With George Lucas having stepped away from the helm of Star Wars, the franchise finds itself in an interesting position. Like the Marvel films or the modern incarnation of Doctor Who, we now have Star Wars movies being made by people who grew up loving the material, people who are now getting to play in the same sandbox that captured their youthful imaginations. Except now it’s the real deal, and they’ve got millions of dollars to work with instead of just some action figures and an actual sandbox. But part of that new Star Wars reality is that the filmmakers returning to George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away are bound to have some strong opinions about it…and not always positive ones.
Actor Oscar Isaac is one of the lucky few, having landed a role in Episode VII that we still don’t know much of anything about. Isaac has had plenty of praise for director J.J. Abrams’ and his Episode VII castmates in recent interviews, but he was admirably candid when The Huffington Post asked how he felt about the “special edition” changes Lucas made to the original Star Wars films. He told HuffPo:
I mean there’s two things. As an artist, like, he made the shit, so why can’t he do whatever the heck he wants with it. There’s a part of me that appreciates that he doesn’t really care if people are upset about it. He decided to share it with all of it and he wants to go back and do stuff, whatever. But as a fan, I’d much rather go back and watch the old thing, because it’s a product of the time. It’s what did you do at the time with the things that you had. And that’s what made that movie so amazing. At that time with that technology he made this thing and it was fucking awesome. So, you know, to go back and kind of tweak it with new stuff, it doesn’t make it more interesting for me as a watcher. It makes it less interesting, but I can’t fault him for doing that.
I imagine many Star Wars fans will agree with Isaac’s assessment, and if nothing else it seems like director J.J. Abrams is much more interested in recreating the look and feel of the original trilogy than the hollow CGI spectacle of the prequels. From the extensive use of practical sets and models, to the return of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher, Episode VII seems to be a repudiation of the controversial direction Lucas had pulled the Star Wars universe in beginning with his special-edition tinkering. And I think that’s a good thing. Lucas absolutely had the right to do whatever he wanted with Star Wars before he sold it to Disney, but I think many would agree that in recent years he had seemingly lost touch with what made his creation special…or at least the qualities that made so many of us fall in love with it. Now if we can just get Disney to release the original versions of the movies on Blu-ray…
We still don’t know who Oscar Isaac is playing in Episode VII, but some rumors have described his character as “the Lando Calrissian of this movie.” Others suggest he’ll be the current owner of the Millennium Falcon. (Hopefully Han didn’t lose her in a card game.) Isaac is also starring in Ex Machina, the directorial debut of Dredd/Sunshine screenwriter Alex Garland.
Star Wars: Episode VII will hit theaters on December 18, 2015.