This new Star Wars movie might actually be good?

I know, all hope must be crushed, but I see a new trailer that hints at a real story and interesting characters, and it stirs again.

I’ll smack hope a few more times with a ball peen hammer and see if I can’t get it under control. If not, it’s going into the blender and I’ll flush the resultant slurry.


  1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    episode III.5 it appears, with a real story of the “extras” that did all the little details between the prequel trilogy and the original trilogy. Looks to have lots of sideline events leading to the release of the not-a-moon. One of the unnamed characters in the trailer looks to me like a young Han Solo. Look like fun, more than Episode VII.

  2. says

    I know Dr. Myers didn’t like Episode 7, but I loved the hell out of it. The reason is that I was 6 when “A New Hope” came out in theaters, and I let my inner 6-year-old take over when I was in the theater watching this one. Yes, it was a total retread, but I loved it, anyway.

  3. says

    I adored episode 7, as well, cycleninja. I understand why they had to play it safe and went with a retread, and let’s be honest… it worked. Episode 7 made bank and then some, and was largely loved. Now they can take risks, like with Rogue One… and I honestly cannot wait for Rogue One. It looks amazing.

  4. says

    It seems to me that star wars movies have gone into a special zone where they are mostly compared against other star wars movies. So “good” depends on your frame of reference. Are any of the star wars movies “good” compared to, say, the worst movie Stanley Kubrick ever made? I think some of them are excellent if you compare them to “Ice Pirates” or something like that.

  5. Vivec says

    Well, “good” also depends on personal enjoyment. The only Kubrick film I’ve actually enjoyed was Dr Strangelove, and I enjoyed the original trilogy about as much.

  6. The Mellow Monkey says

    It seems very likely I’ll enjoy it, helped along by having a soft spot for Star Wars and Diego Luna. On the other hand, I have some reservations because of their approach to diversity, which in the Star Wars universe appears to be limited to a white woman being supported by men of color. Women of color seem to be largely absent from the action or aliens.

    I look forward to seeing it, but it still would be nice if girls and women of color could see some heroes who look like them.

  7. says

    Vivec@#6 – if your standard for film goodness is “enjoyed” yeah, I can see that – some good movies aren’t enjoyable. PZ was asking whether the film might be good; I immediately started thinking about actual good movies and suddenly I couldn’t even see star wars from where I was.

    I think it’s nice that the new star wars movies compare favorably with “transformers” and “san andreas” and “independence day 2”; apparently they aren’t utter dreck. But I think they’ve got a low bar and are huffing and puffing to get over it.

  8. Gregory Greenwood says

    Well, like cycleninja and Nathan I enjoyed Episode 7 despite its faults, and so I will follow the development of this movie with interest and reserve judgement until I see the finished product.

    Though that said, I also agree with the Mellow Monkey that Star Wars should really go the whole way with diversity. Having women leads is a step forward, by why must they be so universally White? The famous fictional galaxy in question is a big place, surely big enough to hold all manner and kinds of heroes.

    What we have seen so far certainly seems to have nailed the ‘feel of the Star Wars universe at least, though whenever I see images of a tyrannical, oppressive Empire these days I am uncomfortably put in mind of a certain dead-rodent-haired would be President who is already being referred to by some of his delusional supporters as the ‘god-emperor’ (if I may mix my sci fi universes a little, though I don’t know if they are making a Dune reference or a Warhammer 40,000 reference or both when they say that – though it is equal parts ludicrous and worrying either way).

    Emperor Trump is one villain I hope we never have to contend with.

  9. robro says

    My family and I enjoyed the previous installment, and we’ll probably go see this one together. My son’s birthday is in December, so dinner and a fantasy movie will be good fun, particularly given some of the things that have occurred this past year.

    That said, I have to ask: Doesn’t the Empire get it? Every time they build some giant ominous death machine, the rebels with their Jedi accomplices manage to destroy the damn thing. You would think at this point the Empire would be nearly bankrupt from funding these projects, and asking their engineers and military leaders to come up with a more effective plan.

  10. Vivec says

    Well, if we’re talking in an ultimate sense, it’s probably always a reference to Dune or one by proxy.

    40k was heavily “influenced” by Dune (The aforementioned God Emperor who suffers for humanity’s sake and walked a prescient “Golden Path”, Imperial Guard armed with Lasguns, A “Dark Age of Technology” involving a machine revolt and a pushback against AI, Specially-mutated Navigators required for FTL travel, and All-female Amazonian honor guard, for example), so a lot of references to it end up being indirect Dune references.

  11. Gregory Greenwood says

    Vivec @ 11;

    I agree completely that Dune was such an immensely important influence on 40k that Games Workshop should probably be paying the Herbert estate royalties, but I don’t know if the Trump supporters in question would be the kind of people to be aware of Dune as opposed to the much more accessible and (these days in pop culture circles) probably better known 40K.

    There is also the fact that Dune is very dense and not really amenable to being held up for the purposes of political bombast – stories about inter-House politics, the geo-political ramifications of pursuit of Spice as an allegory for oil and the impact of the petro-dollars it generates on the Middle East, and the problems surrounding being entrapped by one’s own prescience are not exactly a good fit for the kind of politicking Trump supporters enjoy.

    For someone who has a tin ear for satire and oblique critique however, it would be possible to read the story arcs of the Horus Heresy and 40K as the story of a once great civilization, the vision of a singular mind, being laid low by the weakness, incompetence and jealousy of ‘lesser men’ – all of which could, by an idiot, be interpreted as playing into the Trump-ian ‘make America great again’ blather.

    That ignores the fact that, even under the rule of the Emperor in the Crusade era, the Imperium in the fiction was never more than a partially functional ruin cobbled together upon the bones of a far older and more advanced civilization, and that the character of the Emperor himself was an oppressive, casually genocidal fascist who justified his crimes based upon an appeal to notionally ‘higher ideals’ that were always pretty ugly to begin with, and revolved around species supremacy and thought police. He also did atheism as wrong as it is possible to do atheism. From this already pretty low point, over the ensuing millennia the Imperium sunk even further into ignorance, fear and – ironically enough given the philosophical underpinnings of the original Imperial Truth – theocratic tyranny.

    The fiction was never written as any kind of road map for society, instead being one of the nastiest of dystopias by design, but it seems likely that it is exactly the bombast that the fiction is actually critiquing – for all its blunt (and poorly understood) technological might and armies of genetically engineered super soldiers, the Imperium is still a failing culture enslaved to its own unthinking dogma and so unable to make the pragmatic decisions necessary to improve the lot of its citizens or ensure its own long term survival – that attracts the Trump supporters.

    The fiction hints that, should the Emperor somehow return, the result would not be utopia but instead a return to the galaxy wide wars and genocidal excesses of the Crusade era, but to the stunted intellects of the Trump-ites all they see is a return to unchallenged power, one that they hope Trump will emulate with the US. If I had to guess, I would say that theirs is more likely a reference to 40K based upon a misunderstanding of the setting and story rather than a direct nod to Dune, which gives a worrying insight into how they view the world.

  12. frog says

    They barely have women at all! No wonder they can’t figure out how to squeeze a couple of WoC in there.

    The lead is a woman, and we see Mon Mothma in the trailer. But…that’s it? Lots and lots of dudes, many of them nonwhite, so hooray for that.

    But they really need to up the estrogen quotient overall, and while doing it focus on casting WoC in key (even lead!) roles. (This is an issue with Hunger Games. Plenty of female roles, almost all of them white.)

    Looking forward to Ocean’s 8, which has managed 3/7 WoC in the main cast, with one more role still to be filled (I hope they get Leslie Jones).

  13. Vivec says

    I’m likely to agree with you in regards to 40k attracting a certain kind of weird political crazy.

    For whatever reason, I’ve noticed a lot of real-life Neo-Nazis and Nationalists are huge fans of 40k, probably because of the imperium’s “workable” fascism and extreme xenophobia. They miss the whole “the imperium is only nominally a protagonist and an awful place to be for everyone who isn’t some form of nobility” part, but it at least makes sense why they’d fetishize a cruel totalitarian society.

    Kinda reminds me of the people who think that Judge Dredd would be awesome if it was real and missing all the satire of police brutality and militarization, because they’re just that wacky and authoritarian.

    That being said, Dune’s not free of that either. There are plenty of hyper-conservatives and weird libertarians claiming that Dune is a tract on why the government is bad and free market always prevails.

  14. Pierce R. Butler says

    Did anybody besides me read the title God-Emperor of Dune as Frank Herbert’s signal that he wrote that (and all the sequels) in sheer commercial hackery, by way of allusion to and two-upping John Norman’s Priest-Kings of Gor?

  15. says

    I want this movie in my belly, right now.
    This series is my escapism and fun child-joy-wonder series. I can still curl up with the original trilogy (preferably one that hasn’t been adulterated more than the first special edition, because it seems that every time Lucas released a version he took away something I remember with fondness and love) and just enjoy the silly action-adventure with samurai in SPAAAAACEEEE and things feel a little brighter for a time.

    I never once felt that when I was watching the prequels. A lot of people said “Well you’re just too old now its a movie for kids dontchaknow” while ignoring all the incredibly NOT kid friendly stuff that happened in the prequels. Then I saw Force Awakens in theaters, in 3d, by myself.

    I was a kid again watching StarWars for the first time. The wonder was there. The joyous play of action, adventure, charm, wit and just… Fun. Do you remember fun? It seems that these days when nerds don’t enjoy something it’s because it’s too fun and not GRIMDARK SERIAL enough.

    But I felt it again. That magic of watching a StarWars movie and just being transported somewhere for two hours. It was actually something I never thought I could live again in the theaters. Even with similar movies (I described Guardians of the Galaxy as the best StarWars movie since Empire when it was released), there was something missing.

    Maybe it is nostalgia talking, I can’t really isolate that feeling from the rest of my enjoyment of movies. And I can agree that Episode VII was familiar and, in a lot of ways, just a newer version of Episode IV. I’m fine with that. Because it works. Not only does it work, it was a smart business move. Show the world that you are actually able to give them something that is StarWars, and then reap the literal metric fucktons of money and *then* fiddle with the formula. Cause people are far more likely to be forgiving if they know that you’re doing something different not because you can’t give them what they expect, but because you can, you have, and have chosen to move on.
    Most movies are just the same story with different characters doing the same thing with the same resolution. Most stories are. And StarWars had always been about taking a bunch of different westerns, samurai films, WWII movies and just slapping them together and sticking a “IN SPAAAAAAAAAAACE” notice on them and calling it a day.
    But, despite it all, it somehow becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

    that was a lot of words to say i would invent a time machine just to go forward a few months to see this damn movie already. I’m actually excited to go see a movie for the first time since Return of the King (Well, episode VII, but fuck it I’m putting that into the same category).

  16. Gregory Greenwood says

    Vivec @ 14;

    I’m likely to agree with you in regards to 40k attracting a certain kind of weird political crazy.

    As you say, all too often you get people with very ugly beliefs polluting the otherwise largely harmless 40K fandom. Mostly they have to be tolerated, but every now and then more enlightened fans get together to unambiguously rebut their drivel. Anyone who holds up as an ideal a society who solves problems by blowing up planets is asking for ruthless mockery. The fact that they all seem to love Konrad Kurze – the most nihilistic, broken and openly self-loathing of the Primarchs who was clearly written to be a particularly nasty, yet also strangely pathetic, villain – makes it easy to spot them at least.

    For whatever reason, I’ve noticed a lot of real-life Neo-Nazis and Nationalists are huge fans of 40k, probably because of the imperium’s “workable” fascism and extreme xenophobia. They miss the whole “the imperium is only nominally a protagonist and an awful place to be for everyone who isn’t some form of nobility” part, but it at least makes sense why they’d fetishize a cruel totalitarian society.

    It would of course be too much to expect them to read the fiction carefully and spot the subtle satire about the Imperium’s classist attitudes, theocratic fascism, anti-intellectual technological collapse, and how most of it is self inflicted by the powers that be within the fiction. Then there is the amusing hypocrisy – the Imperium hates ‘genetic impurity’ (clearly a reference to the racism of contemporary right wingers), but is entirely dependent upon psykers, like Navigators and Astropaths, who are a type of mutant in order to continue to exist. Even the foremost of the Imperium’s warriors are genetically engineered and deviate grossly from the Imperium’s ‘pure’ human ideal – it is all there to mock the hypocrisy and idiocy of the racist Right in its various forms, not that the various Nationalists and White supremacists who consider themselves fans are smart enough to spot the barbs.

    Kinda reminds me of the people who think that Judge Dredd would be awesome if it was real and missing all the satire of police brutality and militarization, because they’re just that wacky and authoritarian.

    Unfortunately, policing does seem to be beginning to head in that direction, at least in the US. As you say, all the satire flies clear over the heads of people who assume that the character is being played straight rather than being used to lampoon authoritarian attitudes.

    That being said, Dune’s not free of that either. There are plenty of hyper-conservatives and weird libertarians claiming that Dune is a tract on why the government is bad and free market always prevails.

    True, though those particular Libertarians aspire to be of a more intellectual bent, as hilarious as that is when describing anyone who fetishizes Ayn Rand’s nasty philosophy of narrow self interest, rather than the more feral, openly anti-intellectual Trumpian brand.

    My biggest problem with Dune was the depiction of the Baron Harkonnen. I know it was written a while ago, but using the Baron’s implied homosexuality as a short hand for ‘deviance’ and outright evil has always bothered me, especially since there is no countervailing example of a positive, functional same sex relationship in any of the books I have thus far read from the series.

  17. microraptor says

    My main concern with this trailer is that the various minority characters look a lot like ethnic stereotypes.

    However, the Ghostbusters trailer made Patty look like nothing but a Sassy Black Woman while she was a much more developed character in the actual movie so I’m going to avoid letting it influence me too much.

  18. tkreacher says

    In regards to more representative diversity in film or TV, there is a law for comment sections. It’s certainly been noticed, but I don’t know if there is a law:

    Any single instance, no matter how rare the occurrence, of a non-white or non-straight or non-cisgender main character will be claimed to be, by necessity, part of an “SJW” “PC” “agenda”.

    I can’t remember the last time I did not see this claim at least once in the comment section of any relatively large movie trailer on Youtube where it applies.

    The logical extension of this is that, literally, the only way a movie or show could be consider not part of a “SJW PC agenda” is if the main characters are straight, white, and cisgender.

  19. anym says

    I’m not sure why people think it was OK for the episode 7 team to be so conservative with their film. They had all the money and power and access to talent that anyone could have ever wanted, and a property that was guaranteed to pull in customers even if the film was mediocre. They had absolutely no need to be cautious. Its nice that they did a reasonable job in the end, and didn’t screw everything up like Lucas did, but that’s a pretty low barrier to clear.

  20. Scott Simmons says

    Saw this trailer before the movie my son had us take him to for his birthday last night. (“Sausage Party”. Don’t ask.)
    Him: “They’re making a ‘Rogue One’ movie?
    Me: “You hadn’t heard?”
    Him: “No. That’s going to be awesome!”
    Me: “It had better be.”

    Please, please, please, please don’t screw this up, filmmakers. Pretty please?

    (OK, fine. Here was my review of “Sausage Party” on exiting the theater. “That was … definitely a movie.”)

  21. Rowan vet-tech says

    Anym, I saw the first 2 prequels in theater. I did the whole ‘spend 2 days in line waiting and enjoying a giant nerd party’-thing for the first one… and then when we exited the theater the common phrase was “I’d like those hours of my life back.”

    I went into The Force Awakens doubting it could be as bad as Lucas-made ones, but also pessimistic. I was ‘hopeful’, but also very worried. So I’m pleased they played somewhat conservative. They can be more adventurous now that they’ve proven they can make a movie with the same tone/feel as the originals trilogy and not pull any jar-jars or midichlorian fucking bullshit.

  22. ragdish says

    Personally, no high hopes. I predict high paced action with lots of special effects. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but should be creative and unique as when Episode 6 came out in 1977. I was 10 when Episode 6 first appeared on the screen. It was so awesome and not like anything seen before except for 2001: A Space Odyssey. When my kids saw Episode 7, they never had the same feeling. All of us really need to lower our expectations for these flicks. With reboot after reboot, the writers and directors need the boot. Please come up with something that truly stirs the imagination.

  23. ragdish says

    Oops I meant episode 4 in 1977. Sorry. Those plaques and neurofibrillary tangles must be accumulating in my hippocampi.

  24. Rob Grigjanis says

    ragdish @24:

    creative and unique as when Episode 6 4 came out in 1977.

    Not seeing the creative or unique. Lucas just ripped of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, etc.