Will the Next Star Wars Trilogy Stray Far, Far Away from the Original Formula?

The original Star Wars trilogy is a classic for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it exploited the traditional storytelling method (setup, conflict, resolution) in quite possibly the most effective way ever. A New Hope establishes the Rebellion’s fight against the Galactic Empire and Luke Skywalker’s desire to become a Jedi. The Empire Strikes Back chronicles the Rebellion’s losses and the revelation that Luke’s enemy is his father. Return of the Jedi concludes the story of the Rebellion’s triumph over the Empire and Luke’s redemption of his father.

The Star Wars prequels attempted to recreate this same structure, but with much less success. The Phantom Menace establishes that there is some ambiguous threat to the Republic while Anakin Skywalker is recruited to become a Jedi. Attack of the Clones chronicles the Republic’s war with a group of separatists and Anakin’s descent into evil. Revenge of the Sith concludes the story of the Republic’s transformation into the Galactic Empire and Anakin’s fall.

Chancellor Palpatine is finally revealed as the Emperor.Beyond their basic stories, the two trilogies follow a similar narrative structure, as well. In the first film, the main characters go from one location to another, picking up new companions along the way. They all pretty much stick together until the climax when they split apart for a short time only to reunite in the end (minus one Jedi knight). In the second one, the main characters are split into two camps and they have their own separate adventures until they converge at the end. A lot of romantic tension is present, too. The third film has the most somber tone of the trilogy as the heroes try to end a war once and for all and the Emperor is fully revealed. Plus, we get to see a planet full of Teddy Bear-like creatures (Ewoks and Wookiees).

What Now?

It was perfectly fine for the prequels to repeat this formula. I daresay most Star Wars fans even expected it. But I don’t think they could get away with it a third time.

Think of the Godfather series. The first two films are masterpieces and they follow a similar pattern, starting with an attempt on the Don’s life and ending with a montage of murders. By the time The Godfather Part III came along everyone knew what to expect from it. It was hopelessly constricted by what had come before and it was unable to break free and establish itself as anything but a mediocre copy of past greatness.

Star Trek (2009) was directed by J.J. Abrams, and it brought new life to the series.The next film in the Star Wars series is a make-or-break situation. Some fans have been disheartened by the poor quality of the most recent films in the series, and the brand has lost some of its luster. The next film needs to do what Star Trek (2009) did to that faltering science-fiction series. And it appears Disney completely understands this because they hired director J.J. Abrams to helm Star Wars: Episode VII. If anyone can breathe new life into the series, he can.

A New Start

The next Star Wars film is a blank canvas ready to be turned into anything the filmmakers want it to be. There have been innumerable books written about what happens after Return of the Jedi – many of them excellent. But the filmmakers have said they’re going to pursue a completely original story idea, which means we really have no clue what to expect. I hope they’ll do something really bold that will be faithful to what came before and try some unexpected things the other films never even attempted. New characters, relationships, story arcs, and other developments will hopefully be welcome additions.

John Williams won't be around forever. What will future Star Wars films sound like without him?In addition to the story, how will changes to other aspects of the production affect the upcoming films? John Williams said he plans to provide the score for the next Star Wars film, but that’s just delaying the inevitable. We all have to deal with the fact that someday Williams will die (he’s already 81 years old) and someone else will have to fill his shoes on future Star Wars projects. Could James Horner, Michael Giacchino or some other composer do as good a job as he? Will Star Wars be worse off without him? I don’t know. He was certainly responsible for making the original trilogy so memorable and timeless. Perhaps our generation has a musician who is capable of doing the same for future films in the series.

I Have a Good Feeling About This

The original Star Wars cast members reunite years later. Who knows what adventures are in store for their characters.There are a lot of reasons to be hopeful for the new crop of Star Wars films. Just as superhero films are enjoying a Renaissance of sorts thanks to Disney’s involvement, Star Wars might be on its way to returning to its former glory for the same reason. As long as the filmmakers don’t stick too close to the pattern set by the first two trilogies and they instead create a distinct identity for their new trilogy, I think the force will be very strong with this one.

This is the Deja Reviewer bidding you farewell until we meet again.

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About Robert Lockard, the Deja Reviewer

Robert Lockard has been a lover of writing since he was very young. He studied public relations in college, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in 2006. His skills and knowledge have helped him to become a sought-after copywriter in the business world. He has written blogs, articles, and Web content on subjects such as real estate, online marketing and inventory management. His talent for making even boring topics interesting to read about has come in handy. But what he really loves to write about is movies. His favorite movies include: Fiddler on the Roof, Superman: The Movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Back to the Future, Beauty and the Beast, The Fugitive, The Incredibles, and The Dark Knight. Check out his website: Deja Reviewer. Robert lives in Utah with his wife and four children. He loves running, biking, reading, and watching movies with his family.
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4 Responses to Will the Next Star Wars Trilogy Stray Far, Far Away from the Original Formula?

  1. Kevin says:

    I’m not sure if they could manage to use the same formula. I mean, what is there to introduce in the next movie? I suppose it depends how quickly after ROTJ they begin this next movie, but it seems to me that they can move more quickly with this, since everyone knows the basics of the universe they are operating in.
    I’m getting more excited about the prospects though, even if a slight heresy is being perpetrated by having the director of Star Wars and Star Trek be the same man. In his case though, I’ll let it slide.


    • I hope they pick up right after Return of the Jedi because that would naturally lead to the breakup of the small group of heroes as Luke Skywalker tries to reestablish the Jedi Order, Leia Organa continues the fight to eradicate the Empire, and Han Solo keeps being awesome. That could produce some great stories.

      That is so funny that J.J. Abrams is in charge of both Star Trek and Star Wars now. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard. He made Star Trek feel more like Star Wars, which is a really good thing. I just hope he can do the same for Star Wars now. If that’s heresy then I don’t want to be orthodox. 🙂


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