And Then...

There’s a chance that you might have heard about that new Star Wars trailer that was released this week.  It was covered by a few news outlets after all.   OK.  I’ll stop with the ridiculous understatement. 

THERE WAS A NEW STAR WARS TRAILER!!!

DID YOU WATCH IT?

DID YOU?!?

DID YOU?!?!?!?

If not, it’s right HERE.

Now that we’re all on the same page, I have to admit that it was a great looking trailer, and far better than the first one, which I also liked.  I know I expressed trepidation about the new film back in THIS POST.  Here was my main point, which still stands:

I think what bothers me isn’t worrying about whether the movie will be good or not. It’s that I didn’t need more of the story after Return of the Jedi. I never followed the Expanded Universe or read the post-Jedi novels. For me Return of the Jedi ended, and they all lived happily ever after. I know that sounds childish, and it’s absolutely coming from the child I used to be. He fears that something terrible is going to happen to Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, R2-D2, or C-3P0 in one of these new movies. Stories abound that Harrison Ford wanted Han to die in Return of the Jedi. Maybe now he’s getting that chance, but that’s not what I want to see. Haven’t they been through enough? Luke lost a hand, found out Darth Vader was his dad, and got zapped by the Emperor. Leia was tortured for information, chained to Jabba the Hutt, and shot. Han was tortured, frozen in carbonite, and...okay. I can’t come up with a good third one for him. The point still stands. The adventures of the crew of the USS Enterprise should go on forever and ever, but Luke, Han, and Leia earned their happily ever after.

Despite saying that, the trailer actually has me excited.  There are some fantastic shots, and I think hearing Harrison Ford say "Chewie" again woke up my inner child. 

Let’s be honest, though, even if Star Wars wasn’t worth literally billions of dollars, the stories wouldn’t stop because we as humans seem to be incapable of letting a story end.  It all comes down the title of this post, which is really more correctly stated as a question “And then?” 

There are two driving forces here, as far as I’m concerned.  First, we always want to know what happens next.  Sure maybe that one adventure ended, but what happened the next day?  Second, once we fall in love with characters or a world, we want to spend more time with them/it.  At its most basic level, this is why fan fiction exists.  “I love this thing or this place so much that I want to tell stories about it, too!”

Stories that seem to have definite endings are no match for fan fiction writers.  Soon after the final Harry Potter book was published, I ran across a very long piece covering the next year at Hogwarts.  As I recall, Harry, Ron, and Hermione were there to make up what they missed by basically skipping their Senior Year to save the entire wizarding world. 

While you can find fan fiction for pretty much any fictional work ever online, some of these continuations are available as published works.  Dying to know what happened to Cosette after the end of Les Miserables?  There’s a book.  What about Scarlett O’Hara after Gone With the Wind?  We’ve got you covered.  Just read this.

The constant barrage of sequels we get at the movies often feels like Hollywood just going back to the same well over and over again in order to make a buck, but the simple fact is that studios wouldn’t keep cranking out sequels if the practice didn’t bring in audiences.  People want to see their favorite characters again.

Going back to the new Star Wars trailer, sure there are, as I already mentioned, a lot of great looking shots, but if you read a lot of the comments, people really went nuts about seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca again.  And viewers were parsing the trailer trying to figure out if a couple of the figures seen were actually Luke and Leia (I think they were.). 

We’re excited because we’re going to get to see these characters that we love in action again. 

We’re getting watch new stories with them.

We’re finally getting to know what happens next.

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OK. We already knew what happened next because of the Expanded Universe, but Disney wiped it out.  Besides, none of it was filmed.  Unless Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are on a movie screen, it doesn’t count!

- Alan Decker

@CmdrAJD on Twitter