Unless you are living in a hollow cave in Dagobah, there is a very good chance that you have heard of The Last Jedi – the eighth instalment of the pop culture behemoth that is Star Wars which is all set for worldwide official release this December 15. I’m dead excited like any human being, or droid for that matter, about the prospect of getting to know more about the story that I hold dear, in the galaxy that is portrayed to be far far away yet somehow strangely so near and almost viscerally real, when our own tiny and the objectively insignificant planet in this vast expanding universe, is not exactly having the best of times. The Skywalker saga has enthralled generations of fans young and old alike – and in this penultimate episode of the movie series as we know it, I look forward to the following three things (it was hard work, but I have somehow narrowed it down to three) on screen.
- The work of John Williams – the secret-sauce of Star Wars
One of my favourite comments on YouTube under a Star Wars video goes, “If you want to produce a successful movie franchise that is going generate millions of dollars, get a camera, write a story and hire John Williams”. Sometimes, I greatly admire the succinctness of the internet and this was certainly one of those moments. John Williams is a rare kind of genius – whose portfolio in Hollywood is a cut above the rest even without taking into account the 50 academy award nominations work he has put into Star Wars since 1977.
The success of Star Wars over the years is gargantuan, primarily because it got the basics spot on unlike any other movie franchise at the time – the story was sufficiently gripping, supported by characters that were unique and interesting but what really served as the backbone to the epic space opera on screen was the legendary John Williams’ unparalleled music which breathed life in to George Lucas’ imagination.
I mean, is it physically possible to recall Darth Vader without playing the Imperial March inside your head on loop? Me neither.
The Force Awakens had some memorable tracks of its own – but the one that stood out for me was Rey’s theme which captured the innocence, the thirst to prove oneself and the constantly looming uncertainty around her identity to a tee. Given that The Last Jedi is expected to answer some or all of the questions posed by its prequel, I cannot wait to experience John Williams’ invaluable contribution to the movie and be blown away by the man’s ability to invoke a range of human emotions I never realized was possible, with a mere wave of his hand.
- Rey who?
All great fantasy tales pivot on an individual whose parentage and identity is a mystery or better, bound by an intriguing prophecy which serves as the missing link between the past and present – the good and the bad or the light and the dark, whatever the two sides are. Take Harry Potter for example, the lead character is a boy whose very birth sets a chain of events in motion which would then carry the story forward from one phase to another. More recently, in the Game of Thrones, the central character Jon Snow truly became that central character once his true identity was revealed, thereby providing the underlying purpose that often strengthens any plot, by simply validating it.
This may be controversial but Star Wars has not truly had a character like that with a deeply confounding background. Yes, Anakin Skywalker did not have a father and his birth has always been a subject of immense curiosity. The Chosen One to restore balance to the force, remarked Qui Gon Jinn, or was he really? Luke and Leia Skywalker had their priorities straight right from the very outset – it was clear what they stood for whose side they were on. Although this may drastically change in The Last Jedi, one character that clearly stands out in this regard is that of Rey.. and the very pause there provokes curiosity.
Trailers and particularly Star Wars trailers can be hugely deceptive and just blatantly tease, but from what we have seen, there is something about Rey that absolutely stumped a Jedi master who has lived through it all. Maybe we are in for another Jabba the Hut sized reveal, that is going to shake up the franchise from top to bottom.
- The Opening Crawl
This is it. This is what Star Wars is all about. The premise of the movie unfolding like a carpet in the night sky with the iconic orchestra blaring in the background in all its glory – driving the audience right into the very heart of the story at the speed that would put the Kessel run to shame (Sorry Han), is something very few movies can accomplish and fewer, as consistently as Star Wars has done.
I simply cannot wait.