What The Phantom Menace Can Teach Us About Episode VII


Star Wars Episode VII is coming out.

I’ve never seen so many people who have disliked the direction of the franchise over the past few years jump back onto the bandwagon.

(I envision them as the Minions from Despicable Me.)

“Hurray! George Lucas is no longer involved. No more of that Jar Jar crap! We’re finally going to get the movies that we’ve always wanted!”

What could go wrong?

There are people who seem to naively think that the prequels are all that’s wrong with the franchise, when the real problem is themselves. Think about it.

Almost everyone can agree that The Phantom Menace had WAY more hype than it could possibly live up to. No matter what you think of the film, realize that people had their own idea about what TPM should be like, and when it didn’t fit perfectly into that picture, predictably, they were disappointed.

That is very similar to what I see going on right now. Now is the honeymoon period. Everyone is really excited. Even John Smith, who hasn’t liked a single Star Wars story since he watched The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, thinks that, somehow,  Episode VII  will be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Not going to happen.

Why? Because Joe is convinced that the new SW movie MUST be a direct adaptation of Zahn’s Heir to the Empire, or that it HAS TO overwrite the expanded universe, or that it’s GOT TO recast the big three, or that it CAN’T POSSIBLY recast the big three, or that Joss Whedon MUST do it, or J. J. Abrams, or Stephen Spielburg… you get the idea.

I’m already seeing people make decisions about what these new Star Wars movies should be, while in the same talking about how Disney “BETTER NOT SCREW IT UP!”

The reality is that George Lucas wrote the treatments, and Kathleen Kennedy will stay true to George’s vision, and that vision may not fit exactly into what we want it to be or think it should be.

But it’s still going to be new Star Wars on the big screen.

I choose to enjoy the new Star Wars films for what they are, and not to hate them for what they are not.

Riley Blanton

Host of the Star Wars Report podcast, Tech enthusiast, former CAP cadet. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of… well… other people.

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  • Darth Gutter

    Riley I couldn’t agree with you more!!! I am so excited to see whatever they throw at us! I kinda want to see what has been rolling around in George’s head all these years? And to see what the new generation of writes & directors can come up with? So excited!! Old Star Wars fan who like all 6 episodes. Some more than others. But still like them all. Keep up the great work that you all do! May the Force be with you!!

    • http://twitter.com/TheRileyGuy Riley Blanton

      Thanks! I know, exciting times are ahead :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001407916110 Troy Stiffler

    You say what I feel about the whole issue. George is creative consultant, Kathie is exec. producer, the screenwriter is the story for Toy Story 3, and the director has to be a Star Wars fan. We are in good hands.

    • http://twitter.com/TheRileyGuy Riley Blanton

      Yes we are!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Bradley/100000360206733 Jeff Bradley

    I’ve been thinking and saying the same thing. They’re hyping themselves up once again for the movie(s) that’s “in their heads”. What will emegre again will not be the reaction of fans interested or opining on the progression of the series and how well that has been done or not, but more of the internet troll culture that just makes sport of trashing everything.

    • http://twitter.com/TheRileyGuy Riley Blanton

      Yeah, Jeff, That’s what I’m afraid of. Although I think I’m going to be better prepared to just ignore the haters this time around.

  • Steven Robert Gill

    I was already well versed in the SW franchise when TPM came out (I was 12) and I’ve always been of the opinion that episode I is actually the strongest of the prequel trilogy, primarily because it’s the one prequel that feels the most like star wars (i.e band of misfit heroes get stuck in a situation too big for them and have to improvise a solution) & also because it actually does what George Lucas intended with ALL the prequels, in that it is essentially a literal retelling of A New Hope. I’m not going into episode VII expecting casablanca or anything, as long as it’s a fun movie filled with battles, action sequences & loaded with characters (including Mark Hamill!!!!) then I’ll be a happy boy.

    • jediriles

      Absolutely Steven!

    • http://www.facebook.com/matt.flynnau Matt Flynn

      Interesting. I’m interested in understanding how TPM is essentially a re-telling of ANH.

  • Joe

    I’m just so excited that the saga will continue. Let’s face it, things looked pretty bleak for any additional stories after Episode III. I truly believe that Episodes I, II & III weren’t as successful because we really kind of already knew what the outcome of the story was going to be. This will be a new path into the unknown and we can only speculate what direction the story will go. The only thing I hope for is that if new characters are introduced that they please, please, please chose unknown actors… And I believe it was mentioned in Entertainment Magazine that they need to do less green screen and more built/constructed sets so that the locations feel more real.

    • http://twitter.com/TheRileyGuy Riley Blanton

      Yeah, I Think going with unknowns would be a good decision.