So there's a new Star Wars coming out, and it's almost certainly going to disappoint a huge chunk of the people who watch it. I don't mean it will be bad. I just mean there's no way it could live up to these expectations. Look at these people reacting to the trailer.
How often do you clap and gasp during a movie? There's no way any movie, even a really good one, can make people feel like that. You normally have to rent a sticky-floored booth in a very specific type of establishment to have that kind of knee-shaking reaction to a film.
And when you consider the factors stacked against the thing, you'll realize it's more likely than not going to stumble on certain hurdles. Like one of these:
5It Could Be Terrible In A Completely Ordinary Way
There are many ways a movie can be terrible, completely independent of the way a Star Wars movie can be terrible, and we should probably get those out of the way first. Movies can have nonsensical plots, or tedious pacing, or thinly drawn characters, or wooden actors, or any of a few dozen pedestrian flaws like that.
They could be a lot like the prequels, basically.
I will grant that there's reason to be optimistic on this front. The director, J.J. Abrams, has made many movies that don't suck, most notably the pretty successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise. All of the original cast (aside from Alec Guinness, who did not wish to participate) will be back, playing the characters we know and love, and sure, some were a little wooden before, but it was a woodenness we came to accept.
Who among us couldn't relate to not getting to go to Tosche Station to get power converters?
But it's worth pointing out that pretty good directors and pretty good actors can still make bad movies. It happens a few hundred times a year, in fact. That might be the saddest possible outcome of all this: that the new Star Wars isn't great, nor horrible in an interesting way. It could just be mediocre.
Let's get on to the Star Wars-specific ways it could be terrible.
4It Could Rewrite The Rules
The Star Wars universe has a lot of elements that make up what we understand to be Star Wars. It just isn't Star Wars without lightsabers and Star Destroyers and white plastic codpieces, and for many fans -- the biggest and stinkiest ones, to be specific -- a respect for the existing canon is something the new Star Wars films will have to demonstrate for them to be acceptable.
"A chrome codpiece? How would that even work? Worst movie ever."
Merely by existing, these new Star Wars films have already pissed on these fans a bit. Over the past couple decades, approximately 1,000 parsecs of Star Wars novels and comic books and video games were created, all set in the time after Return Of The Jedi, in what would come to be called the Expanded Universe. All of these things are now no longer canonical, this time period being rewritten to accommodate the new movies, which understandably pissed off everyone who'd invested their time and money in the old setting. But oh, my salty, sweaty lads, so much worse could be coming. And to demonstrate, I'm going to need to take you on a tour of the ancient enemy of Star Wars, the hated Star Trek franchise.
In the rebooted Star Trek films, J.J. Abrams played pretty fast and loose with one of the signature pieces of Star Trek technology, the transporter. Previous movies and TV shows had established that transporters were capable of transporting people only over short distances, say a few thousand miles. But in the new films, transporters were apparently capable of sending people hundreds of trillions of miles. However far the script needed, really. Which kind of worked in the context of a fast-paced movie, where you're rushing from scene to scene. But it doesn't work at all when you think about it later, which is kind of the main thing fans do with these movies.
There would be a lot less "trekking" in Star Trek if you could literally
teleport anywhere you wanted.
Imagine how the same thought process could lead to some blasphemous development in the Star Wars films. Ship-sized lightsabers? Stormtroopers that can shoot? Teleporters?
Clemens Bilan/Getty Images Entertainment
Does R2 discover he's a Jedi?
That couldn't happen, could it?
Or has it already?