I promise this will be the last exercise in Star Wars nerdery for…a little bit, at least. But Jamelle Bouie, who is one of my favorite people to geek out with, and I sat down yesterday to record a Bloggingheads episode about our hopes and fears for the new movie coming down the pike. In it, Jamelle makes what I think is a good point: that Disney’s profit incentives could actually be good for fans if they did things like release remastered box sets of the original cuts of the movies.
Another part of the conversation we had was how to design villains for the new movie better. In the absence of Vader , as a Big Bad for most of the prequels, the villain design was either haphazard or racist. One thing Jamelle and I discussed was whether the new movies could introduce the shape of familiar conflicts but with different participants. The remnants of the Empire could function like an insurgency, but one run by white, British-coded members of the Imperial Navy. If you want to do a trade wars story, bring in Thyferra, the planet that produces Bacta, and where a white minority forces labor out of an alien majority, a la South Africa. If you want to force an existential crisis with the Jedi, bring in the Yuuzhan Vong, who have an apocalyptic worldview, and are very effective at implementing it, to be al Qaeda. In a way, I’m excited to see how this goes less for Episode VII itself and more for a chance to think about what our action movies should be.