By now, Disney has followed my advice and begun production of the Star Wars Ultimate Collectors Editions, rehabilitating Star Wars for the diehards and introducing it to a new generation to boot. Nice work, Disney, you couldn’t have done it without me.
For its next enterprise, Disney will be releasing Episode 7. That’s fine, as they say: carry on. Me, I’ve found more enjoyment/less abject terror in imagining my own remake of Star Wars: A New Hope.
It’s the same film, just with a different cast and some added dialogue. But because of the casting, the characterisation is different which in turn shifts the meaning of the words, making a brand new movie without needing to spend the GDP of Belgium on CGI. Clever, eh?
And so it begins (natch) with the flying words and spaceships and the laser noises and some stormtroopers. A man in black leather strides into shot. A big, tall man (not Bono then). His physical size is matched only by his gargantuan talent. Brendan Gleeson’s face can’t be seen behind the mask, but you’ll recognise the voice, the gentle tone with the hard inflections. He’s a badass mofo, sure, but he’s also a touch world weary. After all he’s been crushing the galaxy beneath his platform boot for a long time and he’s not even been able to accessorise in decades, let alone freshen up with a whole new look.
Vader’s been taking a lot of crap from the officer corp since that spaceship debacle. Sure he captured it, he even got a hot slice of princess out of it, but one tiny oversight, a couple of droids escape and suddenly he’s on some frickin’ goose chase. Plus he can’t help but feel that people laugh at him behind his back. He’s tired, lonely and just wants a friend, but in his loneliness he overcompensates. In feeling that he’s shared too much with the wrong people, he then has to crush peeps’ larynxes with his Jedi mind kung fu.
He also finds himself feeling strangely protective of the princess, almost…paternal.
R2-D2 is la poubelle we all know and adore. He escaped with his bezzy mate, C-3PO (Morgan Freeman) and between them they comment on everything that goes on around them – an idea Lucas purloined from a movie the name of which escapes me, for those who like their movie trivia half-assed. Freeman has a voice made of gravitas particles and as such 3PO is a highly authoritative voice of reason, albeit completely ignored by everyone else. He points out that a parsec is a unit of distance, not time, but Han Solo tells him to do one.
Anyway, they meet…
Luke Skywalker, who dreams of escaping Hicksville and relocating to the corner of the galaxy labelled hipster. Michael Cera has a nice line in geeky-but-zeitgeisty characters who are ironic but sweet-natured. Also, he messed around with a lightsaber on Arrested Development, which is the sort of pop culture reference only the people who like the same things as me will know, which means I’m basically exactly like Quentin Tarantino.
Plus, I picture him pink-faced, staring intently at his Converse mumbling “I’m here to rescue you…” to Scarlet Johansson’s Leia; a woman once described by Woody Allen as “sexually overwhelming”. Bit nasty, given we know they’re blood relations, but that’s Lucas’ fault, not mine.
Anyway, purring, pouting ScarJo has the kind of career that means she won’t settle for being mere eye candy and wants some half-decent dialogue and a gun. She faces off against older chaps quite well, too, which brings us to love interest douchebag and all round cool dude, Han Solo.
If you look up the words ‘louche’, ‘dry’ and ‘quip’ in the latest iteration of the Oxford English Dictionary you’ll find that the words have been replaced by a picture of Robert Downey Jr’s face. His Han Solo might be conflicted when it comes to doing the hero stuff, but at least he’s the kind of asshole who not only wears sunglasses while in deep space, but somehow manages to do so without being forced out of an airlock. He’s seedy, he’s been around, seen a few things, cynical but charismatic. His faithful pet wookie likes him anyway.
It also adds a creepy vibe to his constant hitting on the much younger Ms Johansson, which is a send-up of Hollywood’s golden age and all those Cary Grant flicks. Which is, like, totally meta, yo.
He’s also completely comfortable shooting Greedo first, because that’s how Solo rolls, George Lucas. Greedo, in a nod to celluloid tradition, has to be played by a Brit because he’s a bad guy. Bill Nighy is that Brit – camp and slightly ineffectual, entirely boneless when lounging around Mos Eisley bars. He snorts his lines, gets shot, our heroes wander off in the company of…
Obi Wan Kenobi. Way I see it, Kenobi is responsible for Vader, and thus the death of all those younglings and most of his Jedi pals and the rise of the emperor (if only because Vader didn’t kill that cross-dressing megalomaniac). This has to screw you up a bit. And he’s been living alone in the desert for decades, so he’s gonna’ be a bit…unusual.
He’s a tricky old dude with a glint in his eye – you know he mind tricks the shit out of people whenever he feels like it. Jedi aren’t monks – they just like the outfits – and this one’s a little nuts. When Luke gets into that scrape in the Mos Eisley cantina, Christopher Walken steps up. Staring a little too hungrily at the other man’s jugular vein, he says “This little one’s…not worth the effort, me, I could burst your heart in your chest. With my mind.” Pause, open hands, all friendly smiles “ah?! AH!? Come on, let me get you something.” Whips out his lightsaber, off comes the man’s arm. THAT’s how Obi Walken Kenobi throws down. He picks up the appendage by the fingers, offers it back and says “I gotta’ hand it to you” because who’s gonna’ tell him not to do puns? Exactly.
It’s the past and they do things differently there. Women aren’t concerned about the glass ceiling so much as they are about being tethered to the floor, which, in conjunction with her youth, makes Grand Moff Tarkin’s stewardship of the Death Star even more impressive. It was difficult at first, with all the lame ‘what a grand muff’ remarks and general sexual harassment, but since she made a couple of subordinates go for an EVA walk in their underpants that’s all settled down. Funny how the sight of a man’s eyeballs imploding in the cold depths of space quells the chauvinist impulse.
Tarkin’s not been laid in ages because she out-ranks and out-earns the men on board – they say they’re cool with it but she can tell they feel emasculated, which is pathetic. It’s fine though, she’ll just have to wait for shore leave, get her fake tan on and go out golden of skin, slender of limb and with her tits hoiked up to her chin. It stings her to have to placate the fragile male ego by talking in a giggly, girly voice and pretending to be slightly stupid, but mama’s got an itch to scratch.
She’s also suffering from low blood sugar because she’s been dieting since she was 14. Some old law about movies aimed at children/infantilised males dictates that her uniform must be skin tight (Ordnance No. 871623/1967 Something For The Dads Act).
The tightness of the uniform means she’s forever concerned about VPL undermining her authority or, worse, a spot of dromedary hoof which might result in her picture appearing on a tawdry website to be gawped at by sweaty men with hairy palms.
Which is just disgusting.
Then, to compound matters, some princess pitches up whom all the officers have been trying to get amongst. She’s wearing something white, floaty and 70s-inspired, which is so chic. She’s worn it for several days but it’s pristine. Not even crumpled. Best explode her home planet, that’ll show the snooty bitch what’s what.
Now that’s a lot of backstory and baggage for such a small (but crucial) role. Luckily, Charlize Theron is an Oscar winning actress, so she can communicate all of it with just a single look. You go, girl.
Anyway, Tarkin’s just calmed down some swinging-dick, bullshit posturing when all hell breaks loose. One thing leads to another, Obi Walken Kenobi exits stage left, Princess Scarlett joins the crew.
Cera makes an ironic, self-deprecating joke which is taken the wrong way and suddenly he finds himself in an X-Wing with a group of extras and Wedge Antilles (Nathan Fillion, in a nod to Joss Whedon fanboys who still aren’t over the cancellation of Firefly).
Wedge pops up occasionally in the films, does sweet FA, but does have an intricately detailed back story because Lucas apparently loves licensing the Star Wars brand to any old content creator in exchange for money.
DS gets blown up, which means that Charlize Theron died hungry and with that itch resolutely unscratched, which just goes to show that crime doesn’t pay. Except that it does because Charlize was paid an inordinate sum of money in exchange for her 3 minutes of screen time.
That’s My Star Wars remake, internet. What do you think of it, internet? Who would you cast, and why?