Ah, the magic of the autumn. Finally, the weather has changed, and we can all enjoy some of the benefits of a southern fall — a trip to the mountains, the changing colors, college football.
Everyone has his or her favorite fall activity, but I think most of us just enjoy a few weeks’ respite before the craziness of the holidays. And if this were any normal year, you would find me in the evenings sitting on my porch enjoying the seasonally appropriate beverage.
But as many of you already know, this is not an ordinary year. If you sit quietly, I’m sure you can feel it. The energy that surrounds us and binds us, it’s different. There’s a disturbance. Yes, I see that you have sensed it, too.
The release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a mere 42 days away.
It’s been more than 10 years since the last Star Wars movie was released, and it’s safe to state that Star Wars mania has only increased over that time. However, the new movie promises a few surprises. While I’m sure that the movie will be completely enjoyable for those to choose to see it cold, your Star Wars experience promises to be greatly enhanced if you prepare.
First of all, while I think this is highly unlikely, a few of you may have not seen the original movies. I’m not going to be one to judge… I’m sure you have your reasons. But if you were planning to see the next movie, now would be a good time to catch up.
For that matter, I believe that it would be in everyone’s interest to set aside an evening to watch all six movies back-to-back. Just remember, when watching the dual trilogy, Episodes IV through VI must be watched first, and then the prequel Episodes I through III. This is not a debatable subject, so don’t even bother sending your whines. No one is going to read them.
Once everyone is caught up on the original trilogies, there is a choice to make. Many weak-minded individuals may decide to abstain from any spoilers regarding The Force Awakens. These folk favor a movie experience that is pure and unblemished. With no preconceived bias, they receive solely what the director intended — no more and no less.
While I appreciate this desire, I think these people are completely bonkers. Nonetheless, being the problem solver that I am, let me suggest a possible solution. Performance Labs offers a Chrome Plug-In called Spoiler Alert. The plug-in blocks web content that contains spoilers about television, movie and sports content. A quick warning — it’s not perfect — sometimes it doesn’t block images. Considering that the alternative is giving up Facebook until late-December, Spoiler Alert is a pretty good option.
And then we come to the rest of us… (Note: possible spoilers ahead.)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens occurs approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi. And while RotJ seemed to tie everything up into a nice little bows, nothing could be further from the truth. After all, just because a bunch of furry little teddy bears beat the mean Empire people on Endor, that doesn’t mean the war is over. It’s more likely that the apparatus of the Empire is still very much intact — with plenty of viscous leaders and Superstar Destroyers to continue the fight.
Also, the destruction of the Emperor couldn’t possibly be mistaken as the final victory of the Dark Side. A quick read of Sith history demonstrates that devotion to the Dark Side extends well beyond the rise and fall of political structures. Finally, does anyone really believe that Luke, Leia and Han — all adventurers in their mid-20s — decided to retire from the Rebel cause and live happily ever after on Endor? I don’t think so.
While many of the specifics are left for the movie, Disney and Lucasfilm are releasing a number of books, short stories and comics designed to fill the gap between RotJ and TFA. Star Wars: Aftermath is set immediately after the Battle of Endor and documents the start of the New Republic. Other books in the series — Lost Stars, Moving Target, Smuggler’s Run and The Weapon of a Jedi — continue to fill in the gaps surrounding the events that occur after the Battle of Endor and begin to set the stage for TFA. If you don’t have enough time to digest the raw literature, a number of websites present the Cliff’s Notes version. I would recommend the Star Wars section of io9.com.
For the truly committed, the internet is full of speculation regarding the movie plot. TFA is ripe for conspiracy theories. The creativity demonstrated in some of these theories is rather astonishing — pulling together random threads from all six movies and weaving them together into a tapestry that would shock most fans.
Obviously, I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone, but my favorite conspiracy blew up on Reddit last week. The blogger Lumpawarro presents a quite compelling case. I’ll leave you with this… does anyone really know what the “J.J.” in J.J. Abrams stands for?
I’ve probably said too much.