Tag Archives: Episode VII

Why Star Wars Still Needs Mark Hamill

What’s the difference between the light and dark side of the Force? It feels like a dumb question at first, but it’s a little more nuanced than it looks.

The Force is power. Jedi and Sith use it to be stronger, faster, have precognition, and do the things that allow them to beat other people in fights. Basically the only one who can kill a Force-user (in the films) is another Force-user. Occasionally, Obi or Anakin lose their lightsabers, but they never actually lose a fight. They stall until they use their force power to win.

So what’s the difference between the light and dark side? At the end of the day, the Jedi and Sith are probably both going to cut their opponent into pieces. Does it matter if they got there with a Force push or a lightning bolt? I used to think so. Generally speaking, bad guys use force lightning, and I thought that’s what made them all messed up and deteriorated like most dark Jedi are.

But that’s not really right. There ought not to be dark powers, just dark intentions because both the Jedi and the Sith kill and maim. Mace Windu cuts a guys head off and doesn’t look back because killing isn’t the point.

Holy s***! How is this possible?

Holy s***! How is this possible?

For the Jedi, how you kill doesn’t make you good or evil. Why you kill doesn’t either. What matters is what you’re feeling when you kill.

That’s it.

Bringing it back to why we’re here: Mark Hamill isn’t a young guy. At 61, he’s right where Obi-Wan was in the original Star Wars. My point is he probably isn’t good as an action hero, but he would make a great Yoda.

The reason this is relevant now is that Harrison Ford may reprise his role as Han Solo in some unspecified capacity in the next Star Wars film. Which is too bad, because elderly action heroes have a mixed record in the box office. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand just completely failed in theaters. Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet To The Head did even worse. Granted, Expendables 2 and A Good Day To Die Hard had better showings, but it’s a dicey time to be an aging action star, especially outside the neo-80’s action movie revival we’re experiencing.

I’m not saying there’s no room for folks of advancing years in Star Wars (or movies in general), but this is an opportunity to play to the franchise’s core strength: mysticism.

Coming back to my first question, I’ve seen both trilogies multiple times, and I still have no idea what the Force is or why people who use it do what they do. I mean, it seems to be the gate to superpowers, but that’s about it. Why does killing someone in anger make you evil, but killing someone peacefully does not? What is the actual difference between the light and dark side?

I want the movies to be able to tell me without having to Google through the expanded universe.

This is important. The Force is THE defining trait of the franchise. We see two diametrically opposed groups use superpowers to fight each other all the time. Off the top of my head Beautiful Creatures comes to mind. We’ve seen wars in space.

The Force and, by extension, the Jedi are what make Star Wars what it is.

So, how the hell is it we still don’t know why it works the way it does? And please don’t say midichloreans, because that was a techno babble way to tell us more about the Force without actually telling us more about the Force. But, even if you do accept the midichloreans, that’s still explaining a “how,” not a “why.”

Which brings me back around to Mark Hamill. Unlike Han Solo, Luke Skywalker can add more to the movie than laser fights and high-speed chases. He can bring essential plot elements to the film while dovetailing pretty much any plot nicely.

Star Wars 7 will probably take place after Return Of The Jedi, which means some old guy will have to train the new class of Jedi. Instead of getting any old guy, why not get Luke Skywalker? He can add legitimacy while also addressing some of these questions Star Wars ought to get around to answering.

I’m of the mind that Star Wars has the opportunity to really expand outside of the expected. For a long time, it was a closed franchise. We’d get new books and comics, but it was generally understood that there wouldn’t be any more movies. This is a big part of the reason everyone loses their mind when they hear about a new Star Wars film. When it was reported Lucas was pulling together Episode I, it was like everyone suddenly realized it was their birthday at the same time, because no one actually thought there would ever be another Star Wars movie.

That excitement means the next few movies bearing the Star Wars title will be profitable regardless of the content, which could mean a free pass for lazy film-making. My hope is that J.J. Abrams and the house of mouse have an understanding of how big this could be.

Random Trivia


Did you know that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVio are doing a sequel to Twins where they discover there’s a third brother? And, if the casting credits are correct, that third brother will probably be Eddie Murphy?

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