In our Awesome Tribute Videos series we now turn to the early Sequel years that are coming to a close as we write. When The Last Jedi completes its run in cinema’s across the world we will enter the ‘later Sequel Years’. So what awesome tributes did we see?
A look back
Episodes I through VII have now made their impact on cinema audiences across 4 decades and almost 3 generations. It is remarkable to consider that just so few films in a series have made such an impact. In the Box-Office top 100 of all-time these 7 films take up a remarkable collective position. All films generated one-liners that have gone in wider circulation. With Episode VIII almost upon us, the tribute to all of the episodic films by White24Room reminds us not just how impactful the overall story and its visualisation is, but also how much these 7 are really part of a larger whole no matter what narrow-minded fans may utter.
The early sequel years are also the years in which the first non-episodic Star Wars movie comes out. Star Wars: Rogue One is now high up my list of my favorite Star Wars films. As we await a trailer for the second Star Wars Story film Solo we can only hope that it will live up to the standard set by the first one. Telling an impactful story of the hope driving ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results, that however never become more than a single line in the opening crawl of the tales of the heroes, Rogue One reminds us how much Star Wars is nout about super heroes with super-human abilities but about ordinary people … scavengers, misfits, farm boys, slaves … WinterThief edited from Rogue One a tribute that not only excels in visuals and music choice, but perhaps more than others by fantastic dialogue editing … who dares say Star Wars has crappy dialogue if it can be used to make this.
It’s time for the Jedi to end …
With Episode VIII The Last Jedi we are not only making a transition into the later sequel years, but also into the last chapter of Luke Skywalker’s arc. Four decades ago it started out as a farm boy on a Heroes Journey of his own. Upon uncovering his own origins his journey shifted completely becoming a part of someone else’s journey, his father’s. Elsewhere I have argued that the Original Trilogy is very much reflective of the experiences and issues facing Generation X who grew up on the Originals. Luke stays true to that … going out of sight, attempting to withdraw from the tribulations of the Galaxy, having the role to bring a conclusion to the arc of the generation before you and make a start of the journey of the generation after you … stuck in the middle with a journey from nowhere, to nowhere … it all sounds rather familiar to X’ers.
It is as if Heroes Fan Productions’ tribute to four decades of Luke Skywalker captures that beautifully. The slow swelling and receding of a monotonous soundtrack, the dialogue that recalls the mission aims: passing on what you’ve learned. Valour without honour. I can’t wait to see how Rian Johnson tells the start of Luke’s final steps.
Go … Leave me
The tragedy of Anakin Skywalker is in very many ways also the tragedy of Luke and of Obi Wan, of Leia and of Padme. Medley Weaver’s tribute captures this by focussing ever so slightly on Obi Wan’s role. So many of us through the decades have wondered how Obi Wan’s exile in the desert must have been. Thanks to Star Wars: Rebels we know that in this exile Obi Wan’s arc with Maul comes to a remarkable closure that seems so fitting. Yet that same episode reveals Obi Wan’s tragic misperception even in those last days of his life that continues into his role as a Force ghost.
During the early Sequel years speculation was rife about an Obi Wan centred Star Wars Story film and with Rey’s origins still unrevealed it may be that it does take The Last Jedi before any announcement on an Obi Wan spin-off can be made. Obi Wan had lots to contemplate during his exile.
May the Force be with you
A remarkable thing about the Star Wars series is the spirituality it has brought into modern day cinema. Something that only very few, if any, large franchise a daring to copy. From the firs time it was mentioned ‘May the Force be with you’ stood out iconically among ‘geek community greetings’ such as ‘may you live long and prosper’ or ‘so say we all’. May the Force be with you is however the only one that stretches out beyond self-interest or community spirit and refers to that ‘lot of mumbo jumbo that funnily enough is real … all of it’. The first film in the Sequels deliberately re-awakened that idea, the transcendental reality of this Force from an imagined story-universe.
The four decades of Star Wars have been 80% of my life so far. And I consider myself exceptionally lucky that I could grow up, become an adult, become a parent with these stories being told in parallel in the background. Now with the Sequel trilogy the story-telling has been passed on from the Maker to the first generation of fans. And soon enough, with those who grew up on the Prequel Trilogy now in their Twenties, we will see their generation pick up this glove and tell their new Star Wars stories.
There will always be those cynics for whom every new Star Wars story that doesn’t fit their expectations is just a product of cash-grabbing outsiders. But I am confident that this content, these stories, are a force that is much stronger than whatever cash-grabbing outsiders may want. All myth and legends that we still recount today were stories that were told in a fashion that appealed to the masses. If they hadn’t been, they would have long been forgotten. Star Wars always aimed to be a story that comes along in the guise of a mass-consumption narrative. But only the vain, the foolish or the blind fail to see that not everything that looks like a blockbuster aimed at kids lacks the ambition to be so much more inside the individual lives of those who watch it. Skywalker Productions’ tribute is a tribute to that hope.