12 January 2016 13131 Views


by James Murphy







You cannot escape your destiny. And STAR WARS is now an inescapable part of the cinematic and cultural landscape. Love it or loathe it (you don’t like STAR WARS? Nah!), the Force is here to stay.

There will be at least one new film from the brand each year for the foreseeable future. The majority of releases will be standalone ‘Star Wars stories’ (previously described as ‘anthology’ films).

Any others on the slate are the direct sequels to THE FORCE AWAKENS (now pretty much the biggest box office hit of all time). Meantime, there is still lots of STAR WARS related news.

Over the Christmas / New Year Holiday season, CARRIE FISHER had to ward off some particularly nasty criticism that she had somehow ‘aged badly’. What did everyone expect? Did they think that she was going to turn up in a gold bikini, unchanged since 1983? Obviously.

Granted, there are some other worldly women in Hollywood that simply do not age. But they probably enjoyed a far more sheltered and pampered existence than that endured by Ms Fisher.


Carrie overcame struggles with alcohol and drugs; fought the darkness of depression and survived against the odds.  And if she’s been off the Hollywood radar, it’s because she was busy as a dedicated Mom. That tends to ‘age’ people, yeah?

I know..FAR too much to grasp, isn’t it? Actual motherhood and reality might compromise the sacred rituals required to preserve a movie star face and body in timeless carbonite.

Carrie: don ‘t listen to the detractors. And if you must look at their remarks, just remember that it’s rooted largely in the childhood adulation that every boy in the world once had for Princess Leia. The very same people would have been up in arms had JJ Abrams and co recast the role.

Also note that many of these poor critics now think on STAR WARS as the beginning and end of all cinema and story-telling. They will therefore think that Carrie Fisher = just Leia; overlooking the fact that their idol moved on to become one of Hollywood’s most successful script editors.


So many movies..saved by one polish from Ms Fisher! Case in point: LETHAL WEAPON 3. The film is basically bland and plotless. But it’s hilarious, warm and fun, thanks quite literally to a few strategically placed lines. It’s the same magic touch evident in the Fisher-penned novels: SURRENDER THE PINK, DELUSIONS OF GRANDMA and POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE.

If the critics STILL don’t ‘get’ what it means to be a real woman who has aged naturally (and pretty well, in fact)..just tell them to check out some of the other characters from THE FORCE AWAKENS. R2D2 is asleep for most of that new film. Phones it in, he does. Admiral Ackbar has also really let himself go. Shameful.



HARRISON FORD looks ok for his age, sure. But people forget that man was ALWAYS ‘old’ so the years really mean nothing to him. It’s why casting the YOUNG HAN SOLO  is in many senses so pointless and doomed: no actor can be young and old at once quite like Mr. Ford. Yes, we know they have narrowed the list of candidates this week..good luck with that.

Trying to re-cast Leia would be equally futile. Put simply: We love you, CARRIE FISHER. And we love your work. Keep it up. Ignore the Dark Side’s Trolls. Oh and if you still DO have THAT bikini…(always preferred you in your Hoth military commander / regal Princess attire  but am honestly not too fussy..). Beautiful. Brilliant.


Moving along..There are NO SPOILERS yet for the forthcoming STAR WARS sequels.  All we know is that RIAN JOHNSON (LOOPER) is writing and directing.

Apparently the script has a ‘darker’ tone. But ‘Darker’ does not necessarily mean ‘better’. See Red Letter Media: http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-wars/ for pointers!

THE FORCE AWAKENS was in its way quite ‘dark’ as in literally in ONE scene in particular. But the actors injected light and hope. So, thankfully, the core cast are all returning, as promised by Producer, KATHLEEN KENNEDY.  Yes, that’s right: ALL OF THEM. No spoilers here..but..could that mean that…No. Stop it. Now.


That said, there is no embargo on some sensitive speculation. And that is rife, with countless ‘click bait’ pieces circulating the Internet as we speak, hinting at major revelations on character arcs and plot points.

And yes, we have been ‘stung’ ourselves a few times on that front. Because sharing a provocative or clearly satirical piece of STAR WARS news can be funny and amusing and frankly kill the pangs until we finally get the genuine trailer for ROGUE ONE or more concrete news about EPISODES 8 and 9.


Casting rumours are probably spot on, though. BENICIO DEL TORO might be featuring in EPISODE 8. I do hope so: a GREAT villain onscreen. In real life, one could not meet a nicer bloke. He was also nearly DARTH MAUL in THE PHANTOM MENACE. It is his DESTINY. Etc. Early indications also look good for an appearance by BILLY DEE WILLIAMS as LANDO (you old smoothie).

But the main focus of discussion and debate on the net right now appears to be SUPREME LEADER SNOKE. He has (SPOILER) one or two scenes in THE FORCE AWAKENS and is ‘played’ via mo-cap by ANDY SERKIS.

Snoke MIGHT be the ‘big bad’ of the new trilogy. It certainly seems that way. But he could be anyone. Or nobody. Theories so far:


  • Snoke is a manifestation of DARTH VADER: the ‘evil’ side of the redeemed Anakin Skywalker, still roaming free and seeking power and destruction.
  • Snoke is a Wizard of Oz style projection, used by General Hux (DOMHNALL GLEESON) to control his armies with fear.
  • Snoke is a reincarnated or cloned PALPATINE, back for revenge!
  • Snoke is Jar Jar Binks
  • Snoke is..er..just Snoke?

Seriously though..my money is on Darth Plagueis or a kind of Mr Hyde personification of Luke Skywalker’s Dark Side. And it IS fun guessing. Other fun guessing games RE Future of STAR WARS include:


  • Could Finn (JOHN BOYEGA) and Poe (OSCAR ISAAC) become the first genuinely gay couple of heroes in the galaxy? The signs are there..
  • Is Rey (DAISY RIDLEY) a Skywalker, a Solo, a Kenobi or..shock horror..a new and original character, otherwise unconnected to previous films’ events?
  • Whose ‘journey’ REALLY will define this trilogy? Could it be KYLO REN?


  • Will visuals and tone change from the slavish fidelity to the original trilogy that defined THE FORCE AWAKENS (JJ ABRAMS has already explained this: visual nostalgia is one reason the film was a hit..though yes..please experiment now; start with the ‘ART OF THE FORCE AWAKENS’ book’s abandoned ideas?).
  • Will GEORGE LUCAS ever return to some involvement with these movies? People are petitioning the Senate. Seriously.


Whatever the answers to these questions in the long term, MOVIE VIRAL will keep you posted.

THE FORCE AWAKENS is still on general release..




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