Posts Tagged 'Carrie Fisher'

It’s always surprising that Star Wars can still surprise. Here we are 20 years after Episode IV hit the silver screens, and the franchise still has the power to keep fans on their toes.

Take the little know fact that the script for what is still considered the best of all the films in the series – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – was co written by female sci-fi pulp writer Leigh Bracket. An interview with her was broadcast as part of the BBC’s documentary We Are the Martians: Seeing Is Believing this March. In this her personal literary influences were mapped out with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E Howard pushed to the fore, plus she was a friend and associate of Ray Bradbury. Through her novel writing career she was engaged with Sci-Fi and, like her influencers, she focused on crafted story telling, high adventure and the red planet. Look to her screen writing accolades as well, and you’ll discover the film noir classic The Big Sleep (1946) and western classic Rio Bravo (1959) – both of which fed into the smart plotting and smarter dialogue of Empire. Which makes her being eclipsed by a host of other, lesser writers, all the more baffling.

The death of Carrie Fisher at the end of 2016 was one of the worst surprises of what we can magnanimously call an ‘eventful’ year. Thankfully, we still get to see her final performance. Scinecefiction.com has confirmed that The Last Jedi will remain unchanged despite the fact that the actress won’t return for the third installment. It’s a great mark of respect for Fisher and, as with Leonard Nimoy and John Hurt, there’s no doubt her Sci-Fi legacy will continue on to the next generation of fans.

Finally, in this triptych of Star Wars curiosities, Wired has released a behind-the-scenes peek into the workings of Rogue One (2016) director Gareth Edwards. What’s surprising in this five minute mini documentary isn’t the fact that Edwards manages to sneak in a cameo role, but rather that Darth Vader’s iconic scene wasn’t even filmed until the cutting room edit. Just goes to show that sometimes last minute pivots can still create something outstanding.

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Disney Princess

The first teaser trailer for the next Star Wars movie is out, and it’s a telling piece of slick production. Not so much for the content – we’re not going to get into a narrative discussion here – but more for what it describes about the heritage of the franchise.

It’s fair to say that when Episode IV launched in 1977, it took the commercialisation of Sci-Fi to a new and unprecedented level. Money men and fans all jumped onto the band wagon and everything bull-dozered off to a bloated, profitable – but let’s not forget – inspirational future. We had the merchandise, the video games, the comics and the books – the novels now a totally side-lined canon as a result of JJ Abram’s reboot – and then we had Episode I.

There’s a scene – now suspiciously hard to track down via the internet – in Spaced (1999) where Simon Pegg’s character burns all of his Star Wars memorabilia in a pastiche of Anakin Skywalker’s funeral pyre. While it poked fun at the obsessional nature of fandom, it did totally encapsulate Generation X’s appreciation of the extended saga. Older fans were wrong-footed and caught in a WTF feedback loop. Meanwhile, those coming to the franchise fresh were still entranced by the core story – the pliable nature of good versus evil. Good people, when pushed can turn bad and vice versa. Potent stuff, and for these younger fans the reboot will seem more like a continuation. For the rest of us who “were there at the start” it’ll be all about addressing the horrors of a ‘more is better’ approach to scripting, and the collective question marks about using human racial dialects to denote the ‘alien’.

It all makes for yet another interesting tension for Sci-Fi, and is one wonderfully encapsulated in Ursula Le Guin’s acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation’s Distinguished Contribution to American Letters award. Her short, but extremely powerful, acceptance speech talks about many things, but it’s her spotlight on how commercialism shouldn’t be the sole drive in the production of art that’s most relevant here. We’ve said before on Drozbot that both Abrams and Disney are consummate storytellers, and if there’s any combination that can heal the critical rift between old and new audiences, it’s the one at work on Episode VII right now.

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