Aaw man, the jedi are my favourite part by far.
Any film that doesn’t focus on them almost feels like a misstep to me. Obviously every fan has slightly different interests but nothing screams Star Wars as definitively and in as cool a fashion as a lightsaber.
Skip forward thirty-some years and Avatar is only able to bring blue people and papyrus fronts to the fore of the cinematic landscape.
I’ll take a lazersword every time, thanks.
Aaw man, the jedi are my favourite part by far.
Never been a huge Star Wars guy. I like them, and I’ve fulfilled my geek duty by seeing them all on the big screen. But without the Jedi, it’s just spaceships and laser guns, to me. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, but the Jedi are what elevates the concept and the universe to something special.
I don’t think of Jedis as synonymous with lightsabers (which are cool) or vice versa. I think of Jedis as dull, cloaked, religious mystics with bad hairstyles.
The vehicles, the creatures and the varied landscapes are what I love about Star Wars films (which is why Rogue One really worked for me - it had all the stuff I love, and not much of the Jedi stuff).
Podracing is the best part of Star Wars. Anyone of my generation knows this as a fact.
Let’s not get crazy here. So SW peaked with The Phantom Menace?
It obviously peaked with Attack of the Clones. Its meditation on the coarsness of sand is…exquisite filmmaking.
One thing, I think, is that in 1977, Star Wars was revolutionary. Nobody had ever seen anything like it. John Williams’ score, Ralph McQuarrie’s designs, lightsabers, X-Wings and TIE Fighters dogfighting… back then it was absolutely insane. It was a completely immersive experience
I remember people freaking out of the Cantina scene. Now, it’s been done so many times, that it’s cliche.
With younger people, I think Star Was had lost that edge, and it’s mostly running on nostalgia. Someone in their teens or younger won’t see much difference between The Force Awakens, Rogue One, or The Last Jedi and Jupiter Ascending or Valerian. It’s just another big sci-fi special effects movie to them. And, when I say its running on nostalgia, I’m not necessarily criticizing, it’s just that special effects and movie-making technology have caught up with Star Wars and made it less unique.
Except it’s making a killing at the box office, where Valerian and Jupiter Ascending didn’t. Star Wars may not mean exactly the same to younger viewers, but it has the mystique. What they make of that mystique is an entirely different matter.
There’s been relatively few space opera movies. Beyond Wars and Trek there’s the Fifth Element, Starship Troopers, Last Starfighter and others that typically don’t sell many tickets. It’s hard to do - immense world building, immense cost, lots of risk. And typically they’re routine stories dressed up in space trappings to hide the weak story. However when they work it’s a printing press for money.
Star Wars works on three levels. The space aliens asthetic is first rate. It’s a dirty real looking universe. We can relate to it as there’s no outlandish aliens who do some naff stuff. They’re all like animals or men, they all look like you’d find them in a bar in New Jersey. The Star Wars universe looks like it smells of ass.
Second the story of a son fighting his father is just first rate. Defeat the evil overlord, deal with him being the father you’ve longed for all your life and figure out how you connect together. Any setting at all and that’s a great story. English knights, desert raiders, wandering samurai, Roman soldiers - it works everywhere.
Third is the Jedi. They’re cool. Luke is cool. His power is cool. The prequels made the Jedi uncool (purposely) but this idea that the power is within them and casting someone tiny like Yoda as the most powerful Jedi of all is wish fulfillment that fiction needs - there’s no Hagrid saying ‘you’re a wizard Luke’ but it’s close.
I don’t think one of those elements on their own makes a hit. I think you need the whole combination - great world building, great story, cool concept.
I think that’s one of the most important things the new movies got right that the prequels messed up. I mean, I get that this may have been a deliberate decision on Lucas’ part, given that the Old Republic was the Golden Age and the OT takes place in the chaos afterwards, but… everything in the prequels looks too clean, too new, too shiny.
And yeah, I do think the Jedi do play a big part in the popularity. The idea of an order of laser-sword-fighting magic monks is just too cool not to appeal.
EDIT: In your list of space adventure movies, your forgot Avatar, which showed that you can make the really big bucks with this kind of thing if you do it right. Unfortunately, few people seem to be able to do that.
I think the Laser Sword outweighs the robe wearing monks.
Hell, Travis Touchdown had one…and it was still cool.
Travis Touchdown might be the greatest videogame character ever. He’s probably my favourite.
No one’s doubting the coolness or appeal of laser swords, but yeah - Luke, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon aren’t the coolest characters in the series. That’d be Vader (yes, I know he used to be a Jedi), Boba Fett, Han Solo, Lando, and R2D2,
Swap Boba with Jango and we got a deal.
I think Boba Fett is only cool to geeky types. I recently rewatched the original trilogy, and…he didn’t really stand out. Cool armor, I guess, but he went out like a bitch, and he didn’t really do too much. He had no discernible personality other than “cool looking bounty hunter.” I’m not a huge SW guy, so maybe I am missing something…but there doesn’t appear to be much “there” there.
Eh Lando? wtf did he do?
Nah the coolest are Vader, Obi-Wan (McGregor), Luke, Han & Darth Maul. Only one of those doesn’t use a light-saber… But maul uses 2 to compensate =P
This is a good list.
Boba Fett was also a popular character before Empire Strikes Back, from appearing in a cartoon in the Holiday Special.
Boba fett was the only mercenary Darth Vader spoke to One on one wasn’t he? The other mercs were only there in a group. And fett seemed like darth wasn’t shit to him. AND he got solo on his own. Yeah, RotJ treated him like a joke, but 8 year old me thought he was pretty badass in empire.
Well Kylo Ren could’ve been one of the cool SW characters… if he had never removed his helmet, or spoken, or acted like an emo-douche… or had that stupid name… eh… oh well he looked cool in the first 10 mins of TFA, which is about as much as Fett was in the movies, so yeah