The 12 Days of Star Wars: Day One

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Hey, have you heard the news? There’s a new Star Wars movie coming out. Yes, I’m serious. What do you mean you haven’t heard?!? Of course you’ve heard and because of that, we here at Flick Nation have decided to tie-in everyone’s excitement (anxiousness? ambivalence? trepidation?) for the new Star Wars film Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the holiday spirit and thus would like to present: Flick Nation’s 12 Days of Star Wars! The plan is as follows…

The Flick Nation Team will be presenting articles, reviews, conversations and think pieces about everything Star Wars from now until December 19. Yes, we know the film drops December 17 but we will wind-up our coverage with reviews of the new film on December 18 and 19. Sounds good? Well, too bad. We’re doing it anyway.

I’d like to kick off the event by laying down a pretty bold statement: Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the last great film event of our time. Now, of course I’m not a fortune teller. Who knows what the future holds? But hear me out as I explain why there will never, ever be a movie event like this again.

To begin with, Star Wars is the only film franchise for families that’s spanned four decades and counting. Yes, there are other film franchises that have been around that long and longer (Rocky, 007, Star Trek to name a few) but none have the cultural relevance, nay cultural power, the Star Wars films have. Now, I may dive into why these films hold such sway but we have 11 more days here so that has to wait. I want to talk about the film-going experience and the amazing power and response to this new Star Wars film and how this is it for cinematic cultural events forevermore. It all starts with the PR campaign.

Photo Courtesy of Comic Book Resources

Without doubt the press (trailers, photos, information being let out) for the film has been outstanding so far and all they had to do was not tell us all that much. Trailers nowadays are basically the thing people are judging before the movie and Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been masterful in its secrecy. Where’s Luke? Who are these new kids, Finn and Rey? What’s the deal with the dark side coming back in full force (no pun intended) with that Rylo Ken dude? Perhaps the biggest question is: what’s the deal with Chewbacca’s fingers!? They look weird! The answer to all these questions and the brilliance behind the marketing campaign is that you’re just going to have to wait like the rest of us to find out. You’re going to have to get off your butt and get down to the movie theater opening weekend before someone ruins it too. You’re just going to have to go to the movies this time.

And that’s amazing.

See, there’s no “canon” books about this new Star Wars like there is for say, Hunger Games or Harry Potter. This is all new, undiscovered turfPlus, there’s no trailer or press junket explaining the plot to the film. There’s plenty of rumors and guesses but no one really knows. After Star Wars: The Force Awakens starts though, these questions will mostly be answered and while I’m sure there will be many more questions after the newest film, I don’t think any film moving forward in this franchise will be as secretive and exciting. Yes, people will still show up in droves to see the follow up films and the spin-offs, but there’s simply no way this level of excitement is maintained throughout the next 20 plus years.

Currently both official Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailers have over 70 MILLION views and counting. When the second trailer premiered at halftime during a Monday Night Football game a few months back, I was in a packed pub that fell to a hush when the trailer came on. When it was over, I saw a grown man weep and two strangers hug. I’m not even kidding. There’s something deep and wonderful at work here and it’s exciting to witness.  

star_wars_episode_vii__the_force_awakens_ver10In short, everyone is either aware or excited about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Even people who aren’t big film buffs are aware it’s coming and many people who have sworn off the theater experience are thinking about breaking that drought for this film. When tickets went on sale they broke the internet. Well, they broke Fandango at least. While I’m pretty sure every big Star Wars movie that’s forthcoming will do very well, I just don’t see as many people that are excited for this one sticking with the planned Star Wars universe for every film. If that happened, I would be completely blown away but there’s just not enough time in the day for every person excited for Star Wars: The Force Awakens now to be this excited for say, the rumored Boba Fett spin-off movie or the forthcoming young Han Solo movie. The reason isn’t just time and effort either, it’s that mileage is going to vary.

A good example is the young Han Solo movie. I’m excited that Christopher Miller and Phil Lord are directing this film based off a script by Lawrence Kasdan but honestly, America in general – even the film going regulars – don’t know who Lord and Miller are (they did The Lego Movie and the 21 Jump Street films). Worse, they probably don’t know who Kasdan is and he’s the one who wrote everyone’s favorite Star Wars entry, The Empire Strikes Back. Add to that this is young Han Solo and automatically, whoever Disney chooses to play him, he’s going to be met with disapproval and people will get so annoyed, they won’t go see the movie. It’s to be expected. Tastes vary, etc. But the thing about Star Wars: The Force Awakens is, it has everybody back plus new cast members who will keep the series going. I don’t know if Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher are going to be around for the next film but they’re in this one and that’s a huge attraction.

Look, all of this is just my opinion and kind of half-assed attempt to play “Inside Baseball” with the Star Wars franchise. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Hell, I thought the first Avengers movie would be a disaster. But I can say, look around right now. People are truly excited for a film for the first time since, hell, the prequels came out. And while I’m not a person who gets overly grouchy about how those turned out, the prequels really did offend people and hurt their feelings. When’s the last time a popcorn movie caused so much anger and seemingly physical pain? Never!

People love Star Wars and they want it to be great. They want their kids to feel what they felt when they saw something awesome in a crowded movie theater full of strangers. Most of us saw early Star Wars films with parents or close friends that have since died or moved on from our lives. There’s a feeling in the air for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that we need it to be special. We need to feel the way we used to feel about great storytelling and great characters. And the way Disney and J.J. Abrams have handled the lead up to the new film is a master class in nostalgia marketing and giving just a taste of what’s to come.

I don’t see how any film can ever again have the expectations Star Wars: The Force Awakens has on it and Disney knows this film is too big to fail.

Author: Don Lewis

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