and the embodiment of corruption and greed. How can Episode VII's villains ever match or surpass those two?

J.J. Abrams and his team cannot simply tell us that the new villains are on equal grounds or worse than the Sith from before without showing it, and how can they do that? What is there left to show? Darth Vader took scared children that trusted him and murdered them in cold blood. Palpatine orchestrated the slaughter and near extinction of the entire Jedi Order, while enslaving a galaxy in the process. What could these new bad guys possibly do to earn their spot? Even the coolest villains like Darth Maul have paled in comparison.

If Episode VII tries to accomplish this by just telling the audience that they're even worse and the biggest threats ever, it will come off as childish as when kids embellish things on the playground. Sure, Palpatine is wicked evil and all, but this new villain makes him look tame, cause he's a million times darker. In fact, he holds the special rank of Super Ultra Mega Dark Lord of the Sith, so watch out for that guy.

5. The Lightsaber Battles Can't Get Any Better

Even if by some chance we're able to get a decent villain out of this, there's no way the fight sequences can meet expectations. One of the big reasons why the prequel films were so interesting was that we could see the Jedi in their prime. Gone were the limitations of arthritis and, in Darth Vader's case, not having any limbs to have arthritis in. With the three newest films and the cartoon spinoffs, pretty much everything that can be seen with a lightsaber fight has been done.

We've seen someone wield two lightsabers at the same time—even two lightsabers fused together. We've seen acrobatic moves and interesting deaths. We've seen different colors, curved hilts, weird lighting effects and everything else you can imagine. We've even seen the most personal of motivators for fights, with mentors facing students, fathers facing sons, and Obi-Wan Kenobi cutting off the limbs of his student who he thinks of as a brother and is the closest thing to a father to.

To an extent, even the non-lightsaber action probably won't be anything too impressive or something that we haven't seen before. If that's the case—and we can rule out gun fights and space battles as well—then the action may not wow anyone and just fall flat. Once you've seen it, it just doesn't have the same reaction the second time around.

4. No More Noticeable Leaps Forward in Special Effects

The original Star Wars was ahead of its time for visual effects, pushing boundaries that nobody expected. That is one of the primary reasons why it was such a success in its time. Groundbreaking new technology has always been a focal point of the series and the prequels did not shy away from this, either. While it has been criticized for looking fake in some scenes, it's undeniable that The Phantom Menace and its successors had been able to touch new levels of creativity with CGI. This allowed Lucas the ability to do scenes that he never would have been able to do before.

But what advancements are going to shock audiences in 2015? We live in a time where every blockbuster can be viewed in 3D or 4K formats. TRON: Legacy and other films have de-aged actors and built characters and environments from the ground up that look so believable, you can't even tell what's real and what's fake anymore. With the proper budget, nothing looks as unconvincing as Ang Lee's Hulk and the only strings you ever see holding up model props are in home videos. There are people doing videos on YouTube every day that match what The Phantom Menace brought to the table and it's all become commonplace.

It's unlikely that Episode VII will look anything different from what Star Trek Into Darkness, Gravity, and The Lord of the Rings series haven't already shown us recently.

3. The Returning Cast Aren't at Their Peaks

The recent casting announcement confirmed that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker and Peter Mayhew were all returning and would be heavily featured. This is nowhere near a bad thing on principle alone, as it means there will be a true sense of continuity to bridge the gap between the past and the present. What's bad about this, however, is that their age has assuredly caught up to them in some ways. They aren't as in shape as they used to be and can't logically be expected to endure the same hardships they went through when filming A New Hope.

Once again, expectations will play a big factor here. If you go into this movie expecting the older cast members to be doing intense stunts like in the prequels, or even be as active as they were in the original films, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. The younger cast will have to be positioned to take the brunt of the action, which may also rub fans the wrong way if they feel as though they wanted to see more of the original cast.

Do you really want to see Leia in a bikini now?

2. Original Trilogy Purists Will Hate It Anyway

Some people just can't take off their rose-tinted glasses and will argue until the end of time that everything other than the first incarnations of the first three films is pure blasphemy. The special editions have all been a travesty that ruins a classic, the prequels are an abomination of a trilogy, and life would be so much better if we all still watched VHS tapes.

Everyone has their own preferences, but there's a portion of fans out there that will adamantly hate Episode VII simply because it is something new, which is unfair. These are the same people that will criticize flaws in the prequels without acknowledging their achievements. Likewise, they will ignore flaws in the original trilogy and only mention the positives. For every Jar Jar Binks, there are Ewoks. Detractors of Anakin and Padme's bad romance should not forget about Luke and Leia kissing. It's hard not to defend Episode I's fake Yoda puppet when the lightsabers used to change colors and disappear entirely from sight.

But none of that matters, as these particular people will go into Episode VII already hating it. They subconsciously don't want any of this to be any good because it invalidates what makes them feel more comfortable, which is living in the past. Watching the old cast come back will rile that up inside them and when they're leaving the theater on opening night, they will be complaining that it tarnished the legacy and spit in the face of the old films. Why? Because it exists outside of the perfect bubble of memories from their childhood.

1. There Are Already Built-In Scapegoats

The hardest part about having an opinion is backing it up with evidence that supports your theory. Without having an excuse to think a certain way, you tend to come off as foolish. If you want to take a lot of the pressure off yourself, though, all you need to find is someone to point a finger at. Once you've got a target to blame, you can attribute anything negative toward them. Subconsciously or not, some people will specifically end up looking for flaws they can trace back Disney and J.J. Abrams.

Everything negative about Star Wars from over the past decade has been directed at George Lucas. He's the reason Jar Jar Binks exists, it was his call that Greedo shot first, and he's responsible for the horrible dialogue and other failures. People say that the prequel films failed and they are able to place that blame on Lucas. Episode VII is a case of the same exact situation, just with different names and the added bonus of not being able to fall back on the excuse that it doesn't matter what the audience thinks, as this is the original creator's vision. If something is too childish, the Internet will say it is because Disney got its hands too dirty. If there's a single lens flare, Abrams will get crucified in memes even more. Star Trek fans will be mad at Abrams for not returning for a third film, and Star Wars fans may be too unwilling to trust a Star Trek guy to handle their series.

Bigger gambles have paid off in the past and surefire easy hits have bombed miserably, so there's always a chance that things will work out for the best—but it will be tough. Here's hoping that Abrams and everyone else responsible for making Episode VII can overcome these problems and deliver with a fantastic film, even if it is a one-in-a-million shot. "Do or do not, there is no try." Let us all cross our fingers, close our eyes, and trust our instincts. Until proven otherwise, you have every right to say you have a bad feeling about this.

Do you expect Episode VII to be awesome or terrible? What are you excited or worried about? Tell us your thoughts and leave a comment!

Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and podcast host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, fiction writer and more. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.