Disappointed, you are. Able to see the Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Comic-Con panel, you were not. You, how upset are, hmm?
Thankfully, the fine folks at Disney and Lucasfilm have put the entire behind-the-scenes video presentation from the panel online for the rest of us to enjoy, and it’s a wonderfully nostalgic trip down memory lane!
Truth be known, this video makes me so happy …and a little misty-eyed 🙂
You see, I was at just the right age – at just the right time – when Star Wars first came out in theaters and completely blew audiences away. It created a phenomena that swept the entire world off of its feet and electrified their imaginations, and filled them with a sense of wonder …of which has remained with me my entire life.
Here was this amazing universe, filled with a colorful cast of characters – and arguably the most legendary villain of all time – doing things on screen through the use of practical and special effects that had never been seen in a movie before.
Kids These Days, Amm’I right?
I often have this conversation with Millennials, who always struggle to see what the “big deal” is when they watch Star Wars for the first time. However, what they fail to understand is that they are part a generation in which countless movies have come out since which heavily borrowed from, and were influenced by, Star Wars. CGI and special effects are so commonplace now, that the impact of Star Wars completely escapes them.
I make a similar comparison to movies like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Sure, we’ve all seen tons of movies since E.T.’s 1982 release, in which lovable aliens came to Earth and warmed our hearts.
However, what made E.T. such a significant movie for audiences is that it was literally the first movie that didn’t portray aliens as malicious invaders that wanted to destroy mankind.
Star Wars gave us so many memorable character and movie tropes that are still employed today. The lovable scoundrel with a heart of gold, the strong and willful princess, the innocent ‘nobody’ who becomes a powerful hero through manifest destiny, the rag-tag group of rebels hellbent on taking down an evil and more powerful foe …not to mention, one of the biggest twists / surprise reveals in modern movie history!
A Return to Practical Effects
The reason that this trailer hits me so squarely in the feels, is that is reminds me of what I loved about Star Wars in the first place. Director, JJ Abrams, appears to be returning the franchise back to one that does not rely heavily on computer generated gimmicks or effects, but one in which the characters are inhabited by actual people and the effects are practical, and real.
I love C-3PO because of the life that actor, Anthony Daniels, breathed into him.
Although we never understood a damn word that the fuzzball said, we adored Chewbacca because of Peter Mayhew’s performance and how he conveyed our favorite Wookie’s emotions through his physicality.
We knew that Kenny Baker was inside of R2-D2, helping to save Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie from a horrendously smushy death inside of Garbage Compactor 3263827!
Of course, only time will tell whether Abrams’ is able to pull it off or not. However, from everything I’ve seen so far, I’m extremely encouraged.
With the return of Han, Luke, Leia and the promise of a continuation of the story years after the events of, “Return of the Jedi,” I have been placed squarely back into my childhood, and once again feeling that familiar sense of wonder and excitement about a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
May The Force Be With Us All. 😉